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UCLA’s Mick Cronin uses ‘deflection bone’ to gauge effort

“Hungry dog gets the bone.”

That’s what UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin said to the media Tuesday morning.

Cronin is alluding to the oversized dog bone that is awarded to the Bruin whose name is written on it the most at the end of the season. The bone has the final score of each game accompanied by a signature of the player who led the game in deflections, a stat the UCLA program keeps itself.

“I brought that from Cincinnati,” Cronin said. “The hungry dog gets the bone when they throw the scraps out at night. If you’re not hungry, you’re not willing to fight for scraps, that’s the law of the alley. That’s who wins games, usually. The team willing to get into the fight.”

According to Cronin, a deflection is any tipped ball, steal, rebound or block. For example, blocked shot and recovery of the ball is two deflections.

“More incentive,” Cronin added.

UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin uses the ‘deflection bone’ to incentivize defensive activity. (Photo courtesy of Jan Kim/UCLA Athletics)

Jaime Jaquez Jr. won the bone his freshman and sophomore years. Myles Johson won the bone last season. This year, Jaylen Clark is the frontrunner with 202 deflections. Jaquez is in second with 149 and David Singleton has 105.

The Bruins have tallied at least 40 deflections in seven games this season. In Cronin’s first year, in 2020, UCLA had just one game with 40 deflections.

“We track total deflections, but also deflections per minute played. It tells you how hard someone is playing on defense,” Cronin said. “Dylan Andrews’ (rate) is very high.”

Clark also leads the team in steals with 58 as he closes in on UCLA’s single-season steals record of 95 set by Jordan Adams in 2013-14.

The extra incentive could explain why No. 7 UCLA (19-4, 10-2 Pac-12) averages more steals per game (8.9) than any other Pac-12 Conference team ahead of its trip to play the Oregon schools. The Bruins will face Oregon State (9-15, 3-10) at 6 p.m. Thursday in Corvallis, before taking on Oregon Saturday night in Eugene.

UCLA has won its past two games at Oregon State and holds a 12-6 record against the Beavers in their past 18 meetings. Thursday’s game will be the only time the two play this season.

JAQUEZ, CAMPBELL ON AWARD WATCH LISTS

Jaquez has been selected to the updated 10-person watch list for this season’s Julius Erving Award, honoring the nation’s best small forward. It’s the second consecutive season the Camarillo native has been included in the final 10 names for the honor.

Jaquez leads the Bruins in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg) and ranks among the Pac-12’s top 10 in both of categories – sixth in scoring and fifth in rebounding. Jaquez also ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in steals per game (1.65).

Jaquez has moved into No. 21 on the Bruins’ career scoring list and No. 18 on the career rebounding list.

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Point guard Tyger Campbell has been selected to the updated 10-person watch list for this season’s Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation’s best point guard. The 5-foot-11 guard from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is averaging 13.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds this season.

He has shot 39.1% from the field and 34.7% from the 3-point line. Going into the team’s trip to Oregon, Campbell is ranked second in the Pac-12 in assist-turnover ratio (2.46) and fourth in assists per game.

UCLA at Oregon State

When: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Where: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/570 AM

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