Deep Three: UCLA breaks in new kicks

We go beyond the arc following UCLA's 71-53 win against Arizona State on Thursday at Pauley Pavilion:


You couldn't avoid them if you tried. The bright yellow shoes four UCLA players wore Thursday were out there, to say the least.

Actually, they were the only flashy things fans got to see in the early minutes.

When Arizona State jumped out to a 21-9 lead, it seemed as if the Bruins were up to old antics. You could have said that players had again forgotten to show up -- except that the new adidas shoes were there to remind us that, yes, UCLA was in the building.

"I didn't even notice [the shoes]," coach Ben Howland said. "That's what adidas sent us. They're fine, that's what they're trying to promote. We're an adidas school and we're happy to promote, provided the guys find the shoes comfortable. Whatever they want us to wear."

Tyler Honeycutt, Lazeric Jones, Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb decided to sport the new shoes.

"I don't really like them, but I like the colors," Honeycutt said.

"They're ugly," said Reeves Nelson, who went with his customary white and blue pair.

"But [Nelson] has been wearing them in practice every day," Honeycutt interjected.

"I won't wear them in public," Nelson said.

For the sake of viewers everywhere, the rest of UCLA's players might want to take Nelson's advice.


Wait, never mind.

Howland wanted to get walk-on Tyler Trapani into the game with less than 30 seconds remaining and UCLA up 18, but then had Trapani make the jog back from the scorer's table. The disappointed Pauley crowd let out a collective "Awww."

"You know, I was going to put him in, then I realized our guys weren't going to shoot cause that's what we do when we have a big lead like that," Howland said. "I just told him to come back. I could have called a timeout and [switched], but I feel bad for Arizona State. They've had a tough year. So I didn't want in any way to be seen like we we're doing anything inappropriate."

Fellow walk-on Blake Arnet did get in with 37.3 seconds remaining but did not touch the ball during UCLA's final possession.

Two weeks ago against Oregon State, Howland emptied his bench to reward his non-scholarship players with a minute of playing time. The group was back on the sideline 15 seconds later when the Beavers blitzed the unprepared walk-ons.