Jaylen Hands hopes to bring more fun to UCLA basketball after between-the-legs assist
LOS ANGELES — Even the several thousand fans sitting in the upper levels of Pauley Pavilion could hear it.
“Why?” Steve Alford yelled after Jaylen Hands chucked up a contested 3-pointer early in the shot clock against Stanford last Saturday with UCLA leading by 20 halfway through the second half.
Hands, for his part, knows it was a mistake. The freshman can smile at the transgression now, mainly because he knows what came next.
Thomas Welsh got a block. Hands pushed the ball up in transition and saw Kris Wilkes streaking down the court to his left. Hands jumped 2 feet behind the 3-point line, looped the ball under his right leg and lobbed it to Wilkes, who laid it in. The crowd roared. Even Alford clapped.
As UCLA won its game against Stanford, Hands won the Internet with his between-the-legs lob.
The fearlessly fun freshman point guard is still learning the ups and downs of the college game one ill-advised 3-pointer and highlight-reel assist at a time, but he hopes to help the Bruins thrill more crowds this season, starting with Saturday’s rivalry game against USC at Pauley Pavilion at 3 p.m.
“I like to know people are having fun, that’s when I think basketball is the best,” Hands said. “I want people to walk away saying, ‘Man, that was crazy.’”
He accomplished that last week as fans left Pauley Pavilion buzzing.
Hands had already known brief Internet fame. There are nearly five-minute highlight videos of just his dunks. He has soared over his parents, Ronnie and Ashanti, at a high-school all-star game in his native San Diego, leaped ESPN analyst Jay Williams at the McDonald’s All-American Game and bounced over UCLA head coach Steve Alford on the famed Venice Beach basketball courts this fall.
But this pass was […]