Cody Riley greets UCLA after extreme ups and downs

That day he apologized for disappointing his teammates, his coaches, an entire country. Among the three UCLA basketball players who marched into an interview room to stare at a phalanx of cameras and talk about shoplifting in China, Cody Riley he went first, vowing to prove he was worthy of the school that had hugged him during his darkest moment.

Over the next 4 and a half years, Riley lived up to those words, creating a new set of lasting images. She overcame injuries and stayed after training for extra work, never letting the tension of it all unfold as she restored both her image of herself and the Bruins brand.

A year after helping UCLA reach its first Final Four in more than a decade, Riley decided to move on, forgoing one remaining season of college eligibility to start the rest of her life.

Saying he was “proud to say that I never gave up and that I can hold my head up knowing that I have given all I can to the four letters whenever I get the chance,” announced Riley. goodbye friday on instagram.

“Both fans and critics,” wrote Riley, “I listened to you step by step. Both love and criticism have propelled me forward in their own way. I appreciate everything.”

Riley’s decision came with the blessing of coach Mick Cronin, who thanked the big veteran veteran for everything he contributed during his five years on the program, acknowledging it’s time to move on considering Riley will turn 25 at December.

“He’s at a point in his career where he’s been fantastic for us, he’s come a long way at UCLA, he’s grown a lot, he’s done a great job helping me rebuild the program,” Cronin said, “but at this point with at his age, he must try to play for money while he can. “

UCLA's Cody Riley reacts and runs onto the pitch during a game against North Carolina

UCLA’s Cody Riley reacts and runs onto the pitch during a 2022 NCAA tournament game against North Carolina.

(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

This would likely involve playing overseas for a 6-foot-9 forward who is not equipped with an NBA skill set or listed on any fictional draft scoreboard. Cronin said that Riley underwent a knee cleansing procedure three days after the end of the season, but now he is completely healed and is training for his next basketball feat.

Riley lost nearly two months later sprain of the medial collateral ligament of the left knee in the opening of the season. He returned in January and averaged 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game for the season, while sharing the time with Myles Johnson.

Riley was less productive around the basket than the previous season, when he averaged 10 points and 5.4 rebounds as he helped the Bruins reach the Final Four, lingering on the pitch as confetti floated around him after a win over Michigan. in the regional final. In his final season, Riley tended to rely on middle distance jumpers for his scoring and was a slightly less effective defender and rebounder in the wake of his injury.

The departures of Riley and Johnson, the latter of whom forfeits even one year of remaining eligibility to begin his engineering career, will lead to significant turnover in office for the Bruins. Real cool Adam Bona and red second year T-shirt Mac Etiennewho missed last season with a knee injury, will fight for a starting spot, with plenty of minutes left for the other player.

Riley’s announcement also solidifies the roster for next season, barring the addition of any transfers. The Bruins are expected to return three starters to point guard Tyger Campbell, guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., and guard Jules Bernard, assuming Bernard doesn’t make an unexpected leap into the NBA after announcing that he would evaluate his professional potential.

Riley was the last player left from the international shoplifting incident in November 2017 that shook UCLA and led to seasonal bans for the three offenders. Li Angelo Ball he left before playing a regular season game for the Bruins and Jalen Hill retired from basketball after 3 and a half seasons with the team.

“I didn’t want to feel like I was trying to run away from the situation or something,” Riley said The Times in March 2020 about his determination to remain a Bruin. “I felt like I was in a good position that I was in, so I just had to stand upright, hold my head up and get over it.”

Riley posted on social media that she would host a skills clinic for children between the ages of 12 and 18 on June 11 at Vasquez High in Acton. Those who participate can learn about rebound, positioning, and, if Riley is in the mood to share her journey, redemption.

“To any kid reading this,” Riley wrote in her farewell post on Instagram, “you can achieve anything you want in life as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. Take on every challenge head on, hold yourself accountable and never give up, even if the whole world looks down on you. ”