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GARY MALONCON : UCLA's Captain Has Discovered That It Isn't Easy to Live Up to Walt Hazzard's Greater Expectations

January 30, 1985|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

"Coach Farmer (Larry, Hazzard's predecessor) is a very nice guy. I really like him and Coach (Kevin) O'Connor. I really felt bad for what happened. They really loved this school. . . .

"Was he too nice? If you look at Hazzard and you look at Farmer. Hazzard, he doesn't care who is around, he's going to say what he wants. Coach Farmer was a very nice guy. He always smiled. He didn't want to say anything bad about you. But I think it's easier if someone comes to you and says, 'You're not doing this. I'll tell you what you're going to do.' That's better than someone saying nothing to you and you wondering."

Anyway, it's been an experience. When Maloncon was in junior high in Gardena, he brought in a poster full of shots of professional basketball players for career day.

When he was allowed to transfer out of his district, up to Crenshaw to go to high school, he got his first big-time publicity. He was profiled on "60 Minutes" in a study of the recruiting done by high schools. It wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind.

But he's still playing the game he loves. He has noticed that a lot of the kids he knew from the playgrounds, even some who were better, are gone.

He's carrying around a letter from the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Hazzard Air Corps is in the hangar, refueling, or awaiting further orders. Above Gary Maloncon's head, the skies are wide open, Bruin blue.

Bruin Notes Walt Hazzard, on the report that Tom Lewis of Santa Ana Mater Dei visited Syracuse during the Orangemen's upset victory over Georgetown Monday: "One thing was different. When they left that Carrier Dome, it's a lot different than Pauley Pavilion, walking outside." . . . There was a new development at Hazzard's weekly media breakfast Tuesday--diplomacy. Hazzard, asked if USC had been looking ahead to the Bruins in its loss to Stanford: "I think they ran into Dr. Davis (Stanford Coach Tom Davis). They ran into Dr. Davis' tricks, all the funny little things he does to change the game. I was sitting next to a man from Oregon State and he kept saying, 'I can't believe this, I can't believe this.' I could believe it."

Nigel Miguel, who shot 39% a year ago and started this season 1 for 9, is 22 for his last 28. His season percentage is up to 49.2% and his conference percentage is 57.0. . . . Hazzard, asked if the coaches had changed Miguel's technique: "There are two experts on shooting in this town, Bill Sharman and Jerry West. I had a chance to ask Jerry about it. Jerry gave me a very simple solution. He said Nigel was not keeping his fingertips on the ball. I said, 'I'll be damned.' " . . . Montel Hatcher is shooting 55.1% in his six games as a starter. As a sub, he shot 46%. . . . Tough house: Hazzard, asked which Bruin had surprised him most: "I'd say Brad Wright. It wasn't so much me as the things everyone said about him: He had no stamina, he couldn't play, he couldn't do this, he couldn't do that. Brad is a good passer, a good shooter and when he's awake, a good rebounder." Wright is averaging 8.3 rebounds a game, second best in the conference.

Bruin officials expect 6-foot-8, 240-pound Carl Pitts of Trade Tech to announce he'll attend UCLA. They're still pursuing 6-9 Jonathon Edwards of New Orleans Walker High School; 6-8 Tommy Hammonds of Crestview (Fla.,) High School and 6-8 Anthony Martin of Manual Arts. Since the Bruins no longer expect to find a 7-footer this year, they're figuring to go with someone that size at center next season.

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