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Cal Lutheran Record Should Stay in Family

February 14, 1991|MITCH POLIN

Jeff deLaveaga appears to be following in his brother Steve's footsteps on the basketball team at Cal Lutheran.

With his junior season winding down, the 6-foot-3 guard is in good position to surpass most of Steve's school scoring records by the end of his senior season.

DeLaveaga, 21, is the leading scorer in Southern California among college division teams this season at 27.2 points a game--the fourth consecutive season a deLaveaga has held the distinction.

But when he graduated from high school after breaking most of his brother's records at California of San Ramon, deLaveaga had hoped to head in a different direction.

"(Steve) had set all the records in high school, and then I came in and broke them," he said. "Then, when he came here and broke all of their records, I just felt like I didn't want to go through that again. For the first two years after high school, I was still known as Steve's little brother and I was getting tired of that."

So, instead of enrolling at Cal Lutheran, he decided to attend Southern California College as a freshman and made an immediate impact. After starting the first 11 games, deLaveaga wound up averaging 12.1 points.

But deLaveaga said he soured on Southern California as his playing time gradually declined.

"When I started I averaged 18 points a game, and when the league (Golden State Athletic Conference) started, the coach thought a freshman couldn't handle being a starter and my playing time went from 30 minutes a game to 10 minutes," he said. "That's when I decided to go to another school."

It didn't take long for deLaveaga to settle on Cal Lutheran.

"I was recruited by Cal Lutheran out of high school, but I didn't want to play behind my brother," he said. "But once I wanted to come here (former Coach Larry Lopez) was very understanding. I think he was pretty disappointed that I didn't go here in the first place, but after I came back I think he understood my situation."

After sitting out one season as a redshirt and playing the last two seasons for the Kingsmen, deLaveaga no longer minds being mentioned in the same breath with his brother.

"It feels pretty good, to be honest," he said. "People here say, 'You're just like your brother Steve,' and I think that's fine. I just take it as a compliment."

Not that deLaveaga is going out of his way to break Steve's scoring records.

"I don't try to break his records but if it happens, it happens," deLaveaga said. "Steve's always been a great role model for me, so it's an honor to be able to accomplish the same things as him."

With that in mind, it would not be a surprise to see deLaveaga follow in his brother's footsteps again after he graduates from Cal Lutheran.

After graduating from Cal Lutheran in 1989, Steve received a tryout with the Lakers before signing with the Nunawading Spectres of the Australian Basketball League. He was second in the league in scoring last season with a 40.1 average and tied for first in assists at 7.8.

Although he would like to have a shot at an NBA career, Jeff said he wouldn't mind the prospect of a professional career in Australia. He has already been scouted by some Australian teams.

To play pro ball, deLaveaga said he realizes that he still needs to develop more than his scoring ability. He has taken steps in the right direction this season, ranking among the team leaders with an average of five rebounds, three assists and 2.1 steals.

"Last year I thought I was mostly an offensive player, but over the summer I worked with Coach (Mike) Dunlap a lot and I've tried to expand the other parts of my game," he said. "I think I've prided myself on becoming a more complete player, and I think a lot of the credit should go to Coach Dunlap. I don't think I would've done it on my own."

DeLaveaga is also happy with the progress he has made on defense.

"The people that have come over (from Australia) ask what my defense is like, and I think that's been my biggest improvement," he said. "Before this year, I never played much defense at all."

He admits he still needs to improve his skills as a ballhandler and probably will have to play point guard at the professional level.

But as a scorer, deLaveaga has had few peers at the small-college level. Except maybe his older brother.

College Division Notes

The Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball team is within a victory of winning its 10th consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title. The Broncos have won their first six CCAA games. Pomona ranked 13th in the NCAA Division II, can wrap up the title with a victory Friday night over Chapman. . . . Cal State Bakersfield took a big step toward its second CCAA title in a row in men's basketball with road victories over UC Riverside and Cal Poly Pomona last week. Bakersfield defeated 12th-ranked Riverside, 81-75, before beating Pomona, 85-77. The Roadrunners are 6-2 in the conference, one game ahead of Riverside with four games to play.

The USC baseball team has not had an easy time in nonconference games against college division schools. Two weeks into the season, the Trojans have been shut out twice by lower division teams. They lost, 1-0, to Chapman, an NCAA Division II team, Jan. 30 and 1-0 to Cal Lutheran, which plays in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics, Feb. 3 in the second game of a doubleheader. . . . Defensive back Tim Thornburg of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has been named winner of the 1990 Pat Malley Award along with punter Steve McDowell of Southern Utah State. The award is based on athletic, academic and leadership ability. Thornburg, a senior, intercepted four passes last season and has a 3.7 grade-point average.

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