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COLLEGE BASKETBALL 1994-95 : UCLA : Bruins Leave Behind Last Year's Memories

October 15, 1994|TIM KAWAKAMI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Seven months after UCLA's first-round flameout, the smoke has cleared and a new season is beginning, but the tapes of the game remain to be played over and over and over again.

But not for Ed O'Bannon.

"We kind of went out like chumps last year," said O'Bannon, one of four returning starters from the team that lost to Tulsa early in last season's NCAA tournament. "It was one of the worst times I've ever had in basketball.

"As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of throwing that tape away so that game will never be played again."

With practice beginning this morning, O'Bannon said at media day Friday that the team returns this year quieter and more focused on the end goal.

"There's no small talk, no ands, ifs or buts," O'Bannon said. "The attitude now is: We want it. This team is something special. Hopefully, we'll do something special."

It's a team that Coach Jim Harrick says is bigger and stronger than any of his previous six UCLA teams. Besides O'Bannon, senior center George Zidek, senior point guard Tyus Edney and sophomore forward Charles O'Bannon, Ed's brother, return.

Four freshmen--forward-center omm'A Givens, forward J.R. Henderson, guard-forward Kris Johnson and guard Toby Bailey--add to the depth.

"I think this team has a chance to be as good as we've had," Harrick said. "I'd probably be disappointed if it weren't."

The major question? Who, or what combination of whos, will fill the void at shooting guard created by Shon Tarver's departure?

Harrick said he had "about 14 scenarios" for his starting lineup, including playing Marquis Burns or Cameron Dollar, reserves last season, along with Edney; playing one of the freshmen at guard, or moving a forward into the lineup and shifting Charles O'Bannon to guard.

"I've got about five guys who could play it," Harrick said. "I've got a lot of versatility, which I like."

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