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SIDELINES

Architect Romar Quickly Drawing Up Blueprint at Pepperdine

May 01, 1996

Pepperdine officials were understandably excited when the much sought-after Lorenzo Romar was introduced as the Waves' basketball coach in February.

Imagine how they feel now.

In two months on the job, Romar has filled all but one of his five available scholarships with players who will provide Pepperdine with talent, size and, if all goes well, a promising future after the past two forgettable seasons.

The full impact of Romar's first recruiting class probably won't be felt until the 1997-98 season, when transfers omm'A Givens and Jelani Gardner become eligible. Givens, a 6-foot-10 center from UCLA, and Gardner, a 6-6 point guard from California, were named to the elite McDonald's High School All-American team as seniors in 1994.

"If you look at Pepperdine's program over the years, they have not had a whole lot of McDonald's All-Americans," said Romar, who recruited his share of high school stars in four years as a UCLA assistant. "Now, just because you're a McDonald's All-American doesn't mean you are going to be a great [college] player, but . . . whenever you get players of that stature it boosts your program."

Romar also feels good about his other recruits--6-7 forwards Kelvin Gibbs of Bellflower High and Marc McDowell, a freshman at Mesa Community College in Arizona.

"We're very excited about this group," Romar said. "When you come on [as coach] at this time of year and are able to get players like that, you have to be pretty excited. We need size, and they definitely fill that need."

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Facing off: Eric Wynalda and Cobi Jones have known each other since they were children in Westlake Village. Sunday, they renewed their friendship with a face-to-face meeting during a Major League Soccer match at the Rose Bowl in front of 40,347 fans.

Make that shoulder-to-face. The two collided early in the match between Wynalda's San Jose Clash and Jones' Galaxy, with Wynalda getting the worst of the spill.

"The first play of the game we ran right into each other and he split my lip," Wynalda said after the Galaxy's 2-1 victory.

Wynalda and Jones, teammates at Westlake High in the mid-'80s and on the U.S. World Cup team in 1994, each had an assist and factored in other decisive plays.

Jones drew a foul just outside the San Jose penalty area in the 44th minute that led to a free-kick goal by Mauricio Cienfuegos and a 2-0 lead.

Wynalda led a Clash comeback in the second half and nearly tied the score in the final minute when he bounced a free kick off the left post.

"I thought I had scored," Wynalda said. "It was everything I wanted it to be except for three inches this way."

Though the day ended on a down note for Wynalda, he could at least look back to an earlier highlight--his sister Heather sang the national anthem before the game.

"That's the third time she's sung it and she's getting better all the time," Wynalda said. "It was the best part of the whole day."

Under his hat: JetHawk Manager Dave Brundage has an interesting quirk: He keeps his lineup card in his hat while coaching third base.

"I started doing that when my hands were so cold I couldn't get the lineup card out of my pocket," he said.

There is one problem with that practice at the Hangar, with its gusty winds.

"If I take off my hat," Brundage said, "the lineup card ends up in right field."

Stats

UC Santa Barbara lost to UCLA in the championship match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation volleyball tournament in Hawaii on Saturday, but Gaucho outside hitter Donny Harris excelled. The La Canada High graduate led his team with 31 kills.

Quotebook

"It's great to be home, but I'm not used to this smog. My lungs are dying."

-- Cyndee Bennett, a former Glendale High softball player and Utah's all-time leader in runs batted in, after the Utes were swept by Cal State Northridge on Saturday.

Things to Do

The Warner Center Club in Woodland Hills will be the site of the first Southern California Tennis Assn. wheelchair sectional championships. The tournament, which serves as a national qualifier, is Friday through Sunday.

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Contributing: Rob Fernas, Jeff Fletcher, Irene Garcia, Dana Haddad, Paige A. Leech, Tris Wykes.

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