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Patience Can Be an Elusive Virtue for Youth

November 17, 1998|DAVID WHARTON

With the Bruins heading into their nonconference schedule against Santa Clara at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday, Coach Steve Lavin wants his players to be more patient.

UCLA started out sluggishly against the Taiwan national team in an exhibition last week, shooting 47% from the field and falling behind by a point midway through the first half. While center Dan Gadzuric and guard Ryan Bailey chose their shots wisely, some of their teammates weren't so judicious and appeared to be frustrated by Taiwan's small, fast defenders.

"We started shooting the ball too quick and started shooting threes," Lavin said.

Said forward JaRon Rush, "Coach was getting on us at halftime. We had to start playing smarter."

Not that hasty shots are unexpected from a team that features five freshmen and seven sophomores.

Said Lavin, "Younger players tend to have a quicker biological shot clock. The trigger finger gets itchy and up launches the shot."

In hopes of fostering better shot selection, the coach tried a football analogy. He asked his players to imagine playing on a rainy, muddy field in Oregon.

"A move-the-chains kind of game," he said. "You have to be patient."


Freshman Matt Barnes is making a surprisingly speedy recovery from off-season surgery. The former two-sport star at Del Campo High in Citrus Heights, Calif., missed much of his senior basketball season suffering from bone spurs in his left foot.

Not expected to play much until midseason, Barnes was on the floor for 11 minutes against Taiwan and had six points and five rebounds.

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