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Lavin to Catch Up With His Past in Indianapolis

November 29, 2002|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

While a nation feasted Thursday, a much-maligned Bruin squad ducked out under cover of holiday.

UCLA will surface today in Indianapolis, practicing in Conseco Fieldhouse in preparation for the Wooden Tradition, a doubleheader Saturday that begins with the No. 14 Bruins (0-1) facing No. 6 Duke (2-0) at 10 a.m. Purdue (1-0) will play Louisville (1-0) in the second game.

John Wooden, the event's namesake and legendary former UCLA coach, will attend, flying by private jet from Los Angeles today. Wooden watched most of the Bruins' opener, an 86-81 overtime loss to San Diego, leaving with about five minutes left in regulation and the score tied.

Wooden and coaches of the four teams will conduct a news conference today, meaning that UCLA Coach Steve Lavin will sit alongside men who have have figured prominently in his tenure.

Lavin was a graduate assistant from 1988 to '91 under Purdue Coach Gene Keady. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is described in the UCLA media guide as Lavin's "friend and mentor," and is the only coach besides Lavin to lead his team to five Sweet 16s in the last six years.

Lavin's association with Louisville Coach Rick Pitino is less favorable. Two years ago, then-UCLA athletic director Pete Dalis openly courted Pitino, but UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale intervened and Lavin survived.


In his first game since the 2000-01 season, Bruin senior guard Ray Young displayed a good shooting touch and solid defense.

Young made four of seven shots against San Diego, including one of three from three-point range. He played 37 minutes.

He made one glaring mistake, launching an errant three-point attempt early in a possession with UCLA holding a 65-58 lead with seven minutes left.

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