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JERRY CROWE

Former Bruin finds security in his adopted homeland

July 24, 2007|JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row ...

J.R. SAKURAGI, a Bakersfield native who was known as J.R. Henderson when he helped UCLA win the NCAA basketball championship in 1995, is a Japanese citizen as of July 2, the Japan Times reports....

Sakuragi, who played one forgettable season with the then-Vancouver Grizzlies before launching a more successful career in Japan in 2001, will compete for his adopted homeland in the FIBA Asia Championship, a qualifier for next year's Beijing Olympics, starting Saturday in Tokushima City, Japan....

"It was a huge decision for me," he says in a statement....

USC sophomore Daniel Hackett, who grew up in Italy, helped the Italians' under-20 team to a bronze medal in the U20 European basketball championships last week in Italy and Slovenia and has jumped to the national team in hopes of representing Italy in the European Championships in Spain in September....

The fall semester starts Aug. 27 at USC, but the son of USC strength and conditioning manager Rudy Hackett might miss a few weeks of class....

Although the allegations against Michael Vick are ugly, career-threatening and potentially fatal to the marketability of one of the NFL's most popular players, the allegations against the heretofore little-known Tim Donaghy strike at the heart of the NBA's credibility and could be much more damaging and far-reaching....

Solid moves all, signing Luke Walton, Chris Mihm and Derek Fisher, but surely Mitch Kupchak must have something more up his sleeve....

BTW, regarding reports that Cuttino Mobley had $500,000 in cash and jewelry stolen from his home: Is the Clippers guard naive or incredibly trusting? ...

Sergio Garcia had a chance to shed golf's shiny badge of frustration -- best player never to have won a major -- but after Sunday he wears it still....

Is there a more dominant team in sports than beach volleyball's Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, who ripped through the field last weekend in Long Beach and have won nearly 80% of the events they have entered over the last five years, including the Olympic Games tournament of 2004?....

Troy Tanner, who took over as the duo's coach this year, is a gold medalist himself, having won with the U.S. men's indoor team at Seoul in 1988....

It's probably worth noting that the thoroughfare that borders the north end of the Home Depot Center was named Victoria Street long before David Beckham and wife Victoria launched their campaign to conquer America....

Not everyone left Beckham's Galaxy debut with fond memories....

Scalpers, expecting a windfall, went begging outside the Home Depot Center on Saturday night because of the uncertainty over whether the injured Beckham would play, one man noting ruefully, "It's a recovery operation now." ...

During a string of 14 consecutive games without a home run, which ended Sunday when Garret Anderson connected against the Minnesota Twins to stop the second-longest power outage in club history, the Angels were 5-9 but lost only three games off their lead over the Seattle Mariners in the American League West....

Barry Bonds might not pass Hank Aaron this week in San Francisco, but he'll probably break the home run record in California because the Giants don't play another game outside the state until Aug. 13....

A silent auction of jerseys worn by the Dodgers in Sunday's game against the New York Mets raised $25,000 for the club's Dodgers Dream Foundation, the one dirtied by All-Star catcher Russell Martin fetching $1,200....

Danica Patrick's popularity would shoot through the roof if she actually won a race, but as Anna Kournikova could tell her, winning isn't everything....

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, a.k.a. Tom Brady's girlfriend, reportedly earned $33 million last year, but that probably is not what attracted Brady to her....

Former USC All-American Bruce Matthews, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next week, played in 296 games as an offensive guard, center and tackle, an NFL record for players other than kickers....

A rehab stint would do the Tour de France a world of good.

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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