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UCLA BASKETBALL

Dragovic arrested before Bruins' exhibition victory

November 08, 2008|David Wharton | Wharton is a Times staff writer.

UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery shortly before his team's exhibition basketball game on Friday evening.

Dragovic, a junior from Belgrade, Serbia, was allegedly involved in an altercation with his former girlfriend. Dragovic and his girlfriend lived together, according to Coach Ben Howland, who added that, "They're going through a breakup of that relationship."

Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested the 20-year-old Dragovic at about 4:20 p.m. at the apartment he and the woman had shared in the 3200 block of Overland Avenue. According to LAPD spokesman Jason Lee, Dragovic went to the apartment to collect his belongings. He found them dumped out front.

An argument ensued, during which Dragovic allegedly pushed the woman to the floor, Lee said.

Bail was set at $20,000. It was not known whether Dragovic was still in custody late Friday night.

Howland said the player called him around 6 p.m., shortly before tipoff. Howland then made a brief announcement to his team in the locker room.

Speaking after UCLA's 76-42 victory over Biola at Pauley Pavilion -- it was the Bruins' final exhibition before the season begins against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday night -- teammates did not have much to say.

"I don't know anything about it," guard Darren Collison said. "We've still got to talk about it as a team."

No decision had been made about any team or school discipline.

"I'm going to wait for all the facts," Howland said.

The coach added: "She's a great kid. Nikola's a great kid. I'm very confident everything will be rectified soon."

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Times staff writer Jason Felch contributed to this report.

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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