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UCLA's Jerime Anderson knows what's coming

UCLA BASKETBALL

Senior guard expects taunting from fans after pleading guilty in the theft of a laptop over the summer.

October 12, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • UCLA guard Jerime Anderson knows the fans won't be easy on him this season.
UCLA guard Jerime Anderson knows the fans won't be easy on him this… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Jerime Anderson is ready for the mean-spirited props that are sure to follow him this season wherever UCLA goes.

"I anticipate everything — laptops in the crowd, a MacBook," the senior guard said Wednesday during the Bruins' media day. "I'm ready for anything."

Whatever taunts fans direct his way, they won't be nearly as bothersome as the uncertainty surrounding his future this summer. Anderson said he didn't know what to expect after he was arrested in July on suspicion of stealing a laptop from a building on campus.

"As soon as everything happened," he said, "I was scared for not only my UCLA career but my life in general going in a direction that I never really wanted it to go."

His teammates were just as surprised as the normally dependable Anderson by what he called "the worst decision I've ever made in my life."

"I found out and I was like, that's not Jerime," sophomore center Joshua Smith said.

Anderson eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of appropriation of lost property and trespass. He was suspended for two games and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

His teammates supported him from the moment of his arrest, Anderson said. The hardest person to make things right with was his father, Mark.

"As a man, talking to him, it was very difficult," Anderson said.

Senior guard Lazeric Jones, the Bruins' captain, said Anderson's ordeal did not compromise his ability to be a leader.

"We still respect Jerime the same," Jones said. "To me, Jerime is our captain also."

Ironman?

The number that stood out about Smith on the eve of the Bruins' first practice wasn't so much his weight as his predicted minutes per game.

"I feel I can play 30," he said.

That would be a significant increase over the 21.7 minutes Smith averaged as a foul-plagued freshman who also struggled with his conditioning.

The 6-foot-10 Smith said he had lost about 10 pounds since the end of last season, putting him at about 315. He was officially listed at 305, the same as last year.

Smith also said he had also diversified his offensive game, adding jump hooks with both hands as well as a 12- to 14-foot jump shot.

"I would say I have six or seven go-to moves instead of just trying to bull people over," Smith said.

Odds and ends

Junior forward De'End Parker is expected to sit out the first few days of practice after sustaining a minor knee injury while lifting weights, Coach Ben Howland said. … The Bruins are scheduled to practice Thursday, a day before most other teams start formal workouts, because they have not utilized the two hours of individualized work they are allotted each week. … UCLA will play a closed scrimmage against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 27 at the Sports Arena, where the Bruins will play most of their home games this season while Pauley Pavilion is renovated.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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