"IT'S BEEN SO LONG"
(COACH: WALT HAZZARD)
Basketball is like girls, says Bruin forward Reggie Miller. "When people see a good play, they say, 'Ooh,' and 'Ah,' and 'Come check this out.' If it's good-looking, the word will spread."
Problem is, at UCLA there hasn't been much to ooh and ah about lately. But after a 3-6 start last season, coach Walt Hazzard steered the Bruins to the NIT championship. "Thriller" Miller won the NIT's MVP award and some of those oohs are coming back. "As long as he's inbounds, he can shoot," Hazzard says. There's also a Pooh—freshman guard Jerome (Pooh) Richardson, the dilly from Philly. "Pooh Richardson can wheel and deal," Miller says. "He's a baby Magic."
"He makes the right pass every time," says Montel Hatcher, who returns as the starting off guard. "That's something we didn't have last year."
Something the Bruins did have last season was height, in their centers. But Brad Wright ran out of eligibility and juco transfer Carl Pitts never got any (he wound up at Cal State-Fullerton). Hazzard will start 6'10" Jack Haley, who has played only two years of competitive ball. If Haley falters—and he will be tested in the season opener against North Carolina—Hazzard will use a three-forward alignment that will leave the Bruins short on the boards but with added quickness for their fast-breaking game.
There should be enough improvement for Bruin fans to holler, "Come check this out."