UCLA NOTEBOOK: LAVIN LIKES HIS NEW BOSS.
At the UCLA basketball team's media day Thursday, coach Steve Lavin was asked about his relationship with the new athletic director, Dan Guerrero.
Lavin was lavish in his praise of Guerrero but also went out of his way to take less-than-subtle shots at former athletic director Pete Dalis, whom Lavin felt put him under undue scrutiny after conversations with Rick Pitino two years ago.
Lavin made a point of distinguishing between Guerrero and Dalis' styles, their personalities and their athletic background - Guerrero played baseball at UCLA and Dalis was the manager of the football team.
``He's been very supportive,'' Lavin said of Guerrero, with whom he has had two lengthy meetings. ``He's capable, competent, a great communicator - he's already talked to our team. That's the first time in 12 years that's happened.
``He understands the pathology of UCLA basketball. He understands the challenges. It's one thing to be an administrator who's never been an athlete, and another who has played a sport and paid his dues, and who's worked his way up the old-school way.
``It's been like a breath of fresh air. It's invigorated the whole athletic department. There's obviously different styles of management. When you feel good about a person - someone who's sharing the same goals and mission - you look forward to going to work each day.''
--Change at the mike: Bob Myers, the former Bruin who has served as a color commentator on radio broadcasts the past two seasons, will not be back this season after NCAA and Pacific-10 Conference officials raised concerns about Myers being employed by agent Arn Tellum, who represents Lavin and many former Bruins in the NBA.
Myers, who works part time at Tellum's SFX agency and is finishing his law degree at Loyola Law School, was asked by the school the past two seasons to sign papers saying he was not violating NCAA rules. Among his duties at SFX is to assist players with workouts for NBA teams.
``There's never been any indication that Bob did anything out of line,'' UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said. ``Given the fact that the NCAA continues to look closely at agents, unfortunately we had to do this.''
UCLA is searching for a new commentator to accompany play-by-play man Chris Roberts. Among the candidates are former Bruins Sean Farnham, Gary Maloncon and Don MacLean, and Todd Mitchell, who played at Purdue when Lavin was an assistant there.
--Crosstown rivalries: At the L.A. Athletic Club's Tipoff Luncheon on Thursday, Pepperdine coach and USC grad Paul Westphal recounted last season's victory over USC, when Trojans coach Henry Bibby, a UCLA alum, called several timeouts to see how Pepperdine was setting up its eventual game-winning basket.
Finally, an exasperated Westphal held up his clipboard to Bibby. Afterward, somebody asked Westphal why he'd give the play away?
``He went to UCLA,'' Westphal said. ``He couldn't read it.''
--Opening up: Basketball teams can begin practicing for the upcoming season tonight at midnight. The Bruins will hold their first practice Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. The Bruins' first exhibition game is Nov. 13, with the season opener Nov. 26 against San Diego.
--Also: Former UCLA guard Billy Knight is in training camp with the Harlem Globetrotters.