UCLA NOTEBOOK: ARIZA WILL PRESENT A SLIGHT PROBLEM.
The disadvantage is obvious: UCLA's Trevor Ariza, a lean 6-foot-7, 198-pounder, will be asked to defend some of the tougher power forwards in the Pacific-10 Conference, and the freshman certainly doesn't have the strength or bulk to do it yet.
The Bruins are in that situation because they lack a true power forward, but coach Ben Howland is trying to turn that into a positive on the offensive end because of Ariza's quickness and ability to shoot from the outside.
``If I make myself think it's going to be pretty easy, I can do it,'' Ariza said. ``I like it as long as I'm on the court. I can use my quickness (on offense) and, because I'm light, I can get by guys better.''
Ariza, who will be the first freshman to start since Jason Kapono, averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Westchester High of Los Angeles last season. Howland already is impressed with Ariza's passing ability and feel for the game.
``The only disadvantage for him is who he's guarding,'' Howland said. ``In many ways it's an advantage for him because he can have a hard matchup for the other team's four man to step out on the perimeter and guard him.
--Setting the rotation: Howland said he would like to establish an eight- or nine-man rotation, something unheard of the past few years since there appeared to be no rhyme or reason to some of former coach Steve Lavin's substitution patters.
But Howland said sophomore center Ryan Hollins will be the first player off the bench. Backup guards Ryan Walcott and Janou Rubin also will play, and forward Josiah Johnson will play power forward when Ariza is on the bench.
--Looking for intensity: One thing the Bruins always have wanted out of junior wing Dijon Thompson is more intensity, particularly at the defensive end.
The new coaching staff is learning that, while the intensity is there, it's not nearly enough.
``It's not consistent,'' Howland said. ``He has shown me, though, that when he really focuses and digs in, he can be a very good defender. If he wants to ever have any chance to play on a successful UCLA team, No. 1, that has great success, and No. 2, any level beyond UCLA, he's going to have to do that on a consistent basis or he'll have no shot.''
Brian Dohn, (818) 713-3607
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 8, 2003|
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