UCLA Faces a Tough Temple Outfit : Owls Are a Reflection of Their Coach; Just Ask Hazzard
No matter what UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard may do or say during tonight’s game at Pauley Pavilion, he will not intimidate the visiting coach.
Not even if he yells loud enough to ripple the banners hanging from the rafters.
Not even if smoke pours from his ears.
The man on the other end of the floor, sitting at the front of the Temple bench, will be Coach John Chaney, one of Hazzard’s earliest mentors. They go back to the time Hazzard was a student at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia.
And Hazzard learned a lot of his competitive fire from Chaney.
“He’s a mean guy,” Hazzard said. “He’s a great competitor and was a great, great, great basketball player. He played with the ‘Trotters for a while and he should have played in the NBA, but there weren’t as many opportunities in the league then.
“He’s a brilliant person. Tough. Mean. Boy, is he mean.”
Hazzard is not remembering just a vague image from the days of their teacher-student relationship. Why, just last summer, after Hazzard’s team of old-time Philly buddies had won a half-court basketball game over Chaney’s team on Chaney’s court--despite Chaney’s homer calls, according to Hazzard’s report--Hazzard made a taunting remark as he walked off the court and was answered by a basketball to the back of the head.
The Temple basketball team that Chaney now coaches reflects the tough, competitive nature of its coach, Hazzard said.
Tonight’s game at Pauley Pavilion will be the season opener for Temple, which is favored to win the Atlantic 10 title and is ranked 12th in the nation based upon last season’s 32-4 record.
Included in that record was a 76-67 victory over UCLA at Temple’s McGonigle Hall.
Nate Blackwell has gone on to play for the San Antonio Spurs, but four starters are back from the Temple team that beat UCLA. Blackwell’s spot is filled by 6-foot 5-inch freshman guard Mark Macon, a player Hazzard rated among the nation’s best freshmen.
Actually, Macon isn’t exactly filling Blackwell’s position. Senior Howard Evans has been moved from shooting guard to point guard so that he can run the show while Macon does most of the shooting.
Hazzard said: “Macon got 29 points against Greece (in an exhibition game) and he scored within the flow of the game. Sometimes a freshman will be trying too hard to prove himself that he can’t do that, but his points were all in the context of the game.
“He’s one of the most polished freshmen I’ve seen in a long time. He has a presence.”
Evans averaged 12.5 points a game last season. The top scorer returning for the Owls is 6-7 forward Mike Vreeswyk, who averaged 14.5. The other forward, 6-9 senior Tim Perry, had 18 points and 18 rebounds against Greece.
Owl center Ramon Rivas, 6-10, is coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery this fall.
UCLA is 1-1 after beating Oral Roberts at home and then losing at New Mexico.
Hazzard said that playing before a rattling, sellout crowd in the Pit, as New Mexico’s gym is called, was a good experience for his young team, good preparation for the Pac-10 season, which the Bruins will open on the road.
But first, they have five games at Pauley Pavilion, starting tonight. They will play at home again Saturday night against Brigham Young.
Bruin Notes UCLA’s game tonight will begin at 7 and will be televised by ESPN and broadcast by KMPC (710 AM). . . . UCLA is 2-1 against Temple. Although the Bruins lost last season, they won at Pauley Pavilion in 1985 and in Tokyo during the 1980-81 season. . . . After two games, the Bruins’ leading scorer is 6-8 sophomore forward Trevor Wilson from Cleveland High School in Reseda. He is averaging 21 points and is second in rebounding with 9.5 a game.