Notes on a Scorecard
Talk about your 180-degree turnarounds. . . .
After 27 games last season, the Lakers were 9-18. Today, they are 18-9. . . .
Much of the credit for the biggest improvement in the NBA outside Dallas must be given to Jerry West, who now has the title of executive vice president of basketball operations. . . .
Three moves by West have made the Forum an exciting place again--drafting guard Eddie Jones of Temple in the first round, trading for forward Cedric Ceballos of Phoenix and hiring Del Harris as coach. . . . West on Jones: “He’s an absolutely fantastic kid who wants to become a great player. There are times when you look at him and ask yourself, ‘What rookie is any better?’ For a young player, he does everything. He’s on the ESPN highlight package all the time.” . . .
West on Ceballos: “You watch him play and think he’s got maybe 10 or 15 points. But he’s got 25. You don’t have to run plays for him. He scores within the offense. We made the trade because we wanted a proven scorer who could also give us some youth.” . . .
West on Harris: “When you’re at his practices, you get the feeling that all the little nuances are being taught. He’s very thorough. He also has a way with players. Practice well for him and you get a chance to play, no matter who you are. That’s not true with a lot of coaches.” . . .
West knew the Lakers would be better than a year ago coming out of training camp, but how much better was the question. . . .
“I thought that maybe we’d be a .500 club,” he said. “But we’re better than that because we’re getting contributions from so many people.” . . .
He mentioned the emergence of Elden Campbell as a more physical player inside and the maturity of Nick Van Exel, who West believes is on his way to becoming one of the best point guards in the league. . . .
“It’s been a different guy every night,” West said. “One thing that will hurt, though, is the injury to Sedale Threatt. He’s been our leader.” . . .
West was asked about his expectations for a franchise that didn’t make the playoffs last season for the first time since 1976. . . .
“I have no idea,” he said. “I try never to get too high or too low. I just try to look at the big picture and we’ve played only 27 games. I do know that we’re going to get better, whether or not it’s reflected in wins and losses.” . . .
The Pacific 10 Conference basketball race begins tonight with half the teams ranked among the top 23 nationally. . . .
Prediction: 1--UCLA, 2--Arizona, 3--California, 4-- Arizona State, 5--Stanford, 6--Oregon, 7--USC, 8--Washington, 9--Washington State, 10--Oregon State. . . .
Miami Dolphin Coach Don Shula turned 65 Wednesday, but has no plans to retire. . . .
If you don’t think Dave Wannstedt has done the best coaching job in the NFC this season, consider that his Chicago Bears, who play the 49ers Saturday at San Francisco, didn’t have a player selected for the Pro Bowl. . . .
Thoroughbred trainer Darrell Vienna, 48, who has a degree in psychology from UCLA and is a published essayist and poet, recently passed the state bar exam. . . . Former Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Cardmania, a 9-year-old, will try to equal a record in the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap on Sunday--oldest stakes winner in Santa Anita history. . . .
The last 9-year-old to accomplish the feat was Super Diamond in the 1989 San Antonio Handicap. . . .
Dodger teammates are delighted that Tim Wallach was re-signed. He would win a most-popular-Dodger contest, whether it were conducted by the players or the sportswriters. . . .
The Grand Olympic’s first fight show of the year Friday will feature Jeremy Williams of Long Beach defending his state heavyweight championship against Everton Davis of Hawthorne. . . .
“I don’t like to work with heavyweights, but Jeremy is the exception because he puts out like a lightweight in the gym,” trainer Joe Goossen said. . . .
If the Ruelas brothers win as expected on Jan. 28 at the MGM Grand, a blockbuster doubleheader matching Rafael against Oscar De La Hoya and Gabriel against Genaro Hernandez would be in the works for Cinco de Mayo weekend at Las Vegas. . . .
The Forum Boxing Club is working on matching Humberto (Chiquita) Gonzalez and Scotty Olson on March 31, perhaps at The Pond of Anaheim. . . .
An announcement is expected today that Oliver McCall will defend his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Larry Holmes on April 8 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. . . .
Look for national champion Nebraska to be voted No. 1 in the 1995 college football preseason polls.