Lavin Cites Hines’ Past for Leniency

UCLA basketball Coach Steve Lavin said Friday he spared guard Rico Hines from missing more than one regular-season game because the coach believed behavior that he called “out of bounds” was also out of character for Hines.

Hines fought with teammate Matt Barnes during a pickup game at Pauley Pavilion last week, sources confirmed Friday. Teammates had broken up the fight when Hines grabbed a nearby chair and swung it at Barnes, opening a cut in his head that required six stitches to close. The two have since reconciled, and Hines publicly apologized Thursday.

Lavin announced a two-game suspension for Hines on Thursday, with the first of those games an exhibition Nov. 1. Neither Hines nor Lavin was willing to discuss details of the incident.


Because Lavin had not witnessed the incident--NCAA rules bar coaches from watching practices until Saturday--he said he discussed the matter with Hines, Barnes and other players before deciding whether to suspend Hines, and for how long.

“Rico has an exemplary track record in our program,” Lavin said. “This was an isolated incident. Still, we felt Rico’s behavior was out of bounds, and we felt he deserved appropriate disciplinary consequences.”