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Craven Relishes Super-Sub Role

Times Staff Writer

Errick Craven, at once one of the quickest and most restless guards in the Pacific 10 Conference, has come to terms with coming off the bench.

In fact, the junior guard is reveling in becoming a super-sub for Coach Henry Bibby.

“I probably just need something different to excite me, something to motivate me,” he said. “For me to watch ... whoever’s starting at the time, to feed off them and come in and be a spark, has been beneficial the past two games.

“Me starting, it becomes monotonous. I get lethargic.”

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Craven, who has started 15 of the Trojans’ 18 games and 69 of the 79 in which he has appeared at USC, was forced to the bench at Stanford on Jan. 24 after kicking California’s Richard Midgley two days earlier.

Craven responded with eight points in eight minutes before lighting up UCLA for 18 points -- including a thunderous, one-handed dunk off a steal -- four assists and five steals in 30 minutes.

“It’s a different scene to get hyped up that way,” said Craven, leading the Pac-10 with a 2.89-steals average in conference. “I get excited actually visualizing the game that way. It mentally prepares me for the game.”

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Craven coming off the bench, along with Lodrick Stewart taking his place and Derrick Craven supplanting Rodrick Stewart at the point, still assures a Craven and a Stewart in the starting lineup.

“I think that’s the coaches’ way of trying to ease the so-called tension,” Derrick Craven said.

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The mini-mystery is over -- it was Desmon Farmer whom Bibby kicked out of practice Monday.

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“You couldn’t have a good weekend unless you throw Des out of practice at least one time,” Bibby said with a smile. “I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I was having a tough day and I took it out on Des.”

Farmer, who bruised his left (shooting) hand and wrist in the Trojans’ win at UCLA last week, accepted his lot.

“Today we had our laughs,” Farmer said. “It’s no problem, he had a bad day. I’m always going to be the guy and he knows I can take it.”


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