Bruins tradition doesn't faze LSU


Published: Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
UCLA's basketball tradition is one of the richest in the game.
The Bruins resume includes 40 NCAA Tournament appearances, 16 Final Four trips, 11 national titles or a Hall-of-Fame-like list of alumni.
This year's UCLA team, which includes four starters from Los Angeles, hopes to help restore the Bruins' rich basketball tradition when they face LSU tonight in the second game of the Final Four at the RCA Dome.
"Bringing that tradition back is what we're playing for right now," said sophomore guard Arron Afflalo, who is from Compton, Calif. "We're not playing for just our team, our university. We're trying to carry on something that John Wooden started, that (Jim) Harrick continued."
The Bruins are playing in their first Final Four since 1995, a major dry spell for a program with 89 NCAA Tournament victories. Senior Cedric Bozeman understands both the highs and the lows. Bozeman, from Los Angeles, was part of two of the worst UCLA teams in recent memory - the 10-19 team of 2002-03 and the 11-17 team of 2003-04.
"We're all from Southern California," Bozeman said. "You grow up listening and hearing about UCLA basketball. Just to be a part of that feels good. Hopefully we can add to the tradition."
Sophomore Jordan Farmar, also from Los Angeles, said UCLA's tradition has been a motivator to turn the program back around.
"It helps us reach for the stars and keep our goals high," Farmar said.
One player who is not wowed by the Bruins' past is LSU center Glen Davis. He said what has happened in the past will have no bearing on tonight's game.
"Last time I checked the roster, Bill Walton wasn't playing. Kareem wasn't playing. Reggie Miller wasn't playing," Davis said. "UCLA is just a couple of letters on the front of the jersey to me."
Contact Brandon Zimmerman at 374-5051 or zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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