Jason Kapono To Remain At UCLA For Senior Season
May 10, 2002
In his first official statement since the end of the 2001-02 collegebasketball season, UCLA senior-to-be Jason Kapono announced Friday that heis remaining at UCLA and will play for the Bruins in 2002-03.
'I never wanted this to be a big deal,' said Kapono, a 6-8, 213-pounder whoprepped at Artesia HS and is from Lakewood. 'I guess with all the otherthings in my life, the weeks since the season ended have just flown by. Myfamily responsibilities regarding the death of one grandfather and theillness of another, attending classes, and working out with my teammatesare the things that have been keeping me busy.
'I enjoy being a student-athlete at UCLA,' he said. 'Continuing to worktoward my degree and being with Coach Lavin and my teammates next seasonare the things that are important to me right now in my life.
'Hopefully the NBA will be in my future plans,' Kapono said, 'but for rightnow, I'm at UCLA and UCLA is where I want to be.' The deadline to declarefor the upcoming NBA draft is Sunday.
As a junior in 2001-02, Kapono tied the school record for games played (33)and started (33) and led UCLA in scoring (16.0, he's led the Bruins inscoring for the last three seasons), three-point shooting (45.3, 87-192)and foul shooting (85.6, 101-118). He set the school single-season recordfor most three pointers (87, breaking his old mark of 84 that he set as asophomore, that broke the mark of 82 he set as a freshman) and tied theschool record for most three-pointers in a game (seven, at Arizona,1/19/02). As a junior, he was a finalist for the Naismith Player of theYear Award, an Honorable Mention AP All-American and earned All-Pacific-10honors for the third straight year.
During his three-year UCLA career, Kapono has set the Bruin schoolrecord for most three pointers (253) and three-point attempts (549), is No.2 in three-point percentage (46.1), No. 6 in free throw percentage (81.7,299-366) and No. 15 in scoring (1,608 points; Kapono's season scoringaverage is 536 points (16.4), if he scored his average next season, he would end his career with 2,144 points, No. 3 inBruin history, trailing only Don MacLean (2,608, 1989-92) and Lew Alcindor(Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2,325, 1967-69).
'Obviously we are delighted that Jason has decided to remain inschool, continue working toward his degree and play for us as a senior,'Bruin head coach Steve Lavin said. 'Jason is a prolific scorer and one ofthe great shooters in college basketball. His overall game has improvedeach season during his career here. We will have a young team next year andJason's leadership and experience will be critical to our success nextseason.'