Saturday, October 15, 2011

UCLA's Anderson talks of his ‘worst decision'

Photo: ARMANDO BROWN for the OC Register

UCLA's Anderson talks of his ‘worst decision'

Published: Oct. 12, 2011 Updated: 9:16 p.m.

LOS ANGELES – Jerime Anderson pulled up a chair as a crowd of reporters gathered around him Wednesday afternoon.

A bead of sweat slowly slipped down the right side of his forehead as the senior UCLA guard sat ready for the questions he knew that had been coming since he was arrested July 26 for stealing a laptop computer on campus.

"I feel foolish sitting here talking about it because I don't feel like I should have ever been in a situation like this," Anderson said at one point, "but I am and the only thing I can do is face it and be a man and take everything that comes with it."

The former Canyon High standout did just that at UCLA's media day Wednesday. He addressed his arrest and subsequent suspension and reinstatement at UCLA for the first time with a candor that made no attempt to explain or excuse his crime.

At one point Anderson was asked to describe his thinking when he picked up the computer left on a bench in a campus building.

"Stupid, definitely, to put it frank," Anderson said. "It was definitely the worst decision I've ever made in my life and I wish I could go back and really make the right decision but you know hind sight is always 20/20.

"My main thing I can't let one thing define who I am and the person I was raised to be. My parents raised me with good morals and values and from now on I definitely have to stick with them."

That is why Anderson's arrest caught so many in and around the UCLA program by surprise. Anderson played a key role in UCLA's stretch run late in the 2010-11 regular season and was expected to have an expanded leadership role this season.

But his future with the Bruins was thrown into doubt after he was suspended indefinitely following his arrest by university police on suspicion of grand theft.

"It was sitting there," Anderson recalled. "No one was by it. And I ended up taking it.

"Just a moment, a lapse of judgment. That's the only thing I can really say about it, to be honest because that's exactly what it was. I know I'm not supposed to take things that don't belong to me even if they are just sitting there somewhere. That's the only way I can put it. And from there on I've just been having to deal with this situation which is only right."

Anderson reached a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to misdemeanor appropriation of lost property and trespass. Under the deal he must perform nearly 300 hours of community service. If he has no further legal problems by Sept. 15, 2013 the charges will be dismissed and erased from his record. He has been reinstated but is suspended for an exhibition game and the regular-season opener.

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