Tyler Honeycutt, a nocturnal gym rat, has finagled his way into Pauley Pavilion after hours for more than a month.
The late-night sessions logged by the UCLA freshman forward are nothing new. He did the same thing at Sylmar High.
“He and his friends would get out of school at 3 p.m., they’d practice, go eat, and then go back to the gym until 10-11 p.m.,” said Lisa Stazel, his mother. “If I needed to find him, the gym was where I looked first.”
Honeycutt’s midnight madness this year helped him make up for lost time.
A back injury during the summer set him back and a leg injury in November sat him down for the first six games this season. His play, especially late in the season, has been a bright spot in one of the worst seasons in UCLA history.
Yet, there is optimism in his approach that allows him to view the Bruins’ Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament opener Thursday against Arizona as a new starting point.
“We want to win the tournament,” Honeycutt said. “We want to finish over .500, but we definitely want to win the tournament. It doesn’t matter how you start the season, it matters how you finish.”
For the 13-17 Bruins to finish above .500, they would have to win the conference tournament and reach a regional final in the NCAA tournament. And just to win the conference tournament UCLA would have to do something it has accomplished only once this season