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UCLA’s temporary home a dump, but only for a season

When I told a co-worker – and ’92 USC grad – that UCLA would be playing 14 of its 18 regular-season games next year at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, he laughed. And laughed some more.

“That place was a dump when I was in school!”

While UCLA renovates Pauley Pavilion, the arena be home. But I’m not sure it qualifies as a fixer-upper. The 52-year-old, 16,000-seat arena is sitting in downtown L.A., waiting for the wrecking ball and doesn’t inspire much anticipation among Bruins fans. Steve Kundar, a UCLA season ticket holder for more than 20 years, is one of them.

“Being a Bruin and a lifelong Angeleno, it’s not the best area,” Kundar told the L.A. Times. “I have a son and it’s not the best place for kids at night. It’s just not as welcoming.”

Before USC moved into the Galen Center in 2006, coaches wouldn’t show the place to incoming recruits. But the school received enough input from fans that they wanted games next season in the L.A. area, so this was the best option.

And hey, UCLA’s gonna do its best to spruce the place up – even if it entails doing the same things a person might try with a dumpy home they’re trying to sell. New coat of paint, different decorations, you name it.

“We will make the Sports Arena a great environment for our fans and our team,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. “We will bring our championship banners and will paint our colors as much as possible in the interiors of the building, including the basketball court, to make it our home away from home.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.