Check out the latest batch of weekly answers…
1) It seems lately like Howland has been loosening up a bit in press conferences? I’ve seen him joking more than I’m used to? Is that your impression? – Michael Benson
Absolutely. Howland has been funny, charming and witty – and even sometimes emotional – this season. I’m not going to say last season softened him up in any way, because trust me, at the beginning of the year, when we peppered him with 14-18 questions, he was surly as all hell. But I think he’s having a little more fun and the expectations make it a little easier to breathe.
2) What’s the likelihood, percentage of UCLA running the table the rest of the way in hoops and getting a 4 seed in the West region? What is a more realistic scenario to you? – incalos
I think it is more likely that they run the table than get a four-seed. I think a four is a little lofty with eight wins, including three big stains on the resume, even if the big wins have been bigger than most.
3) Give us someone your keeping your eye on this year to explode onto the scene for the bruins? I.E. a Eric Kendricks, or AO. – Bruinfan123
That’s tough when you list guys like that, who likely won’t play more than on special teams, to know what you mean by “explode.” I expect Datone Jones to have a monster season. I could see Cassius Marsh really blossoming in year two. A lot of people think Patrick Larimore has the goods to become one of the best MLBs in the country if he returns healthy. I would say the biggest sleepers are Randall Carroll and Tevin McDonald, who is just drawing rave reviews.
4) Your thoughts about what has been going right this year for the men’s basketball team compared to last year’s disaster? Is it the addition of Smith and Jones, the maturation of the other players, or something else? – Anonymous
Man, it’s funny what a week can do. Last week, I was getting peppered with questions about the Cal loss and how bad the team played and how they’re collapsing. Now look. To answer your question: Really, a combination of what you said, plus the Pac-10 stinks, plus, well, I didn’t think that was a 14-18 team last year, even with the dearth of talent. UCLA played itself OUT of a few games last year, and the makeup of the team just wasn’t good. Awful point-guard play, a two-guard who could shoot but couldn’t defend, freshmen at small and power forward, guys leaving the team, guys getting kicked off, guys throwing people through glass windows. Just not a good year.
5) You think Honeycutt’s decision to stay or go pro will be all business, or does he have enough of an emotional tie to UCLA and the team to be a factor in that decision? – The Blur
Well, I thought Rahim Moore had the strongest emotional tie to a college than anyone I’ve EVER heard, and he left, so that should tell you something. Look man, it’s 2011, and the money is way, way, way too good to pass up if the first-round is a guarantee. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee for Honeycutt, and I definitely think he could use another year or two of seasoning and be in much better position to make a big splash in the League, but paper is paper, and the greener it is, the better is looks. What I’m saying is please buy me some evergreen butcher paper.