UCLA forward Reeves Nelson wasn’t gone for long, but he was sure missed while he was gone.
The enigmatic junior was reinstated to the basketball team on Wednesday, head coach Ben Howland announced, and will rejoin the team for practice on Thursday, as the Bruins took Wednesday off following an 86-66 loss to Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Nelson was suspended for “conduct unbecoming of a member of the UCLA team” on Monday after displaying poor attitude during and after the team’s season-opening 69-58 loss to Loyola Marymount on Friday.
“After much deliberation, I have decided to reinstate Reeves Nelson,” Howland said in a statement. “Reeves understands that his reinstatement is contingent on his ability to continually meet the high standards we have established for all UCLA men’s basketball players. He expressed to me in our meeting earlier today that he desires to be a better person and better teammate going forward, and, given that, I feel as though I should give him that opportunity.”
Nelson, the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder from a year ago, had 13 points and eight rebounds against the Lions, but grew frustrated with the lack of attention going his way. Nelson and Howland spoke at length on Monday and Wednesday and came to an agreement that led to the quick return.
“I acknowledge there are corrections that need to be made and I’m grateful to Coach Howland to have this opportunity to improve and work on being a positive force for our team,” said Nelson. “I appreciate the support of my teammates and will be there for them as we move forward.”