The SI Story

I didn’t feel comfortable posting a link to the article until it officially went live, but here it is : Check it out

I’ll have a column up on it later, but I’m going through some personal stuff that matter more right now.

Post your thoughts to the story here.

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  • If you were Reeves and wanted to stick it to Howland/UCLA, this would be a pretty good start. Says one player, “We’d go back to the campus bars and students would say, ‘Where have you been?’ We’d be like, ‘If you only knew.’ I wish the writer would have named the player…change “one Player” with “Reeves Nelson” and the story loses a lot of credibility. Reeves and the writer are both from NoCal…and the writer used to be the LATIMES SUC beatwriter. hmmmm

  • Anonymous

    Hey Jon, thanks for posting now despite whatever u got personally.

  • Anonymous

    Hope your personal issues resolve well, Jon. Looking forward to your thoughts on the SI article, both what it may mean in terms of possible NCAA inquiries/sanctions (VIP parties, clubs, rolls-royce rides) and also what this scathing indictment of Ben Howland’s coaching and lack of discipline may mean for his future and that of Dan Guerrero.

  • clone12

    My biggest takeaway from the SI story is that Reeves Nelson has issues…

  • BSKB

    I wonder if Nelson thought about how big a dick he comes across in this story when he decided to get his revenge. Who am I kidding, Nelson has never understood consequences.

  • Warren

    I think it is naive to think that much of this is untrue. Stories of Ben Howland being a jerk have been around during his Final Four years, but at that point, people either didn’t care, or threatened to ban you from certain web sites for suggesting it. It is obvious that there is a lack of discipline throughout the program if Reeves Nelson himself admits to doing most of those things without being reprimanded for it until the very end.

    The only positive to come out of this story is that there doesn’t seem to be much that UCLA can get hammered on by the NCAA, aside from the story about going to the booster’s house and getting “VIP treatment.”

    I was always in favor of keeping Howland based on his past success, but after reading this, I don’t see how he is any better than Lavin in terms of discipline. It makes me sad to see that some of these teams could have been so much better if the coach was more of a leader of men and not just a basketball coach.

    At the bare minimum, if Howland is retained, he needs to realize the example he sets by mistreating assistants/managers is damaging the program, and that the players are dealt consequences for their actions.

    After reading this, what parent would want to send their kid to be coached by him?

  • Paper Bruin

    The story says more about Sports Illustrated than Ben Howland.
    The message is clear. A message Howland already knows more than most.
    College Basketball is a business. UCLA is a brand. Keep, let go, and discipline your personel and your players accordingly. Talent is more than stars and physical ability. Its above the shoulders, its family, its the support network, its the mother, its the father. Recruit accordingly.

  • gilligan

    As a USC fan I am not here to offend the UCLA fanbase. I’ll be honest I was shocked reading the SI article. I always viewed Coach Howland as a tough disciplinarian but after reading the article it clearly validates the poor UCLA seasons from the past few years. At the same time, reading this article one must appreciate the hard work and dedication the players from the three Final Fours b/c the load of top rated classes have been a bust especially Nelson. I am surprised that Coach Howland never addressed the issues (especially Nelson) since the impression was that the team was not unified.
    The one thing that is worrisome is the drug testing in place. I am not sure if the drug test detects extacsy but I am surprised that a player would bring up this major infraction.
    Why would any NBA team draft Nelson? Wow, this guy has major and I mean MAJOR issues, who the hell urinates on people’s clothing?????

  • bruincheerleader

    when howland lost KERRY KEATING, the program went south and in a hurry…this former assistant coach was howland’s right hand man and had a major part to play in UCLA’s 3 final fours…he left and howland lost control from that point on…in my opinion…and howland now sounds like he is too proud to admit he needs a strong assistant coach…that will lead to his eventual downfall…

  • PV Bruin


    unlike some of the USC fans (or trolls) that roam here, thank you for your meaningful inputs and civility.

  • Just Me

    Agree 100% with Warren. Have always supported Howland and thought that a lot of the problems were due to high school primadonas tasting reality. If I was Chancellor, I would let him go. This is totally consistent with what has been happening in the program the last few years and appears to be quite well-sourced.

    Here is why I would let him go. These issues are very hard to fix. I have worked with brilliant people with bad people skills well into their careers. At that point, they somewhat can’t control themselves. Howland might be able to learn to manage timeouts better and even play different combos of players and improve substitution patterns. But, I don’t think he can learn how to build better personal relationships and treat people better if he hasn’t already figured that out. Plus, I think this is (if true) more of an embarrassment than 50-0. The program has been run into the ground by out of control players and a lack of leadership. Its obvious now that a lot of serious players got out because, well because, they had enough sense to.

  • MichaelRyerson

    Good on ya, Jon. As always the personal stuff comes first.

  • doug4ucla

    DUH, you watch UCLA play on and off the court the past few years… think lack of control was an issue…any and everybody saw it…………..

  • Dr. Freud

    “Nelson’s mother, Sheila, told the Los Angeles Times that she wished Howland had been stricter with her son earlier in his career.”

    Der zeems to be und problem wit der parenting dat da mudder didn’t realize. Ist der parents rezponzibility to set der behhavioral ztandardz!

    As for der peeing on der clothes…tsk, tsk, tsk…definitely zome ztrange izzues to deal wit young Reeves.

    Call me office for der appointment.

  • The Monopoly Is Over Here

    Looks like a bunch of baby bears got their heads in the sand. Just another day in the life of a guttie I guess. Nothing to see here…..

  • tim warren

    Neuheisel and Howland have both had discipline problems. I’m trying to remember, haven’t they in turn had the same boss at The Big U? Hmmmm……..

  • tim warren

    Both Neuheisel and Howland have had player discipline problems. Hey, haven’t they had the same boss while at The Big U ? Hmmm……

  • Warren

    Actually, this quote is what always kind of worried me about Howland (and this quote was during 2008, the year UCLA went to the Final Four):

    “‘It’s because we’re a man(to-man defensive) team,’ UCLA junior forward Alfred Aboya said. “Always in practice, when it’s 5-on-5, it’s always man-to-man and we get used to that. We never practice zone.”

    That sounds like someone who is too stubborn to make necessary adjustments. You would think that someone wouldn’t be so cocky that he didn’t have his end of the bench guys (isn’t that what they’re there for?) learn to play a zone defense in order to give our guys practice against it. This team has always had a history of having trouble against a zone. I have always been willing to give him another chance based on his success, but whenever we do have big losses, there’s always the “I should have done” this and that, and worse yet, that change he talked about is not implemented in future games. What’s the point of making mistakes if you don’t learn from them?

  • Anonymous

    I love that Reeves’ mom blames Howland for her son’s complete and utter lack of discipline and self-control. Maybe she should also blame Coach Mora for her other son that was just kicked off of the football team. Something tells me that no coach in the world, yes, even Coach K, could have made these kids into respectable citizens.

    “Well… he should have punished me differently” – wow, he really hasn’t matured AT ALL even after getting kicked off of the team. Im behind you coach Howland. If you don’t recruit the top recruiting class you are on the hot seat, if you don’t recruit quality character kids without egos who will not show up on recruiting websites as the best of the best than you are on the hot seat. Just know that us rational bruin fans wont forget the back to back to back and we all know you have it in you to bring us that championship banner sooner than later.

  • Paper Bruin

    The only identified source in the article is Reeves Nelson.
    The article is a criticism of Reeves Nelson and his character.
    Sounds like a Pritzker Prize winner to me.

  • The Blur

    I have had big concerns about Howland, but wanted to read the article before reading other posts and comments to be fair. My thoughts on the SI article:

    Total fluff piece. A waste of time. College basketball players drink and smoke weed? Get outta here! A couple of college students went to a rave and tried ecstasy? No way!!

    Come on. This isn’t reporting. This could be written about almost any college athletic program. Every source is “a former player.” Look, without names it’s meaningless. It was probably the same bench player who didn’t wear his jersey for a game. I have no interest in defending Howland – I’m really not a fan. But there’s nothing here of substance. All I learned is that Reeves Nelson was a much bigger problem than I imagined.

  • Blueblood

    What does it say about a writer who allows himself to be used by such a troubled mine as Reeves Nelson? More disturbing is thinking of the home life of both Nelson athletes? To be given a chance at a UCLA education and piss it away for bad behavior. Any father or mother who would let their children come out of high school wearing tattoos on both arms like shirt sleeves. Had to of burdened their kids with a whole lot more of emotional baggage! The parents are the real problem here.