UCLA teleconference with Howland on SI story

Ben Howland’s opening remarks:
”Obviously this is not a great day for our program, and of course for me. As I said yesterday, I knew some of the details of the Sports Illustrated story, but did not read the entire text until late last night. As you can imagine, I was surprised by some of the assertions that I had no knowledge of, were simply untrue or were taken out of context. I’m responsible for this program and everything that happens in it and if there’s any need to make changes, I’ll make them. I’m proud of our current and former players and our coaches, and I’m confident in where we’re going as we head forward.”

On personally changing since the Final Four run:
Ben Howland: “I’m pretty much the same person. You’re always trying to improve as a coach as you are as a player. Something that I preach to my players constantly is that you never stay the same. You’re always trying to improve and get better. So I hope that I would actually be a better coach than I was during that three year run of Final Fours.”

On what has changed:
Howland: I’ll tell you this, I’m very proud of our team. We’re talking about the last three years, and two of the last three years, we’re going into the last weekend of each season, one game behind the leader with a chance to win the conference, so we’ve been right there. But we didn’t go to the Final Four. And again, our expectations at UCLA are very high, the highest in the country. We want to win championships, and championships are what UCLA’s about, having won the most championships as a basketball program, or even as an entire athletic department. And, so I understand that, and that comes with the territory of being the coach here at UCLA.”

On what he’s managed poorly:

Howland: “Last year, in an article in the LA Times, I admitted that there’s no question that I’ve made mistakes on the way, and when you look at the recruiting in terms of evaluations of players for character, in an instance or two. This is not to be taken with all our players. For the most part, I’ve been very very blessed and lucky to have great kids. And that’s something that we prided ourselves on since I first got here. Number one, we wanted to recruit great kids, good people that are going to continue to improve and get better. That they’re good people on and off the floor, and I think for the most part we’ve done that. But I would say that there’s no question that we have really worked hard these last two recruiting classes to really make sure that we are recruiting great kids. And I’m really excited about the two commitments that we have for this coming campaign that are seniors in high school, Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, and that’s something that we really really work hard to try to continue to evaluate.”

On the change in players he’s recruited:
Howland: I don’t know about the type of kid. In other words, you would never knowingly try to make a mistake. We have, in my opinion, have been very blessed. If you look at the whole body of work here, over the last nine years, I’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had a lot of great players, great kids, kids that have gone on to the NBA, kids that are playing overseas. Most kids that have just gone on and just done a good job beyond basketball with their lives and their livelihoods and their futures. And I’m proud of all those kids. And, we talked about this before, one of the things we don’t control, that’s very hard, is the turnover in guys leaving early. And there’s no question that that’s sped up the process of having to bring in more kids, and kids quicker, and the whole recruiting process when you have that kind of situation. But that’s, again, part of the culture, and that’s where we are. And that’s something that we talk about a lot now, and we really try to work hard to be able to deal with that.
do everything

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  • JW

    So it be said, so it be done.

  • Bob

    Howland will make a great assistant coach somewhere.

  • UCLA ’64

    The solution is simple: Fire Howland. Today! If Dan Guerrero won’t do it, Gene Block should fire them both.

    Discipline is one of the easiest things to correct with any group if the leader has the perseverance and the spine to accomplish the job. After reading the SI story, I will never again look a Coach Howland without envisioning the absentee father whose kids are running wild all over the neighborhood.


  • Anonymous

    Ben sounds just like Rick Neuheisel did before the locker room door hit his ass on the way out.

  • 50-0

    Fortunately John Wooden doesn’t have to watch this mess.

  • guest

    The reason the SI story sounds credible to me is what has taken place on and off the court the past 4 years.

  • Bob

    Hand this team over to the assistants and let them coach us up for the PAC-12 tourney.

  • psifi

    Is it just me or did that statement have a lot of blah, blah, blah, blah, not my fault in it? Reeves was obviously the biggest ahole in the history o’ Westwood, why was he allowed to fester?

  • Adapt and overcome

    I’m supporting Howland in this to make the necessary corrections to move the program forward and I think he will absolutely do just that.

  • ArtyBruin

    I really want to believe CBH but have we forgotten about the Drago situation? That dog was into something every week it seemed. It was a distraction, and he didn’t seem to have enough talent for CBH to put up with it. So why did he?

    CBH may have had a hand in stopping a potential situation with Drew Gordon, but by the time Nelson arrived the circus was in full swing. And even if what the article states has even a sliver of truth, how could we trust CBH to turn this around when he was the one that has recruited these problems?

    Haven’t we all been following what’s been going on for the last four years? In my mind, all the transfers and early departures now make much more sense. But the troubling aspect is it wasn’t just players leaving, but assistant coaches as well. If any part of the article is true, then of course good people would want out of the situation.

    But someone like Jerime Anderson, who was busted for stealing a laptop, and now called out for partying and taking drugs before practice, is still apart of the team?

    It’s one thing to talk about bad judgement on the part of student-athletes who are also kids, only a year or two out of high school. But if that bad judgement persists for a number of years, comes from multiple sources and negatively effects so many other people, it’s less of a failure of the kids, and more a failure of the person responsible for them.

    CBH has failed the kids and UCLA.

  • UnwantedYetUndauntedGrammarPolice

    Looks like your English teacher failed you in elementary school. ArtyBruin’s homework this decade: affect/effect, ‘apart’/’a part’, and research mob mentality.