Last night, Jimmy Kimmel asked former UCLA great and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was asked about the job opening at his alma mater. Skip to around 1:50 in the above clip to watch.
“I certainly would be interested in coaching the team,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It would be great to have an opportunity to restore the program to what it was. Not in terms necessarily of winning, but having the guys learn, get their degrees, and learn about how to play the game of basketball. I think that’s really important. UCLA is still putting out fine scholars, but the basketball program has suffered a little bit.”
Recently fired head coach Ben Howland said in his final press conference that every player who stayed with him for four years graduated with a degree. Abdul-Jabbar’s chances at the job are also close to zero.
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried isn’t one of the hottest names mentioned in the UCLA coaching search, but his ties to the school have helped him stay in the conversation.
A source said that although the former UCLA assistant had not yet been contacted by the Bruins, former players have been supporting his hire. The source added that Gottfried — who worked in Westwood from 1987-95 — would be interested in the position should it be offered, but is also happy in Raleigh and would only move for the right situation. Continue reading →
One of the top names on UCLA’s coaching search list may be off limits. VCU’s Shaka Smart has been one of the hottest commodities in college basketball since his team’s Final Four run in 2011, but the 35-year-old could be staying in Richmond for the foreseeable future.
Multiple reports today indicate that VCU is working on restructuring Smart’s contract, including increased investment into the Rams program. The news was first reported by Wes McElroy of Richmond’s Sports Radio 910.
Although nothing has been finalized, USA Today reported that the school hopes to reach an agreement with Smart by the end of the week.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero spoke with media members for 12 minutes after the school announced that it had fired men’s basketball coach Ben Howland. Here is the full transcript.
Guerrero’s opening statement:
Earlier this afternoon, I met with Coach Ben Howland. We had a nice conversation about the program and a number of things. Subsequent to that discussion, I informed him that we were relieving him of his duties as a head coach at UCLA, and that we would be moving forward with a search as soon as possible.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero didn’t get into too many specifics in today’s teleconference on coach Ben Howland’s firing, but here are a few quick notes. Guerrero took questions for roughly 12 minutes.
– Guerrero said he did not make the decision until he flew back to Los Angeles from Austin this afternoon. He first met with Chancellor Gene Block before meeting Ben Howland to officially deliver the news.
– Howland’s compensation will be the $3.5 million left on his contract. Guerrero said that cost would be mitigated should Howland find another job. As for where the money will come from, Guerrero said: “We have an $80 million budget. We’re incorporate the buyout as part of that budget. … I believe we’ve got it covered.”
– Guerrero did not want to comment on speculation that Howland’s job could have been saved by a tournament run with a non-injured Jordan Adams, but did say this: “The fact that we had such a depleted roster, in many respects, is in part one of the reasons for making the decision.”
– On the coaching search: “We’ll look for someone who can play a fun brand of basketball, but also a quality brand of basketball. … We don’t want to bring in a coach that’s going to average 50 points per game.”
Guerrero said he will not contact a target that is still currently coaching in the NCAA tournament. He added that while college coaches have an edge, NBA coaches will also be considered.
Yahoo! Sports reported Saturday evening that Howland had been notified of his firing, with an official announcement to come within the next 48 hours.
“Contrary to multiple media reports this evening, UCLA has not fired men’s basketball coach Ben Howland,” the school said in a statement.
According to Zagoria, UCLA is looking at Florida’s Billy Donovan, Butler’s Brad Stevens, VCU’s Shaka Smart, Villanova’s Jay Wright and North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried. Kline’s source said Smart is the No. 1 target, and that Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad are both headed for the NBA. Continue reading →
AUSTIN, Texas — Without Jordan Adams, sixth-seeded UCLA closed out its turbulent season with a flatlined performance against No. 11-seed Minnesota.
The Bruins were the slated underdog all week long. Once the game actually began at the Frank Erwin Center, they did nothing but reaffirm that talk in a 83-63 loss. What started out as an ugly but mutually designed affair — the teams missed their first 12 combined field goal attempts — eventually turned into a Gophers rout.
Despite shooting 26.7 percent in the first half, UCLA stayed within 10 points at the intermission due to a surprisingly strong rebounding effort. The team ended up with a 42-36 edge on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards on 43 missed shots.
It wasn’t until Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins caught fire in the second half that the Bruins were completely sunk. The sophomore scored 23 points after halftime, and added nine rebounds to go with five assists.
AUSTIN, Texas — All week long, UCLA insisted it was ready for the big stage.
The No. 6-seeded Bruins embraced the underdog role as it opened the NCAA tournament. They would prove the doubters wrong, they said, just as they had done on their way to a regular-season Pac-12 title.
But just 20 minutes into their matchup against No. 11-seed Minnesota, UCLA barely looked like a team that belonged in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins shot 8-of-30 from the field before halftime as it gave up a 35-25 lead to the Gophers. Continue reading →
Matadors athletic director Brandon Martin, hired in late February, did not renew Bobby Braswell’s contract — ending the coach’s 17-year tenure. The other finalists for the position are Los Angeles D-Fenders coach Reggie Theus, Cal State Dominguez Hills coach Damaine Powell and Gonzaga assistant Donny Daniels.