|ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation||[Print without images]|
|Coach Ben Howland has come under fire following a recent embarrassing report on UCLA's program.|
No, the real question isn't whether Howland should be fired (he shouldn't). The much more important question is whether Dan Guerrero should be allowed to continue making major decisions about the direction of UCLA's athletic department? [...] Guerrero should have [seen Nelson's problems], and overrode his coach and sent Nelson back to Modesto. That Guerrero didn't is one of the reasons he found himself with Block trying to answer reporters' questions Wednesday afternoon. That Guerrero himself hasn't been sent packing as well of course is thanks to [UCLA chancellor Gene] Block's lack of oversight and direction.
Culture change came up again on Wednesday, and Guerrero was quick to jump on the need for change within the basketball program. "Yeah, there's no is no question about that," he said. But if UCLA is really serious about changing the culture of the athletic department, instead of focusing on Howland, shouldn't Block be at least asking himself this question: Doesn't change start at the top?
Hey, Guerrero is no dummy. This accountability configuration was far more damning to Howland's job security than the story. And what Guerrero said didn't help. Asked about Howland's future, even though there are probably only a handful of games left in the season, Guerrero had no answer.
''We'll go through the rest of the season. … we'll see what happens relative to postseason play … then we'll sit down and talk about the situation like we always do,'' Guerrero said, adding, "Certainly, the article raises some issues. But believe me, we were aware of many issues as well. We'll put our arms around those issues at the end of the season.''
Tyler Lamb had one of his best games as a Bruin with 16 points and five assists. He is a sophomore. Twins David and Travis Wear, also sophomores, continued their solid play with a combined 21 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Norman Powell made two of three 3-point shots and finished with eight points.
Those guys are the future of UCLA basketball, the guys who will be asked to carry the Bruins out of the current mess they are in, and that's a good thing because they showed that not only can they play, but all are high-character people. They are the type of low-ego, hard-working players coach Ben Howland built his three consecutive Final Four teams around, but were scarce as an influx of prima donna attitudes took over and the program took a nose dive over the past three seasons.
|Coach Howland was accused in the SI report of babying forward Joshua Smith.|
Smith, UCLA's most gifted player, was a disappointment. He has admitted to a lack of motivation, but players say that Howland also has babied him, allowing him to miss meetings and arrive late or unprepared for workouts. "Same thing as before," says a player. "Josh is a star and so [Howland] isn't holding him accountable." (Howland declined to discuss his handling of Smith.)