March 20, 2013 |
It's that time of year for two of Los Angeles' main basketball coaches. They are living the Willie Nelson country song. Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be basketball coaches . We watch a Clippers game Wednesday night, pondering the fate of one, Vinny Del Negro. His team had lost four of its last seven games, it has key players injured and out and a couple of guys on the radio say he needs to win at least the first round of the playoffs or he is toast. They are, of course, on the Lakers radio station, where there isn't a coaching issue.
March 17, 2013 |
When the conversation turns to college players leaving for the NBA after just one season, Ben Howland grimaces. The UCLA coach has lost two players this way - including Kevin Love - and expects his current star freshman, Shabazz Muhammad, will jump to the pros this summer. "We're playing by NBA rules here," he said. "These are not rules governed by the NCAA or the universities. " The NBA requires that potential draftees be at least 19 and one year removed from high school. This theoretically prompts more high school stars to make a brief stopover in college, going "one-and-done.
March 16, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS - Despite the sudden loss of one of its best young players, the UCLA basketball team showed up here Saturday night determined not to throw in the towel. The coach's suit coat was a different matter. Angered by a charging call on Shabazz Muhammad late in the first half of the Bruins' losing battle with Oregon in the championship game of the Pac-12 tournament, Coach Ben Howland could no longer endure the frustration. In a bit of gymnastics as impressive as the Cirque du Soleil halftime show, Howland angrily spun and, in the same motion, removed his jacket and flung it high and far into the front row behind the Bruins' bench.
March 15, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS - This could only happen in this town, at this moment, to this dramatic, desperate, dancing-with-doom UCLA basketball team. This was a disillusioned gambler finally accumulating a chin-high pile of chips, daring to smile, then promptly crapping out. As the final buzzer sounded in the Bruins' roaring 66-64 comeback victory over Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Friday, the most important...
March 8, 2013 |
SEATTLE - You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, not around Westwood. Bruins fans were at their giddiest this season after the Bruins defeated Arizona a week ago. All it took was one trip to Pullman, Wash., to bring out pessimism in the ranks. The Bruins' 73-61 loss to Washington State - the Pac-12's last-place team - Wednesday was an embarrassing moment for a team that seemed on solid footing. Yet, with a victory over Washington on Saturday, the Bruins can clinch at least a share of the conference title.
March 8, 2013
Shabazz Muhammad plays 32 minutes and goes four for 19 with a grand total of three rebounds and zero assists against a Washington State team that has won three conference games all season after Coach Ben Howland says Shabazz is "one and done" at UCLA? As a lottery pick? I'm not sure which of them is more delusional at this point. Jim B. Parsons Canyon Lake :: Ben Howland is right. He did not adequately prepare the Bruins for the humiliating loss to last-place Washington State.
March 5, 2013 |
UCLA Coach Ben Howland, resigned to freshman Shabazz Muhammad's leaving for the NBA after this, his first season of college basketball, would like to see a change in how the NBA handles drafting players. "I would prefer the kids could go right after high school, but once they are in college, they have to stay three years, or two," Howland said. The chance of that change being implemented? Howland knows it's the same as a snowball's in a warm place. "I don't see it happening," he lamented.
March 4, 2013 |
UCLA Coach Ben Howland, resigned to the possibility that freshman Shabazz Muhammad will leave for the NBA after this season, put forth a plan about how the NBA should handle drafting young players. He also admitted it didn't have a chance of being implemented. “I would prefer the kids could go right after high school, but once they are in college they have to stay three years, or two,” Howland said. But, he said, “I don't see it happening. There is no dialogue with the NBA.” Howland said the current situation is perfect for the NBA. “They get a year to evaluate kids in program, against better competition," he said.
March 3, 2013 |
UCLA freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad has played his final game at Pauley Pavilion. Well, at least according to Bruins Coach Ben Howland. The 6-foot-6 Muhammad is part of a blue-chip freshman class, which includes 6-9 guard Kyle Anderson, on a UCLA team that struggled early in the season but is in the thick of the Pac-12 Conference title race. But the explosive swingman appears headed to the NBA next season, if you listen to Howland. "That was his last game in Pauley," Howland said after a hard-fought 74-69 victory over No. 11-ranked Arizona.
March 2, 2013 |
Sounds strange, I know. But I hope you never have reason to meet Dr. Noah Federman, who makes his living saving children's lives. Extraordinary guy. Take all the athletes I've met in more than 40 years and this is my hero, even though he has to admit, "Some see me coming and it's a visceral reaction; they put their heads in a trash can and throw up. "I'm not that ugly," he protests, and we argue for the next 10 minutes. I wear a hat with the name of the place where he works to every game as a reminder to athletes how lucky they have it. Most just look at it as a hat. It might be five years since I last saw Federman.