So it?s cool that some of the writers in the traditional media (nationally) are catching on to the story about Coach Howland's phenomenal job in Westwood. Good for them. NBCSports's Micahael Vintre has a commentary up on how Coach Howland has done a Wooden like job:
Howland's standing in Westwood is the result of more than just this result. Lavin led the Bruins to three straight Sweet 16 appearances, but he was persona non grata and deemed unworthy almost from the moment he was appointed. Harrick won the program's first championship since the last Wooden banner was hoisted, for heaven's sake, but the folks in and around UCLA treated him like a confidence man who was after their life savings.
What Howland has done is preach defense, the rugged brand of tenacious defense that served him well at Pittsburgh but which often scares off potential recruits who are afraid of hard work and sacrifice and instead seek glory through dunks and ESPN highlights.
Because Howland brought his philosophy to Westwood rather than modify it to suit the expectations of others, the program has solidified around him. This UCLA team feels real because it has an identity and a purpose.
Well so far so good. He also goes on to write about how Coach Howland has put together a great foundation for our program by attracting special kinds of players like Jordan and Arron who do not worry about individual accolades and concentrate on playing that Howland "inside-the-jersey" defense. That's all good. And the knee jerk reaction perhaps would be to get all excited about this column. But read it a little closely. It is really riddled with conventional wisdom (which are not true) and essentially paints a very incorrect picture of the Bruin basketball community.
Specifically where Vintre totally loses it when he asserts this notion that somehow there were a whole hosts of critics out there in Westwood just waiting to demand Howland's head. Apparently Howland has saved himself from some kind of "lynch mob" of disgruntled alum and media critics by putting together his first complete season:
Perhaps Howland's most staggering accomplishment is that he has succeeded in shutting up critics of the program. For the first time since 1975, fans and alumni are proud of UCLA basketball. They weren't even this happy in '95, when Harrick rode the leadership of Tyus Edney and Ed O'Bannon into that elite fraternity of coaches who have won NCAA titles. Of course, Rollie Massimino and Steve Fisher are also members, so simply being in doesn't guarantee lasting adulation.
Huh. Where exactly is Vintre getting this nonsense? Exactly what evidence of Vintre have of critics whining about Howland? The only critics Howland has had to deal with so far in his three years are gilted Lavin lovers/apologists who kept making excuses for him in Westwood for seven years and bunch of clueless hardcore Dorrell supporters on a certain football message board who were constantly jumping on every loss this season to criticize Howland. The fact is so far Bruin fans by and large have been nothing but please by the job Howland has been doing. And this approval came long before Howland put together this great season. Case in point - we actually ran an online poll back in December of last year, when an overwhelming majority of the BruinsNation approved of the job Howland
had been doing in Westwood. Morever, where does he get the notion that somehow us alums and students were not happy after we hung banner no. 11 in 1995? That is one of the more absurd thing I have read about UCLA basketball fans from a national writer in a long time. Yes were so not happy even after winning the NC in 1995. lol
In other words it is kind of cheap for a national media writer to assert somehow Howland has escaped a lynch mob in Westwood just because of this great season. The guy sells the Bruin basketball community of alums, students, season ticket holders totally short by saying we are not sophisticated enough to understand the great coach we got in Howland when UCLA hired him from Pittsburgh. Howland came here on solid ground because of the great track record he brought along with him based on his successes in two previous programs. We got that. We were unhappy and disgusted with Lavin because he was destroying a program while demonizing the fan base, and currently a huge number of us are unhappy with the football coach because he has underachieved by any objective standards during his first three years in Westwood.
Anyways, UCLA basketball is in fine shape and we did not need yet another national reporter too lazy to do simple research to tell us that. And speaking of lazy, clueless, sportswriting hack make sure to check DrumFool's post on this assclown from ESPN
. Yes ... according to Andy Katz, one of ESPN's star college basketball observers Coach K's Steve-16s are equivalent to Coach Wooden's National Championships. There you go ... conventional wisdom brought to you by today's lazy and idiotic traditional sports media. Too bad not every sports reporter can obseve/think/write like a Frank Burlison or Brian Dohn.
Thank God for Howland. GO BRUINS.