First of all, I agree with the underlying sentiment on the two highlighted posts on frontpage defending our freshmen recruits. I am completely behind these kids and I do believe if they (ok I am mostly talking about JH here) stick around a bit they will emerge great Bruins before they are done in Westwood. That said, I do think we have to be honest and speak out constructively on what we are seeing with our own eyes on the basketball coach.
Coach Howland spoke the obvious following yesterday's basketball game:
If Ben Howland was upset by his team's defensive effort in Saturday's 82-81 loss to Washington State, the UCLA coach made it clear at the beginning of the second half.
Guard Jrue Holiday, a starter, remained on the bench after the man he was guarding -- Washington State's Klay Thompson -- had scored 15 points in the first 20 minutes.
"It's just that he defensively was breaking down on some of his responsibilities, which is to trail the shooter and not go underneath screens," Howland said of Holiday.
Stunningly JH didn't seem to get the message (from the LA Times):
"I thought I played defense well," Holiday said. "He was just knocking down shots. He was firing and they were going in."
Jrue, Jrue, Jrue. Comeon kid. If I have it right, Clay Thompson in 10 minutes before ML came in scored 13 points. After ML took over for JH and took on Thompson most of the time, Thompson scored 2 points in remaining 30 points of the game. More Howland:
Howland pointed out that Thompson was held scoreless in the second half, which began with reserve guard Malcolm Lee on the court.
"We're going to have to play him more," the coach said. "He's our best defensive wing right now."
I am with Coach Howland. I hope ML gets the start or most of the mins this upcoming week. A message needs to be send to this entire team.
As for JH, he should perhaps call AA and get his thoughts on how to react following a tough loss. AA would be inconsolable after losses like the one we experienced yesterday. He would take responsibility and come back stronger. One thing he would never do is make excuses and shy away from taking responsibility.
Again I argue with the underlying sentiments on the two frontpage posts on our freshmen. But at the same time our young cubs do need to learn some lessons about taking responsibility. And they should also understand this is Howland's program and it's Ben who we trust.
UPDATED: Interestingly on the DN blog, DN reported that JH "said it was the right move" for Howland to give ML more mins over JH and start him in the second half. Haven't seen any quotes yet. Still the JH quotes in the LAT are troubling to me and I hope Howland gives ML more mins against Cal to send a more clear message to rest of the team. GO BRUINS.