On what Jerime Anderson can do to keep his starting point guard position next season: "He’s had a very up and down season. He started the season 1-for-11 against Cal State Fullerton. He’s had some good games. Number one he has to get in good physical shape to stay healthy. For him, it’s learning to play lower and really be committed to do everything to be the best he can be. Playing basketball every day, working on his handling, working on his free throw shooting. I think he could’ve done a better job in the offseason."
I don't know whether it was good or bad for Howland to so publicly call out his pointguard. Here is the question though if Howland is blaming Anderson for being lazy during off-season, why is he not holding Nikola Ragovic to the same standard?
From what we have seen on the court, it certainly doesn't look like Ragovic worked on getting stronger. He looks soft, lazy and did not make any improvement on any aspect of his game. He did double his number of arrests becoming the only UCLA student athlete in recent history to get arrested twice. What is even more disturbing in Rag's case that Howland expected him to come back as "leader" and yet it looks like Rag did nothing to make himself a better player and instead piled up more baggage off the court.
So what gives? Howland can talk about "character" all he wants. We appreciate him being honest and reflective. However, his reflections do not explain the disaster we have seen on the court through this entire season. I am not sure how he can demand his recruits to show more "character" considering from his actions this season he has done nothing to establish it on the court.
If Howland really wanted to set the tone for next season, he would do it by benching Ragovic as the starter for rest of this season and go with the same line up he used second half to start on Saturday. It would be a good starting point otherwise his latest reflections will stand out as yet another mea culpa which never amounted to anything of substance.