UCLA alums have been making their mark in the NBA all through the regular season and playoffs this year. While all of us have been doing our best to keep track of the rise of our Ben Ball warriors, rest of the country is just realizing how fortunate we all were to follow and to associate ourselves with some special athletes brought in and coach up by Ben Howland.
Yesterday during the broadcast of the seventh game between the Bucks and Hawks, ABC announcers - Mike Tirico & Hubie Brown - took note of UCLA basketball under Ben Howland. Tirico and Brown zeroed in on our Bruins right after another patented hustle play from LRMAM. Larry Brown Sports posted the exchange praising UCLA and Howland:
Tirico: "Luc Richard Mbah a Moute out of UCLA. So many good players. Many people [are] becoming more aware of Russell Westbrook with Oklahoma City's run. A lot of good UCLA players. Mbah a Moute is the defensive specialist as he was with Ben Howland at UCLA. He fits right into Scott Skiles' style.
I talked about Mbah a Moute and his UCLA days and Russell Westbrook, you have [Darren] Collison the rookie for New Orleans, Arron Afflalo, who did a very nice job after his couple years in Detroit. He's moved on and found an even more comfortable spot. Kevin Love, obviously for Minnesota. That UCLA program turned out some darn good players under Ben Howland. Obviously Trevor Ariza was at the back end of the continuation of the great run, but their defensive mindset has helped those guys come right in."
Hubie: "Well absolutely. Ben Howland when he was at Northern Arizona then Pitt and now out at UCLA, excellent defensive coach. His guys are going to be working, they're going to be professional people, and they're going to adhere to whatever you're selling offensively and defensively."
Good stuff. That is not the first time we have heard NBA announcers lavishing praise on Ben Howland while marveling the effort of Ben Ball warriors. I think it would make a lot of sense if someone from Ben Howland's staff track this kind of clip and combine them to put together in a web video. It would be a powerful recruiting tool for Howland's program.
Coach Howland is not perfect. He has his flaws just like anyone else. However, when it comes to teaching and developing kids into professionals both on and off the court, Howland has put together one of the best track record in recent years. It is something Ben Howland, his staff and the UCLA athletic program should be publicizing with an all out intensity in the coming weeks.
The fact is we are not going to get any help from tWWL which is essentially a recruiting machine for Duke, UNC and Kentucky. We need to do it on our own by splicing together all the positive datapoints maximizing the positive exposure to our program. When an exchange like the one excerpted above takes place, we all need to jump on it.