Today, Jim Rome interviewed Fox Sports Senior College Basketball writer Jeff Goodman. The discussion ranged the college BB landscape, and at the end looked out west. Here is the transcript of that part of the discussion:
Jim Rome: Talking about how the mighty have fallen, UCLA now 13-7, what's going on here in LA?
Jeff Goodman: They're soft. They're soft. I mean, Ben Howland...
JR: Did you ever think you'd say that about a Ben Howland team?
JG: Never. Never! I mean, they gave up, I saw them in New York earlier in the year, give up 89 to VCU. Last night they get absolutely annihilated by an Arizona team that's got one really good player in Derrick Williams, and nothing else. And it's a combination. They've missed on recruits. They've made mistakes on recruits. Former players are hammering Ben Howland. It's not pretty there. They may get a little bit better with the Wear twins next year, but what if they lose Tyler Honeycutt? And again, he's soft, so their defense would be better without him. But the bottom line is, this is a program that isn't going to be much better next year. They'll get a little bit better, but Ben Howland's in trouble right now as far as getting that program back to elite status.
U.C.L.A. Basketball was blasted as soft by a national writer in front of a national radio audience. The worst part about it, of course, is that he's absolutely right. The truth may hurt, but it's still the truth.
Maybe Mr. Goodman has been following Bruins Nation, as we've been saying all of this for some time. There has been a culture shift in our program. Maybe it's Howland's inability to inspire the players, or the assistants' inability to bond with them, or the staff's inability to find and get the right kids to Westwood, or the players' refusal to sell out for the system, or the apathy of the administration and some of the fanbase. Truthfully, all of the above have contributed to the demise of what was recently a dominant program.
And according to Mr Goodman, don't expect this program to come back anytime soon. For all of you in BN land who think the Wear twins are going to be our saviors and keep clinging to your wait-til-next-year mantra, Goodman rightly warns you to stop deluding yourself. The problems that exist now don't appear to be going away.
The Ben Ball Warrior is a relic of the past, and with him went our excellence. Look at our roster. Where is the guy who scraps and fights and plays in-your-face D for 40 minutes, who lives for Coach and the 4 letters, and who never ever laughs it up at the end of a loss? We used to have a court full of guys like that. And nobody ever called them soft.
But, hey, if the moccasin fits...