Something weird is going on with UCLA basketball. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
UCLA Coach Ben Howland said he would meet with junior forward Reeves Nelson on Monday afternoon to discuss a variety of issues, and Nelson's status on the team remained unclear.
Asked what the meeting was about, Howland said, "Just his behavior after the game [against Loyola Marymount], for example, walking off the court the other day, a number of things of that nature."
Will Nelson be in uniform for UCLA when the Bruins (0-1) play host to Middle Tennessee State (2-0) on Tuesday night at the Sports Arena?
"I can't comment any further until I sit and talk to him," Howland said.
More quick thoughts (and updates) after the jump.
Reeves has always fought his own demons. He has always been a Jekyl and Hyde type. CBH can't coddle him anymore. Reeves has to play a team game. Sometimes that means being the main option, sometimes that means working hard on defense and rebounding while the offense goes in another direction.
It was easy to see Reeves frustration on Friday, with his teammates. But Reeves, you need to be a little more thick skinned. While I hope he stays, I want him to stay as a part of the 2011-12 UCLA Bruins TEAM. You need to be a Bruin buddy. Also, all his hard work is to waste if you quit now.
While this has the ghosts of 2009-10 when Drew Gordon quit, let's hope that Reeves goes out of bad Reeves mode and back to good Reeves.
UPDATE (A): Wanted to add a few thoughts that I also included below in the comments:
What is it about our team that makes guys want to leave as fast as they can?
We've discussed ad nauseum all the guys who left for the pros early. Some of those guys were clearly NBA-ready players and you really can't fault them for following their dreams and going to the NBA.
Of course, some of those who left early for the pros were barely ready, if at all. I'm thinking in particular about the two most recent defectors, Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt (who may not play at all this season due to the NBA labor situation.)
Then there are the guys who just transferred out, including Mike Moser, Chace Stanback, Drew Gordon and Ryan Wright. Now, we might be adding Reeves Nelson to the list of guys who left while still eligible.
Look at our current roster: We have two JC transfers in De'end Parker and Zeke Jones. We have two UNC transfers on the active roster in the Wear brothers, plus another who is redshirting in Larry Drew. That's five guys on the team who we didn't get out of high school. On top of everything else, we have four power forwards with similar skill sets (the Wears, Nelson and Brendan Lane). (By the way, if you had told me five years ago that somehow we'd end up with all four out of the Wears, Nelson and Lane -- who were all in the same high school class and all played the same spot in high school) and that somehow we'd get Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson and Larry Drew (all basically point guards from the same class), I'd have thought you were nuts.
The whole thing just seems unstable and poorly though through.
UPDATE II (N): From ESPNLA's Peter Yoon:
UCLA Bruins basketball coach Ben Howland met with junior forward Reeves Nelson Monday to discuss attitude problems that have surfaced during the past several weeks, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Nelson is all but assured to be suspended for Tuesday's game against Middle Tennessee State and Nelson's future with the team would depend on how he takes that news, the source said. He could quit or be kicked off the team, but "that would be an extreme situation" the source said.
None of this surprises me. It was a matter of time it was going to blow up like this as Nelson along with few other players have been coddled IMO by Howland over the years without any accountability. Sure Reeves had his moments last year but too often they were canceled by his lazy defense and attitude related issues that came through his lack of effort on the floor. This also raises the question about communication related issues which A hinted at above and what few of us have been discussing for a while. The vibe around this UCLA basketball program is just weird and it's not comforting. GO BRUINS.
UPDATE III (DC): From Jon Gold:
The team's leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago scored 13 points and had eight rebounds in the loss to the Lions, reportedly growing frustrated with the lack of offensive attention going his way.
Nelson has had attitude issues in the past and he and Howland have spoken in private numerous times before, but the latest flare-up could result in a suspension.
So Nelson was frustrated that he was not getting the ball. I wrote about this but com'n Reeves, this is not the way to deal with it. (Nor was your in game solution correct.)
UPDATE IV (Rye): Peter Yoon on top of it again, this time with the news that Reeves has been suspended indefinitely:
"This is a very disappointing situation for Reeves and our basketball program," Howland said in a statement released by the team. "We have a high standard and code of conduct that our student-athletes are expected to adhere to and Reeves has fallen short of our expectations."
Nelson did not show up for practice Monday, when the two were supposed to meet face to face, but Howland spoke to Nelson on the phone, according to a source familiar with the situation. The length of the suspension will be determined when the two meet face to face, but Nelson is not expected to attend UCLA's game against Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Lovely. And Ben, if I were to emphasize anything from your statement it would be the "our basketball program" part. Yes, Reeves clearly has his issues and keeping his head together has been a problem since he stepped on campus, but guess what? It was also a problem in high school and you recruited him. It was a problem for Drew Gordon, and you recruited him. There have been a lot of other problems keeping kids in the program, either because they transferred or left for the NBA.
Right now, UCLA doesn't look like a fun place to be if you're a basketball player. That may just be the perception, but perception is reality. Hopefully Reeves and you can figure things out, get this sorted and win a Pac-12 title this year,. It's what we're all hoping for, but there appear to be problems in the program that go well beyond Reeves.