This is the topic of a post I have been thinking about doing over a lot over the last 24 hours. I totally agree that we do not have enough leadership over either of our football or basketball teams.
Similar to last year (and the year before), I was thinking about who our leaders are/will be on the team. For basketball, this year seems to be perfect for players like Zeek, Reeves, and/or Jerime to be the leaders we have been so lacking. Jerime and Reeves have smothered that so far, but still have an opportunity to channel that energy into something positive as N has mentioned, make a (positive) mark on the program and become the redemption stories we aspire them to be. Zeek had a rough day last week, but IMHO, has shown the character thus far to be our leader on the court as well. I'm sure it has been said many times over the last few days (I'll admit I haven't kept up on all the posts as well as I have tried in the past), but I was most disappointed with Zeek, not in his lack of shooting, but the lack of ability to take charge of the game, create plays, distribute the ball and contribute in ways other than shooting.
After thinking about the players, I then thought about our leadership off-the-court (i.e. CBH). I definitely support CBH for suspending Reeves indefinitely. From what we have heard, it sounds like CBH has had several private talks with Reeves in the past, which is the right thing to do. Reeves, however, still has yet to man-up and be the leader he can be. As N and others have said, Reeves must understand that whether he likes it or not, he represents and wears the four letters and this privilege should not be taken lightly. I'm not sure how he feels, but after looking forward to receiving my latest issue of SI since hearing who was featured on the cover, I'm not sure what to do with it...
On the flipside, although I do respect the suspension, there DOES seem to be a disconnect between CBH and his players. Although we all know and have come to expect Ben Ball Warrior mentality from our players, it has been a while since we have actually seen it. Where is the culture of players that involves them going after the ball for every rebound rather than BARELY outrebounding an LMU team by 1? Or playing as a team and moving the ball around rather than looking like a bunch of players who may have put time in over the summer practicing their shots, but not playing together. Is it me, or do we look like we did at the beginning of last year when we had guys just standing around waiting for the ball to be passed to them or come their way. On the other side of the court, the D and the help D also does not look like Ben Ball D.
So, why do we have these outbursts (both in basketball and football)? I think its 2-pronged. One, lack of discipline, which is part of the reason I fully support CBHs decision. Two, the disconnect. No matter if the players are disciplined or not, they have to understand and ultimately agree with the reason that they are disciplined and have faith/trust in the coaching staff and what they are doing. Now that CBH has done the first step, he has the tough task of convincing Reeves (and the rest of the players/staff) that what they are doing as a team is the right thing. He has to inspire them and make them believe that putting in the time/effort and dedication as well as being a 'team player' will lead to the light at the end of the tunnel which is the Pac-12 Championship, a good run in March/April, and ultimately NBA riches (or not). If a player is disciplined and doesn't believe in the coaches/system that is disciplining him, depending on his constitution, he may either sulk, rebel, leave, or rise up above it.
So, CBH, you have the continued task of not only orchestrating and coaching up the skills of our players, but also inspiring and showing the players your vision so that they believe in it.
And Reeves (et al), you have the chance to show what Bruins are made of and be the leader you can be!
Lastly, for fun, I thought I'd add a poll which might be interesting and I'd love to see what everyone thinks too. Please feel free to comment to clarify your thoughts and responses. Thanks!
And ditto for the state of UCLA Football, which is similar in many ways, but on the other hand, a very different topic...