It is Christmas and it is a day to remember good things, not obsess on the bad. As I think there is a slight chance Howland is coaching his last game on December 28 and it is extremely likely this will be his last Christmas as UCLA Coach. I thought I would put up some links to a few of his greatest moments, all but one from 2008 or before.
As this is Christmas, I want to stay positive for the day. Thanks Coach Howland for those years up to 2008. Please put suggestions for other moments in the comments and, for today only, keep the negative out.
8. Arizona at UCLA, last basket of Old Pauley February 26, 2011
Fittingly, the late Wooden's great-grandson Tyler Trapani, a walk-on who rides the Bruins' bench, got in the game and scored their final basket. "I got some tears in my eyes," he said, pausing and lowering his head. . . . "I was thinking about Coach [Wooden]. It was so fitting Tyler hit the shot. It fell right in his hands. There's something going on there, I really believe it."
7. Welcome to the Circus, Shipp's insane shot against Cal March 8, 2008
California took it to UCLA (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) for 38 minutes and 17 seconds Saturday. The Bruins escaped with a shot worthy of highlight reels for years to come. . . . "Lucky I play H-O-R-S-E," Shipp said, referring to the can-you-top-this driveway game. "It was definitely a desperation shot. I've never seen anything like that. It's one of those movie shots, it was like a dream."
6. Arron Afflalo Makes the Trogans Cry, January 13, 2007
The first sellout crowd of 9,682 at USC's new Galen Center went wild, but Afflalo soon thwarted their enthusiasm. At the buzzer, Young bent down, his hands covering his face, and stayed in that position while the Bruins celebrated.
"I wanted to stand there and cry," he said. "It hurt. I kind of felt we had the game."
5. Oregon gets Ugly on Kevin Love who Delivers a Big Game, January 24, 2008
Kevin Love was determined not to let the crowd get to him. UCLA's 6-foot-10 freshman center knew that returning to his home state and playing against the school his father played for would be tough.
But Love kept his wits, and finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Bruins (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP)to an 80-75 victory over Oregon on Thursday night. "Well, that felt good," said Love, whose rebound total set a record for a UCLA freshman.
4. Luc Leads, UCLA v. LSU April 1, 2006 Final Four
The Bruins (32-6) go in feeling good, and not really caring that their wins aren't always the most beautiful. "We're capable of scoring," forward Cedrick Bozeman said. "People get so caught up into the ugliness of the games because other teams are not scoring." Luc Richard Mbah A Moute led UCLA with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting. He also had nine rebounds, two steals and plenty of help.
3. (2) UCLA v. (1) Kansas, Arron's Night March 24, 2007
With good-natured shoves and claps, the UCLA Bruins formed a circle around Arron Afflalo -- the rightful center of attention. In an exceptional second half that should help erase memories of his past mediocrity in big games, Afflalo scored 15 of his 24 points and the Bruins held off the top-seeded Jayhawks for a 68-55 victory in the West Regional final Saturday night.
One of Arron's shots here:
2. (2)UCLA v. (1)Memphis Oakland Regional Final March 25, 2006
Arguably the finest moment for a Ben Ball Defense team. Coach Calipari called it the ugliest game he had ever been a part of as the Bruin defense completely disrupted and destroyed Memphis' offense. UCLA won despite the other four starters not named Ryan Hollins shooting 3-25. Maybe this is appropriate to mention because after Howland lost to Memphis a few years later in the final four, he seemingly abandoned the defense approach that had brought him so close.
1. (2)UCLA v. (3)Gonzaga, Are you Kidding Me, March 23, 2006
No explanation needed to Bruins fans.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Go Bruins.