Just wanted a quick post to mention two things that Bruins Nation has talked about that the mainstream media is now covering. First on Tony Parker (hat tip to chrissorr and BruininDenver) in a story that cited Nestor's article on Bruins Nation:
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Miller Grove High School coach Sherman White acknowledged Parker is "not happy about not playing" but described that as a healthy response and insisted the freshman doesn't intend to transfer. Ben Howland said on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday afternoon that Parker has asked for more playing time, but the UCLA coach told him only to "keep working hard" and "keep competing."
"He's just behind the guys that are playing ahead of him right now, which are the two Wear twins andKyle Anderson who's playing more and more minutes at the four," Howland said. "But he's going to play in every game, and he's actually had two good practices in a row."
Parker's lack of playing time is a bit of a surprise considering he became the lone true center on UCLA's roster once Joshua Smith left the program a few weeks ago. Howland has opted to go with a smaller lineup, either playing Travis and David Wear together or sliding Anderson to power forward with one of the Wears at center.
The likelihood of Parker's playing time increasing dramatically anytime soon seems slim barring injury since UCLA is entering a particularly tough stretch of the schedule. Up next for UCLA is a home game against No. 7 Missouri on Friday with games against Pac-12 contenders, Cal, Stanford, Colorado, Oregon and Arizona still to come in January.
The more interesting story though is on expectations. Sports Illustrated disagrees with Dan Guerrero and agrees with Bruins Nation.
The UCLA job will come open after the Bruins make a too-early exit from the tourney and freshman star Shabazz Muhammad declares for the NBA draft. Ben Howland will have completed his 10th season in Westwood, five removed from his last trip to the Final Four, and the fanbase seems to have soured on him enough to instigate a change. A surprisingly good ending -- such as Muhammad and Kyle Anderson leading them to Atlanta -- could keep it from happening, but the Bruins don't seem cohesive enough to pull that off.
Remember Dan Guerrero said compete for a PAC 12 title and make a run. Sports Illustrated acknowledges that is not enough, UCLA must get to a final four for Ben Howland to keep his job. But let's be realistic. It is now on Dan Guerrero. He should have fired Ben after last season. He should have fired him after Cal Poly and transfers. But he gambled. If Ben does not get to Atlanta, Guerrero should be joining him on