Although I've watched UCLA basketball on and off since the 1960s (I'm an old guy), I don't understand the intricacies of the game nearly as well as the front pagers, so I'll leave the analyses to them.
But it occurred to me that Bill Plaschke's story in the L.A. Times may hint at another way Howland has failed. Joshua Smith says, "I've let my team down" in talking about his lack of conditioning during the off-season.
Now this is a tricky point, since the main responsibility for keeping his weight down is Smith's, but I wonder if Howland laid out a conditioning plan — not just goals — for Smith to follow while he was home in Washington last summer. Did Howland and Smith sit down with a trainer and develop a specific program of exercises, running distances and calories per day? And did Howland call Smith every week to check on his progress?
Although the main responsibility is Smith's, without a specific program, lofty goals can be meaningless. That's why people seek expertise for a host of problems — because good intentions are often not enough.