There isn't much more that needs to be said. Chianti Dan Guerrero, our worthless joke of an athletic "director" who is too busy planning wine-tasting trips to Tuscany, greasing the palms of his fellow brain-dead NCAA bureaucrats, and signing off on a rambling, laughable joke of a "blog" that is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to spin his complete and total FAILURE in charge at Morgan Center.
It's official now folks. We have been discussing this for months, as Ben Howland and this total dumpster fire basketball program continued to flail away, but now there can be no more denying this simple truth:
The legacy of UCLA basketball, built by Coach John R. Wooden, has been trampled, disrespected, and left to wither and die at the hands of Chianti Dan Guerrero and Ben Howland.
UCLA, the program which leads the nation in national titles, ahead of Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, Syracuse, Connecticut, and any other program you think deserves to be considered at the top of college hoops, not only missed the NCAA tournament (for the third time in Howland's nine seasons in Westwood), but was snubbed by the second-tier afterthought gimmick, the NIT.
That's right folks, Ben Howland, who already led UCLA to national embarrassment for his incompetent mismanagement of the program, after pathetically begging for a NIT invite in the national media, got snubbed by a second-rate joke of a tournament, all to decide the 69th best team in the country. Despite playing in one of the most pathetic, underwhelming Pac-10/12 conferences in history, Howland's Bruins could not make March Madness. Oh, and UCLA got a life-line in the conference tournament, with a clear path to automatic qualification through a weakened field, and still choked.
Oh, and in case you didn't realize it, as you fill out your brackets for your office pool, you'll notice all those other elite programs mentioned above are all in the tournament, even in "down" seasons.
So, since Chianti Dan and Ben have managed to effectively kill off UCLA basketball, once the pinnacle of not just college hoops, but all of college sports, let's take a look at some of the special low-lights from Chianti Dan and Ben Howland's complete and utter failure this season, Bruin Bites style. So yes, we won't have the usual round-up of bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse. Instead, we'll have the main bites of Chianti Dan's reign of error and Ben's dumpster fire program, after the jump.
- Now, as everyone knows, the expectation, both on BN and on Howland's squad was simple: winning the Pac-12. Josh Smith, easily one of the biggest individual disappointments of this year, made it clear this past October 12: anything short of winning the conference would be "a let-down." And yet, here we are: fifth in the Pac-12 with a disappointing second-round exit in the conference tournament. So when you look at our own guy's expectations going into the season, you just have to LOL at Howland begging for a NIT invite. Pathetic.
- Speaking of the pre-season expectations, Ryan got our coverage kicked off with the expectations (winning the Pac-12 this season) and predictions (25-6 overall) for the season. As Ryan said back in October, you judge the state of a program over how they play over the regular season, rather than whether they can get hot for a few weeks in March. And in looking at how this dumpster fire played out, it's safe to say this program is in complete shambles.
- And it's not like last season, where Ben's mentally soft team started okay, but fell apart down the stretch. This year, the joke started early, with UCLA losing to LMU for the first time in 70 years. Oh, and by the way, LMU is not in the NCAA tournament. They also didn't make the cut for the NIT, or even the CBI. Nope, the Lions are in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, a fourth-tier (that's being generous) joke tournament. In short, it makes the Kraft Hunger Bowl look like the freaking Rose Bowl. That's the loss that defined this season. That's the kind of team we lost to. And people think Howland deserves to still be employed? LOL, seriously?!
- Things didn't get much better after the choke job against LMU, with UCLA opening the season in a pathetic 1-4 fashion (with the sole win at the point coming over Division II Chaminade), that led Nestor to ask if "Ben Howland [was] Cooking Up Another Toxic UCLA Basketball Season FAIL?" And now we know the answer: yes, beyond all doubt.
- Of course, the middle of the season gave us more proof that Chianti Dan's clownshow (read: UCLA athletics) had expanded off the gridiron and came to the hardwood, with Reeves Nelson finally being shown the door after repeated discipline problems, bouncing out of Westwood on the "fast-track" to Lithuania (where as a post-script, he got bounced from also).
- If it wasn't embarrassing enough that the "star player" on this team, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's cover in their pre-season college basketball preview edition (you know, where UCLA was ranked as the pre-season #15 in the nation; #20 by ESPN), was ultimately tossed out of Westwood, in an oddly appropriate twist, it was Sports Illustrated writer George Dohrmann that exposed UCLA's basketball program as an out-of-control joke, Ben Howland as a petty, arrogant control freak, and Chianti Dan Guerrero as a tone-deaf, clueless moron (well, we already knew that at BN, since we've been calling for Chianti's ouster for quite some time, and had the heat on Chianti for longer than that). So, not only was this season completely unacceptable, but Chianti Dan and Ben had to up the ante with an embarrassing scandal that put a black eye on the program built by Coach Wooden.
- Let's take a quick diversion: even if Sports Illustrated never exposed Howland's MMA program for the total joke it is, as we noted before on BN, based on the numbers alone, Howland had completely failed this season and deserved to be fired, even in the absence of this scandal.
- But, the scandal wasn't even the worst part. Rather than accepting that this scandal marked a complete failure on the part of Murphy Hall and Morgan Center, we instead saw UCLA's top man, Chancellor Gene Block, along with his plodding failure athletic "director" Chianti Dan Guerrero, and Ben Howland turned out worthless and disgusting spin that tried to use (and sully) Coach Wooden's legacy to hide their own incompetence and short-comings. It makes me sick.
- And if the words weren't enough, Reeves Nelson's actions certainly were the embodiment of Chianti Dan and Ben Howland's complete disregard for Coach Wooden's legacy. While Reeves was busy stepping on Wooden's own flesh-and-blood on the court, Howland was too enamored with Tattoo's "production" to impose anything resembling discipline.
- While the scandal grew, instead of changing course and taking decisive action to right the ship, we saw nothing but pathetic double-speak and spin from the hapless clowns in charge at UCLA, which as Odysseus noted, perfectly illustrated the concept that UCLA athletics is a complete failure because such failure comes from the top down, or in plain English, the fish rots from the head down.
- The hits kept coming, as BN got an inside look at how dysfunctional Morgan Center actually is, thanks to a must-read post from bruinclassof10, who gave us the perspective of a former Morgan Center employee on the state of UCLA athletics. And what did we learn? That Dan Guerrero is a clueless empty-suit that has no business being in charge of the most successful athletic department in college sports, a multimillion dollar enterprise that requires skill and intelligence to effectively manage, that Chianti Dan is woefully under-qualified and should be sent back to a third-tier athletics program (like UCI or CSU Dominguez Hills) where he belongs.
- If that wasn't damning enough, you would think Gene Block (and his right-hand, Vice Chancellor Rhea Turteltaub) would care about the fiscal health and donor base for UCLA, but since Chianti Dan is still employed, apparently not. As Ryan pointed out last week, UCLA ranks dead last in the Pac-12 in annual donors. So despite having one of the largest enrollments among UC campuses (over 40,000 students), being in the second largest media market in the nation, in one of the biggest metro areas in the world, UCLA could only get 3,820 annual donors. Wow. That's just abject failure. Keep in mind that schools like Oregon State (in freaking Corvallis, with a fraction of UCLA's athletic history) and Washington State (yes, the guys literally in the middle of nowhere in Washington) had more annual donors than UCLA. Sounds like Chianti is doing a real bang-up job of getting people to want to give money to UCLA's athletics programs. What a joke.
- And finally, Chianti Dan isn't interested in discipline or instilling good values in our student athletes, since UCLA, under Gene Block and Chianti Dan have fostered a culture where there are little to no consequences, where drug use is tolerated and swept under the rug. As Odysseus pointed out, UCLA has the most lenient drug policy in the conference. Oh, and UCLA has a more lenient drug policy than a shady program like Auburn (you know, the guys who brought you Cam Newton, among their other SEC style shenanigans). Apparently, accountability and a drug-free lifestyle are not on the curriculum for a UCLA student-athlete. Pretty pathetic for an allegedly world-class institution of higher education.
So, there you have it folks. Look at that list above. Tell me, objectively, what Chianti Dan or Ben Howland have done to warrant being employed at UCLA on past Monday morning. These clowns will continue to college a paycheck that comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers of California and the alums, fans, and students of UCLA. It's almost criminal that these two losers are being paid to provide their "service" to UCLA. And, what's even more shocking, is that this list is only a fraction of the embarrassing datapoints these two losers have managed to compile in their failed tenures in Westwood. Run a simple search through our archives, and you'll have a lot more reading to do.
Those are your special edition Chianti Dan and Ben FAILED Bruin Bites. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, comments, reactions, and takes.
FIRE CHIANTI DAN GUERRERO. FIRE BEN HOWLAND.