Bruin Bites: Shabazz Commitment Follow-Up, Mora Hits the Links, and Ramogi Huma's Thoughts

The future of UCLA basketball; well, for one season at least.

It's Thursday morning, the day following the commitment that Bruin fans have been waiting for. With Shabazz Muhammad, a long-rumored UCLA lean (with the optimists saying it's because of Howland's ability to make guards NBA-ready defensively, and the cynics saying it's because of Shabazz's prior relationship with Adidas), now formally in the fold, the expectations for Howland remain extremely high. I hate to rain on everyone's Shabazz parade, but let's not forget:

Even if Ben Howland, in his tenth season in charge at UCLA, goes on an undefeated 40-win season and wins a national title, his winning percentage at UCLA will only rise to 71.9%, or 4.1% percentage points short of the Tubby line. And let's be real: there is no way he's winning 40 games, going undefeated, and winning a national title, even with Shabazz in the fold.

76.0% and only one national title wasn't good enough for the fan base in Kentucky.

So, why is 68.1% and zero national titles acceptable in Westwood?

Naturally, this raises the question of whether Howland should be retained if he fails to win a national title after a decade in charge in Westwood. I say should because with Chianti Dan's willingness to stick with Neuheisel, even following our 50-0 drubbing at the hands of Southern Cal, I have no confidence that Guerrero will do what is in the best long-term interests of the university. In any event, let's turn to the bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse the morning following the Shabazz announcement:

It's the best Bruins recruiting haul since Kevin Love showed up on campus five years ago. It gives UCLA its best chance at a national championship since the Bruins played in the actual game more than six years ago. It's a great day for a coach whose tenure has been marked by recent recruiting mistakes that have led to team turmoil.

But it's not a victory, it's a mandate. And with this future blessing, there is a potential curse.

Ironically, by coaxing enough good players to campus to light up new Pauley Pavilion and go deep into the tournament, Howland has put his job on the line if they don't.

Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for this Thursday morning. Just two days until the weekend, so fire away with your thoughts, takes, opinions, and analysis.


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