A picture of the last all-conference basketball player to play for UCLA. There could not be a better symbol of the chaos that follows this team then this. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
It has been four years of disasters of varying degree. It has been four years without any real success. It has been four years if you want to believe, you can find something to get excited about, something to hinge your hopes on but this is getting ridiculous.
Right now we have more questions than answers in the alleged recruiting scandal on UCLA basketball but the news just keeps getting more surreal and it is impossible to tell who believe. Right now I just wish we would have done the right thing and fired Howland after four subpar years. After the last four years at UCLA no coach should be allowed another chance. But here we are and here is the news.
First a ridiculous side note but part of the reason we are here. Reeves Nelson is a Laker, well sort of, he just signed a one year non-guaranteed contract:
Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson will be invited to the Lakers training camp that begins in early October after he signs a one-year non-guaranteed contract worth about $700,000 with the team, which he plans to sign this week, Nelson told The Times on Tuesday.
Nelson still has to go through training camp and could be cut from the team afterward, but he considers this step to be a blessing, particularly because he was dismissed from UCLA in December of 2011, largely for his disruptive attitude.
"I'm very grateful," Nelson said in an interview. "It's nice becasue I'm pretty sure that virtually no one thought I could get this far, so it's pretty gratifying." . . .
"Basically, I'm going to be a guy that just does all the little things, like glue-guy like things," he said. "Obviously when you have Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol and everything, you're not going to get a lot of shots up. I'm just going to do rebounding, hustle plays."
Reeves Nelson as a glue guy? Sorry but that is hard to say in any context. The scariest thing is Reeves Nelson is currently the last all-confrence player to play for UCLA. When will that streak change?
For where are we now on the recruiting allegations of our three talented Freshman, Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, and Tony Parker? I can't review everything but here is the latest which is probably wrong as soon as I write this. Here goes my best attempt to summarize what the various outlets are reporting.
1. ESPN's Peter Yoon, who we at Bruins Nation have mixed feelings about (some like him, others think he is just a cut and paste guy), says that Parker has been cleared but the investigation is ongoing regarding Anderson.
2 CBS thinks UCLA basketball makes USC look like amateurs in the cheating arena and has accused UCLA of everything short of point shaving. They have run "surveys" of coaches citing evidence of UCLA cheating: the fact Shabazz chose UCLA over Kentucky. They are now claiming that a major UCLA donor is behind the recruitment of Kyle Anderson. Now, they are calling UCLA AD Dan Guerrero a liar.
Dan Guerrero can put out whatever statement he wants, but NCAA has been investigating all 3 UCLA freshmen -- Muhammad, Anderson and Parker.
3. While CBS thinks we are death penalty worthy and won't take no for an answer, the other extreme is Zag's Blog. Zag's Blog hilariously quoted a source that Shabazz missed China to study. Zag's Blog reported the investigation was over regarding Parker and Anderson. Oops.
4. Bruin Report Online (BRO), a pro-UCLA site but anti non-West Coast recruits, started the whole thing. They are probably more trustworthy in what they said but that's just it, they did not say a lot. They just broke the news that Kyle and Tony Parker were under investigation but with little details.
5. NBC is among those reporting that Anderson did get clearance to play exhibition games in China.
6. The LA Times is latest to the party. The article summarizes everything. It sort of reiterates the CBS claim on Wasserman but also takes the Zag's Blog point on players to be cleared and rightly makes fun of CBS's survey. In other words it argues the impossible by saying both sides at once. However, if you read one story read this one (it is interesting for the player recruiting quotes):
The ongoing investigation into their eligibility has added fuel to Internet speculation that UCLA must have cheated to attract such talented athletes.
"I'm sorry people feel that way," Coach Ben Howland said. "It's unfortunate and unfair to our players ... these are all really good kids."
At this point, neither Howland nor his staff appear to be under investigation. But suspicion has become the norm in an era of travel team coaches and agents, prompting increased NCAA screening of high-profile recruits. . . .
Anderson's eligibility is expected to be confirmed soon, according to a person close to the situation who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the university or the player.
7. It is my understanding that Dan Guerrero is limited in what he can say and issued his statement saying it was his final word on the matter. He basically said the reports are wrong but two players (Shabazz has to be one) are under investigation.
A number of quick thoughts. If it turns out CBS or BRO was/is right, Chianti Dan needs to be fired for lying. If he let an ineligible Anderson play in a meaningless China exhibition series, he needs to be fired. He needs to do his job and restore the image of the great program Coach created, regardless of Howland. His seat is as hot or hotter than Howland's now. He needs to be working overtime with not just the NCAA but also with the press as much as he is allowed. Right now, even if Shabazz and Anderson play every game for UCLA this season and lead UCLA to a national championship, there would still be a foul odor over the season. Chianti Dan needs to switch to coffee for the late nights and early mornings he should be working.
For the last four years, the symbol now is Reeves Nelson. For Howland and/or Guerrero to stay, Reeves must be replaced not just as the most recent all-conference player to play for UCLA but as a symbol of the team.