Howland is at the point now where he is at risk of losing the slim hold he has on the skidding 2-5 Bruins. What message, after all, does it send to the rest of the team when the coach keeps putting up with Nelson’s antics? This isn’t, after all, a guy who is known to be loosy-goosy and relaxed. Howland would script the layup lines if he could.
And now here he is, pretzeling himself, his principles and the very fabric that UCLA likes to say it’s built upon, for Nelson. It’s impossible not to interpret Howland’s inaction as desperation. The wheels are flying off at UCLA in rapid succession and Nelson is, when he’s not nuclear, a critical cog in the Bruins’ machine.
Without him, UCLA has a much slimmer chance of winning. And without winning, Howland has a much slimmer chance of holding on to his job.
But at what price?
Center Joshua Smith was not all that impressed with the Sports Arena, where the Bruins will play 14 home games this season. After visiting the downtown arena for the first time last week, Smith complained that it was too old and too close to UCLA's crosstown rival USC.
I'm going to make a concerted effort to get out to the students, to the fraternities, to the sororities, to really reach out to our fans. To me it's so important. We have a chance to be a really good team this year and we need our fans, we need the support to be there for our team, these kids deserve that. They've worked really, really hard in the off season. So I'll really be encouraging our fans to come out and support the Bruins.
UCLA freshman guard Norman Powell sustained a concussion Tuesday when he was struck by a teammate's stray elbow during basketball workouts. Three staples were needed to close a small cut on his forehead. Powell is being monitored daily and is listed as day to day.