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Whining About Ben Ball

We are not looking ahead to Saturday's game. However, lot of Arizona enthusiasts are already talking about the UCLA-Arizona game this Saturday.  Apparently some Arizona fans are a little peeved about the style of play Coach Howland has brought into Westwood. For i.e. here is Greg Hansen, a columnist for the Arizona Star (Arizona Homer) whining about Ben Ball's emphasis on defense and how it has ruined his enjoyment of college hoops:

[W]hen Ben Howland's Bruins arrive Saturday, they will manifest their 59.8 points-per-game scoring defense. Howland is more defensive minded than F. Lee Bailey.

In the five years before Howland's arrival at UCLA, Arizona averaged 95.2 points in home games against the Bruins. In its last two home games against Howland, Arizona has not broken 80.

This is the same coach who produced an almost unwatchable 50-45 victory in last year's Elite Eight against Memphis. Yet it was a thing of beauty. Impressionable coaches everywhere have decided that if the Bruins can do that, anybody can.

This put-on-the-brakes trend has unfortunately taken root in the once wide-open Pac-10.
Poor guy. Mr. Hansen goes on to lament how Howland's kick starting of a trend of West Coast coaches emphasizing defensive oriented hoops has taken all the fun out of college hoops. Apparently he would rather watch NBA than watching Pac-10 hoops. But not to worry. Lute is not going to change a thing! From the same column:
About the only man happy about this dreadful style of play is Lute Olson himself.

"I hope (USC) doesn't change,'' he said Monday. "I hope UCLA stays a half-court team. It gives us a better shot at (recruiting) kids. Kids like the wide-open style. ... I'd encourage (USC and UCLA) to stay half-court oriented.''
Well I hope that is true. I sure hope Lute and his staff don't get all caught up in the hoopla and hype over Ben Ball, and just keep playing that run and gun, one on one NBA offense. :-)

And if that's the selling point he and his staff uses to lure recruits so be it. I honestly don't want any high school primadonnas at UCLA, who has no desire to play commit themselves to team game and most importantly to defense. As Coach Howland said this in short interview to CSTV it is all about how kids want to "work together as a team":

So if Lute and his staff stick that philosophy to set their recruiting targets, that will probably help Coach Howland and his staff on their weeding out process on setting their own recruiting targets.

I will not spend any more time on this column because I have no intention of looking past Arizona State. However, it is somewhat comforting to know the Olson's staff still has no clue on why Coach Howland has been able to reestablish the UCLA program at the expense of Arizona in less than three years. That will help UCLA in the near future no matter what happens this Saturday.

Anyways enough about 'Zona. Hopefully our guys are regrouping and healing up. They are going to have a tough game Thursday night. If they can get the job done against ASU, it will set them up pretty well going into Saturday. And just to close the loop on the column linked in this post, I hope we see an all out inside-the-jersey defensive minded Ben Ball starting Thursday night. In other words lets hope they keep making lives of Hansen and other fans of AAU street ball miserable.