As I said earlier, I am not going to spend much time on Howland-Dixon/Pitt. angle. I am sure the Pucin’s of the world will do John Tesh style write-ups over that storyline. I am pretty sure Coach Howland is not going to spend much time thinking about it, as he and his players are going to be totally immersed in preparations over how to beat a solid Big East team led by an exceptional coach. That said, there are comments coming from Pittsburgh that will do nothing but motivate our coach and players. In today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dixon had this to say about Howland’s departure to Westwood:
"To be honest, Ben didn't think we could sustain it," Dixon said during an interview in his office Feb. 21. "He took less money to go to another job, what most people would consider a better job. I've always seen more in [Pitt] than other people did. I have higher expectations than anybody for this job. I know no one thought we could do what we are doing."
I just don’t understand how so many folks on the East Coast just don't get why Native Southern Californians, who are out on the East Coast, jump at the first great opportunity to come back home. Sure, the unmatched tradition of UCLA's basketball program and it’s natural advantages was the ultimate draw for a coach like Howland, who grew up worshiping Wooden’s teams. However, it is amusing to see how so many people are forgetting the storyline of Howland returning to his Southern California roots, so that he could be close to his Dad, who passed away just few months after he came to UCLA.
As mentioned earlier, Aaron Gray is the Pitt superstar in the middle. He is a kid Coach Howland recruited back in November of 2002. Gray, to his credit, is sounding gracious about the whole situation:
"I talked to him," Gray said. "He told me his situation and why he had made the choice he had made. The position I was in, the only thing I could do was wish him luck. There's no hard feeling or anything like that."
But instead, he gave that role to Jamie Dixon in order to go to UCLA and live in John Wooden’s shadow like everyone who coaches out there will until the end of time.
Don’t forget Ben Howland left. We didn’t ask him to leave. He wanted to be the man at UCLA. Let’s hope he regrets that decision a little on Friday morning.
By the way, I am not that big fan of the Governator either. But the guy is no Senator "Man On Dog". Neither he is a Trojan Moron like Lynn Swann, who somehow managed to get support from 40 percent of Pennsylvanians. Yikes.
If these guys keep going like this, they are not going to last till Thursday night!!
Anyways, I will try to make this the first and last post on the angle of Pitt fans' feelings over Ben Howland. If any of you are planning to comment on Pitt Blather, which again is run by a great blogger, I urge you to be nothing short of respectful, the same way Coach Howland is to his former protégé and the program he built from ashes.
We have a game to get ready for.