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Just A Matter Of Time ...

Finally a sports column that makes a lot of sense. Sam Allen writes the obvious: number 12 is just a matter of time:

The UCLA coaches all talk about the championship vibe of their department and many of them have the numbers to back it up. Adam Krikorian won his sixth women's water polo title Sunday. Al Scates has a whopping 19 crowns to his name as coach of the men's volleyball team.

Ben Howland is on his way to joining this group of champions by hanging UCLA's 12th men's basketball title banner in Pauley Pavilion.

Everyone knew Howland was a great with the X's and O's. His teams have always played savvy defense and passable offense. It was the NBA talent he lacked.

Howland's best team at Pittsburgh lost to a Marquette squad led by guard Dwyane Wade. In the past two years, Howland's Bruins have fallen to Florida - a team loaded with NBA lottery picks.

Only two Ben Howland recruits have ever been chosen in the NBA Draft, Jordan Farmar at UCLA and Chris Taft at Pittsburgh.

All that is about to change.

Forget that Arron Afflalo will hear his name this June, probably in the first round, maybe in the early second. Darren Collison will be a lottery pick soon. And Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will get a serious look from the NBA.

It's the recruiting Howland has done since bringing UCLA back from the dregs of the Steve Lavin era that really distinguishes the current state of the program.
Now one thing to keep in mind. Obviously this whole place is going to be fired up going into next season. But please keep in mind getting to the Final-4s are not gimmes. In addition to having a well coached talented squad, it also takes a little luck to get through the first two weeks of Madness and get that shot in the championship.

Coach Howland is already spoiling a lot of us here on BN who are probably thinking getting to Final-4s is a birth right for UCLA basketball. But any knowledgable basketball fan knows how incredibly difficult that is. Nevertheless I have no doubt with the talent we have coming back and the new additions to our team, Howland and his staff will have our boys ready to make another run. And it is going to be a lot of fun. Number 12 (and then some) is just a matter of time. It could happen next year ... but we are going to keep coming back for more and more and then some more. Once again it feels like heaven to be a UCLA basketball fan and it is only going to get better from hereon out.