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The Best Team Of The West ...

... on how Coach Howland is marching on via recruiting to conquer all the rest:

Ben Howland's recruiting efforts are keeping the Bruins in the national championship mix.

How about a little love for UCLA's Ben Howland? In the last two years, the Bruins' head man has been to back-to-back Final Fours, produced three NBA Draft picks and secured a pair of players that will certainly be NBA lottery picks.

Kevin Love was the first of two recent five-stars standouts to commit to Howland. Jrue Holiday, nation's No. 2 player in the class of 2008, became the second on Tuesday.

Holiday is better than Jordan Farmar, a first-round NBA pick. He's better than Arron Afflalo, a first-round NBA pick. He's better than Darren Collison, who will be a first-round NBA pick. They are all great players, but Holiday is that good.

UCLA, with Holiday's addition and a potential sophomore year from Love, could have enough talent (and maybe more) than the two teams that went to the Final Four. Holiday isn't alone in the backcourt.

Californians Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee are top-60 players in the class of 2008. Add Drew Gordon, the No. 30 player in the country, and you have the makings an elite class in 2008.

Holiday's high school coach at Campbell Hall, Terry Kelly, thinks the Bruins are in great shape.

"I just got off the phone with one of their assistant coaches. We were talking about their classes in the last two years, and what they have coming in is just unbelievable. It looks like a class that can pick up all of the pieces and really have a great couple of years," Kelly said.

"You mix in Kevin Love and those amazing outlet passes and ... that is special. Jrue is going to get out and run the floor. I love Jerime Anderson. Drew Gordon is another greyhound. And Malcolm Lee has a chance to be an absolute star. Jrue has done a great job of surrounding himself with great players. I think they have a National Championship type of class."

Credit that to the underappreciated work of Howland and his staff.
I am sure all other coaches from far and near can clearly hear the Ben Ball warriors roar.

Seriously there is nothing in that note that should be news to BN. Yet it is still wonderful to see Coach Howland getting his due props at a national level. As I have said before it is just a matter of time before he hangs banner(s) in Westwood. Meanwhile, let's just sit back and enjoy the ride.