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Hoops Roundup: Howland Continues To Coddle Ragovic While Other Bruin Seniors Sound Clueless

Bruins are heading into this week's home game against Washington schools with lots of empty words and no signs of change from Coach Ben Howland. I had to LOL when I read this in the Daily News about Howland trying to "unlock" Ragovic. Apparently Howland pulled his clown aside yesterday to "talk about" how he needs to "rededicate himself to rebounding and getting more involved offensively":

To illustrate how far Dragovic's rebounding has fallen, he had 14 rebounds in the first game of the year against Cal State Fullerton, but managed just 16 through the Bruins' first five Pacific-10 Conference games.

"The main thing is to bring a great level of energy to everything we're doing and really try and do the tough things." Howland said. "He needs to put a big emphasis on rebounding the basketball for us to have success."

Dragovic is averaging 10.5 points and just 4.9 rebounds per game.

Part of the problem offensively is Dragovic is creating more of his shots this year, as opposed to past seasons when he would get open looks on kick-outs or pick-and-rolls.

Ironically, Dragovic came to the United States more of a creator offensively, having been more of a dribble-drive player in his native Serbia, but adjusted his game to suit the Bruins' needs.

"Now I'm going to have to change back to it and create more of my shots," he said.

Uhm. There are just so many things wrong here. First of all, exactly what does Howland think he is accomplishing by giving this fourth year scrub a "talk"? Exactly how a talk at this point of Rago's "career" which has been less distinguished than the ones belonging to Kevin Dempsey and Brandon Lloyd, is supposed to make a difference? What about just benching the guy who game after game throughout his entire career has not shown any interest whatsoever in playing defense?

Howland continues to send the wrong message to his team and the entire community around him by showing he has no desire to hold the ultimate defensive culprit accountable. I also have to LOL at the part of this poser "creating" his own shots because it probably means jacking up more bricks outside of the flow of the game while continue to be as effective as the Maginot line on the other end. What a  joke. More on the other side.

While Ragovic continues to skate through his last year by being coddled and without having to answer for his defensive lapses, the other seniors just don't have any answers. Here is Roll:

"We are definitely going to be a lot better from here on out," Roll said.

And he can guarantee that?

"I cannot," Roll said. "All I can say is it's not going to be like that anymore."

Uh yeah. That's real comforting. Keefe's answers are even more confident (NOT):

"We haven't played a whole lot of games, so as of now it's anyone's conference," forward James Keefe said. "We are not far off and can turn the whole season around." But, as with Roll's guarantee, "how" becomes the question.

"There is not one answer to that," Keefe said. "The first answer, we've got to look into ourselves and figure out what each of us can do to make this team better. When you start losing, you get down on yourself; you get down on the team. We've just got to stay together and stay positive."

Feeling comforted now? Honestly, can anyone provide here genuine reasons why we should look forward to this week's game. Even if we win against Washington, which is not unthinkable considering they have shown their tendencies to choke on the road, it will probably mean we will follow it up with another sleepwalking performance against Washington State.

Howland's failure to develop these guys and worse his inability to hold his core accountable for not being true to his philosophy of defense and fundamentals have killed the interest in UCLA basketball within this community. Right now I can't find any reason to even care about this. Even while watching these guys embarrass themselves and the four letters infront of their jersey, I find myself switching channels checking out other games.

If tools like Ragovic actually cared about UCLA, he would have been apologizing for his disgraceful performances on the court and make a commitment to play defense and they show that kind of effort. Honestly though we have never seen any hint from him that he actually cares. I doubt he even cares about being a Bruin or getting a degree from UCLA. He is just happy to get his free ride in which he gets to just jack up shots in pathetic team, while club away his nights in Hollywood.

From Arron Afflalo to Chokola Ragovic. How did it come to this?