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Howland Pathetically Targeted Using Allegations Of A Convicted Sex Offender

It's one of those days I guess. Diamond Leung from ESPN College Basketball Nation blog writes:

UCLA coach Ben Howland is denying he made an impermissible phone call to the father of a former recruit who made the claim in the book, "Play Their Hearts Out."

In the book about grassroots basketball released last week, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Dohrmann writes that Howland committed an NCAA violation by making a phone call to the father of guard Roberto Nelson during a month when he had already spoken to Nelson. Howland was limited to one call that month to the recruit and his family.

Bruce Nelson said in the book that he received a phone call from Howland from a Santa Barbara area code, adding, "I guess he knew that if he used his UCLA phone, then people could find out he called me." The Nelsons are from Santa Barbara, where Howland grew up.

Coach Howland denied those allegations through a UCLA spokesperson. He did the same to us via UCLA's spokesperson earlier today as well. We didn't think the tradmed would actually run with this story given the background around this Bruce Nelson dude is currently available on the internets. You can check out the ugly details after the jump.

So who is this Bruce Nelson guy? Well here is a report from (dated March 25, 2008):

Tuesday afternoon, former basketball coach Bruce Nelson was found guilty of 3 out of 7 felony counts against him. The jury returned from deliberations around 3p.m with their decisions. Nelson has been accused and charged with several felony counts of sexually assaulting two brain-injured patients at Solutions care facility. Solutions is a rehabilitation home for patients that have suffered major brain injuries. Besides his employment at Solutions, Nelson was also a successful basketball coach at Dos Pueblos High School during the 1990's.

Looked through another article which also corroborated the report above stating that Bruce Nelson "was not rehired as a Santa Barbara assistant coach after he was charged with sexual assault at a rehabilitation center where he worked." The link above essentially reported the outcome of his trial. Haven't seen any update since then. Needless to say the background around this guy who is leveling this charge of violation against Coach Howland is a little more than shady.

It'd be helpful if Diamond and any other tradmed writers are doing a little more research on the characters providing the basis of such allegation against someone like Ben Howland. Beyond pathetic.