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UCLA Basketball Grab Bag

Today is a rare Friday with no game the next day or the night before.  So this post will be a bit different.  If you want to go to the more serious part go after the jump.  But let's set the tone with why we are lucky to have a guy like Jon Gold writing on UCLA instead of this clueless UW commentator (emphasis mine).

Not sure whether UCLA coach Ben Howland is praising Isaiah Thomas or taking a shot at the Washington junior in quote that ran in the Orange County Register. Howland talks about Thomas' ability to draw fouls, particularly against Bruins forward Reeves Nelson.

"You've got to give Thomas credit," Howland said told the newspaper. "Thomas really sold some of the fouls that he drew. He drew like four fouls on like four guys where he's just the little guy getting knocked off. One time he had his hand all the way up Reeves' crotch and was grabbing onto his crotch and everybody saw it except the official and that was obviously not a good call for us."

As this is a family forum I will leave the jokes out.  If you think Howland was praising Isiah Thomas for trying to check Reeves for a hernia, please don't read anymore BruinsNation and go here for something more at your level.

Speaking of ex-Trojans and using a quote from a much more observant writer, a lot has been made of Petey's quote after Seattle qualified for the playoffs with a losing record.  Most people missed the most insulting and classless part (emphasis mine) :

As Troy burned in the background — USC wins and titles vacated, scholarships reduced, Lane Kiffin hired — Carroll was allowed to move to Seattle without penalty, and without any hint of conscience.

. . .

"I hear that this has never happened before. I think that's kind of cool," Carroll said of Seattle's below-.500 playoff entrance. "Wasn't it TCU that won for all the little guys? That was the talk at their bowl game the other day, and I guess for all those teams that have a losing record and don't think they can be champions, it can get done. You can do it; somehow it happened. ... This is the system. ... We just played it out and this is what happened."

Sure, TCU won the Rose Bowl for the "little guys." But TCU was also undefeated and considered a contender when it accepted the invitation.

The Seattle Seahawks are a playoff joke. And Pete Carroll has that familiar twinkle in his eye. He's gotten away with something else, and he's being paid handsomely for it.
[From: Carroll stands in spotlight while a nation wonders, at]

I picked this version of the quote because I like the fact the writer lists Lane Kffin -- with titles vacated and scholarships reduced -- as equal disasters for SUC.

This was a typical week for the ex-"trogans."  Petey acting without a conscience, an OJ in a fight, etc. 

There is another reason why I bring this up.  I am pissed at CBH and Reeves.  No not for any reason you may think.  I really feel for CBH for having to deal with reporters like the one above who thought he may be praising Thomas.  No, it is because Nelson and CBH apparently think this is just another game.

"I didn't even know it was three games," Howland said this week of his team's losing streak against the Trojans, which goes back to a Pacific 10 Conference tournament semifinal in 2009.

. . .
Not everyone feels extra pressure. Bruins sophomore forward Reeves Nelson called any added emphasis placed on the rivalry "a media thing and maybe an old-timer thing."

"I just want to beat every team we play," Nelson said, "regardless if they're from Oregon or New York or Iowa or wherever."

I am fine with being called an old timer.  I may even be fine with some players who play really hard all the time saying the above (but ML wouldn't) but the guy who plays best when he is pumped up is downplaying the game?! 

I will end this post with one last topic related to the clueless media.  This week there are at least two stories about Tyler Honeycutt going pro.  The same fishwrap story quotes an anonymous scout on why Tyler should go pro and bleacher report (who at the start of the year before he every played a game picked Josh Smith to go pro next year) picked Tyler as the "No. 20 [selection], Denver Nuggets: Tyler Honeycutt, GF, UCLA."   

Others I have talked to and read have all said Tyler is very talented but except for the incredible performence at Kansas he has not lived up to his hype.

But not everyone is Andrew Luck and can or should stay when they have the chance at all the money.  But then again, Tyler Honeycutt would, IMHO, be best served by working hard and learning to dominate the PAC 10/12 before he leaves.  Tyler may have summed up why best at the end of the same LA Times article:

Some of the problems are fundamentals players didn't learn until they arrived at UCLA.

"I never boxed out in high school," Honeycutt said. "I was always a more athletic guy.… But at the next level and the better players you play [in college], guys are just as big and athletic, so it can cost you."

Work hard Tyler.  You have really improved your shooting this year.  Work hard on improving your passing and ability to score (e.g. drawing fouls and going to the basket) and your defense as you go forward and you can be a really good NBA player.  I know you may want to take the money, but I can hope.

I guess I should feel for CBH more dealing with reporters and kids who were never taught to box out.

Go Bruins.