-Bumped. BN Eds.
I am a very optimistic man and even after the season two years ago I believed that Howland could turn things around. But I have lost all faith in him and believe that even though things can get better, they cant get to the point where they need to be to live up to the standards that UCLA basketball deserves.
The questions need to be: Can Howland win a national championship? and Does he deserve to be fired? The first question to me is harder than the second to answer.
Can Howland win a Championship? I don't think so. I don't see UCLA having as good of a team as they did in 08. Our starting five had four NBA players on it and only one of them was a one and done. The starting lineup was three juniors in JS, DC, and LRMBM, one sophmore in RW and one freshman in KL. Howland is not going to get a chance like that again considering one and dones, transfers (which will continue cause Howland has lost respect of his players I think) and because a guy like Keating is gone who recruited players that would buy into Howlands system. The only way a championship is happening in my opinion is if Shabazz is a Melo or a Durant and Howland doesn't hold him back
Does Howland deserve to be fired? KSBruin did a fantastic job of showing us how Howland stacks up to past coaches. I wanted to do something similar in showing how consistent it is and should always be in making the Big Dance post John Wooden:
Gene Bartow- Two years, two tournament appearances
Gary Cunningham- Two years, two tournament appearances
Larry Brown- Two years, two tournament appearances
Larry Farmer- Three years, one tournament appearance
Walt Hazzard- Four years, one tournament appearance
Jim Harrick- Eight years, eight tournament appearances
Steve Lavin- Seven years, six tournament appearances
Ben Howland- Through eight years, six tournament appearances
That is 28 appearances compared to 8 no shows. And I know Howland is not responsible for the year after Lavin but if he does not make the tournament this year he has clearly fallen below the expectations that UCLA NEEDS to have as an elite program. UCLA still is an elite program even with its play of late, recruits are attracted and tradition will always be a huge part of this university because of the greatest coach of all time. We must always be talked about the way Duke UNC and Kentucky are in the conversation. And Howland has not been in that conversation for now going on four years.
I am starting to ramble so I will finish it up by noting that out of all of these coaches only two have had losing seasons: Lavin and Howland.
As always and forever, no matter who is coaching, Go Bruins.