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UCLA Basketball - Ben Howland Press Conference Recap

Ben Howland speaks to the press.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The presser started innocently enough, with questions about Kareem Abdul-Jabaar visiting practice today, who was on campus doing an interview with CBS:

I asked him to talk about his experience here and his involvement in the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement. The guy's written books and he's highly educated, intelligent. For our players to see that, meet him, listen to him talk, that's really special.

Maybe he's trying to sell the kids on another year at UCLA. "Look at this success this guy had. Stay another year with me on my ship, and you can be awesome like Kareem."

Look at the awesome things Kareem has done, by the way:

Here's a guy that's the greatest player ever, leading scorer in the history of the league, nine championships overall between college and the pros, and for him to talk about how important about what the overall experience is, and giving back to your community, taking the things you learn from college to better the communities you are from, those are all important messages.

Powerful stuff. Appealing straight to the parents of his recruits.

And now, the part of the presser you must listen to, the Larry Drew discussion:

We are getting some extra shooting in during the week. I want him to look for his perimeter shot more, and improve his on ball defense. When he's really locked in, and playing as well as he can, he is a very good on-ball defender. It makes it a lot harder to run your offense for the other team to run their offense to deal with Larry Drew when he is at his best, pressuring. He wasn't asked to do that like I want it done.

He has the ability, like Darren Collison did, when he's going as hard as he can it makes it very difficult to deal with him. When you're a point guard and you have to deal with Larry Drew or Darren Collison which is a similar type athlete, it's very hard to deal with then, much less run your team. In the Texas game, he kept getting in front of the man, it's frustrating. It's getting Larry to play with that type of effort, and it's hard.


But he's doing it every day here and when it comes to game time he can do it every time. He's so quick, so fast and so strong, other than Darren, he's the quickest fastest guy we've had. Maybe Russell.

We learned a few things here. Howland thinks Larry Drew can be Darren Collison, he might be as quick as Collison or Russell Westbrook, and Larry Drew doesn't always try hard enough, but it's ok, because he had some results at the end of the game against Texas.

Yeah, so next question:

Have you asked Kyle Anderson to be more aggressive in rebounding?

That was a goal of his - to lead us in rebounding. He can get tough rebounds. I like that he's getting them on the defensive end. Seeing him get 11 for us the other night was nice.

"Mittens are nice." I'd actually like to see Kyle at the point more, not leading us in rebounds.

The rest of the presser was a lot of discussion about our opponents this week and their various defenses that we cannot figure out. Honestly, I was more enthralled by a rerun of a Barcelona match on FSC, which I now have in HD.

However, he did have a quick bit about zone offense:

We're getting more comfortable with it now. We attacked it well the other day against Prairie View. We'll keep continuing to improve. Most teams early in the season have difficulty attacking zone. No one practices against zone. No one is up in the Men's Gym in the summer "let's play some zone today." It just doesn't happen. A zone forces you to slow down and be patient on offense, and that's not something that's normal in the summertime either.

Apparently we have an offensive play called Rover, with two guys spacing the floor and it involves Jordan Adams. It better be a winning play.

By the way:

We definitely could play some zone tomorrow.