There is not any point in going over the micro-details of the latest UCLA basketball debacle on the road. I did not get to watch the game live. However, reading the comment threads, news stories, and checking the box score, it sounds like yet another predictable and uninspiring loss in yet another ugly basketball season under Howland.
Peter Yoon has the "rapid reaction" post on ESPNLA, denotes that UCLA's road record this season is now at 2-6. That would be 1-6 if you don't count the "win" against Chaminade. The record looks even more pathetic if you consider the fact that UCLA has not played a top-25 program since the tournament in Maui. If you want to get a picture of what a joke this program has become under Howland, you may also want to take a look at these numbers, compiled by the BNers in this thread:
- 0: Number of wins against top 25 teams on the road since 2008
- 1: Number of week UCLA has spent in the AP Top 25 since 2009
- 1: Number of week UCLA has spent in the AP Top 10 since 2008-09 season
- 3: Number of UCLA wins against top 25 teams since 2008
- 23 years: Last time UCLA had to break a Sweet-16 drought spanning 4 years or more. [1981-1989 (Larry Farmar/Hazzard stretch)]
- 1987-1992 : Last time UCLA experienced a 4 year drought without conference championship (prior to Lavin era) was (Walt Hazzard's last season and Jim Harrick's first 3 seasons)
- 1444 days since UCLA basketball has won the Pac-12 conference
- 2-7: Howland's record at MSG with 2 victories coming against Southern Illinois and Drexel (1 point win)
- 0-5: Howland's record in the Pac-10/Big XII challenge
- 10-10: Howland's record against JustSC
- 3 and 64: 3 is the number of losing seasons we have had in last 64 years of UCLA basketball. Ben Howland has had two of them. Although we gave him a pass for his first one. As noted by Fox71, the common denominator has been Dan Guerrero.
And speaking of Chianti Guerrero, Fox 71 has the numbers on how under Guerrero's tenure UCLA has had its worst decades in both football and basketball in modern Bruin history:
Guerrerror's term 64-63 503
Prior10 years 68-47 .591
Prior 10 years 80-33-5 .699
Prior 7 years 54-23-4 .691
Under Guerrerror's tenure, UCLA has had its worst decade in modern football history.
Guerrerror's term 201-114 .638
Prior 10 years 243-86 .739
Prior 10 years 233-110 .679
Prior 7 years 165-40 .804
Under Guerrerror's tenure, UCLA has had its worst decade in modern basketball history.
Not sure what else we can add to those numbers. They simply underscore the point why UCLA alums and donors need to put on overwhelming pressure on Chancellor Gene Block to get this guy out of Westwood.
Both of our major revenue programs have been gutted under his incompetent leadership, and the story will not get happier as long as he continues to draw almost a million dollar per year salary as the highest paid AD in the conference. Guerrero for his part continues to strike tone-deaf and clueless notes in NYC. More on that after the jump.
Following the debacle against an 11-16 Saint John's team which was playing under an interim coach (get well soon Steve Lavin), Guerrero put out more hapless and pathetic spin:
"You look at the team this year and we're certainly not where we want to be," UCLA AD Dan Guerrero told SNY.tv. "We're a work in progress, there's no question about that. Other than the two senior guards [Jerime Anderson and Lazeric Jones], we're still a very young team and we play like a young team in a lot of respects."
The "young" excuse is BS and frankly dishonest for few reasons. First, it doesn't take into account the returning starters Bruins had in the team besides Anderson and Jones. There was a reason UCLA was picked to win the conference featuring returning starters such as Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson (more on him below) and guys like Brendan Lane and Anthony Stover who had been in the program for multiple years. Not to mention Howland also brought in the Wear Twins who are technically college juniors this year and had one year of ACC experience under their belts. Second, the "young" excuse is also BS because we don't hear other programs that are supposed to be elite making them as they also occasionally lose players to the pros.
Third, the "young" excuse also brings up the point about how UCLA under Howland seemingly has had to make that excuse every freaking year as players get the heck out of his toxic program. Don't forget Chianti and Howlers are already banking on next year, when these guys will be able to throw out the "young" excuse again by pointing to the freshmen coming in to the program. So when it comes to excuses this not only pathetic, but it also comes across as cynically dishonest on part of Chianti.
Chianti also threw out the excuse about Nelson's dismissal:
"It's been a tough year also for Ben as it relates to the guys on the team, having to make the decision to have Reeves leave certainly cost the team in some respects in how they could develop," Guerrero said.
That excuse shouldn't fly with anyone paying close attention this program. Nelson's issue shouldn't have been news to anyone following UCLA hoops on a day to day basis. As documented here over the years - Nelson always had issues with erratic behavior as he often berated his team-mates publicly and played "defense" on his own terms. Yet Howland kept looking the other way and giving him PT without any sense of accountability in his first two years. Moreover, Reeves departure was not an aberration given all the personnel issues under Howland in previous years, the results of which were sadly apparent in the other CBS hoops telecast yesterday.
Lastly, here is the probably the worst excuse (but not surprising one) from DG to date:
"Even though we played 18 home games at the Sports Arena, every one of them was a road game," Guerrero said.
We wonder if the reporters pressed back on Chianti and asked him who decision was it for Bruins to play "road game" at the Sports Arena. The fact that Guerrero even went there demonstrates he expects large chunk of UCLA basketball fans to live in complete ignorance and pay no attention to his own clueless bureaucratic decisions that put our program in disadvantageous situation. As has been discussed numerous times on BN, a competent AD would have pursued all options to have the UCLA games in venues other than the Garbage Arena and minimize our appearances at that Dump.
Guerrero's comments once again confirm how if the Bruin fans want to save the basketball program, they need to be putting pressure on to remove him rather than focusing on Howland. At this point if Guerrero tries to save his bloated salary by throwing under the bus, he will conduct another cluster**** coaching "search," which will probably end with someone like Cameron Dollar coaching at UCLA (with guys like Lorenzo Romar and Mark Gottfried as "tier 1" choices).
We doubt Guerrero is even thinking about a coaching short list and is hoping to cruise through UCLA hoops relevancy by putting together a semi decent season by riding the talents of some "young" mercenaries next season.
Any way you look at the situation it's sad, disgraceful and ugly. It should make your stomach turn if you are an alum who loves what the four letters stand for and you cherish the legacy left behind by Coach Wooden. Things are not going to get better as long as the worst athletic director in Bruin history continue to fiddle away, while the legacy of one of the best programs in college basketball burns down in Westwood.