So our "mighty" Bruins (read: Ben Howland and Chianti Dan's dumpster fire basketball program) are not only technically in post-season "playoffs" (if this pathetic conference tournament can even be called that) but have advanced past the first round. Well, sort of: struggling to beat a pitiful U$C squad is hardly something to be proud of. But, despite our poor showing in this pathetically lackluster season, marred by scandal thanks to Ben and Chianti Dan, there are still Howlers out there clamoring that we "still have a shot" and that everything will be okay next year "when Shabazz comes."
LOL. So yeah, I thought Jim Mora Sr. was the right way to start this off. So while the writing is on the wall and we watch Ben flail away in what should be the final death spiral of the Ben Howland era at UCLA (not to mention the final death spiral of the laughably pathetic and failed Chianti Dan Guerrero era), we can take a few minutes to take a quick look at the various bits and pieces of news floating around from the wider UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with, of course, Howland and the dumpster fire program, Danny Lee at Larry Brown Sports has a pretty good take on Howland's failing and how UCLA basketball has become a complete and total disappointment, both on and off the court. Lee really keys in on the same themes we've been hammering at here on BN: that players have left and blown up at other schools, that Howland's lack of discipline has hamstrung the program, and that this simply would not fly at, say, Duke. Good read.
- While we're on the subject of piss-poor basketball, Jon Wilner and Jeff Faraudo at the San Jose Mercury News wrote up a synopsis of the total backward slide of the entire PAthetiC-12 conference and the very real possibility that the Pac-12 will end up with only one team in the NCAA tournament. One of the big factors in the conference's downturn? In Wilner's eyes, UCLA's total collapse.
- Turning to football, the Bruins will be adding All-County WR/DB Nick Pasquale from San Clemente as a preferred walk-on. The 5'9", 175 pound skill player looks like a good fit for the Mazzone system, but will also provide the Bruins with more depth at both positions, while also giving UCLA a solid scout team player. Welcome to Westwood Nick!
- Sticking with football, former UCLA defensive back Ricky Manning, Jr., is returning to his Fresno roots to take over as the head football coach at Edison High, replacing Tim McDonald (Tevin's father), who took a coaching job at Fresno State. Having been out of the NFL for a few seasons, let's hope that Ricky has as big of an impact on his players as McDonald did, and let's keep our fingers crossed that having their new coach bleed blue-and-gold will lead to Edison becoming a direct pipeline to Westwood.
- Finally, in academic news, plea negotiations are on-going in the criminal prosecution of UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran and the regents stemming from the death of lab assistant Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji in a chemical fire. For now, Professor Harran and the university won't return to Superior Court until April 11.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment threads with your thoughts, additions, and other interesting UCLA-related notes.