The SI UCLA Piece: Much Ado, As They Say

There was a swift buildup to the article outlining the demise of UCLA basketball.

It hit the twittersphere hard and didn’t let up. Sports By Brooks made allusions; opponents made assumptions; fans feared the worst.

Then it leaked or was released or was just read by a lot of people before it was actually in Sports Illustrated or on or I don’t know what happened surrounding the release of this damn thing but it was confusing. My point is, I started reading stuff about the contents of this article and after suspecting that it would have a whole lot of stuff that we already assumed about Howland and his bunch of malcontents, it was confirmed.

Is it that surprising that kids take advantage of a toothless bark? That players leave a program that isn’t going to necessarily teach them anything new, push them to new heights, or challenge their skill? Rightfully run from bullies and the mishandling of attitudes?

When I finally had the opportunity to read the publicized piece I was underwhelmed. It felt like the nerdy kid in high school tattling on the cool kids.

I was most offended by Howland’s temperature demands in the film room. Dude, you live in LA, it’s perfect there year ’round. Get over it.

Will this cost Howland his job? Absolutely not. Anyone already close to the program knew all of this and I can’t imagine any outsider is shocked by these allegations. But it does grossly highlight the lack of accountability in the program and the structure of misaligned priorities that will ultimately bring about the demise of the Howland tenure.

Could Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and whatever other combination of 2012 recruits commit to UCLA – potentially including #1 Shabazz Muhammad and #20 Tony Parker – salvage this black eyed program? Absolutely. Wins are the ultimate PR remedy and talent can contribute just that.

It may not be fair and it may not be right but it’s the sports world we live in. Ultimately college basketball – and more immediately the Pac-12 – are best suited when UCLA is good so someone in Westwood needs to figure it out soon.

If looking for the positive side of things, Howland and Guerrero no longer have the opportunity to hide behind the veil of privacy they assumed they had. They had a chance to be accountable to each other and to the school and to the student-athletes they taught.

Now that veil has been lifted and all eyes are on them.

Whatcha gonna do, Big Ben?

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