A new era is coming … or is it already here?
Howland is the new head basketball coach at UCLA. He has already
rebuilt two programs, Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh and has his
biggest test right ahead of him. He seems to be working harder in his
first two weeks then his predecessor did his entire last year. It is
obvious to anyone around him that he is a hard worker. He has
reportedly already met with one of the top shooting guards in the west
coast’s junior class, Arron Afflalo and gotten a verbal commitment. He
has also met with one of the top west coast point guards, Jordan
Farmer of Taft, as well as one of the west’s best big men, David
Burgess. The best recruit that has listed UCLA that hadn’t before the
hire is phenom, Sebastian Telfair, PG Brooklyn. He might be the best
player in the country in the junior class and maybe the first recruit
for UCLA from NY since a guy named Lew Alcindor. All these players
have an interest in UCLA and with the change in leadership this is not
a big surprise to those knowledgeable about college basketball.
Howland has also had a team meeting with his current players as
well as individual meetings with his team. He has told the team that
the weight and conditioning program is going to be revamped and that
they are going to get bigger and stronger. Ben Howland has taken his
dream job and has started in a sprint. It seems everyday there is good
news coming out of the UCLA basketball news center, something UCLA
fans have been starving for!
Andre Patterson and TJ Cummings were reportedly both in academic
trouble. Andre has been dismissed from school for the second time and
TJ is still enrolled and has been seen on campus. Ben Howland has
stated that academics are important and he will push for his players
to graduate and maintain acceptable grade point averages.
The most amazing part of the entire scenario is that he is doing
all this without a staff. His old staff at Pittsburgh is waiting to
see if his number one assistant, Jaime Dixon, is offered his old
position at Pittsburgh. The speculation is that Pittsburgh should
announce their coaching choice in the next two weeks. If Dixon does
not get the job you can expect him to come to UCLA and be the top
assistant and UCLA’s recruiting to be even better than the swell that
we have already seen.
All in all, after two weeks, UCLA is back! They may not be a top
power next year or the year after, but I would expect UCLA to be in
the top 10 in three years. They are already recruiting like an elite
program after two weeks, after two years the sky is the limit!
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