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A New Era is Coming

UCLA Homepage

UCLA Basketball

UCLA Bruins Hire

Ben Howland

by David Bartman

April 22nd, 2003

A new era is coming … or is it already here?

Ben 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!

David Bartman

E-Mail the Author: David Bartman

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