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So remember the debate about Ben Howland staying or going for one more year? Well, it seems like the majority of readers got their way: Ben Howland will back next season to coach our UCLA Bruins basketball squad.
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero has confirmed that Ben Howland will return as head coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team.
I had several discussions with Head Coach Ben Howland before deciding on what was best for the future of UCLA Basketball. Subsequent to these conversations, and in consultation with Chancellor Block, I have made the decision that the UCLA men’s basketball program will remain under Coach Howland’s leadership and direction.
Interesting. Ben Howland has rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way (although many of those fans calling for Howland’s head are rubbed the wrong way if you look at them funny), but it seems to me that a good number of fans and alum believe he should be back for one more season.
Ben Howland also had some stuff to say on being retained for 2012-13:
This past season has been the most challenging of my 31 years as a college basketball coach. I have endured seasons with fewer wins, but none with more disappointment. The unfavorable light that is cast upon our program is my responsibility as the UCLA head coach. But we will get better, and I will get better.
Well, we cannot knock on the guy for deflecting criticism; he owned up to the issues that are surrounding UCLA basketball, and I guess that’s all we can ever ask for.
Oh, and winning some basketball games might help, too.
It’s going to be interesting to see just how well UCLA basketball fares in what could be Howland’s last season. We’re bringing in top-tier talent with commits from five-star recruit Kyle Anderson and four-star recruit Jordan Adams. We’re also getting strong consideration from consensus No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad and four-star recruit Tony Parker.
Of course, none of these guys are formidable point guards because they’re all wings, with the exception of Parker, who figures to be a pivot or get some time at the 4. That’s significant considering Howland’s offensive and defensive schemes fell apart without a decent point guard.
If all four sign — how awesome would that be? — then we have to evaluate how Howland uses his top recruiting class. Historically, he’s too stubborn to start freshmen, as he has been all of the 2011-12 season.
Regardless, Howland needs to change his style of coaching and needs to get better at connecting with his players. His abrasive personality caused for the release of the infamous “Not the UCLA way” Sports Illustrated article. Though some facts in there might be shoddy, the fact is he ticked off enough youngsters to force their hand in bashing him in any way possible.
So we’ll hope for the best, as always, while anxiously wondering if we’ll get back to prominence under Howland’s tenure.
Once again, UCLA is playing the waiting game.