Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Basketball: Reasons Why Ben Howland Should Keep His Job

(UPDATE: People don’t understand satire, so I guess I have to ruin the joke and point out that this is satire. Ben Howland sucks.)

With UCLA hoops struggling, Bruins fans are in disarray.

After a rough four years, some UCLA fans have taken to calling for Howland’s job, suggesting that somehow, he’s done terribly ever since taking the Bruins to the Final Four back in 2008.

For every one of those fans, though, you get rational geniuses like this one:

Of course, in one of those tweets, you saw me defend those crazies that wanted to fire Howland. I regret this decision and this particular fan made me see the light. Let’s go over some reasons why Ben Howland should keep his job.

  • He led UCLA to their only Final Four appearances ever. If you don’t include the 15 previous Final Fours that UCLA accumulated — and you shouldn’t include them because they didn’t include Ben Howland as the head coach — then UCLA has achieved unprecedented success under Ben Howland. No coach in the history of UCLA basketball history (!) has ever led UCLA to multiple Final Fours in one tenure if you leave out a certain coach or two. Given UCLA’s history, there’s no reason to suggest the Bruins will ever get to another Final Four or even make the tournament; it’s just not in our tradition. Fans should be grateful for what Howland did almost a decade ago.
  • He produces NBA players. College coaches never produce NBA players and the very few that do, only produce maybe one or two in their entire tenures. There are stats to back that up, and we’d cite them, but do we really need to? (No, which is fine because we didn’t look it up.) Ben Howland? He’s produced over a dozen NBA players and if you don’t count around 435 other NBA players, he’s perhaps the only current coach to have produced players worthy of being in a 15-man roster at the next level. Find me another coach that produces NBA players and then we’ll talk.
  • The players are at fault for UCLA’s failures, not Ben Howland. People want to rag on Howland for having an immensely talented team as if his players’ performance is on him. People are upset with Howland ’cause he won’t go to the zone but how do you expect him to go to the zone? That’s like using a cheap pheromone to pick up women at a bar. It’s a total cop-out. His players need to learn how to play man defense even if that doesn’t tailor to their talents. Why should Ben Howland adjust his game-plan to put his players in a position to succeed? These are grown, 18-year old men, they should be able to thrive or die in his system, and if they are struggling, they can get the eff out. Speaking of which …
  • Players leave because they aren’t man enough to keep up with Howland’s culture of winning. In Ben Howland’s system, you either adapt or move on. That’s why players have left the program, not because Howland sucked every inch of joy that these snot-nosed brats had while playing basketball. If Reeves Nelson is putting up the numbers he put up, don’t bitch about him pissing on your clothes or trying to re-injure you during practice. Howland makes this acceptable to toughen you up. If you want the harassment to stop, put up better numbers. Simple as that. (Reeves Nelson also started crying about the Wears getting more touches, and Howland promptly dismissed him.)
  • Cal Poly is an NCAA tournament team. Fans point to the Cal Poly loss as a major reason Howland should go. Why? If you ask Ben, Cal Poly is a tournament team that’s dangerous and could go deep. It’s not like the squad’s record is representative of their talent level — they only lost to a struggling-but-very-talented TCU squad, a WAC team and Saint Mary’s, all of which are also tournament teams. Cal Poly may be 3-3 but their record should read 6-0 and they should be ranked. (Pay no attention to their double-digit losses to TCU and SMC, the game was probably closer than what the final score suggests.)
  • Freshmen aren’t people.  Fans complain about Howland not giving youngsters minutes, but don’t they know that freshman have to work their way up to the rotation and they can only do so by sitting on the bench for a year? The Wear Twins are well-equipped to carry this team on their shoulders and they should be getting ever possible minute they can. Same goes for Larry Drew II. Ben Howland hit it right on the head when he said Larry Drew II was the best point guard he ever coached at UCLA. We agree, especially if you exclude Jordan Farmar and Darren Collison and maybe a couple other guys, too.

So you see, fans are just overreacting. They are entirely ungrateful for the only success UCLA has seen in its entire history of fielding a basketball program. No figure identifies more with UCLA than Ben Howland does and for his three Final Fours — a program-best if you work the numbers correctly — he deserves lifetime amnesty from all your unwanted criticism.

(If you don’t see this post dripping with satire, punch yourself in the mouth right now.)

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