UCLA Basketball Coach Ben Howland has announced that Reeves Nelson, the Bruins’ leading scorer and rebounder in 2010-11, Sports Illustrated’s cover guy as he is featured on the cover of their college basketball preview issue, and someone who is crucial to the team’s hopes for this season, has been suspended indefinitely for, according to the Los Angeles Times, “conduct unbecoming a member of the team.”
“This is a very disappointing situation for Reeves and our basketball program”, Howland told the Times’ Ben Bolch. “…Reeves has fallen short of our expectations.”
Nelson has had a history of immature behavior when things were not going well on the court throughout his career, doing things like throw a ball at teammate Brendan Lane during a game last year and tuning out coaches during timeouts, which he apparently did during UCLA’s loss to Loyola Marymount this past Friday.
This is a case of a young player needing to do a better job in maturing, especially at a place like UCLA where, as a part of John Wooden’s legacy, an emphasis is placed on that.
Gary Porter, Nelson’s coach at Modesto Christian High, told the Times that “His biggest battle is mental…” and that he suspended Nelson “quite a few games” during his senior year because of a problem in his attitude.
“I had to get in his face many times. That’s what you have to do with him.” Porter told Bolch.
Nelson will not play in the Bruins game against Middle Tennessee State tonight at the Sports Arena, and his behavior may well cost the team as his ability in the paint will be sorely missed. Howland has said that he will meet with Nelson later this week to discuss things.
I sure hope that UCLA won’t get in trouble and start losing more games due to this; if they do, i.e., lose to Middle Tennessee State tonight, Nelson should take at least some of the blame for not being mature enough to be on the court helping the team.
That’s the way I see this.