Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:18 pm
By Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish
Shabazz Muhammad is the top-ranked recruit in the nation.
Muhammad's recruitment, however, has drawn the attention of the NCAA - which has spoken to his father, Ron Holmes, about the family's relationship with a pair of financial advisors.
His list of finalists reads as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Kansas and USC.
You can read the exclusive story here:
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:03 pm
By Jeff Goodman
It's been a mess at UCLA over the past few years.
Sports Illustrated's George Dohrmann painted a telling picture that certainly has contributed to Ben Howland and the Bruins' recent struggles in Westwood.
Drugs. Fights. A chemistry killer. Hardly a novel concept within the workings of a big-time college basketball program.
"We've had all that stuff before," said one high-major assistant coach. "There's no bombshell there."
The shocker, honestly, is that it involves Howland -- forever considered a strict disciplinarian -- and a program like UCLA.
Everyone close to the Bruins program was well-aware of Reeves Nelson shortly after he arrived on campus. Talented, but a bad kid. He was described to me by more than one person as "the worst teammate ever to wear a UCLA Bruins uniform."
Dohrmann has plenty of Nelson stories. Fights with numerous teammates. Cheap shots. Urinating on ex-teammate Tyler Honeycutt's clothes.
Ultimately, Howland sold out and gave Nelson opportunity after opportunity instead of cutting ties early. That wouldn't have been the case had the Bruins been in the midst of three straight Final Fours from 2006-08. Instead, this is a program that has become irrelevant on the national landscape and Howland is fighting for his future on the left coast. The Bruins were 14-18 two years ago, made the NCAA tournament last season and will likely be headed to the NIT this year.
Howland can coach. There's no doubting that. Let's not forget what this man did his last couple years at Pittsburgh and during that impressive three-year stretch where they were a constant in the Final Four. He can also develop talent as many NBA guys have told me that UCLA Bruins are as prepared as anyone to come in and make a rapid adjustment to the pro game.
But he's apparently lost some measure of control within his own program. Former players, whether it's guys in the NBA or at other schools, are bashing his methodical system which doesn't promote freedom. Howland and his staff have been unable to recruit at the level necessary to compete at the highest level.
He's made mistakes on the recruiting trail, whether it was by taking kids that aren't talented enough or kids that doesn't fit his system and personality.
This story, which sheds a poor light on Howland and the program overall, certainly won't help his job security in Westwood.
Kids blowing off curfew to party and do drugs. Fights both on and off the court between teammates.
But let's not pretend this is an anomaly, either.
It happens on college campuses with students. It happens within soccer and lacrosse programs.
And it's happening with Howland's UCLA Bruins basketball team.
Howland has signed one of the nation's top recruits, 6-foot-8 point forward Kyle Anderson, but he had to go all the way to the northeast to do so. He hired a former AAU coach from Atlanta on his staff this past offseason. People can talk all they want about the lack of talent coming out of the west coast, but Howland and his staff were unable to beat out Arizona for Brandon Ashley and Grant Jarrett. They
UCLA isn't UCLA right now.
But it's not all that different than many other programs.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:34 pm
By Matt Norlander
In immediate wake of Sports Illustrated's piece on Ben Howland, Reeves Nelson and the culture of no accountability at UCLA, the podcast addresses why it's, really, not surprising. Nelson is no longer on the team, UCLA has a big recruiting class coming in -- and you could likely find these sorts of problems at most places not winning consistently right now. Why it's bad: Ben Howland's reputation takes a hit and it's unclear whether he ever separates himself from the past few years of bad chemistry and bad basketball. Aside from UCLA, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish and I touch on ...
Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:38 am
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:44 am
Players taking drugs, teammates fighting each other, an elite head coach losing control of his program.
The tales detailed by Sports Ilustrated’s George Dohrmann in his report on the fall of the UCLA program are eye-opening. With that said, we’re not looking at an NCAA investigation in the works, and, in fact, the reaction by most people is a simple raised eyebrow or two and a lack of surprise at the behavior.
Dohrmann places most of the blame on the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes, as well as the lack of control and discipline instilled by head coach Ben Howland. Once guys like Russell Westbrook, Jordan Farmer, Lorenzo Mata-Real, Josh Shipp and other players from the 2004 and 2005 recruiting classes left the program, the doctrines of “Wooden’s Pyramid of Success” – the UCLA way – quickly deteriorated with the younger players.
There was widespread drinking and drug use among the players in Westwood, including one story of three players going to a rave on New Year’s Eve – after specifically being asked not to go out – and using Ecstasy and partying until 5 a.m. Some of the players, according to Dorhmann, bragged about still feeling the effects of the drugs at practice the next morning.
Then there’s Reeves Nelson, of course. The heavily-tattoed power forward from Modesto, Calif. was supposed to bring toughness and other Howland philosophies to the table. Instead, he brought nothing but chaos and instability to the program.
Some of the “highlights” of Nelson’s tenure with the Bruins, as laid-out by Dohrmann:
Howland clearly lost of control of his program with lack of discipline and involvement in the development of players. Dohrmann wrote that Howland doesn’t have much contact with his team outside of games and practices, and constantly talks down to his assistants. Howland didn’t punish Nelson for several of his actions and let him run amok until finally kicking him off the team on December 9.
It was only a few years ago that Howland steered UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours from 2006-2008. The Bruins have steadily gone downhill since then, missing the NCAA tournament in 2010 and likely sitting on the sideline for the Big Dance this year too.
While Dohrmann’s piece does not magnify a NCAA scandal, it certainly shows the respect and luster for Howland – and UCLA – lessening with each passing year.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:30 am
By Matt Norlander
Murray State. Duke. Rivers. The big games this weekend. Substitute teachers. Pickup basketball. The best recruits waiting the longest to commit to schools. It's all on today's podcast.
Oh, and Borzello's my guest. Sorry about that. Had to inject some "flo" back into the proceedings.
On the docket:
Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:21 pm
By Matt Norlander
You know what to do. Here we are again, voting on the outcomes of games. The results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET, as well as "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET later that night. Both shows, of course, are on the CBS Sports Network.
Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:29 am
By Matt Norlander
OK, so take your guess. Which college program do you think has the most representation at the NBA level right now?
What jumps to mind? North Carolina’s superb lineage? You know Ben Howland had all those pros at UCLA in the past seven years. What about UConn? It’s always got a few future millionaires wearing its threads for a year or two.
The answer’s actually …
Duke. It’s ironic at face value, since the joke’s always been something to do with Duke’s players always being so great at the college level and amounting to nothing beyond that. But Duke’s been consistently getting guys into the Association.
You want to know how Mike Krzyzewski’s really keeping his program at the top? Well, winning that 2010 title helps, but just as importantly, he can walk into any recruit's home, flash those four rings, and also proclaim he’s putting more guys into the NBA than John Calipari, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Bill Donovan and Jim Calhoun. Most wouldn't think that was the case. Until I came upon this information, I would've maybe put Duke in the top five; certainly not atop the list.
1. Duke, 17
1. Atlantic Coast, 62
The names on that list aren't surprising, and they're not going to change. Winning titles doesn't go hand in hand with elite talent, but keeping your program at the forefront of college basketball does.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:20 am
By Matt Norlander
We can't turn our heads anymore. The Pac-12 is miserably bad, perhaps continuing in the worst season in its existence -- that dates back to when it was the Pac-8 and the Pac-10. What's the reason for this? Is it doomed to become a one-bid league? The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg says no, even if you want to upchuck your dinner just following this league.
Today's 'cast isn't all negative, though. Jeff and I also give our top five non-BCS teams, waxing on the Mountain West in the process. The MWC could be the fourth-best league in the nation. Let's start talking about that over peanut butter and crackers.
On to the podcast:
Continued thanks from me to you for keep coming back and listening. Please: spread the word. Hoops season is ramping up, and I'd love more hate mail. Spread this page and the iTunes subscription link to anyone you'd think would like this sort of think. We post three times per week, with the Wednesday show being a low-rent sitcom wannabe of a half hour, thanks to CBSSports.com national writers Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman Skyping in their opinions. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.