Blog Entry

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:38 am
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:44 am
Under Ben Howland, the UCLA doctrines instilled under John Wooden have quickly deteriorated. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

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:

  • Urinating on Tyler Honeycutt’s clothes and flipping his bed over
  • Purposely pulling down on James Keefe’s left arm, which had just been repaired by surgery, and injuring Alex Schrempf’s back for several months with a hard foul
  • Berating Matt Carlino and calling him “concussion boy” to the point Carlino felt the need to transfer to BYU
  • Constantly talking back and yelling at assistant coaches
  • Fighting Mike Moser and Drew Gordon on multiple occasions

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.


Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:45 am

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

Reeves is a tool among all tools.  You could tell he was garbage just watching him play.  One thing he had nothing to do with is Josh Smith being a waste of space - so happy the Montlake Dawgs didn't end up with that underachieving, lazy whiner.  As for Nelson - who went on ESPN to "clear his good name" (no one has even said it was good), clam it bro.  You're not only the reason for this wonderful UCLA season, you are the poster child for the type of douche bag every coach in the US should avoid.  Had I been on your team and a witness to your nutless behavior - you would have to speak using a pointer strapped to your chin.

UCLA is who I root against, so no tears here, but it's sad to see someone like Nelson, accept no accountability or responsibility for his tool-like actions and contribute to the complete demise and implosion of what should be one of the top 10 hoop programs in the country.  He should be embarassed and realize the program is much bigger than him and most likely, outside his imbred parents, no one gives a rip about him and his personal drama since getting himself removed the team.  Find a hole Reeves and stuff that egotistical head in there as far as it goes.  Here's to you working at Burger King yo!

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:57 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

You got me on that one laoaktown. Howland is going to have a banner year in 2013 and may even break .500 in league play. That is; if whoever replaces Dan Guerrero still wants this chappy dude as his head coach for once was a proud program, but now has been overtaken as an afterthought in college basketball circles. Sometimes the Truth hurts bro! I'd love to go watch UCLA basketball, but my life expectancy shrinks every time I visit the Sports Arena. Speaking of Pauley, it was and still will forever be a dump in today's world. Can at least the seats behind the basket be within 25 yards of the court? Yeah! The cheerleaders are hot, but they don't need half an acre to look good.

Since: Apr 9, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:16 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

Laughable at best bro.  The Mountain West is just running amok with NCAA tournament wins annually!  Which Mountain West Team has gone to 3 Final Fours in a row?? NONE FOOLIO.............................


You've obviously spent minimal time on an athletic team or else you'd know punks are present on almost every team until they get dismissed, WHICH THEY WERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Howland will have a nice rebound next year, several coming in and Norman Powell on ice.  Couple of bigs growing and others in the mix.  We are fine........go find another target.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:49 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

they won last night. maybe the expectations are too high.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:09 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

You're spot on laoakdown! Nothing to see here folks! Just move along. Everything's just fine in Westwood. I know So Cal is the home to FantasyLand, but get a clue bro. The Mountain West has a virtual All-Star team of dudes who escaped from that gulag that Howland was and is stiil running. Easy there bro on labeling some guys Quitters. I doubt you'd hang around if some nut job teammate used your bed as a urinal, tried to yank your shooting arm off or went WWF every time @ practice. Man; those road trips must have been a barrel of laughs with this Nelson doing his Tony Montana impersonation and Howland sitting idly by doing virtually nothing. Must really suck to be a Briun sports fan.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:47 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

So is this really what that new "Project X" movie is about?

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:59 am

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

There are 7 D1 teams that have won 3 or more NCAA titles and 4 of those 7 are in the top 6 in the currentt AP Poll.    Indiana is number 18.   UConn was ranked high earlier in the year but with their coach out they have fallen out of the top 25.   UCLA is the team of that group to be lowly regarded, however like Indiana the last few years and Kentucky about 7 years ago, the mighty can come back quickly.  

Not sure about the charges are a reflection of the coach or a few players who need to stop acting like I did at age 20.    

Since: Apr 9, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:15 am

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

Glad to see a good showing tonight by the players that matter.  Reeves Nelson is the true dysfunction as were some of the other whiners that QUIT! Ben Howland is going no where and the majority of Bruin faithful support him.  No doubt the last 3 seasons have been flawed, with some mistakes on Ben's part, but the alumni and Athletic Dept. are as fault as well.  

Guerrero needs to be on the same pathetic bus Nelson took out of town.


Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:51 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

A word of caution to midniterider and anyone else out there in CBS SportsNation. Just ignore this nut case that goes by the name of milesbeyondU. The pathetic fella is a poor man's version of Ted Kasynski or the UNAbomber as he is affectionately known as. Pig Latin is a great term for whatever this idiot miles is trying to produce.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:43 pm

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

What exactly is your problem Huskyfever1? It's well known that Sam Gilbert was the money man for Wooden's UCLA teams. Please tell me what I posted was so offensive to you? As for Mr. Milesbeyondhelp; he's simply a hopeless romantic that's having a tough time in the 21st century. Hey bro! Mom's basement ain't all that bad. You'll find out in the next few years my man.

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