Shockingly, Reeves Nelson's suspension is over and he rejoins the team as they head to a Maui Invitational featuring Georgetown, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, Kansas and Duke.
Howland said in a statement that Nelson understood his reinstatement was contingent on improving the behavior issues that have included his sulking and berating of teammates when things go awry.
"I acknowledge there are corrections that need to be made and I'm grateful to Coach Howland to have this opportunity to improve and work on being a positive force for our team," Nelson said in a statement.
Nelson's status was part of a rapidly expanding list of issues requiring Howland's attention after UCLA fell to 0-2 for the first time since the 2002-03 season. That was coach Steve Lavin's final five months in Westwood before being fired.Also in Ben Bolch's story was the mention that UCLA might start mixing in some zone defense (Josh Smith protection) and defending ball screens differently (or actually making an attempt to).
There are respect issues, anger issues, off-court treatment of others. All were the sorts of poisonous things that go unseen away from the games and show up in detrimental ways during them.
Still, Nelson was the star, and we have seen this movie before many times in big-time college sports. The quarterback gets in the bar fight and is punished by sitting out the first series of the next game. The high-scoring forward gets caught with cocaine and plays as the school "investigates."
These are educational moments, both for the player involved and for the other players watching. Sometimes, merely doing the right thing is the best lesson.
Howland suspended his star player. He did the right thing. Games last night ....
It's going to be a long season for the Utah Utes, who were handled by Boise State 80-59.
Beyond that, there wasn’t much the Utes could take away from their loss to the Broncos, who, too, entered the year burdened by high turnover and low expectations. Boise State, with 11 new players on its roster from a year ago, was picked last in the Mountain West Conference’s preseason poll.
“We’re picked last, too,” first-year Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “Apparently the Mountain West Conference is 20 points better than the Pac-12.”Oregon State survived a test from Hofstra last night, and improved to 3-0 with a 82-72 win. Jared Cunningham scored a career-high 35 points.
This was by far the gutsiest win I've seen of our teams," coach Craig Robinson said. "To take a bunch of really good basketball players from New York City who tried to come in here and steal one from you and take a punch in the mouth and be able to deliver one back and come out with a win was just tremendous."Tonight's games ...
St. John’s vs. No. 15 Arizona, 9:30 p.m. (10) ESPN2
- Here's a scouting report. You have to wonder how much Josiah Walker will play tonight after the talented freshman was benched last week.