Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
“The article does not matter to Lil Kyle or our family,” Anderson Sr. told SNY.tv. “We support Coach Howland and the UCLA staff and Lil Kyle is still UCLA-bound in June.”
Anderson signed with the Bruins last fall, choosing them over Seton Hall, St. John’s, Georgetown and Florida.
Of course, things could change if Howland is not brought back next season.
UCLA AD Dan Guerrero told Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times he would meet with Howland following the season.
According to the Times, Guerrero said he must look at the issues in the SI story “Before I comment on the long-term future.”
Howland told the Times that he and Guerrero meet every year to ““talk about our strengths and weaknesses and what we need to get better at. … I am very confident that I will lead this program lead in the future.”
The SI story referenced past UCLA players involved in fights, disrespecting the program and using alcohol and drugs.
“Guys drinking, guys doing drugs, guys not taking practice seriously, guys fighting,” one player told SI. “You won’t find that on the Pyramid of Success.”
The story says Howland dismissed one popular student-manager “who was known to party with the players” after the student-manager met with Howland and explained what the players were doing.
“In my 18 years as a head basketball coach and nine years as the head basketball coach at UCLA, if I found out that a student manager was partying with some of our players, I would have told him to leave the program,” Howland told SI. “In our program the managers are more closely related to the coaching staff than they are to the student-athletes. In fact, many of my former managers are now successful coaches, and I’m very proud of what they have accomplished.”
Much of the article focused on the bad behavior and fights initiated by former Bruin Reeves Nelson, who was dismissed from the team, played briefly in Lithuania and then returned home to Modesto, CAlif., to prepare for the NBA Draft.
“It’s been a tough year also for Ben as it relates to the guys on the team, having to make the decision to have Reeves leave certainly cost the team in some respects in how they could develop,” Guerrero told SNY.tv earlier this month when UCLA lost to St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.
Howland is counting heavily on Anderson, a 6-foot-9 point guard called “the modern-day Magic Johnson” by Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley of St. Anthony, arrives on the scene.
“You can see that we need Kyle and so his opportunity to come in and be an impact player right away is definitely sitting there for him,” Howland said after the St. John’s loss.
UCLA is also in the mix for 6-6 wing Shabazz Muhammad and 6-9 forward Tony Parker, but face stiff competition for both.
Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, UNLV and Kansas are also in the mix for Muhammad, who recently returned from an official to Kansas that went well, and Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis and Georgia are among the schools after Parker.
“I’m going to be in their ear about it,” Anderson told SNY.tv recently. “But it’s up to them. I’m going to put it out there that we really need them.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.