Tag:Reeves Nelson
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:38 am
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:44 am

Fall of the UCLA program detailed in new report

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.

Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:47 am

Reeves Nelson to play professionally in Lithuania

Jeff Borzello

If any schools wanted dismissed UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, they’re out of luck. He’s heading to Europe.

UCLA head coach Ben Howland said Thursday afternoon that Nelson will be playing professionally in Lithuania. Nelson’s father discussed it further with an area newspaper.

“As far as what team that will be, we can’t say because we don’t have a signed contract,” Brian Nelson, Reeves’ father, told the Modesto Bee.

“Reeves is not returning to college. He’s not transferring anywhere. He has every intention of turning pro.”

He will also be declaring himself eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft in June.

It's been a disastrous two months for Nelson. He was dismissed from the team by Howland last Friday, after being suspended indefinitely earlier in the week. Prior to that, he sat out the entire second half against Texas and seemed to be enjoying himself on the bench during the 10-point loss. In November, Nelson was also suspended for being late to a team meeting. He missed the team’s flight to Hawaii immediately following that suspension.

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds last season.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 9, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 2:06 pm

Source: UCLA dismisses Reeves Nelson

By Gary Parrish

Reeves Nelson was dismissed from the UCLA basketball team on Friday, a source told CBSSports.com.

An official announcement is expected soon.

Nelson was UCLA's best player, but he's been a problem throughout his career because of his inability to be a decent teammate. The 6-foot-8 forward was suspended Tuesday for the second time this season after being benched during last weekend's loss to Texas. Coach Ben Howland had previously given Nelson countless opportunities to correct his attitude but nothing ever changed. Consequently, the junior who received All-American consideration in the preseason is now off the team and free to transfer into another program that might be willing to take a troubled-but-gifted prospect.

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game last season.

He was averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game this season.

UCLA is 2-5 with its lone wins coming aganst Chaminade and Pepperdine.

The Bruins play Penn on Saturday.

Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 1:55 pm

UCLA's Nelson suspended again

By Gary Parrish

UCLA's Reeves Nelson was suspended from the men's basketball team on Tuesday for the second time this season, Bruins coach Ben Howland told CBSSports.com via text message. This development contradicts an earlier erroneous report from BruinReportOnline.com that indicated Nelson had been dismissed.

Asked if Nelson was dismissed as reported, Howland responded, "He's been suspended indefinitely."

Nelson was the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Bruins, but his junior season has been just as disastrous as UCLA's in general. The 6-foot-8 forward was suspended after a season-opening loss to Loyola-Marymount because of what basically amounted to an attitude problem that's been an issue for years. He missed UCLA's loss to Middle Tennessee State, then missed the team's flight to the Maui Invitational and played just 11 minutes against Chaminade. Nelson was benched for the second half of Saturday's game with Texas and was reportedly "laughing it up" on the sideline while his teammates lost 69-59.

"[Nelson's] behavior is totally uncharacteristic of what we want from a UCLA basketball player representing this history and tradition," UCLA coach Ben Howland said in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. "It's something that is going to be dealt with when we get together again. It's been an ongoing problem the past two years which has gotten worse."

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game last season. He is only averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game this season. UCLA -- the preseason pick to win the Pac-12 -- is 2-5 with its lone wins coming against Chaminade and Pepperdine. The Bruins play Penn on Saturday.

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: November 16, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 8:24 pm

UCLA's Howland reinstates Reeves Nelson

By Jeff Goodman

I never thought Ben Howland would sell out. 

UCLA's coach is feeling the heat, following an 0-2 start after an embarrassing loss to Loyola Marymount and a 20-point drubbing at the hands of Middle Tennessee State to begin the season.

The Bruins are desperate and headed to play in a loaded Maui Invitational early next week.

So, what did Howland do?

Howland reinstated Reeves Nelson, his most productive player, on Wednesday afternoon.

"After much deliberation, I have decided to reinstate Reeves Nelson,” Howland in a statement. “Reeves understands that his reinstatement is contingent on his ability to continually meet the high standards we have established for all UCLA men’s basketball players. He expressed to me in our meeting earlier today that he desires to be a better person and better teammate going forward, and, given that, I feel as though I should give him that opportunity.”

Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call for Nelson, but multiple sources close to the UCLA program maintain Nelson is near the top of the list when it comes to "chemistry killers."

Again, Howland isn't the only coach in America to make a decision in which talent supersedes everything else.

He realizes that this team - one with the Wear Twins and a plump Josh Smith up front - and Lazeric Jones and Tyler Lamb in the backcourt - doesn't have enough talent to compete with the big boys. In fact, it may not be enough to finish in the top half of a mediocre Pac-12. 

Howland wants to win. No, needs to win.

So, he's decided to bring back Nelson - whom he has clashed with throughout much of his career.


We know why.

Sometimes winning trumps everything else.

This was one of those cases.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 10:32 am

Winless UCLA on verge of its season unraveling

By Matt Norlander

I'm going to abandon convention and completely undress, evaluate, conclusion-jump and criticize Ben Howland and UCLA right now.

Because seriously, man -- what the hell? An 86-66 loss to Middle Tennessee State last night? In Los Angeles? Howland is having his Billy Gillispie moment. He's having trouble recruiting, and the talent that should be winning games isn't. I'm not merely talking this season, of course. This has been building, and now you're starting to see a real possibility the flames take down the house.
The Bruins missed Nelson's fire and grit in the first game of the Maui Invitational, not to mention his scoring and rebounding, but their second straight double-digit defeat against a no-name opponent was certainly no fluke.

The Blue Raiders appeared to possess better athletes and played with more poise on both ends of the court on the way to their first 3-0 start in 10 years.

Middle Tennessee State also made shots, an art form that continued to elude the Bruins (0-2). The Blue Raiders buried their first nine three-point attempts and finished 10 of 11 (90.9%) from behind the arc.

They seemingly couldn't miss from anywhere while making 35 of 49 shots (71.4%), building leads that swelled to as many as 22 points in the second half. Forward LaRon Dendy had 16 points and 13 rebounds as one of five Blue Raiders to score in double figures.
Last night was a convergence of a team lacking in passion going up against a group that had an all-time 3-point shooting performance. If MTSU hadn't missed the second-to-last 3-point shot it took, it would've set the NCAA record by going 10 for 10.

What's more for UCLA, there are clearly issues amongst the team, too, as Reeves Nelson didn't play last night and could just as easily ask for a transfer out of the program before this post is finished. Nelson is indefinitely suspended, and no one knows the exact reason why. But from the outside, it seems evident he's been a malcontent. Having talked with him before, I can tell you he's an eccentric guy, for sure. He's like a less-talented, more renegade version of Bill Walton (who famously clashed with John Wooden).

Josh Smith talked smack on Twitter about the team that beat him. He then recanted. Smith is an amazing talent, but lazy and overweight. He should not be speaking out of turn when his team's 0-2 and he looks perpetually afraid of the treadmill.

UCLA's season already feels like its on the brink. It's been eight years since the Bruins started 0-2. That season was Steve Lavin's last; the Bruins finished 10-19. Fans are not anxious or panicking -- they are full-on freaking out. This awful start puts a threat that 2012 No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad will consider the Bruins. If Howland doesn't get Muhammad and UCLA misses the tournament this year, is he out? Plenty will make the case he's a coach who will have gone through his life cycle there. The month of November is a crucial one for Howland's future in Los Angeles.

It is no secret that Howland is not considered easy to play for. He's had to bring in Korey McCray, an AAU coach out of Atlanta, to help with recruiting. It may not be enough. Howland's going up against coaches who no doubt are killing him behind closed doors. With the talent UCLA has on the team right now, this has to be an NCAA tournament team this year. But we're already at a point where a post like this is justified.

Now comes the Maui tournament, though technically the tournament began with a loss, as the MTSU game was part of the mainland portion of the bracket. It starts with a game against D-II Chaminade, then will be followed by a tilt with Georgetown or Kansas. The field also has Duke, Tennessee, Michigan and Memphis. Some believe its the deepest crop the Maui Invitational has ever hosted. Could UCLA only get one win there? Is this team going to be 1-4 by the end of next week?

It feels make-or-break. If UCLA emerges 2-3, it will have done the inconceivable and smothered the issue in duct tape. UCLA's season can essentially go up in flames in the next three weeks, which ends with a home game against enigmatic Texas. Howland's faced a lot of pressure in Westwood since arriving. It's never been as much of a squeeze as it is right now.

Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:34 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 7:34 pm

Reeves Nelson's status with UCLA in question?

By Jeff Borzello

Considering it’s only November, most thought things at UCLA couldn’t get much worse after the Bruins lost to Loyola Marymount and then Josh Smith so kindly referred to the Lions as “straight bums.”

Apparently, things could definitely get worse.

Reeves Nelson, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, is meeting with head coach Ben Howland Monday afternoon to discuss his future with the team.

“I still take it as he’s part of the team,” Smith told the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve talked to him, but there’s not really any information to tell me where he’s leaning. I want him to stay.”

When asked if Nelson would suit up for the Bruins on Tuesday night against Middle Tennessee State, Howland was noncommittal.

“I can’t comment any further until I sit and talk to him,” Howland said.

According to the newspaper, Nelson was visibly frustrated during the loss to Loyola Marymount in the opener. He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in the defeat.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: June 8, 2011 9:04 am

Howland unveils plans for surfeit of big men

Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith with anchor the UCLA inside game in 2011-12.

Posted by Eric Angevine

As has happened so many times over the past few years, the UCLA program has been stripped of future promise by the lure of the NBA. Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee bolted the program this spring, leaving Ben Howland to build a roster with youngsters, transfers and breakout junior-to-be Reeves Nelson.

What Howland has plenty of, this season, is size. Nelson is 6-foot-8, Josh Smith is 6-10, and the Wear twins -- ready to play after transferring from North Carolina -- clock in at right around 6-10, 230 pounds apiece. That's a lot of beef, so where do all the minutes go?

Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic reports that UCLA radio recently interviewed Howland, and found out some of the head coach's plans for his embarrassment of riches in the post. Seems second-year player Josh Smith will be the fulcrum that the Bruins' offense teeters upon.

"Josh, 1-on-1 in the low post, is unstoppable by another college player," Howland told UCLA Radio.

"He's just too big, too strong. You don't have guys like that often. The only other guy we've had like him was Kevin (Love.) Kevin was unstoppable 1-on-1 in the low post and Josh is the same deal. So it's really going to be nice for the perimeter players, because if (opponents) don't double on him, if they don't help on him, then it's over. He's going to score."

Even though Honeycutt and Lee were the team's best three-point gunners last season, that means Howland plans to play more four man motion in 2011-12, with the other players on the floor serving more of a perimeter role while Smith bangs inside. Nelson and Travis Wear will be the other nominal frontcourt players, while David Wear will shift into a small forward role, according to Howland.

Haller wrote "(The move to small forward will place David Wear) in a group of perimeter players that includes Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson, Tyler Lamb, freshman Norman Powell and junior college transfer De'End Parker."

While the notion of depending on Smith to play up to his potential might cause concern to Bruins fans, that backcourt rotation highlights a problem that Howland has had ever since Russell Westbrook bolted the program in 2008 - no obvious solution at point guard. Smith can play like a conference first-teamer next season, but if there's nobody on the roster who can get the ball where it needs to be, motion will be dead in the water.

Jones and Anderson shared the job fairly well last season, with Jones taking the slight edge; averaging 28 minutes, 9.1 points and 3.6 assists per game. The 6-8 Honeycutt actually did a pretty good job of facilitating the offense as a forward, averaging 2.8 assists per, but, as noted previously, he's gone. Howland will have to wait a year for his other UNC transfer, Larry Drew II, to be eligible to help out.

Howland's a smart guy, and he's had to learn all kinds of methods to adapt to his fluid lineups over the volatile years since Westbrook and Kevin Love left the program. This should be an interesting experiment to watch, as the inaugural season of the expanded Pac-12 gets underway.

Photo: US Presswire
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com