Howland's Tuesday Press Conference

Ben Howland talks on Tuesday about Shabazz Muhammad's illness, the new uniforms UCLA will be wearing against USC, and more...

Ben Howland talks on Tuesday:


BH: here's the update on Shabazz [Muhammad]. He did not practice today. He has flu-like symptoms. He took Tamiflu and is being hydrated. He had a lot of throwing up last night, starting around 9, 10 o'clock. Didn't get much sleep. He was throwing up throughout the evening into the early morning. And then Travis [Wear] today was able to go non-contact, get up and down, do a bunch of shooting. So we're anticipating that he'll be cleared to be able to play tomorrow because he had no symptoms whatsoever from the concussion. But that's not the final answer. The doctors have to do that. I guess he'll see the doctor a little bit later today. I'm hopeful that he'll be okay.


Q: what do you think you can do to avoid the inconsistencies with the team like last week you had?

BH: first of all, we played great out there on Thursday night. We watched the film as a team. Yesterday, before practice, of both games. We were really good. And you would have to be to win in Arizona. They're the #2 RPI, going into the game. They're a very good team. Can potentially go deep in the NCAA Tournament. And then Saturday, a quick turnaround, without Travis, which was definitely a factor… you could tell we were spent. And maybe some of that was I pushed them too hard last Monday. Last Monday, we had like 2 hours and 45 minutes and we were doing nothing but running. I thought it really helped us for Thursday. But I thought we were a little fatigued on Saturday, probably from hard we went all week prior to the Arizona game. With that being said, Arizona State has a very good team. Arizona State is going to get a bunch of wins here in this conference. Give them credit. A good part of the inconsistency from Thursday to Saturday was we were playing a very good team on their home floor that's well-coached and tough.

Q: have you ramped up the conditioning this year just because of the nature of the offense being more uptempo?

BH: yeah.

Q: how much more maybe than say in years' past?

BH: I would say we're doing more transition stuff on a regular basis. And you can overdo it. Overdo it and beat your team up. So there's a fine line in trying to find that.

Q: what do you think of the alternate uniforms for tomorrow?

BH: I think it looks great. It's going to add to the excitement for our fans and for our team. It's always fun so I'm all for it.

Q: do you see much value in recruiting? Like kind of having the "cool" alternate uniforms that kids look at?

BH: I'd have to ask the 16 year olds. I saw Kansas had theirs on last night. The kids love that stuff. They love all the uniforms. Kids love that. they love… it's a multi-billion dollar business. NBA. College uniforms. Licensing. No question. Players love it. Everybody loves it. Fans.

Q: did you stress the ‘SC-UCLA rivalry with the freshmen? Or did they kind of find out about it themselves?

BH: yeah both. We talked about it. It'll be their first one. But they get it. It's a big deal. Anytime we're playing ‘SC in any sport. It's kind of cool. Our conference is really unique in that way… in that everybody… I think it'll become more like that for Utah and Colorado… but everybody has a rivalry. Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State, Oregon-Oregon State, Cal-Stanford. That's what's really cool about the PAC-12. No one else can boast that. I think it's really special. it's unique.

Q: the matchups. How do you match up against USC?

BH: [Jio] Fontan is obviously going to be guarded by Larry [Drew II]. Assuming that Shabazz is okay, he'll probably start on [Byron] Wesley. And we'll have Jordan Adams match up with [J.T.] Terrell. And Kyle [Anderson] will end up on [Eric] Wise. And we'll start with Travis, assuming he's fine and cleared to go, on [Dewayne] Dedmon.

Q: and what do you think about the ‘SC players?

BH: I think they have very good size, quickness, athleticism. They're tough. They've played an unbelievably tough schedule. They've probably played the toughest schedule in our conference. When you look at… they played Illinois. Texas. Marquette. San Diego State. At Nebraska. At New Mexico. Minnesota. They're by far the team that's got the toughest schedule and strength of schedule in our conference.

Q: with Shabazz, do you get the impression that he'll try to play?

BH: too early to say. He's got the flu.

Q: have you even seen him in the last 24 hours?

BH: yeah, yesterday, he came to practice, and he was fine. He was great. 3 o'clock or whatever. This really hit him at 9 o'clock last night [Monday]. I talked to him today. He's down.

Q: is it similar to what happened with Kyle and Jordan last week?

BH: no, I think last week, they had… I was explaining that to Chris Foster here that… I think they had the gastrointestinal bug where according to our doctors, this is more flu-like symptoms. He has a fever. I think that's one of the things that points to that. He had a fever that was over 101F today.

Q: has ‘SC changed at all since the coaching change?

BH: yeah, I think they're playing the personnel differently. [J.T.] Terrell was back and playing a lot. I don't think he was playing a lot when Kevin [O'Neill] was the head coach the last 5 or 6 games of his tenure there. I think that Ari Stewart is playing more. I think they're playing zone. They never played any zone with Kevin. They play some zone now. I think they're trying to push it. So yeah, they have played a little differently. They've done a good job. They've been right there. They had a chance to beat Oregon. They had a step-back jumper by [Jio] Fontan and if it goes, they probably win the game. and they had 2 [audio difficulties]. One went in to tie the game. They played ASU. Our last opponent. And had an overtime loss. They had a chance to win that game. They're doing a very good job.

Q: given how [Jordan] Bachynski hit you guys in Tempe, how much do the 7 footers at USC worry you?

BH: well, [Jordan] Bachynski is a very good player. He's been playing well all year. He was great against us. He's second in the country in blocked shots. He had 22 [points] and 16 [rebounds]. Was really strong. I think both of the 7 footers are good for USC. I think both pose problems.

Sorry about the noise, guys. I have no idea what's going on. Get on Alex about that because we're trying to have a press conference.

Q: [audio difficulties]

BH: is that what it is?

Q: they forgot to put the mufflers on New Pauley.

BH: I apologize to you guys.

Q: will you guys have any interaction with Reggie [Miller] tomorrow? Do you want them to see the ceremony at halftime any?

BH: it's hard for us to watch the ceremony at halftime. It's right in the middle of a game. It's so exciting and so long overdue to have Jamaal [Wilkes] and Don Barksdale and obviously Reggie's jerseys retired. It's really special, and I wish we could be involved. We're very excited for him. He's a great player. And he's been a great representative of UCLA and he's really a classy, classy person. I think it'll be great. I think it's exciting that his sister went to USC. He's got all the LA media here tomorrow. So it's beautiful that they're doing it tomorrow. So I'm excited for him.

Q: could you use about 7 shots from him in the second half?

BH: yeah. It's amazing with Reggie. I go back and look at his stats. He played before the 3 point line in college, and he shot over 50% ever year he was here from the field. I think over 51%. And a lot of those were deep range jumpers. He is arguably the best shooter to ever play the game. And that's a big statement. And that's very much a statement that could be argued. What's interesting to me about him is usually guys that have really long arms have long leverage… you look between where his elbow is to his wrist, it's about where the end of my hand is here [to my elbow]. So he's just so long. It's just so easy for him. His levers are so long. But yet, long-armed guys a lot of times aren't great shooters. But he's an unbelievable shooter. You use certain guys as examples of how to read screens and you think about Reggie Miller, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen. Some of the best ever at how to read screens and come off screens tight or fade or curl or whatever it is. What a great player.

Q: how much are you going to have to… if Shabazz plays, do you have to manage him? What will be the telltales?

BH: I don't know. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. I think it's too early to say. Whether or not he'll play. Or if he does… but he's a tough kid. As we know, his dad went to USC. So this is probably a little bit extra special because he's going against his dad's alma mater. So hopefully he'll be okay. I'll be praying.

Q: did you ever have a guy play through a flu or through a fever?

BH: yeah, I had my best game ever in high school with a fever. So that's what I'll tell him. And he won't have a fever tomorrow, I don't think. At least I hope not.

Q: is that the single game record that got broken last year?

BH: it was. Roger Lodge and I were joking on his radio show because Roger played at Cerritos. He was a freshman when I was a senior, and he complained to me on the air that our high school coach took him out so he wouldn't break my record and I complimented my coach for it. He did the right thing, Roger. And my high school coach, Coach, he's living in Boise. And just went through an unbelievable ordeal and almost died this summer. Had to have aortic valve replacement and made it through. He was like in a coma for like a month. So I've seen guys… you think about Michael Jordan. One of his signature games was that game against the [Utah] Jazz where he was really, really sick and didn't let it stop him from doing what he needed to do. You see players raise their level sometime when they're feeling down. The great competitors. The great ones.

Thank you.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories