Howland, Players on Teleconference

Head Coach Ben Howland talks about the reason he bought his Los Angeles home; Jordan Farmar discusses his relationship with his coach; Cedric Bozeman relates the low point of his career, and Arron Afflalo talks about Howland's sense of humor...

Here are few comments from a teleconference today featuring UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland and a few players.

Jordan Farmar on the turning point of the season:

"The turning point of the year was our loss at USC. We played terribly on defense. We then re-shifted our focus and made a conscious effort to be a good defense team."

Farmar on his relationship with Coach Howland:

"It's definitely a good one. There's a lot of communication. I'm the leader and the coach on the floor. He's the boss, and he demands a lot out of me. If he didn't demand it I wouldn't be getting better. He's the boss, but he's open to communication."

Farmar on whether he's frustrated in UCLA's offense:

"I don't even think about that now. Winnings the most fun experience. As long as we end up in the win column, that's all I care about."

Cedric Bozeman on when he felt he hit rock bottom during his UCLA career:

"It wasn't any injury. It was the 10-season, which was the worst in UCLA history. That was the lowest point of my career. Losing hurts more than injuries."

Bozeman on his relationship with Howland:

"It's definitely grown, and it's never been negative. I've gotten a further understanding of what coach wants from his players and his team. The older I got the more I understood it more clearly."

Bozeman on whether he considered transferring when Howland took over:

"Not at the time. At the time I was getting over an injury. I was more concerned about my health. I knew the change was for the better. And I'm from L.A., it's where I grew up and I wanted to stick it out. It's UCLA."

Bozeman on whether the lows in the program were tough to get through, like on campus:

"There were some rough spots. It was hard to come to school at times, and show your face around campus. But being a part of the lows now makes this much more pleasing."

Bozeman on whether he's talked to Lavin:

"I talked to him when we were in Washington. He emphasized the progress we were making. He leaves little messages on my phone now and then."

Arron Afflalo on the team struggling on offense:

"We didn't make many buckets (in the Memphis game), but we were getting fouled a lot. We were running our plays pretty good. Everything is falling into place. I think we're a better offensive team when we get points in transition and when we're running."

Afflalo on Howland's sense of humor on and off the court:

"On the court or in the locker room he's all business. Outside of that he has his own sense of humor."

Afflalo on the wrist he injured in the Memphis game:

"It's fine."

Ben Howland on talking with Coach Wooden recently:

"He actually called me. It was great. We talked about a lot of things, but nothing specific to share with you. It's personal. He left today to go down to San Diego for the McDonald's All-American Game. He's not coming back to Indiana. It's too much travel for him."

Howland on local kids playing for UCLA and LSU:

"It's kind of special because many of the kids are local kids. They have quite a few from Louisiana. We have Afflalo, Farmar, Shipp, Mata, Bozeman and Hollins. They Special to me some of these kids are local kids. We ahve affallo, farmar and shipp and mata and zbozmena, hollins. It's great that both teams have a lot of local players that represent teh area and that grew up with UCLA and LSU."

Howland on the one critical feature in his home:

"The film room in my house. I told my wife to find a house for $2 million close to UCLA, which is tough. She went to see this one and there was a film room and I said, ‘This is it.' So I can watch film."

Howland on practicing free-throw shooting:

"We're working on it. We had two players in so far today to work on it. Basketball is a game of repetition. Shooting, blocking out, jump stopping, shot faking...it's all about doing things over and over again. Free throw shooting is a routine. The thing is, Hollins was six for six against Gonzaga, and he made 2 of 2 in the last 445 seconds, two big free throws. They'll make their free throws because they're clutch and tough."

On Ryan Hollins' development:

"I was excited watching the tape until three in the morning. God, he did make some incredibly athletic plays. It's exciting to watch how he's coming along. He's so young for his class. He's only 21, and he'll turn 22 in October. He didn't even start on his high school team as a junior. He was on JV as a soph. A typical UCLA player is starting on varsity by his sophomore year. He developed late and grew a lot. He high jumped seven feet here at UCLA. He's very atletic, and very bright. He's extremely intelligent. He remembers scouting reports really well. He takes great pride also in knowing everything and being bright on the court, as he should."

On UCLA's schedule for the next couple of days:

"We'll have a non-contact practice tomorrow and then contact practice on Wednesday, then off to Indiana."

On possibly giving a retired jersey to a recruit:

"Walt Hazard was in my office the weekend before we left for San Diego. We're recruiting a kid right now that wears #42, and kids get attached to their numbers. So I asked Walt for permission to use his number, and I explained who this kid was, and I can't mention him. Walt was completely gracious, and said ‘Absolutely, whatever it takes to get good players at UCLA.'"

On Bill Walton in the stands in Oakland cheering for UCLA:

"It was absolutely great to have him at the game. He brought good feelings and karma to the game."


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