Rather than a whining Oregon State game story, or a litany of the mis-records, we thought that BRO should be the positive voice of UCLA basketball. Here are a few positive bits of information and observations concerning the future of the program...
Instead of a game story or analysis of the Oregon State game, or belaboring the woeful limitations of the team and the program at this time, or the dubious records this year's team could be on the verge of setting....
We've decided to try to be the positive voice of UCLA basketball, as BRO always has. We thought it might be better to give you a few positive insights and observations about the program that we've been hearing lately:
-- If you're rooting for Ben Howland to be the next UCLA coach, you got a slight boost this weekend when Pittsburgh lost to Syracuse, precluding Pittsburgh from attaining the #1 ranking. Obviously, the more success Howland has at Pittsburgh this year the more unlikely it could be that he'd become UCLA's next head coach. With more success comes more of a price tag, more of a reason for Pittsburgh to up their ante, and overall make it harder for Howland to leave. We've heard from a few different sources close to Howland recently, and there has not been one indication that Howland is not interested in the job. Again, the sources indicate, it could come down to the salary negotiations.
-- It's obvious that Steve Lavin has changed his tune a bit to the press. Last week, Lavin did an embarrassing and jaw-dropping interview with USA Today's Jon Saraceno. In the article he took his denigration of the UCLA head coaching job to a higher level of ridicule, and even came off flippant toward athletic director Dan Guerrero. Since that article, Lavin's quotes have done a 180 degree turn. He has not said anything derogatory about the UCLA head coaching job or the UCLA community since, and has only portrayed himself as grateful for the opportunity he was given at UCLA, and complimentary toward UCLA fans. You would think that maybe Lavin has been given some media guidelines. And hopefully those guidelines will continue to stop him from sullying the reputation of the UCLA program.
-- There have been reports discussing many potential candidates for the UCLA coaching job. While, of course, everyone has a right to speculate, as we have here on this site, it's apparent that many sports writers have the right to speculate more than others. There are a few names that maybe you can disregard as potential candidates, from what we've heard. Missouri's coach Quinn Snyder is one name that's been floated. If you're a national writer and don't know about UCLA or probably can't name the UCLA athletic director off-hand, Quinn Snyder could be a logical choice. Seemingly up-and-coming. West coast ties. But sources indicate that Snyder would be a very unlikely candidate. He is too Lavin-esque, even though, actually, Snyder is quite a bit sharper and works quite a bit harder. But superficially, he's very similar to Lavin – young, slick and slick-haired. Sources close to this entire situation feel that it's very unlikely that the serious candidates will have any traits similar to Lavin. And the history of hiring coaches in college sports supports this assertion: Most of the time, when an athletic director hires a new coach, it many ways the new coach has many antithetical traits of the outgoing coach. Plus, Snyder is hardly a proven coach. He's turned Missouri into a competitive, top-25 program, but he's done it by being able to admit recruits with very lax academic standards and by other means that many insiders believe wouldn't fly at UCLA. This isn't top secret information. Just about anyone involved in college basketball knows this, including, undoubtedly, Dan Guerrero. Most of the stories that you'll see that include Snyder as a serious candidate stem mostly from Snyder putting out the word himself that he wants the job.
Billy Donovan. Again, ostensibly, you might also think a fairly logical choice. But many close to college basketball don't think so. Donovan is currently coaching a program where he's able to get in just about any recruit he wants regardless of academics and he gets paid very, very well. He's turned Florida into a consistent top ten program, and would probably be able to sustain it at Florida. College basketball sources believe that Donovan would only leave Florida for the Kentucky job, or an NBA job. Given Donovan's situation and his salary, UCLA sources snicker at the thought of it.
Mark Gottfried is also a favorite of many writers. Gottfried is actually a much better guess than Snyder or Donovan. He has UCLA ties, and many close to him have indicated that he's very interested in the job. That's mostly where many of the national stories that have Gottfried as a front runner for the job are stemming from. But many of those stories don't know UCLA very well, or really have no knowledge of how Gottfried might not fit. For one, being a former assista