Mar 17, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Earlier this season, the speculation was overwhelming: there was no way that UCLA head coach Ben Howland would return next season.
Not after he lost two more former blue-chip recruits to a transfer. Not after he lost to Cal Poly. Not after the seats at Pauley Pavilion remained unfilled. Not after he managed to tick off just about everyone around the UCLA program, namely Bill Walton, the former UCLA center who has made ripping Howland on ESPN broadcasts his favorite hobby.
But that was before Howland rallied this team and led them to the Pac-12 regular season title and took them to the Pac-12 tournament title game where they could have won if it weren’t for a broken foot suffered by star Jordan Adams.
And yet, that may not be enough to safe his job, if you believe what Bill Plaschke has to say:
There is talk that the athletic department, for both basketball and business reasons, wants this season to be Howland’s last. There is word that a $2.3-million buyout is already in place. There is a feeling that only a Sweet 16 appearance could save his job, and even that might not be enough.
Dan Guerrero, the Bruins’ athletic director, will be faced with a tough choice that perhaps has already been made. The real shame is that Howland’s short-handed team won’t be dressed for the kind of success that could make that decision tougher.
At some point, it’s not even about basketball anymore. People around the UCLA program may be fed up with Howland, and that’s enough to cost someone their job when he’s not winning the way UCLA expects him to win.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
- Former Cornell forward Shonn Miller headed to UConn for final season of eligibility 0
- Purdue center A.J. Hammons to return for senior season 0
- Five-star 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman commits to UNLV 4
- College basketball’s eight most important NBA Draft decisions 2
- Updated 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 8
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List 10
- Duke’s Tyus Jones becomes third Blue Devil to enter the NBA Draft 11
- Duke’s Tyus Jones becomes third Blue Devil to enter the NBA Draft (11)
- 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List (10)
- Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter 2015 NBA Draft (8)
- Updated 2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25 (8)
- 6-foot-11 center Antonio Vrankovic commits to Duke (6)