SI published a lengthy article about the downfall of UCLA basketball the past few years. In the piece, Ben Howland is depicted as a coach who struggles to properly handle his assistant coaches and players. He is shown as a coach who has serious issues disciplining his players. One funny anecdote shows how weird Howland was when it came to his players.
According to the article, Howland was upset with Russell Westbrook’s “freelancing” on offense. This is nothing new; fans knew Howland disliked the way Westbrook worked outside the team’s offense, but we all recognized how much better the team played with Russell doing his thing rather than running set plays.
So what did Howland do when he wanted to get control of Russell? According to the article, he told an official that Westbrook was wearing socks with an NBA logo, which violated NCAA rules. He was hoping the official would remove Westbrook from the game until his socks were changed.
I’m not sure there’s a better story that depicts how inept Howland became with handling his players. The best response would be for the rigid Howland to realize how good the offense was with Westbrook freelancing and to allow it. And if he was upset, he should have pulled out Westbrook and told him why. But Howland did neither, highlighting his shortcomings as a coach, and showcasing his awkwardness.Google+