Hard to believe a week ago that the UCLA Bruins were considered the premier favorite to capture the Pac-12 title. A devastating loss in their first game to Loyola Marymount has left UCLA stumbling backward and trying to regroup as a team.
UCLA Coach Ben Howland said he would meet with junior forward Reeves Nelson on Monday afternoon to discuss a variety of issues, and Nelson's status on the team remained unclear.
Asked what the meeting was about, Howland said, "Just his behavior after the game [against Loyola Marymount], for example, walking off the court the other day, a number of things of that nature."
Asked whether he had spoken to Nelson about his status, [Joshua] Smith appeared to indicate that Nelson was thinking of quitting the team.
"I’ve talked to him, but there’s not really any information to tell me where he’s leaning," Smith said. "I want him to stay."
Nelson has been considered as one of the hardest-workers on Howland's squad. His discontent and uncertainty could stem from his curious role in a frontcourt loaded with talented players. With Joshua Smith, Brendan Lane and the Wear twins all in the rotation, Nelson has been forced to play a lot out of position on the court and hasn't been able to play at his natural spot at power forward.
The Bruins definitely need Nelson to help set the tone for this team, and they can't have him start thinking second thoughts about being a part of this UCLA squad. They need hard-workers and grinders to bang down low and make the big plays to keep the Bruins on track to contend for the Pac-12 conference crown. Losing Nelson would be another harsh strike against Howland.
To discuss the status of Nelson and Bruins basketball, head to Bruins Nation.