UCLA Basketball Scandal: Ben Howland Responds, Says 'No One Is Perfect'

The UCLA Bruins basketball team has been in steady decline under head coach Ben Howland thanks to fighting, drinking, and drug use per a report from Sports Illustrated.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal: Reves Nelson Sues Sports Illustrated For $10 Million

It looked like UCLA Bruins basketball was going to hit a huge snag after the George Dohrmann expose hit the magazine covers a few months ago. There were some embarrassing stories in there, particularly regarding power forward Reeves Nelson, and a lot of people were going to get in trouble, particularly Ben Howland.

Turns out that the whole thing has just blown over, and UCLA is ready to strike back. Nelson wasn't just going to sit down and let the rumors that he peed on a basketball teammate's bed flourish without a healthy retort. That healthy retort seems to be worth ten million dollars.

TMZ Sports files this report.

According to Nelson's lawsuit, the article claimed he was not punished after fighting with multiple teammates and intentionally injuring them during practice. The S.I. article also claims Nelson "urinated on [a teammate's] bed and clothes" -- purely as revenge for the player allegedly squealing about a New Year's Eve party.

But Nelson's high-powered entertainment lawyer Keith Fink says they can prove Dohrmann "recklessly and negligently failed to investigate the claims in the article." The lawsuit includes declarations from 18 UCLA players and ex-players who deny every allegation about Nelson.

It seems his teammates are willing to back up his statement and Nelson also has a reputed lawyer on his side. SI and UCLA are at odds, and the magazine could get hit hard if they overreached.

Talk about Nelson and the UCLA basketball scandal over at Bruins Nation.

Check out the SB Nation college basketball channel below and see if you'd be interested in the story.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal: Reeves Nelson Denies Accusation, Admits Actions Were Poor

The UCLA Bruins and their basketball program were pretty embarrassed this week when Sports Illustrated released an expose highlighting the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on in Westwood. Most of the allegations and problems centered on Reeves Nelson, who was kicked off the team earlier this season. While talented, Nelson was reportedly a total jerk to his teammates and showed no respect for his coaching staff.

Nelson recently had a chance to refute the report and provide some insight to the matter. Peter Yoon of ESPN Los Angeles has the update:

Nelson said incidents such as his intentionally injuring teammates and urinating on a teammate's clothes described in the article "Not the UCLA Way" were not true and that a quote attributed to him was taken out of context.

"This article makes me look like I'm a scumbag really and I'm not like that," Nelson said. "I just want my good name restored."

The Sports Illustrated story, reported and written by Pulitzer Prize winner George Dohrmann, detailed many incidents of dysfunction in the UCLA program. A large portion of the article is spent on the antics of Nelson, who was dismissed from the team early this season.

Stories that Nelson intentionally injured James Keefe, got into a fight at practice with Mike Moser and gave Drew Gordon a black eye at an off-campus fight are prominent. The story also says Nelson punted basketball into the stands and told student managers to "fetch."

The most memorable anecdote alleged Nelson to have urinated on the clothes of Tyler Honeycutt because Honeycutt supposedly thwarted Nelson's plan to rent a party bus on New Year's Eve.

"I claim and know that they didn't happen," Nelson said of the incidents contained in the story.

Seeing as just about everyone who has ever dealt with Reeves Nelson has said he is a total jerk both on and off the court, it's tough to really buy any of his excuses or explanations. An esteemed writer like George Dohrmann would not fabricate an accusation for a story of this magnitude. The fact that Nelson, who would have been the best player on UCLA this season, was kicked off back in November says a lot.

Nelson said the reason he was kicked off the team at UCLA was because of a series of incidents that demonstrated insubordination and a lack of respect. He walked out of a team practice, missed a flight to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and joked at the end of the bench during a loss to Texas.

"I didn't show a lot of respect to the team and program if you want to put it in a nutshell," Nelson said.

Oh, you think so, doctor?

For more on Nelson and the UCLA hoops program, check out Bruins Nation.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal: Bruins Respond To Sports Illustrated Article

Geroge Dohrmann's article in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated has seriously opened some eyes on the current status of the UCLA men's basketball program, but now top members of the UCLA administration and athletic programs are making their responses heard to the claim's made about their basketball program:

Chancellor Gene Block:

"It is disheartening for our Bruin community to be confronted with the type of assertions contained in the Sports Illustrated story. We take seriously any challenge to who we are and what we are about, and I am confident that any issues in our men's basketball program will be rectified."

Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero:

"I have discussed the Sports Illustrated story with Coach Howland and Chancellor Block and we will continue to address any issues and concerns. Like many in the Bruin family, I am disappointed. That said, I know that we have, and will continue to provide, the necessary resources, education and support for all of our coaches, staff and student-athletes."

Head Men's Basketball Coach Ben Howland:

"Like everyone else, I am always looking forward to improving as both a person and as a coach. I am proud of the coaches, staff and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to our future."

Obviously there is going to be a lot of disappointment after reading some of the things written in the story, but it's still quite a shock that these things could have happened at a place John Wooded built from the ground up with hard work, determination, and doing the right thing.

"Guys drinking, guys doing drugs, guys not taking practice seriously, guys fighting," said one player. "You won't find that on the Pyramid of Success."

For more on the state of UCLA, head over to Bruins Nation.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal: Drug Use, Alcohol, Fighting, Lack Of Discipline Under Ben Howland Detailed In Sports Illustrated Report

The UCLA Bruins basketball program has suffered a decline under head coach Ben Howland, as evident by this year's 16-13 squad, a middle of the pack team in a horrid Pac-12 Conference. The decline of the program since the three straight Final Four appearances was detailed in an article by George Dohrmann in the March 5 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, and J'mison Morgan, all part of the Baby Bruins No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2008, were identified by seven members of the 2008-2009 team as frequent party attenders, including drinking and smoking marijuana even before practice. Howland's lack of discipline is detailed by Dohrmann, who also said the coach did not have the respect of his players:

Each of the players who spoke to SI said they found Howland socially awkward and disapproved of the verbal abuse they say he directed at his staff, the student managers and the weakest players. One player said if he saw Howland waiting for the elevator he would take the stairs.

Reeves Nelson, a forward with an explosive temper, would lash out at teammates in practice, including getting in several fights with Bruins teammates. But Howland did not discipline the forward:

After each of the incidents, Howland looked the other way. One team member says he asked Howland after a practice why he wasn't punishing Nelson, to which he said Howland responded, "He's producing."

Howland did eventually reprimand Nelson, suspending him twice earlier this season before ultimately kicking him off the team.

The article certainly doesn't paint Howland or the UCLA program in a good light, so it will be interesting to see how the school responds. As one player told Dohrmann, "Can you imagine the same thing happening at Duke? Can you imagine players getting away with that stuff under Coach K?"

To discuss the potential UCLA basketball scandal brewing, check out Bruins Nation.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal: Ben Howland Responds To Sports Illustrated Article

An article by Sports Illustrated writer George Dohrmann about the UCLA Bruins basketball program is expected to be released on Wednesday, the contents of which are still unknown. There have been reports of a possible drug scandal brewing at UCLA, and basketball coach Ben Howland addressed the pending article in his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

Howland didn't address the topic specifically or in detail, but did say he was contacted last week about the upcoming article. He said all the players involved or mentioned in the article were made aware of it, and when asked about a drug problem at the school, Howland did not get into specifics.

"Specifically I can't talk about any former player and student. We have a comprehensive drug policy here at UCLA where anytime someone fails a random drug test I'm alerted and the trainers are alerted," Howland said. "There is a very good, outstanding program is in place where student-athletes from all teams to receive an education, and receive counseling."

About his program, Howland said, "No one is perfect. I would never claim to be that person." That response did not sit well with the folks at Bruins Nation:

Howland can try his best to spin himself as a pathetic figure as someone who is not "perfect." But if the allegations in the stories turn out to be serious, well supported by evidence and embarrass the brand of UCLA, then he and Guerrero will need to be held accountable. Saying "everybody makes mistakes" will not be good enough.

To discuss the potential UCLA basketball scandal brewing, check out Bruins Nation.

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UCLA Basketball Scandal Brewing? Sports Illustrated Expose Coming

The UCLA Bruins basketball team and head coach Ben Howland could be in trouble soon if this Sports Illustrated feature is as bad as it sounds. Drugs could be the topic.

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