The first month of the season has been a rough one for Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins. Howland began the year on the hot seat, and despite bringing in a loaded freshman class and returning a couple of key veterans, the Bruins have stumbled out of the gate.
This past week, there were rumors, reports and whispers of coach Howland potentially being fired at the end of the season, if not sometime before the year ended. While these reports are yet to really substantiate, they have not gone unnoticed by Howland. Here is what he had to say in a recent ESPN Los Angeles article.
"I'm just doing everything I can to help this team improve and grow and become the best team it can become and help the players and individuals grow and become the best players they can," Howland said.
Howland also said that he can't respond to everything written on message boards, and that he feels he will be fairly evaluated at the end of the season like he has every year since taking the job in 2003.
UCLA will need to play much better in the coming months if they hope to reach the NCAA Tournament in March. The Bruins, 8-3, already have one bad loss on their resume, and a win against nationally-ranked Missouri on Dec. 28 would go a long way in saving Howland's job. There are also two big Pac-12 showdowns with No. 4 Arizona looming on the horizon.