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.