Minnesota v UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad and Ben Howland done at UCLA?


Another disappointing season at UCLA is in the books. This one ended Friday in a 20-point upset loss to Minnesota in the South Region’s 6-11 matchup.

The Bruins didn’t live up to preseason expectation, especially after Ben Howland brought a star-studded recruiting class headlined by Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams. After a 2011-2012 season full of controversy on an off the floor maybe this was a reason Howland returned. Following the 83-63 loss, Howland’s status at UCLA is in question again.

“We’ll take stock in the next couple of days, and talk like we always do with all coaches,” UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero told Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn, who tweeted the quote.

“I’m not commenting on my job status with you guys tonight,” Howland said which was also tweeted by Winn. “I just want to talk about fact that I’m so proud of these kids.”

Howland and his team had another season full of distractions. Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb both decided to transfer mid-season and Parker seemed to feel the same way, yet finished out the season. Muhammad, the 6-foot-6 highly-touted recruit, had his own personal distractions from the Midnight Madness to March Madness.

It started at the beginning of the season when he was ruled ineligible and ended when a story from the Los Angeles Times ran on Friday with Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, telling LA Times reporter Ken Bensinger that Muhammad is actually 20, not 19-years-old. The story that broke earlier Friday morning may have something to do with Muhammad’s 6-for-18 shooting performance (0-for-7 in the first half) in the loss to Minnesota.

Howland may not be the only one on the move. Muhammad, according to DraftExpress.com, is projected as a top-3 pick in this summer’s draft. Howland has previously stated, then apologized for saying Muhammad had played his final game at Pauley Pavilion following UCLA’s 74-69 win over Arizona on March 2.

Along with Kentucky, UCLA’s offseason will likely have several interesting outcomes following disappointing seasons.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
Leave a comment

South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.