Reeves Nelson won’t be starting ‘any time soon’

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UCLA has returned to the mainland, but their trip to Maui was not quite as pleasant as the Bruins had hoped.

After beating Chaminade in the opener, UCLA had a moral victory as they rallied from 20 down to make it interesting against Kansas before losing 72-56. In the third-place game against Michigan, the Bruins continued their struggles, dropping that decision 79-63 and ensuring that they would head into tonight’s game against Pepperdine without a D-I win.

That’s bad enough.

What’s worse is that the Bruins still haven’t worked out their internal issues.

Dan Arritt at ESPN Los Angeles quoted Ben Howland this afternoon saying that Reeves Nelson, the best player on the Bruins, will not be starting “any time soon”.

“He’s got to have a good attitude and be accountable for a while,” Howland said. “I thought he did a good job in the second half of the Chaminade game and the Kansas game, but sometimes he slips back to his old practice habits and he’s just got to get better.”

Nelson, if you’ve forgotten, missed the team’s flight to Hawaii less than a week after being suspended for showing up late to a team meeting that followed a 20 point loss to Middle Tennessee State. Seems like those habits are pretty well-ingrained. And judging by the fact that Howland ‘suspended’ Nelson for all of one half against Chaminade for missing the team flight, I find it hard to believe that he is going to take the hard-line needed to get a change out of Nelson.

So how could it get worse?

Travis Wear, one of the guys that has replaced Reeves Nelson’s minutes, cut his foot on a piece of coral while snorkeling. He needed five stitches. He may not be available tonight against Pepperdine.

So that trip went well, eh?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.