Reeves Nelson

The Morning Mix

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– Utah’s basketball team may not be very good. But that doesn’t mean the Utes can’t inspire.  In your #ReadoftheDay, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune details the remarkible journeyUtes’ guard Glen Dean went through last December when he was forced to undergo emergency brain surgery. Dean will be back on the court when Utah opens up their 2012-2013 campaign. Just an incredible story

– Your second #ReadoftheDay come from CAA Hoops’ Michael Litos who drops a phenomenal list of the five best possible host-sites for the CAA Tournament

– You won’t find many posts more straight-forward than Jeff Goodman’s latest thoughts and observations on Duke.

– The Minnesota Golden Gophers had themselves an interesting weekend. On Friday Trebor Mbakwe was in court to receive his punishment for violating probationary terms. The Star forward will not have to serve any jail timejj and will be able to play this year. On top of that, assistant coach Saul Smith, the son of head coach Tubby Smith, was placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave after being arrested for a DUI this weekend

– This is not how it was supposed to play out for superstar UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. But with just a few weeks left until the start of the season, the two freshman phenoms are still uncertain if they will be cleared by the NCAA to play

– Louisville sophomore Chane Benhahan has been suspended for the team’s first scrimmage of the season against Pikesville on November 1. The talented forward has also been made unavailable for all media inquires until the end of the first semester. No reason has been given for the suspension

– A police officer in Prince George’s County, MD was found guilty of second degree assault stemming from an alleged beating of a University of Maryland student following the Terrapins home win against Duke in 2010. I remember watching the cell phone video when it was released. Pretty ghastly stuff. Glad that justice was served

– It’s been awhile since we’ve discussed the topic of paying players. Bill Self is in favor of it, but not always felt that way. The Kansas head coach will address similar issues at a discussion panel he is hosting at the beginning of November

– Dayton is the perfect place for the “First Four” round of the NCAA Tournament. The fans in Dayton want to make sure that the event remains in their city, and will sell out this season’s edition in order to help the cause

– Remember when Reeves Nelson tried to sue Sports Illustrated because they published an article that labeled him as a complete jerk and borderline psycho? Well, a California judge dismissed the case on Friday

– With all the preseason hype surrounding Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and the loaded freshman class, many people will forget that the return of Maurice Creek is one of the other reasons why the Hoosiers are projected to be the top team in the land

– Jason Brickman does not get the credit he deserves. The talented LIU-Brooklyn point guard is overshadowed by the likes of Jamal Olasawere and Julian Boyd. But do either of them have a  promotional video? Jason does, and it’s pretty awesome

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

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Los Angeles court dismisses Reeves Nelson’s defamation suit against Sports Illustrated

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Reeves Nelson’s defamation suit against Sports Illustrated and writer George Dohrmann has been dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, a press release announced this week.

“We have stood behind the reporting of our Pulitzer Prize winning writer since day one,” Sports Illustrated said in a statement. “We are pleased that after reviewing the case, the court agreed it should be dismissed.”

The suit stemmed from a March story by Dohrmann entitled “Not The UCLA Way,” which detailed the gossipy interworkings of coach Ben Howland’s program at UCLA.

Among the claims in the piece were stories of Nelson’s misbehavior, allegedly verbally and physically abusing teammates and even once urinating on a teammate’s bed.

Nelson had been dismissed from the team in December 2011 for “insubordinate” conduct, three months before the story was published. He eventually went on to play in the Lithuanian Basketball League.

He has since returned to the United States and is on the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason roster.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Top 25 Countdown: No. 25 UCLA Bruins

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Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of the Top 25, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

Last Season: 19-14, 11-7 Pac-12 (t-5th)

Head Coach: Ben Howland

Key Losses: Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson, Reeves Nelson, Anthony Stover

Newcomers: Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad, Larry Drew II, Tony Parker, Jordan Adams

Projected Lineup:

G: Larry Drew II, Sr.
G: Shabazz Muhammad, Fr.
F: Kyle Anderson, Fr.
F: Travis Wear, Jr.
F: David Wear, Jr.
Bench: Joshua Smith, Jr.; Tony Parker, Fr.; Tyler Lamb, Jr.; Jordan Adams, Fr.; Norman Powell, So.

Outlook: I am not high on the Bruins heading into this season. In fact, I’d be surprised if you found any preseason rankings that had UCLA lower than this. When you look at what the Bruins bring back and what they add to their roster this season, the talent level is, frankly, impressive. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson made up two-thirds of the consensus top three recruits in the Class of 2012, and they are joined by Tony Parker — a top 30 big man — and Jordan Adams — a top 75 wing — in what has to be considered Ben Howland’s best class since he took over in Westwood. And that’s before you factor in the addition of North Carolina transfer Larry Drew II.

When those four are added to the group of players returning — the Wear twins, Joshua Smith and Tyler Lamb — it is easy to see why UCLA has plenty of hype heading into the season.

I’m not buying into it, and there are plenty of reasons why:

  • Eligibility issues: Muhammad’s recruitment is being investigated by the NCAA. The key issue they are looking into is his family’s relationship with a pair of financial advisors and how he paid for his unofficial visits. There are also concerns about his affiliation with Adidas. Muhammad was ineligible to go on the team’s August trip to China. Anderson’s recruitment is also being investigated, although he is expected to be cleared in time for the start of the season. Best case scenario? The investigation — and media inquiries about it — is a distraction the team has to deal with throughout the start of the season while Muhammad, and possibly Anderson, miss some important practice time to get used to their teammates. That’s not ideal, but it’s certainly better than the other possible outcome: having Muhammad (and Anderson?) miss a significant amount of the season.
  • Smith is still out of shape: I’ve made a personal decision to stop making jokes about Smith’s weight this season, because at this point I don’t believe it’s as simple as Smith “being fat”. With his inability to shed the pounds given what’s on the line for him — athletically and monetarily — by remaining out of shape, I don’t think it’s difficult to make the assumption that he has a serious overeating problem, which is an addiction and a disease. That’s not a joking matter. But it is an issue that leads me to believe we’ll never see Smith — who, given his size, soft hands and nimble feet, could be the best big man in the country — live up to his potential. I’d expect the Wears twins and Tony Parker to all be playing over Smith by January.
  • Who plays the point?: Howland has said that Drew will start for him and that he is the team’s “most indispensable” player. This is the same guy that left North Carolina in the middle of the season, unannounced, after watching the Tar Heels improve drastically when he got benched for Kendall Marshall. The irony? Drew may actually be the best option at the point for this Bruins team. Anderson is a terrific play-maker and a special passer, but he’s also 6-foot-8 and nicknamed “Slo-Mo” for a reason. If he’s playing the point, who is guarding Mark Lyons, Jio Fontan and Chasson Randle?

The bottom-line is that I simply do not like the make-up of this team. Howland made a name for himself as a head coach by putting together gritty, blue-collar teams that won games by controlling the pace of the game and digging in defensively. Does the rotation listed above really look like one that will be able to out-physical and out-tough anyone?

There are bigger issues, as well, regarding Howland’s leadership of the UCLA program. Remember the story from Sports Illustrated last February about the UCLA program? It certainly didn’t paint Howland in a flattering light and, frankly, makes it seem like he has lost the control over, and respect of, his team.

Predictions?: There is enough talent on the roster that UCLA will still win games, but I don’t see them contending for the Pac-12 title. I think a fourth or fifth place finish in the conference — which will be improved this season — is more likely. And while the conference as a whole may be better than it was last season, that’s not a guarantee that four or five teams will be headed to the NCAA tournament from the league. I’d bet on UCLA heading into the Pac-12 tournament needing to make a run to (at least) the title game for a shot at avoiding the NIT.

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

Reeves Nelson “let…pride get in the way” during time at UCLA

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A missed flight, a team dismissal, and a damning Sports Illustrated article ago, Reeves Nelson was on a path to the NBA but now, as detailed in a Los Angeles Times piece this week, he is hanging onto the end of the bench on the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team.

This all comes now that he has returned to the States, having taken time to play professionally in Lithuania where he was released after playing 24 games. For that team, BC Zalgiris, he averaged 4.8 points and 4.2 rebounds.

“I was comfortable and let my pride get in the way of making changes that would’ve allowed me to stay at UCLA,” Nelson told the LA Times. “That was the main lesson. With everything that happened, it was a very humbling experience.”

This time around, he seems to have the PR moves down.

“Obviously, I can say everything I want until I’m blue in the face,” Nelson continued, “but no one is going to believe it until they see it. Actions speak louder than words, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The problem is, though, he hasn’t gotten much playing time to show what he can do. He has appeared in three games, with his biggest coming July 19 against the Clippers, when he played 28 minutes and scored seven points.

To his credit, he is reportedly in the best shape of his life, trimming down 15 pounds and checking in with 3% body fat.

Will someone give the former First Team All-Pac 10 player another shot? We’ll have to wait and see.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Reeves Nelson reportedly suing Sports Illustrated for $10 million, claiming defamation

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Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson is suing Sports Illustrated for defamation, following the publication of a revealing article about the UCLA program, TMZ is reporting.

The $10 million suit, in response to George Dohrmann’s article, published March 5, 2012, says that Dohrmann “recklessly and negligently failed to investigate” the claims in his piece.

Most notably of the claims in question is a detailed account of revenge, when Nelson reportedly urinated on the bed and clothes of a teammate who “squealed” about a New Year’s Eve party.

The lawsuit also cites claims that Nelson intentionally injured players in practice and that he was disciplined for fighting with teammates.

Nelson was dismissed from the team in December of 2011, after a second disciplinary suspension. During his sophomore season at UCLA, he averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Keith Fink will be representing Nelson. Fink has been a part of a number of high-profile legal entertainment cases, including suits involving Ellen DeGeneres, Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love, and Kobe Bryant.

According to TMZ, the suit includes “declarations from 18 UCLA players and ex-players who deny every allegation about Nelson,” among them one from former Bruin Tyler Honeycutt, who claims that the urination incident never happened.

The suit is to be filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_