UCLA to fire head coach Ben Howland


UCLA will fire head coach Ben Howland as early as Sunday, reports Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop, citing several sources.





The fact that this news breaks after 6 seed UCLA’s loss to 11 seed Minnesota yesterday in the NCAA tournament is not surprising.  Howland’s job had been rumored to be in trouble as it has been five years since the last of UCLA's Final Four runs, and in those five years, the Bruins have missed the NCAA tournament twice and won only two tournament games.  Aside from a few cameo appearances, UCLA has largely been absent from the national rankings and the national conversation since 2009. The real news to report on this is yet to come and it pertains to the recruiting carousal that typically follows the firing of a college head coach. UCLA currently has 3 incoming recruits for the 2013 class that have pledged their services to Howland, all of which could be a risk once the official word of Howland’s firing comes out. They include 4 star guard Allerik Freeman from Findlay Prep (NV), 4 star guard Zach LaVine Bothell High School (WA) and 3 star guard small forward Noah Allen from Palma High School (CA).  Collectively, these players were recruited the hardest by Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, Arizona, Washington, Louisville and Villanova so look for those schools to try to jump back into the mix if any of the aforementioned players seek a release from the Letter of Intent to play at UCLA.  Further, 4 star Roberts Vaux (Pa) Guard Rysheed Jordan (2013) has yet to make his college decision and has UCLA on a short list of schools. He recently announced that he will make his college decision on April 15th when he will choose between UCLA, Temple and St John’s. Unless UCLA finds a suitable (and acceptable) replacement to Howland quickly, Jordan’s list could get cut to Temple and St. John’s. To the extent that Jordan was leaning heavily towards UCLA, he may even re-open his recruitment again to additional schools.