Reeves Nelson kicked out for the second time. UCLA basketball team fans cannot see Reeves Nelson after he being kicked out from the team. What’s happen?
UCLA kicks Reeves Nelson off basketball team
Will UCLA basketball fans remember Reeves Nelson for his production, as he was named all-Pac-10 Conference in his sophomore year and rewarded with a regional Sports Illustrated college basketball preview cover?
Will it be for his predilection toward bumps and bruises, as Nelson spent more time on the floor than a free-throw line?
Maybe it’s the tattoos that adorn so much of his upper body?
Or will the memories simply be stained by the bitter end?
The end was most certainly acrimonious, and rather abrupt, as Nelson was dismissed by head coach Ben Howland from the UCLA basketball team after two-plus seasons on Friday, just three days after Howland announced an indefinite suspension for the enigmatic junior forward.
“We have to move forward,” Howland said in a conference call with reporters. “In fairness to the team, there’s a point where we have to move forward and do what’s best for the team. I really want to help Reeves and I’m really hoping that he in his future can continue to grow as a player (who) is able to fit into a team and organization and be able to handle all the things that go with that. …
“Reeves did not want to leave. He’s disappointed but he also understands that this is the final decision, this is it. We are moving forward without him.”
Nelson’s suspension Tuesday was his second of the young season, which has started off miserably for the Bruins. Projected by the media to win the Pac-12 conference and given a preseason top-25 ranking, UCLA is 2-5, with losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee, in large part because of Nelson’s lack of productivity or playing time.
The Bruins’ returning leading scorer and rebounder was averaging 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game, but attitude issues have kept Nelson at odds with Howland for much of the year.
Nelson was suspended indefinitely Nov. 14 but reinstated just two days later after sitting out the team’s loss to Middle Tennessee; still on suspension, Nelson missed the team’s flight to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and was suspended for the first half of the Bruins’ win over Chaminade.
Nelson played just 22 total minutes in the team’s last two games, a win over Pepperdine and a loss to Texas in which the Bruins coughed up a big lead.
“Hindsight is always 20/20,” Howland responded when asked if he wish he had handled Nelson differently earlier in his career. “If I’d been a professional basketball coach, he probably would have been dismissed earlier.
“But Reeves is actually a kid who just turned 20 this summer. He started college at 17. He’s a young kid. … But this came to a point where it’s too much of a negative and a distraction for us, the patience of trying to continue to get him to grow.”
Nelson has battled emotional and attitudinal issues for much of his tenure at UCLA, which was marked by outbursts during games and at practice, but also highlight moments.
As a freshman, Nelson averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, with a 19-point, 10-rebound performance in the 75-69, Pac-10 Conference Tournament-opening win over Arizona, just his second career double-double.
As a sophomore, he added 14 more, including two 24-point, 10-rebound games against Cal and Arizona a week apart midway through the conference schedule, before finishing with 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Bruins, who advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Nelson was expected to be the key cog in what was projected to be a loaded front-court for UCLA, but attitude issues flared up early and he never was able to overcome them. While Howland said there was no single “final straw” that led to Nelson’s dismissal, he said on Tuesday that Nelson’s attitude in the loss to Texas – which included Nelson laughing and mocking the crowd during the second half while the Bruins continued to struggle – was a major issue.
“This, hopefully for his sake, is going to be something that’s going to have a real drastic effect on understanding if he doesn’t behave appropriately and fit in, there’s no reason to believe this isn’t going to happen again,” Howland said. “He’s got to make some changes. And I discussed that with him, and I’m hopeful that by the severity of what happened to him that he can learn from this and be better for it.”
Nelson’s teammates were stunned by the news of the suspension on Tuesday, and some were informed just seconds before they entered the UCLA news conference. The general consensus was they wanted Nelson as a teammate, but understood he had become a distraction.
“Everyone has their moments when they’re frustrated,” senior point guard Lazeric Jones said. “I’ve had my moments. But it’s how you handle it afterwards.”
That now becomes Howland’s task, handling a team that loses a highly productive and highly volatile veteran.
“Honestly, I think it will be a positive for our team, because the distraction of all this has not been a positive for our team,” Howland said. “The negativity is not a positive for your team. When I suspended him the first time, the two practices we had after that were the best two practices of the year that we’ve had.
“Hopefully this is going to be a unifying thing for our team.” (Jon Gold – Daily News)