How do the Bruins look? A Q+A with BruinsNation about UCLA Men's Basketball.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

In light of the upcoming game with UCLA in Men's Basketball we asked BruinsNation, the SB Nation UCLA blog some questions about the team. And they were kind enough to answer! So here they are, in all their glory. Thanks to DCBruins for taking the time to give us these great responses.

1. So is Ben Howland losing his job at the end of the year a forgone conclusion or is there some fear that Dan Guerrero will bring him back for another year?

DCBruins: Yes, barring a PAC 12 title and a deep run in the Tournament. Guerrero's contract is up in March as well and he should be fired.

2. Is Kyle Anderson the strangest UCLA player in recent history? Amazing court vision, great size, good handle especially at his height, but almost no athleticism. He's like a minus version of Billy Owens or Steve Smith. How is Howland using him - and the follow up question - how should he be using him?

DCBruins: I prefer calling Anderson the most unique player but I see your point. But in addition to his height he also has size. He is the best rebounder on the team and the sixth best in the PAC 12 despite playing on the wing to start the year or away from the basket often on offense (backup point and high post). He also leads UCLA in steals. Basically Anderson does everything well except shoot.

Howland started the year using him as a wing, a huge mistake because Anderson is a terrible outside shooter. Now he is the power forward and backup point guard. He is a very good taking any four off the dribble and a great passer from the high post. He is a decent shooter in close. So high post and power forward are probably his best spots right now and no one can still understand why Howland thought he was a wing on offense.

3. It's taken Jordan Adams very little time to adjust to playing at a high level while Shabazz Mohammad has looked less dominant than he did in high school - just not the same high motor high energy guy. Can you talk about your two star freshmen and what the outlooks on them for the rest of the season and the rest of their UCLA careers look like?

DCBruins: We were told by scouts that Adams was an un-athletic shooter. He actually is a scorer. He is a guy who draws fouls, goes to the basket well, passes good, even rebounds okay. Smart player. On defense well he tends to gamble a lot but on this team he is actually a decent defender.

After gaining weight and a slow start, Shabazz is becoming most of what we expected. He is a non-stop energy guy on offense. He is unbelievably tenacious and will beat you down the floor, to a loose ball, and for an offensive rebound. On defense, right now he stinks. Part of this is by design, he releases for the break whenever a shot goes up but he also jogs back on defense. If Ben Howland was still coach today he would be benched. Check that, if the defense first Ben Howland of 2008 was still coach today.


4. Are you guys playing zone still, even without Josh Smith, and having figured out that only one Wear twin at a time is a better rotation?

DCBruins: We played zone a couple possessions against Missouri. Against you all with Crabbe, I would say the chance of us playing zone is none. Howland still plays two Wears some but not as starters.

He realizes that Kyle is the best power forward but Travis is still the center and David the number one guy off the bench.


5. What happened to Howland anyways? Did he just forget everything he knew about basketball? The man has had a lot of success - not just at UCLA but his stops at Pitt and northern Arizona were very good too.

DCBruins: Apparently it happens to UCLA coaches that they get desperate and try a new strategy. For Rick Neuheisel it was the pistol offense in football, for Howland it is running and recruiting shooters. He use to recruit raw players who were great athletes like Russell Westbrook, now he recruits shooter/scorers such as Jordan Adams. We all know what happen to Neuheisel.

There is more of course but this is a blog post not a novel. Suffice it to say, the problems run deep.

UCLA Upsets No. 7 Missouri In OT (via ESPN)

6. We know the answer to the who do you want to punch in the face question, so instead we'll ask "Do you look at the end of the UNC bench to see who the future UCLA captains are going to be next season?"

DCBruins: Sigh. This question depresses me that it is a legitimate one.

7. Has the departure of Tyler Lamb significantly affected UCLA's defense? (He was widely regarded as the Bruin's best on-ball defender)

DCBruins: Yes and no. Lamb was not a great athlete and was not a defender like Malcolm Lee or Russell Westbrook. He would have been a good defender on this team, but this team is not about defense and so he is not a big loss EXCEPT we have no depth. We are gambling huge on a number of levels. Lamb was our number three point guard also.

8. Cal was able to sweep UCLA last year for the first time since 93-94, but the 73-63 victory in LA did come in the L.A. Sports Arena. Now that the Pauley Pavilion renovation has been completed, do you expect the venue/crowd to be a factor?

DCBruins: Yes. While Ben Howland should be fired and our Athletic Director Dan Guerrero should be as well. Can you imagine Cal playing at Maples for a season?

Unfortunately for you, UCLA is coming off its biggest win of the season and the crowd will be a factor. If you played us the game after the Cal Poly loss, you would have heard the ball echo when it bounced.

9. Freshman center Tony Parker has recently sparked some controversy with a tweet about regretting his decision to attend UCLA. With the recent exit of Josh Smith, do you expect Parker to get more playing time? Will all the negative media attention due to his tweet cause more of a rift between Parker and coach Ben Howland?

DCBruins: The tweet has been interpreted different ways. Officially Parker was homesick at Christmas (he is very close to his family in Georgia) and upset about lack of playing time. May be true, but with all the problems we have recently losing players, there is a lot of skepticism.

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