Posted February 09, 2013

UCLA coach Ben Howland on Bill Walton’s criticism: ‘It is what it is’

Uncategorized

Former UCLA great Bill Walton has made headlines over the last 24 hours for his scathing comments about Bruins head coach Ben Howland while Walton was color commentating on the ESPN broadcast of UCLA’s game against Washington on Thursday.

UCLA coach Ben Howland has failed to lead the Bruins to the NCAA tournament in two of the last three seasons. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

UCLA coach Ben Howland has failed to lead the Bruins to the NCAA tournament in two of the last three seasons. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Walton’s criticism of Howland during broadcasts this year has covered his substitution patterns, his offensive system and the team’s recent struggles. He said during Thursday’s game that he is not a Howland fan and blamed the coach for the program’s downturn.

On Friday, Howland downplayed the controversy, saying that Walton is just doing his job, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg.

Howland acknowledged Friday he is aware of Walton’s criticism, but insisted he is not upset by it. He suggested part of the reason for Walton’s criticism is the high standard the former Naismith Award winner holds the program to since he was part of the Bruins’ record 88-game win streak during his college career.

“He has been critical in all the games he has done of ours this year,” Howland said. “As a broadcaster and an analyst, that’s his job. It’s perfectly his right to be critical. As I’ve said in the past, to me, Bill is one of the greatest players in the history of college basketball. He holds such a special place in UCLA basketball lore. I just try to do the job to the best of my ability.”

Asked if the criticism was harder to stomach coming from Walton, Howland said curtly, “It is what it is.”

Howland’s Bruins went to three straight Final Fours from 2005-08, but have failed to make the NCAA tournament in two of the last three years.


5 comments
Tyler10
Tyler10

 @KevinI  I think you're overrating Bill Walton a little bit by saying he was better than Bill Russell, I do believe Russell won 11 championships in 13 years, which is a record that will never be broken, but I do think Bill Walton was a fantastic player, who would have had a shot at GOAT if he had stayed healthy, but he is not better than Bill Russell

KevinI
KevinI

Hey cool rice...have you ever played basketball? I mean real team basketball. Bill Walton won "88" games in a row! Played for a genius of coaching young men and giving them the tools to succeed in life. Walton is far superior in his analysis of the game than the people who coach,play,and worship it. The only center close to Walton is Russel. The key to their game is that they made the players around them better. Offensively and defensively. Walton didn't make mistakes and hurt the "team". Was always an asset (that means a plus) to the "team". If he had been healthy, the sky was the limit, as it is we can only imagine.

papacoolrice42
papacoolrice42

I wonder what makes me sicker Bill Walton bashing Ben Howland or him being voted one of the 50 greatest players in the history of the NBA.To see him standing there smiling seemingly embarrassed to be standing with players who's jock strap he couldn't carry.

l.czolgosz66
l.czolgosz66

It is easy to criticize. It is hard to run a program.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

 @Tyler10  @KevinI In college Walton may have been better than Russell. In the pros Russell is one of the three best ever and Walton is not in the conversation.