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Summer 2003
Hoop Dreams
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Introducing Howland to the press in April, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero ’74 said it was “a very proud moment” for UCLA. “We got our man,” Guerrero said. “I looked for someone with integrity, someone who can achieve on the court at a very high level. Ben stresses fundamentals of discipline and believes in defense and rebounding. His teams play with chemistry and intensity. We expect big things from Ben, no more than what Ben expects of himself.”

Said Howland: “I understand what a privilege it is to be the basketball coach here at UCLA. To work for and represent UCLA, one of the most outstanding institutions of higher learning and research, is a dream come true that started for me as a kid.”

Howland grew up watching UCLA basketball on TV in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Keith Wilkes — those were the players he decided he wanted to emulate on the court.

“I remember wishing I could be a Bruin,” he says. At age 8, he started playing basketball every day in the summer at the Boys Club in Goleta, Calif. During Howland’s sophomore year in high school, his father became the minister of a church in Norwalk and the family made plans to relocate to nearby Cerritos. So eager was Howland to play for the Cerritos High School basketball team that he moved south two months before his family did so he wouldn’t miss the start of the season.

That sort of enthusiasm and dogged persistence proved useful when Howland went on to college, playing guard at Santa Barbara City College and at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Weber State went to the NCAA tournament in 1978 and 1979, and Howland was named the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player both years. He received his physical education degree in 1980 and played professionally in South America for a year.

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