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Summer 2003
Hoop Dreams
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“One of the main reasons I have continued my working relationship with Coach Howland is that he always instills in his colleagues the feeling that they, too, have ownership in the program,” Carlson says. “In that sense, you always feel as if you have a stake in what is going on around you, and that your position is more than just a job.”

That feeling has spilled over to the players, who have already begun individual regimens of strength conditioning and weight lifting. Howland is excited about the work ethic the team is showing. He’s also pleased about the department’s academic support programs, declaring that UCLA is doing “a great job” in helping student-athletes reach their potential in the classroom.

Emphasis on academics is one big reason Chancellor Albert Carnesale was sold on Howland. “We conducted an exhaustive search for the new coach and decided that Ben Howland is the perfect choice for UCLA,” says Chancellor Carnesale. “He understands the importance of academic and athletic excellence at UCLA, and he will ensure that his players meet both their scholastic and their athletic goals.”

Since Howland’s arrival, UCLA has received a verbal commitment from prized recruit Arron Afflalo, a 6-foot-4-inch, 180-pound guard from Centennial High School in Compton. Afflalo, with a 3.25 GPA, is considered the No. 1 shooting guard on the West Coast for the Class of 2004 and is expected to sign a national letter of intent in November.

The fact that Howland’s first recruit is such a sought-after player sends a powerful message, say those who watch such things closely.

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