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Summer 2003
Hoop Dreams
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“I think [Howland] pretty much laid down the law that there’s a new sheriff in town,” said Dave Nahabedian of Networx Scouting Service in a recent interview with the Pasadena Star News. “I think people knew this day was coming, when the so-called sleeping giant would awaken. And for Howland to get this done basically by himself is really, really impressive. Arron’s a well-liked kid, and I think his commitment sends a message to other recruits that UCLA is once again a top contender for elite players on the West Coast.”

While landing Afflalo is a coup, Howland also likes what he sees in his current players. T.J. Cummings and Dijon Thompson are going to be team leaders, he says. He’s enthusiastic about the progress of centers Ryan Hollins and Michael Fey and looks forward to working with point guard Cedric Bozeman, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Howland says. “But my plan is that once we get to where we want to be, we’ll be able to sustain it because of the resources, because of the tradition, because of all the things we’re able to offer these young men.”

Howland has already reached his first goal, that of becoming a Bruin. “I wasn’t good enough to play here, but the opportunity to coach here is even better,” he says. “You know, as a player you only get to stay for four years. I hope to stay a lot longer than that.”

Wendy Soderburg is senior editor of UCLA Magazine.

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