UCLA’s Ben Howland offers plan for NBA but expects deaf ears

UCLA Coach Ben Howland instructs his team in a game against Arizona.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA Coach Ben Howland, resigned to the possibility that freshman Shabazz Muhammad will leave for the NBA after this season, put forth a plan about how the NBA should handle drafting young players.

He also admitted it didn’t have a chance of being implemented.

“I would prefer the kids could go right after high school, but once they are in college they have to stay three years, or two,” Howland said.


But, he said, “I don’t see it happening. There is no dialogue with the NBA.”

Howland said the current situation is perfect for the NBA.

“They get a year to evaluate kids in program, against better competition,” he said.

Howland said after Saturday’s game that Muhammad would leave after this season. He was taken aback by the ruckus it caused. Muhammad said he has not made a decision yet.

“He should go, he’s a lottery pick,” Howland said. But, he said, “So many kids get messed up by this thing.”

Howland prefers the NFL’s policy, which allows players to enter the draft after third year in college.

“That’s why the NFL is a home run,” Howland said. “Everyone leaves the kids alone. The kids are able to enjoy the college experience and graduate, or get close to graduating.”


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