Since the day I was born, I have been trained to be a UCLA fan. I bleed blue and gold. I always have, and I always will. UCLA Basketball’s illustrious program and its NCAA Division I title record is one of the things that I am most proud to boast about. However, when UCLA’s current team lost to Monmouth University in their first regular season game this year, I caught myself starting to lose hope.
I was in attendance that night at Pauley Pavilion, and by the end of that game, I can honestly say I felt embarrassed to be a Bruin. Sure, I can talk about the 11 championships UCLA has captured in the past. I can talk about John Wooden, arguably the greatest coach to ever teach the game of basketball, or any sport for that matter. I can talk about the superstar players that have gone through the program, including Lou Alcindor, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, or more recently Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. I can talk about all of these things with pride. But, after that embarrassing loss to Monmouth at the beginning of the season, I did not want to talk about any of these things. I hate to admit it, but I was even one of the fans that was calling for the coach to be fired. I was completely embarrassed. Little did I know that a few weeks later, all of the love I have for UCLA Basketball would come back, accompanied by a lot of promise for future years.
Two weeks ago, the Bruins played the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats in a game that many expected to be a blowout, in Kentucky’s favor. By the end of the game, UCLA had won by a commanding 10 points and all of the hope that was lost was instantly restored.
Then, this past Saturday, UCLA played in its first real test since the Kentucky Game. This game was against Gonzaga, the team that eliminated the Bruins from the NCAA Tournament in the round of 16 last year. UCLA marched into a hostile environment, to say the least, and it came out of the game triumphant once again, proving to everyone that it is a legitimate college basketball contender.
After this game many fans, including myself, started to wonder what the future really holds for the program. With only one senior on the roster this year and a projected top 5 finish in recruiting for the class of 2016, the Bruins will be flirting with dominance once again. Thankfully, it is safe to say that everything will be alright in Westwood, soon enough.