Ben Howland met with enigmatic forward Reeves Nelson during a Tuesday meeting described by the head coach as "cordial" before Nelson headed to his first final exam of the day.
Nelson would be suspended from the team indefinitely for "conduct unbecoming of a member of a member of the UCLA basketball team."
Nelson sat out the entire second half of the UCLA (2-5) 69-59 loss to Texas last Saturday. It was then, that he exhibited behavior on the bench that led to his most recent suspension.
"In the middle of the game, (and) even with a minute to go, Reeves was visibly smiling and joking on the bench," said Howland. "His behavior on the bench Saturday was totally against what UCLA and our team stands for."
"In general, I don't think that's something that you want to do. You don't want to be laughing when your team's losing," said David Wear.
Howland says there were also "a couple of other things that were very much inappropriate," done by Nelson that he wouldn't discuss with members of the media, that led to, yet, another suspension for Nelson to start this young season.
Per his suspension, Nelson will not be practicing with the team for "the next few days," and playing in the Bruins next game on Saturday at Honda Center against Penn is "unlikely."
"It's just tough because we're 2-5 right now and all of our energy needs to be spent on trying to get things right and I think Coach is trying to do what he feels necessary to take the steps forward to getting things back on track," said Wear. "(It's) obviously time spent taking away from what we need to do to get better and it's a little bit of distraction because it's just time and energy spent in a place where it doesn't need to be."
UCLA is in the middle of finals, so Howland says he will meet with Nelson later in the week. Howland says the next few days will be spent seeing if Nelson does what he is supposed to do off of the floor. There are things that Nelson needs to take care of off of the court, including being in good academic standing before he can return to the team. Howland says he doesn't expect academics to be an issue for Nelson.
There is no timetable set for Nelson's return, but his teammates would like him to can get his act together so that he can join them on the court.
"Of course we want him on the team but whatever he and coach have going on, we can't do anything but respect what coach has to say," said Lazeric Jones. "He's a really great player. He's a returning (all-conference player). Anyone in the conference would want Reeves on their team. We just have to figure things out."
"This is not a professional deal. This kid's a kid. He actually turned 20 this summer and it is something that we've been working and talking about for quite a while," said Howland. "At what point does that happen? That's the all important question."