Freshman Reeves Nelson quickly gained a cult following with his relentless (and reckless) style of play. He became associated with tattoos and black eyes, but people outside of Westwood also took notice for what he did on the court, as evidenced by his Pac-10 Conference All-Freshman team honors. Following UCLA's 85-72 loss to California in the semi-finals of the conference tournament, the 6-foot-8 forward spoke briefly about UCLA's disappointing season, his personal goals and what how thinks the Bruins can bounce back.
Blair Angulo: What can you take away from such a disappointing season?
Reeves Nelson: Losing is going to be a big motivating factor for everyone that's returning to the team next year to work harder this offseason. Hopefully that will always be in the back of our minds while we're working out.
Angulo: How will you attack this offseason? Will it be more on the physical side of things, getting bigger and stronger? Or is it more about learning schemes and studying tape?
Nelson: I need to get quicker so I can guard the fours next year. The coaches told me I'm going to start at the four next season, so I'm focused on that. I'm trying to get my outside jumper back from high school.
Angulo: In terms of the program's state, is this where you envisioned it being when you signed?
Nelson: No. I committed when they were in the middle of their last Final Four run, so obviously I didn't expect it to be this much of a drop. But it's the cards that we've been dealt and we're going to try to play them as well as we can.
Angulo: Coach Ben Howland has been criticized because some guys have not panned out. Does that serve as a motivating factor for this team?
Nelson: It's going to take a lot of hard work on behalf of everybody. We have to get better individually and that will translate into team success, I think.
Angulo: Michael Roll, James Keefe and Nikola Dragovic are gone. What will your personal role be next year on a relatively young team?
Nelson: To play as hard as I can and do everything I can. I'm going to help the new guys that are coming in and combine that with our returners to make a better team.