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UCLA basketball: Gordon's departure prompted by suspension

December 1, 2009 |  6:34 pm

Gordon_586 UCLA center Drew Gordon decided to leave the team after Coach Ben Howland quietly suspended him for two days of practice this week, his parents said.

Though the discipline came as a surprise to Gordon, tensions between Howland and him had apparently grown in the days since the Bruins lost to Portland, Butler and Long Beach at the 76 Classic.

"It came from the frustration of being with UCLA and losing to the teams they were losing to," Gordon's father, Ed, said. "With the talent that's on the UCLA team, there's absolutely no reason for that to happen."

Drew Gordon can be, in his parents' words, "opinionated" and "vocal." He has also been given to flashes of temper on the court.

But Ed Gordon stopped short of calling the relationship between Drew and Howland stormy. More to the point, he said, his son had grown increasingly disenchanted with the Bruins' style of basketball, which features a measured offensive pace.

"His athleticism always has shined more in an up-and-down tempo," Ed Gordon said. "That's not exactly what the UCLA system is about."

Drew Gordon will finish the quarter at UCLA, then return home to San Jose to begin the process of selecting another school. He will not transfer to a rival Pacific 10 Conference program, his mother, Shelly Davis said, but beyond that has not favorites.

"We've heard from I can't tell you how many programs," Davis said. "My phone's been ringing off the hook."

His parents will be happy to have their son home over the holidays -- when he might otherwise have been playing with the Bruins -- but feel bad about the way things turned out.

The 6-foot-9 center had performed solidly as a starter, averaging 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds.

"That's the sad thing," Davis said. "He was playing well."

-- David Wharton

Photo: UCLA center Drew Gordon (0) huddles with teammates before going to the foul line. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times