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Reeves Nelson's preps coach suggests counseling for UCLA forward

November 15, 2011 |  4:40 pm

Reeves3Gary Porter, who has known Reeves Nelson since Nelson was in the fifth grade and coached him at Modesto Christian, suggested that the troubled UCLA forward could benefit from counseling to help manage the behavior issues that led to his indefinite suspension.

“My recommendation would be to seek a little outside help of some kind so you get past this thing and move on to bigger and better things,” Porter said Tuesday. “The right counseling probably wouldn’t hurt.”

Porter said he spoke with Nelson on Monday night after the junior was suspended by Ben Howland for what the Bruins coach termed conduct unbecoming a member of the team.

Reeves appeared to tune out coaches during timeout huddles in UCLA's loss to Loyola Marymount on Friday.

Porter described Nelson as “down a little bit, a little disappointed with himself,” but said he did not get the sense that the junior was contemplating quitting the team. Nelson will sit out the Bruins’ game against Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday night at the Sports Arena before meeting with Howland about his status later in the week.

A family member who answered the phone at the Nelson home in Modesto said the family had no comment.

Behavioral issues are nothing new for Nelson, prone to sulking and berating his teammates during his first three years at UCLA. Porter said he suspended Nelson for “quite a few games” during his high school career for conduct that included yelling at teammates and kicking a chair during a game.

“He would just lose it and get mad because I don’t know if he really knew what to do with that anger,” Porter said. “It’s just a control problem more than anything.”

Porter said he informed Howland of Nelson’s issues early in the recruiting process.

“We both seemed to think it was something he would outgrow,” Porter said.

Porter said he traveled to Westwood once earlier in Nelson’s college career to support him through a difficult stretch and regularly spoke with former UCLA assistant Scott Duncan whenever issues arose.

When Porter spoke with Nelson on Monday, the coach said, he told his former player that he was there for him but that he needed to better control his temper.

“He said he was working on it,” Porter said.

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-- Ben Bolch

Photo: UCLA forward Reeves Nelson. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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