While “Fringe” receives some of the worst ratings on broadcast television and has already announced there is only one season remaining, one of my roommates and I religiously watch this show for its oddly addicting and bizarre sci-fi themes.
The show delves into the idea of alternate realities and questions whether there are other, fundamentally similar universes where events happen differently.
In watching this show, I always wondered whether UCLA men’s basketball coach Ben Howland does too.
He doesn’t come off as a sci-fi nut, but the idea of small choices or actions leading to huge consequences has to make him ask, “What if?”
Thursday marked the second time in the past three years that UCLA did not have a player selected in the NBA draft. To say this is an anomaly is a massive understatement, seeing that the Bruins had at least one player taken in every draft from 1997 to 2009.
Whether Howland watches “Fringe” or not, I’ll bet he takes a look back at all of the “what if” scenarios and questions whether there is another world out there where UCLA is coming off yet another Final Four and had several players taken in Thursday’s draft.
The “Fringe” fan in me thinks that maybe this universe really does exist.
In that world, Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee decided to forgo the draft for one more year and stayed for the 2011-2012 season.
In that world, rising junior center Joshua Smith got in shape and became a consistently dominant force down low.
In that world, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones and Austin Rivers all opted to attend UCLA.
In that world, Howland and forward Drew Gordon worked out their differences, and he never transferred to New Mexico.
Unfortunately for Howland, he wakes up in the morning with the blue opening credits (obscure “Fringe” allusion for those who don’t know what I’m talking about). That is to say ““ Howland wakes up in this world, where those things didn’t happen.
The world we live in saw Honeycutt and Lee leave prematurely and spend their rookie campaigns on the bench or in the D-league.
The world we live in has Smith weighing in well over 300 pounds with questions about his conditioning and commitment to basketball.
The world we live in had Barnes, Jones and Rivers, all players UCLA recruited and received visits from, go to different universities and were selected in Thursday’s draft.
The world we live in had Gordon leave Westwood in a messy and public feud before finding refuge in New Mexico where he became a first-team Mountain West All-Mountain West Conference selection.
It’s hard not to look at what happened and think, “Man, this universe is really mean to Ben.”
The silver lining of this story comes in the fact that Howland just brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and returns the majority of his core from a 19-win season.
If anything, Thursday served as the final reminder of the horrors Howland went through the past three years ““ a turning point.
At this point, with Howland’s recruiting class, it looks as though UCLA could have several players taken in the 2013 draft.
Because time travel is only lightly touched on in “Fringe,” I won’t get too deep into predictions, but I think it’s safe to say if UCLA doesn’t have a player drafted next year, Howland ““ like “Fringe” ““ could be entering his final season.
If you also think Olivia Dunham and Bryan Mills should get married and have kids, email Ruffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.