Russell Westbrook’s UCLA coach never thought anyone would catch Oscar Robertson

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Westbrook's UCLA coach thought Robertson’s record was unbreakable originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

As Russell Westbrook sits on the brink of making history and breaking Oscar Robertson's all-time triple-double record, it's easy to forget just how unreachable Robertson's record appeared to be before Westbrook came along. 

Take it from Westbrook's college coach himself, Ben Howland. He never thought he'd live to see the day a player broke Robertson's record and he had a front-row seat to Westbrook early on in his basketball career. 

"I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be alive to see someone break Oscar Robertson's record, or to even average a triple-double for anybody again," Howland said on Wizards Pregame Live. "Anybody who's played the game at that level or coached, really understands how miraculous it is. To have that kind of consistency night in and night out, and especially the rebounding numbers, the guy is 6-3 I mean he's a beast. Just plays so much harder than anybody else." 

Howland was UCLA's head coach for 10 years starting in 2003 and was there during Westbrook's two years as a Bruin. If anyone knows what kind of player Westbrook is, it's Howland, and he still can't help but be amazed at what the former MVP has been able to accomplish. 

"He's always gonna play as hard as he can every single possession," Howland said. "He never takes a possession off and when you're playing 48 minutes a night, you're playing 82 games plus playoffs, that's incredible. It blows other people away. With so many great players, the season's so long, they want to take some time, they don't want to practice every day. Russ was one in a billion."

At just 32 years old and with the all-time record within his reach, Westbrook can spend the rest of his career padding his total to the point where nobody else will ever catch him. Howland didn't think it could be done before and he is taking the same approach now with his former player. 

"I think it's so unique, I don't know if we'll see this again, anytime soon," Howland said. "To have that consistency and do what he's done, and at the end of the day, he's just trying to win. He's not trying to stuff the stat sheet, he's trying to win games. He takes it upon himself to do everything within his abilities to do just that."

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 6:30 p.m. Monday for Ben Howland's full interview on Wizards Pregame Live.