Weekly Q&A — 3/31/13 Answers

Q: Why do people say Steve Alford is a good West Coast recruiter? Alford got mainly transfers in UNM. Will he be able to take advantage of his AAU relationships? Why are they referred to in articles as shady?

He got underrated players like Kendall Williams and Tony Snell out to New Mexico, where they became his top two scorers. Alford’s assistants clearly put in a lot of work there as well, so watching his hires will be key. (Lobos assistant Duane Broussard is reportedly the first. He recruited Danny Granger to Bradley and then New Mexico by transfer, though secondary violations dogged the latter move.) Alford also has a reputation as a player’s coach, which Ben Howland wasn’t. You can take that kind of charisma and extrapolate it to what he might do with new facilities at a historic program. I haven’t seen the articles that specifically say “shady,” but the AAU scene in general isn’t exactly the cleanest place.

Q: What are our chances with Aaron Gordon? Why would he not want to play for Steve Alford?

Zero. I thought UCLA might have had an outside chance at Gordon, but the Archbishop Mitty product told FOX Sports that Steve Alford’s call to him on Saturday simply came too late in the process. The five-star forward is announcing on Tuesday, and said he already made up his mind a month ago.

Q: Why did UCLA settle on a coach after Brad Stevens fell through instead of making a serious push for Shaka Smart or Mark Few? Why did they not wait one week for the search and also consider (although unlikely gets) Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, and Rick Pitino?

That Alford’s $1 million buyout kicks in today was probably a factor. Neither he nor New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs were sure if the terms of agreement — not contract — he did sign means for the buyout, and lawyers will probably fight over that. UCLA felt comfortable with Alford and wanted to move quickly. Donovan, Pitino and especially Izzo are pipe dreams.

Q: How are the UCLA basketball players reacting to the news about Coach Alford? Has Shabazz made an official announcement on his future?

Shabazz hasn’t made an official announcement, but not much suspense there. I haven’t had a chance to contact any players about their reactions. I don’t think any have met Alford in person yet.

Q: What will it take to keep Tony Parker from transferring? What kind of promise?

Only Tony and his family can really answer that, and he was non-committal all through the weekend in Austin. Alford will likely have to sell Parker on an increased role. The simple prospect of sitting out a full year might help dissuade the big man from transferring too.

Q: Looks like Allerik Freeman and Zach LaVine are coming along with Noah Allen. They are all shooting guards and Bryce Alford is coming too. Isn’t that too many of one position considering we have Jordan Adams still?

Unless someone can play minutes as a shoot-first point guard, which is possible, one guy will be left with minimal action. Noah Allen is listed on Scout.com as a small forward, so he can probably get some run there too.

Q: Was Phil Jackson really going to help with the search for a coach? Any idea what kind of coach he would have brought us? What is the substance abuse policy at UCLA? Four strikes and you are out? Is the drug of choice usually pot?

I think Phil Jackson/his rep probably wanted to charge a higher consulting fee than UCLA wanted to shell out. No real idea what who might have helped land, but maybe the search would have turned toward the NBA. And yes, per policy, you get suspended after three positive tests and lose your scholarship on the fourth. Marijuana is the drug of choice for college students in general, so no reason to think differently when it comes to athletes.

Q: How did you cover the coaching change? You re-tweeted and shared a lot of others’ reporting, but who were you talking with? (PS I don’t expect you to reveal secret sources, but tell us in a general sense)

Talked to people close to prospective candidates, some donors. Wasn’t able to break anything significant, unfortunately.

Q: Now that my heart is broken over UCLA not getting Gregg Marshall, how can you cheer me up? Any new football news?

Brett Hundley is still your quarterback! An interesting note I didn’t post is that wide receiver Devin Fuller will get time at quarterback in a certain play package. Hundley might line up as a receiver if that should happen, which could be a nice wrinkle for the offense. Not new news per se, but we’ll have plenty of that come Tuesday.