Q: What do you think are reasonable expectations for Alford’s first year (team record) — from a media, UCLA alumni, general fan, Morgan Center, and unattached viewer perspective? What about the second and third years?
A: Some early projections have UCLA behind Arizona and Colorado in the Pac-12, and that feels … about right. I can see the Bruins being better than the Buffs, but Tad Boyle returns every starter. I think Jordan Adams could be an All-Pac-12 first team selection after getting snubbed for the All-Freshman team. If I had to pick a record right now, I’d probably go with another 25 wins. Too hard to project years two and three right now with potential recruits and NBA departures still in flux.
Q: We have Noah Allen, Allerik Freeman, Bryce Alford, Zach LaVine coming in to a group including Norman Powell, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson. That is seven players to play the two or the three. In your opinion who starts, who plays either the one or the four more, and who doesn’t see much playing time?
A: Allen is probably most at risk of being crowded out, while either LaVine or Freeman could potentially see time at the one. Before he was fired, Howland said he wanted to play Anderson solely at the one on offense; whether or not that happens may depend on if Tony Parker definitely does come back and gets more playing time. I wouldn’t put money on a freshman starting, at least not at the beginning of the season.
Q: I’ve read some snippets of Alford hitting the recruiting trail and visiting area HS coaches. To your knowledge, what has he been up to?
A: Focusing on 2014 and 2015 recruits. Etiwanda’s four-star point guard Jordan McLaughlin has to be a top priority both for positional need and establishing local recruiting; he was already being chased by Alford before he came to UCLA. Also met with five-star Mater Dei forward Stanley Johnson, who has the Bruins in his top seven. Five-star forward Justise Winslow got an in-home visit in Houston from Alford and Duane Broussard this past week. Ed Schilling was at Bishop Gorman on Saturday to watch 2015 big men Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter.
Q: What is the latest on the $1M New Mexico is asking for?
A: Nothing that I’ve heard, but figures they’ll settle for less than the full $1 million at some point.
Q: Who are the genuinely nicest guys on the basketball or football team?
A: Xavier Su’a-Filo is definitely up there for the football team. More of a wash for basketball, but I’d go with Jordan Adams out of the rotation players.