UCLA’s Steve Alford was among the several Southern California head coaches who attended the John R. Wooden Award Tipoff lunch Wednesday, and previewed the Bruins to members of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. He was not available for questions afterward, but made a few comments about the team.
Some quick notes from the day:
— Alford said center Tony Parker had a great summer, and also grouped Kyle Anderson with Jordan Adams and Norman Powell as “big, physical guards.” The coach didn’t go into the rotation in detail, but UCLA’s lack of depth in the frontcourt likely necessitates Anderson playing more point forward than guard.
— In attendance was former UCLA head coach Jim Harrick, whom Alford pointed out as one of the first who called after he landed the Bruins job. Harrick told him that to stay employed in Los Angeles, Alford needed only to “do what he did.” Left unsaid was that Harrick only kept his job for 19 more months following his national championship.
— San Diego State assistant Brian Dutcher said Steve Alford made New Mexico the most well-prepared team in the Mountain West: “I can’t tell you how happy I am Steve Alford is out of the conference.” The record doesn’t quite bear this out. During Alford’s five seasons in Albuquerque, the Lobos went 7-10 against the Aztecs.
— Many coaches shared their Wooden memories. New Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said when he was 12 or 13 years old, he met Wooden at a basketball camp in Oxnard. Taylor left with a Pyramid of Success plaque.
New Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus said he thought about attending UCLA until Wooden retired in 1975, the same year Theus graduated from Inglewood High. He instead starred at UNLV, helping the Rebels to their first-ever Final Four.
— Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson talked up the play of senior forward Brendan Lane, who transferred from UCLA in March 2012. Lane averaged 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds through 79 games with the Bruins.
— Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer will receive the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor next year. It recognizes those who “exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal integrity,” and has gone to such coaches as Bill Self, Geno Auriemma and Tom Izzo.