UCLA officially started practicing this past Saturday, and the first 15 minutes of Monday’s afternoon session was open to the media. The Bruins didn’t do anything intensive to start, but freshman Bryce Alford manned the point while Kyle Anderson did individual drills at the other end of the court.
Anderson said he’s playing a lot more point guard than he did under former head coach Ben Howland, estimating the increase at roughly 90 percent.
– Anderson’s father has said that his son will most likely enter the NBA after this season. The sophomore added this today: “I’ve put a lot of thought into it, but I don’t want that to interfere with this season.”
– Steve Alford said both Anderson and his son Bryce will play point guard. Freshman Zach LaVine will see time there too, but is more of a scoring guard. The coach then talked at length about how he doesn’t like to label positions. His New Mexico team last season, for example, didn’t have a true point guard either, rotating ball-handling duties between Kendall Williams, Tony Snell and Hugh Greenwood — a trio that ranged from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-7.
“We’ll play a lot of combinations in practice to see how things go,” Alford said. “I’m not real worried about handling the ball and getting our offense started. I think we’ll have plenty of guards who are able to do that.
– The eligibility of both forward Wanaah Bail and guard Isaac Hamilton remains undetermined. Bail’s status for the upcoming season may be settled sooner than Hamilton’s.
– Returning lead scorer Jordan Adams said he feels 100 percent after breaking his foot in March. Alford said the guard looks “tremendous,” adding that the medical staff did a great job bringing him along slowly.
Bail is roughly five weeks away from fully recovering from knee surgery. He should be cleared for more activity in about three weeks.
“He hasn’t done a whole lot since joining our family because of the injury,” Alford said. “We obviously know about him because we saw him play in high school. … He’s very athletic, a very good presence. He can play mostly inside, but go to the perimeter as well.”
– Alford said he likes to use a man defense, but may test out different zone schemes given the length available on the roster.
– Asked if there was anything about the UCLA job he has learned since his hire, Alford said: “Nothing really. It’s my 23rd year. I’ve been doing this a long time.”