Assistant coach Ed Schilling started UCLA’s Monday practice with a skill-work session, focusing on dribbling and passing. Some players couldn’t dribble two balls at quite the rhythm and pace asked of them, so it’s a good sign the staff is spending time building these skills.
— The eligibility of forward Wanaah Bail and guard Isaac Hamilton are still undetermined. Coach Steve Alford said the NCAA could issue a decision on Bail very soon, but Hamilton’s appeal was submitted very recently.
— Alford has long espoused the motion offense. Even if situations dictate the need for a halfcourt set, he explained the importance of continuity.
“They’re actions that flow into things,” Alford said. “We like the defense to guard us for the whole 35 seconds. I’m not saying we’re going to not shoot. If the possession goes 20 seconds, we want them to guard us the whole 20. … My point is we don’t like to reset. We’re going to run in transition and that should flow into something.”
— After spending the first week of practices drilling man defense, the coaching staff introduced zone concepts recently. Schilling is taking the lead in those portions of practice, since Alford’s background is heavily grounded in man defense.
Ben Howland reluctantly used some zone early last season to try and band-aid a leaky defense. Forward Travis Wear said Schilling’s approach has been much more detailed.