We’re just three games into the UCLA basketball season, and Bryce Alford already has the first two double-doubles of his career.
The Bruins’ sophomore point guard has started making an argument for Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year. As a freshman, there were times he looked like more of a two-guard, eventually finishing a season off the bench with averages of 8.0 points and 2.8 assists on 38.5-percent shooting.
UCLA hasn’t played anyone of note yet, comfortably rolling past Montana State, Coastal Carolina and — on Thursday night — Nicholls State. But in a 107-74 win over the Colonels, Alford had a sparking line of 28 points, a career-high 13 assists and just one turnover.
On the season, he is now averaging 21.0 and 10.7, shooting 55.6 percent from the field, and perfect on 12 free throws. None of these numbers are sustainable, but for now, his offensive creativity has been fun to watch. Alford has easily been UCLA’s flashiest player early on, and Pauley Pavilion saw that peak against Nicholls State — most notably on his behind-the-back pass to Isaac Hamilton in the corner.
“It’s good to score points, but assists is what I love to do,” he said. “I love to get guys open shots, love to get guys going. I love to get assists, and it’s good to get assists, but that’s on these guys. They make shots. It’s easy for me to get them the ball when they’re open. They make the shots, so they do the hard part.”