UCLA coach Steve Alford: ‘I’ve just done a really poor job’

UCLA’s season fizzled out on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, with the Bruins losing a third straight game to USC for the first time since 1942.

Some more milestone from the 95-71 loss in the Pac-12 Tournament, one in which Steve Alford’s team never looked competitive …

» USC’s point total was its highest-ever in the rivalry, passing the 94 points it scored in an eight-point loss to UCLA in 1979.
» The 24-point margin of victory was USC’s largest since a 28-point win in 1945.
» The Trojans’ three wins against the Bruins this year came by a combined 57 points. They had not won two rivalry games by double digits since 1938.
» USC’s average halftime lead in those three games was 16.

“It’s been a really difficult two-and-a-half months,” Alford said afterward. “And it falls on me. This is where the buck stops and starts. I’ve just done a really poor job of getting to these guys over the last two-and-a-half months.”

Asked how he would defend himself to fans who are calling for his job, he said: “I’m not defending myself. I didn’t get into this business to defend myself. If I’m a fan, I’m upset too. It’s not a defense. If I’m a fan, I’m upset; I’m a coach, I’m upset. …

“Bad year’s probably an overstatement. It was a bad two-and-a-half months, bad league play. And that’s what it was. I think I’ve got the players’ attention. We’ve got a tremendous recruiting class coming in that we’re excited about. … So it’s back to work. It’s getting us back to the level of excellence that is required.”

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  • UCLA = Lost Cause U

    Who’s getting fired for those atrocious SUCLA uniforms?

    • Mrhawaii

      Those unis need to go to Goodwill.

      • JustOwns

        Not quite as bad as the Bozo U candy apple red, we be cool helmets.

    • gotroy22

      Your Chancellor Blockhead will never fire Dan Guerrero. Anglea Davis wouldn’t allow it because RACISM!

    • MPPBruin

      At least we won’t have to see them again.

  • 88 Straight

    Bad year isn’t an overstatement. It’s an understatement. He is clueless about coaching this team and blinded by overrating the talent and effort of his own son.

    • gotroy22

      His son had a miraculous recovery from that jaw injury that incapacitated him at the end of the last game.

    • j metaphor

      “Tough battle General Custer, you’ll do better next time”.
      General???
      Sir ???
      Oh damn, he’s dead.

    • j metaphor

      Blood is thicker than mud and it looks like we’ll see a lot of both next year.

    • j metaphor

      BTW, nice job by Jack “Quick Draw” Wang keeping his readers up to speed. This is his last post which is from two days ago. Anything going on with UCLA basketball since then? Naw, take some more time off, Jacko!

      • gotroy22

        And the brainless rah rahs at Inside USC whine about the blogger who posts 4-5 posts a day.

  • i was actually arguing in a guey’s office today that it was crazy talk to fire Alford this season…if you ask me tonight, i say Dapper Dan should ambush his sorry assss on the tarmac.

    Lorenzo Ball is coming either way, time to yank the cord. that was a disgrace. his talent is NO WHERE near as bad as they played this year.

    #DAAAAAAAAAAMN!!!

    • JustOwns

      Been watching Bruin BB since 1966, and I’ve never witnessed this ugly level of basketball from an UCLA.

      It’s not just the we dropped 3 to Bozo U, but the team wasn’t a team and they got progressively worse as the season progressed. The UCLA LR must have 12 or 13 different type of music blaring and the players spend much time day- dreaming of NBA greener pastures – when in fact not one UCLA starter could start in the D-League.

      • Xtracrazy32

        This has to go down as maybe the worst loss in the history of ucla basketball! I think they have quit on Alford! Judging by years, and years of playing and following sports the quickest way to lose your team is by showing favoritism towards your son. I think that has happened with this team. Remember two years ago, when Alford played his son over zach lavine? Lavine is doing awesome in the nba right now, and he got jilted for a guy who will probably never play in the nba!

        • JustOwns

          The astounding moment last night was a three brick launched by Tony Parker.

          • j metaphor

            Parker just wanted to complete his triple- bumble. He had already missed several from 2 feet and thrown the ball away a few more, he just need that brick three for the Tri-F#ckta

      • Jethro G Sabbath

        “they got progressively worse as the season progressed”
        -Words to live by

        • JustOwns

          JG, you’re certainly experienced.

      • gotroy22

        You forgot the Walt “El Kaboom” Hazzard and Larry Farmer years?

        • JustOwns

          Nope, I suffered through those years. Trust me.

          • gotroy22

            Come on, those 1980s years had to suck especially 1985 when SC won the Pac 10 and things looked great until our brilliant AD Mike McGee fired our head coach Stan Morrison and our blue chip recruits went to Loyola Marymount and took them to the NCAA.

    • Jethro G Sabbath

      Bruin Family?

      • gotroy22

        It’s like the Trojan Family… except no connections.

        • j metaphor

          He means inter-breeding….

    • WESTWOOD ROB

      Catch him at the Barstow In-and-Out.

  • Xtracrazy32

    Hey Steve Lavin, we need you right now!

  • MPPBruin

    It would have been nice to have had this bit of self awareness a few months ago.

  • Chris Le

    If Kentucky hang their head on elite class coming next year. They would have losing season every year. Afford clueless

  • YOLO 4 SC

    We play up tempo basketball here, if you wanna play slow, go to USC

    • 88 Straight

      Never seen so much excitement about a team that went 9-9 in league play. Enjoy the wins over a pathetic UCLA team with an embarrassment of a coach. Other than beating UCLA, your stretch run has not been impressive.

      • YOLO 4 SC

        It’s the trends that are exciting for ucla, in both football and basketball – 0 and 4 in a season against your main rival is something to cherish forever

        • 88 Straight

          Enjoy. If it helps us get rid of that turd of a basketball coach it will all be worth it.

          • YOLO 4 SC

            Sadly, I know the feeling bro – I’m one of the few that feels grateful for Haden’s work – Couldn’t really have done much better, save for Sarkisian (obviously a mistake), considering.

      • Jethro G Sabbath

        Come on 88, you’re a reasonable guy.
        Nobody is saying 9-9 is the pinnacle. Considering the state of USC basketball the last couple of years, this season has exceeded just about all expectations and the future looks bright. Personally, I hope every underclassman returns for next season and if that happens 9-9 will be a huge disappointment.
        What fan from either side wouldn’t take a considerable amount of satisfaction from going 4-0 in football and basketball?

        • 88 Straight

          JG, I actually think SC should have done much better than 9-9. If you look at where you all have been, it’s understandable, but you limped to the finish. I simply think you are better than that. UCLA sucks and if Guerrero has a brain he will can Alford ASAP. The team has no heart and puts up no fight. UCLA is not any kind of measuring stick for SC this year.

          • Laker Rod

            The one who should be fired is Dan Guerrero himself.

          • 88 Straight

            Like it or not, Dan isn’t going anywhere. That’s the reality of the situation. Alford needs to g9 and probably won’t go this year either .

          • Laker Rod

            Then you as usual don’t offer a true solution to the problem at hand. You say fire Alford…but yet you don’t even think of a realistic replacement related to the situation at hand.

            Ask yourself this. What good basketball coach would want to have Dan Guerrero as a boss? Well?

            Dan Guerrero needs to be out of here first. The numbers prove out. All these horrible basketball milestones have come under Dan Guerrero.

            Our longest drought for a football conference championship is with Dan Guerrero. DG took over in 2002 and he fired Bob Toledo who is the last coach to win a football conference championship. DG has never won a football conference championship to date. It’s been 17 years since UCLA last won a conference championship which was 1998.

            Before this UCLA won in 1993 and 1985. So the longest gap was usually less than 10 years before winning another conference championship.

            For basketball, the measurement is national championships. We gapped 20 years from 1975 to 1995 and who would have ever thunk we would surpass this gap yet again where it’s now been OVER 20 years.

            The men’s programs are suffering also. UCLA has 8 Men’s NCAA team championships under DG in around 15 years. Stanford in the same period has 8 also and USC has 14.

            The only good DG has done is for the Women’s programs. In 14 years, under DG…the women’s programs have won 20 championships.

            Pete Dalis in 19 years got 22 Men’s championships and 17 Women’s championships but we need to keep in mind Title IX came out and there were simply not as many women’s programs in comparison to men’s.

            Football and men’s basketball are the money makers. More focus needs to be put on these programs.

          • 88 Straight

            I guess the irony of you criticizing me for not offering a solution and then YOU not offering any solution is totally lost on you. Please, point out your solution in that long list of items. Again, you are a big man with the lists!

            Before we hired Alford, I was hoping for Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart or Gregg Marshall. Since Stevens and Smart aren’t possibilities, I would favor going hard after Tony Bennett or Gregg Marshall. However, UCLA will be retaining Alford and Bennett may be wooed heavily by Wisconsin. I scoured your menu and didn’t see any coaching suggestions.

            UCLA has a proud tradition of winning titles in spite of their ADs. Dan Guerrero and Pete Dalis are bureaucrats, although Dan was a fine baseball player and made an excellent hire in John Savage. He also made a good hire with Ben Howland and Jim Mora. He has had the disasters of Alford, Neuheisel and Dorrell. It seems that he is entrenched as UCLA and not going anywhere. Given that I don’t run around studying the top ADs in the nation, I don’t have a proposed solution and I noticed that you didn’t offer one either, although it didn’t stop your criticism. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Do you need a definition of that term?

          • Laker Rod

            You’re clueless as usual. Ben Howland was NOT a good hire. He never won a national championship which was the standard back when he was hired and even now. Howland only looked good because of how poorly UCLA performed previously.

            Jim Mora has not won anything either. No conference championships. Get a clue.

            UCLA can only win NCAA titles in women’s sports for the most part. On the men’s side they have fallen off the pace and you know it.

            I repeat…if UCLA wants to get serious about hiring some great coaches then it needs to start with firing of Dan Guerrero and some other top people too. The whole athletic dept is simply complacent and lacks vision, business sense, and forward thinking. They are clueless just like you are.

          • 88 Straight

            Howland went to 3 consecutive Final Fours. Unfortunately he lost his way.. Ho dominated the league. The National Championship was NOT the standard and if you knew ANYTHING about Johnn Wooden you would know that his proudest accomplishment I his own eyes was the number of Conference Championships he won. You know even less about basketball than you do football. Clueless!

          • Laker Rod

            LOL!!! Changing your tune again. JELLYFISH. You should have added the before Jellyfish. All you said Dan Guerrero isn’t going anywhere. All you do is try to stir up arguments. I’ve seen your posts and complaints about the UCLA basketball program. But all you do is “complain”. You have no concept as to what it takes to resolve the issue.

            And quit talking about Howland. If Howland was hired after Wooden, Howland would be simply seen as a failure and you know it. And remember…Howland was fired so hard to be a success if you got canned like you he did and deservingly so.

            All you do is accept lowered expectations. You’re like a puppet. You’ve been fooled by the UCLA Athletic Dept.

          • 88 Straight

            YOU CAN’T READ! UCLA grad!! LOL what I said is that Guerrero isn’t going anywhere, because he isn’t. Some people actually have knowledge of the facts and Dan is going nowhere. Gene Block is going nowhere. You are going nowhere either. You have no solutions to anything.

            Howland wasn’t hired right after Wooden, so your point like all your other points is just stupid. You are just clueless. I remember when I quoted John Wooden and you said the quote was stupid. You didn’t even know who the quote was from!! You have no knowledge of UCLA’s basketball excellence and what it takes. AND, you have no solution and suggest no candidates to replace Guererro or Alford. Care to hame one? No solution Rodney. You inadvertently insulted John Wooden because you aren’t educated enough to know any better. UCLA grad! LOL What a fraud!

          • Laker Rod

            Head in mud. The point is…all you said originally was that Guerrero isn’t going anywhere. Got it? You never originally claimed Guerrero should be fired and you know it. I called you out on this just now and you have no answer as usual. Jellyfish.

          • 88 Straight

            And guess what? He isn’t going anywhere. And you have offered no solution as usual. Just a little windbag.

          • Laker Rod

            Dumb. One can say…Alford isn’t going anywhere. SMH. You are just clueless.

            Face it. You’re stuck. No good coach would come to UCLA because the Athletic Director is pathetic and you know it. You already admitted you didn’t like Guerrero either. You’re a JELLYFISH. Always changing your position where it suits your need. LOL!!

            And back to your wife comments again. LOL!!! Come on….admit it. Your wife left you. Checking for updates 24/7 and how you quickly you respond shows you have no life. I kind of feel sorry for you…but then again…not. LOL!!!

          • 88 Straight

            You can’t come up with any solution. It’s clear. No replacement for Guerrero or Alford. Maybe Jerry Neuheisel, Kevin Prince or Asiantii Woulard. Or perhaps that other 2nd stringer that Toledo didn’t play! You love those guys!

          • Laker Rod

            Just more nonsense you make up. You are one sorry individual. LOL!! It’s easier to replace Guerrero first and then head into a new direction and then hire a top coach dummy. You know this is true. You simply can’t admit it.

            You have no answer to my point to you related to how UCLA can bring in a good coach when they won’t even want to work under Dan Guerrero. Dummy. You’re an embarrassment to UCLA.

          • 88 Straight

            Name an AD. Come up with his replacement. You have no evidence that a good coach won’t come because of Guerrero. The bigger question is whether or not he could select a good coach. One things certain, you can’t come up with a name for either job.

          • 88 Straight

            Yes…YOU feel sorry for me…that’a a laugh. An hourly employee that has lied about his entire existence! LOL

            I took no position on Guerrero in my 1st statement. Your reading comprehension shows your lack of intelligence.

          • Laker Rod

            Typical lame response. Can’t address the point of the debate. Well? Is Alford going anywhere? You are so dumb. It’s so obvious you get clobbered each time.

          • Laker Rod

            I offered a solution. The firing of Dan Guerrero needs to occur. And you’re as clueless as usual claiming UCLA won all the titles despite of Guerrero and Dalis being bureaucrats. There is some legitimacy to the championships they have won. Look at the women’s program.

            The problem for UCLA is that they focus their attention in the wrong areas. The athletic dept. doesn’t care about UCLA football or basketball like they should. All the programs are treated “equally”…got it? Do you understand now? You are so clueless as usual.

            Do you honestly believe USC and Alabama treat all programs “equally”. LOL!! Football gets what they want and it’s warranted because of the revenues they generate.

            I repeat…all these UCLA football players leaving early as junior to be a “possible” low round pick tells you something is rotten in Denmark. Do you not get it? Did you not hear about what Rick Neuheisel said related to meals and the players having to walk a long way to get that meal. Most top football programs have their own area with everything in tact. The other programs have to do the walking or settle for less space or must defer to football related to many things.

            Are you now starting to see the picture? UCLA needs a strong athletic director to show and prove to top coaches around the nation things have changed over at UCLA. Top dollar will be paid and top attention given for football and men’s basketball. You learn something?

            Let’s face it. You know you got schooled once again.

          • 88 Straight

            A solution requires an answer. It requires a replacement and you offer none because you aren’t smart.

            Such as, who could possibly replace you at the french fry station?

          • Laker Rod

            Lame. You offered no solution to the head coaching hire. LOL!!! I told you…how can UCLA attract a top coach with Dan Guerrero as the UCLA Athletic Director. They can’t and you know it.

            DG is the one who decided to pay Alford what he’s getting.

            Admit it. The solution starts with finding a new athletic director. It doesn’t have to be anybody well know. It’s doesn’t work this way for AD’s. So long as the message and vision is set…a top coach can be hired. You know I’m right. You’re as clueless as usual.

          • 88 Straight

            A few days ago I gave 3 names. Learn to read. It sounds like you didn’t even finish high school.

          • Laker Rod

            Those are not realistic and you know it. I repeat….they would come to UCLA with Dan Guerrero as their boss? LOL!!!! HA HA HA. You probably never made it past elementary school!

          • 88 Straight

            Another dodge. Who would you replace Guerrero with? Still no answer. Typical. No diploma. No wife. You’ve got nothing! LOL

          • Laker Rod

            LOL!!! This is no dodge. Athletic Directors are not famous dummy. You don’t even counter argue that your wife left you. LOL!! Guess it’s true. HA HA HA.

          • 88 Straight

            I don’t reply to stupidity. And you can’t even do one of your famous menus for an AD? Fail.

      • gotroy22

        Losing 5 of the last 7 and finishing 9-9 is good for our program. Yours, not so much.

      • Sam Bam

        Normally I would agree with you on the 9-9, but c’mon you have to admit the conference was better this year than in recent memory. USC has done a solid job this season with wins over Colorado, Monmouth, Wichita St., Arizona all NCAA Tournament bound. Yes Monmouth is a “first 4 in” team as of March 11 according to Joe Lunardi. And although UCLA is having a down season, you must admit that USC and Andy Enfield embarrassed the Bruins on three separate occasions in three different venues, that has to say something for USC’s season and their progress as a program…

        • 88 Straight

          Actually, I am paying you a compliment in that I think you are better than a 9-9 team. Definitely an improvement. I just think you should have done even better.

          • Sam Bam

            I agree. You can never be sure with what these players will do, but Enfield feels or expects everyone from this team to return for next season. If that happens I think USC will be dangerous and more mature to win and close out games.

  • j metaphor

    I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming! Steve Alford, player/spawn of Bobby Knight, both of whom hate UCLA because we dominate their basketball heritage and because their favorite son, John Wooden came to LA, hatched this evil plot to ruin Bruin basketball. Clever bastards even found a way to get paid to do it. Now they are holding our program hostage with a $10 million dollar ransom! Lex Luther couldn’t have planned it any better. Hey, wasn’t Lex from Indiana too??? #foiledagain

    • YOLO 4 SC

      Your team is awesome in both football and basketball, congratulations

    • Jethro G Sabbath

      I’m enjoying it!

    • Hogsman

      Sounds like what the Yankees, Torre, and Mattingly did to infiltrate the Dodgers and waste a few seasons of Kershaw’s prime.

    • Steve Alford is to UCLA basketball what Donald Trump is to the Republican Party.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    A couple of months ago I stood up for Coach Alford and the job he was doing. I characterized the team’s progress as fitful, a “two steps forward, one step back” sort of growth that although not speedy was still moving in the right direction. At the time, we had come off promising wins over Kentucky and Gonzaga, and in my estimation had a promising second half of the season to look forward to with improved backcourt play and the emergence of Welsh in the post.

    Well the months since then have been an unmitigated disaster, unfortunately. I never could have imagined that we would end up with a losing record this season. To say that I am disappointed in our progress (or lack thereof) would be a tremendous understatement. Coach Alford has been trite in admitting his responsibility for this season’s outcome, but he obviously needs to do a much better job moving forward.

    Has he been lenient and over-reliant on his son? I dismissed that notion previously, but it will be interesting to see what the backcourt lineup is next year with the highly touted Ball coming in and a more mature Holiday returning, along with of course the team’s leading scorer in Hamilton. To some degree his hands were tied this year because of the lack of experienced talent in the backcourt, but as far as I know he did not mix up the backcourt rotation even though he did in the frontcourt (which I applaud even though it came with mixed results). Whether or not Bryce played a little too much should not have led to we’ve seen this season regardless, but the optics are a concern, and perhaps it could be rubbing off on the other players, I don’t know.

    Whatever the reasons, this team underperformed severely. I only saw a few games live and on TV this season so I’m not able to offer more in-depth comment as I might normally be able to, but the bottom line is that significant improvement needs to be made next season, otherwise UCLA may justifiably need to look for another head coach. I am still rooting for Coach Alford’s success but this season was certainly a bitter pill to swallow.

    • Lifelong Bruin Fan

      One of the keys to improvement next season will be better defense. Holiday, Ali, and Bolden all have the talent to become outstanding defensively. Add in Welsh protecting the rim and a collective defense-first mindset, and I see significant improvement on defense. Parker and Alford were liabilities on defense this season. With Parker’s graduation and an improved backcourt next season leading to possibly fewer minutes for Alford, improvement on defense should only be a function of the dedication and effort by the coaches and players.

      • Nicholas Le Mero

        No need to play defense with today’s game rules . The game has become a ridiculous 3 points contest where it is easier to make them than to score underneath. So all you need to have is at all times at least 4 guys who can make them 40 to 50% of the time to be contenders. And it will get worse. You can push the line back, they’ll adjust. Why not get 6
        points from half court!

    • Nicholas Le Mero

      Hamilton has not been playing for UCLA but for the Pros scouts this year with all his shaky forced dribble drive perpetrations that ended up blocked!

    • If the coach won’t make his son play defense, then the rest of the team won’t, either.

  • PVBruin17

    This is like a Twilight Zone episode. Bruins are saying, “Wait for football,” and Trojans are saying something other than, “We don’t give a $&#* about basketball.”

    • Ali FaceCaresser

      Well played…

      • YOLO 4 SC

        Swing and a miss – wait for football??? Sure, if you like more beat-downs

    • YOLO 4 SC

      Get back to throwing rocks and dirt clods you wanna be middle aged surf gangster – now you think the bruins are a football school? Based on WHAT???

      • Steve W

        The trolls come out after only one mediocre basketball season. Hahaha so pathetic.

        • YOLO 4 SC

          And I am already bored – telling the bruins they suck is like calling Mora a liar.

          #OldNews

    • PVBruin17

      Why so angry, Yolo? With your short memory, you should be blissfully happy right now. Turn off the computer and go frolic in a field.

      • YOLO 4 SC

        Oh frolic I will, trust me – and my memory is quite good, actually. As a matter of fact, you know what this Win reminds me of? 50-0

        #OhHappyDays!!!

        • PVBruin17

          That was a great game! It woke UCLA up after years of neglecting football. Led to a resurgence and three straight victories over SC. Good call, Yolo.

          • YOLO 4 SC

            A resurgence in ucla football??? Hahaha that is too funny – based on what? Beating SC teams that only had half a roster? Last year the SC roster was almost back to normal, while Ucla is supposedly still resurging – right into a WALL of cardinal and gold!!!

            Hahaha!!!!

            FIGHT ON

          • PVBruin17

            Wow, you lost half your roster – no wonder you are so angry. I didn’t realize you only have 20 players at Southern Cal.

          • guest

            you do realize that half of the defense was decimated with injuries (all of them stars now auditioning for the NFL).

          • YOLO 4 SC

            It will be fun to see what the bruins can do with Juarez – he gonna start?

  • TK Bruin

    With all the trouble we’ve had against SC in transition, and covering the 3, can anybody tell me why we put the 2 slowest players on the team on the floor at the same time?

    • Nicholas Le Mero

      No need to play defense with today’s game rules . The game has become a ridiculous 3 points contest where
      it is easier to make them than to score underneath. And nobody is questioning that stupid rule, that they should get rid of , because all you need to have is at all times at least 4 guys on the floor who can make them 40 to 50% of the time to outscore the others. And it will get worse. You can push the line back, they’ll adjust. Why not get 6 points from half court!

  • UCLA Dynasty

    It’s Thursday, March 10. Have we fired the coach yet?