Steve Alford will be different without Bryce Alford – perception or reality?

Steve Alford has coached four seasons at UCLA, but his next will be the first without his son on the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By the end of last season, the perception of Steve Alford in Westwood seemed to be undergoing a change.

A 31-5 season, nearly half of which UCLA spent ranked among the top five in the country, reportedly netted him an offer to fill Indiana’s coaching vacancy. Despite Alford’s shortcomings – a losing season a year earlier and a disappointingly early end to last season – the prospect of losing him was more than a little unsettling, especially if it compromised the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class on its way to UCLA in the fall.

It will be nearly impossible not to view Alford differently next season. His son won’t be around to color the perception of the UCLA coach’s decisions.

How much did Steve Alford sacrifice on UCLA’s behalf for Bryce Alford? The debate is endless.

No longer is there fear he is sitting a better player – from Zach LaVine to Aaron Holiday – so his son can be on the court. Gone are questions about him compromising the team’s defense so UCLA can have one more shooter in the corner. Some surmise the effect of Bryce’s presence reached as high as Alford’s overarching philosophy slanted toward offense, his son’s obvious strength.

Bryce Alford proved he wasn’t a Division II player gifted a scholarship to UCLA by his father. He also wasn’t a point guard, the position he played his first three seasons in college. Not until his senior season did he play the role he was suited for.

If he doesn’t play for his father, does Bryce Alford climb as high as No. 5 on UCLA’s prestigious career scoring list? Probably not. The role his father gave him his first three years deserved to be questioned. But how much better were UCLA’s other options at the time?

There weren’t many decisions Steve Alford made that weren’t tied to his son, whether directly or by extension. Four years later, he’s still on the UCLA bench. Now he can simply coach. And not be judged by any other merit.

  • Ed Garrett

    Huh? Their not the same person. They’re first names are even different.

  • 88 Straight

    It’s time to move on from the Bryce Alford debate, IMO. It’s clear that this was a very polarizing situation at UCLA and I believe that Coach Alford erred in not recruiting a point guard until Lonzo Ball, thus keeping Bryce out of position. However, it is now water under the bridge.

    I look forward to seeing if the Bruins can improve defensively under Coach Alford 2.0. It will be necessary as there is no Lonzo Ball on the floor next year. Perhaps Jaylen Hands will be able to fill those shoes somewhat.

    • gotroy22

      I look forward to the trend of SC beating the ruins continuing.

      • 88 Straight

        You also think Trump tells the truth. Last time I checked, in order for a trend to “continue” you would need to be on a win streak. SC has lost the last two. Wake me up when you get to a Final Four. It’s been since 1954.

        • gotroy22

          You stupidly predicted Hillary would be president. Last time I check you were melting down over nothing for the umpteenth time like the little girl you are. Isn’t two in a row a win streak by your own definition of a trend? Wake me up next time you ruins win a Rose Bowl.

          • 88 Straight

            31<73

          • gotroy22

            It’s been 63 years, not 73, since the ruins won their one NC in football and SC made the Final Four in mens hoops, Kissy86er. You must have flunked math in grade school

          • 88 Straight

            That is correct. 63 years.

            Your BB NC. Is very simple to calculate.

            ZERO for FOREVER. ZERO since Abe Lincoln. ZERO since the Renaissance. ZERO since the Magna Carta.

          • gotroy22

            Zero since 1891 when basketball was invented. You would figure we could have won one when there were only 5 schools playing basketball…it’s a Cubs like Curse.

          • JustOwns

            Impeach the Thump! and lock the russian stooge up.

            #justgimmesomerubles

          • gotroy22

            Owns, didn’t they teach you in 4th grade that you have to control the House before you can impeach a president? You must have attended one of those failed public schools.

      • Paul

        0-2 versus the Bruins last season…back to the natural order of things

  • Coach Thom

    Another season of ‘one and dones’. Whoopee!

  • jim

    They were not that good on defense last year despite the fact that they had a lot of guys who could play individual defense. Welch, Anibogu, Ball, Holiday, Goloman and Leaf were all good defensive players individually. Was their poor defense the fault of Bryce or was it that they just didn’t play good team defense? We’ll find out next year. Steve Alford has never convinced me that he’s a real good defensive coach.