UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford confirmed on Tuesday that he will take his son, point guard Bryce Alford, off scholarship if necessary to sign the team’s celebrated 2016 recruiting class.
The Bruins signed four players to letters of intent last week, securing five-star prospects in point guard Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf as well as four-star recruits in center Ike Anigbogu and swingman Kobe Paras.
It was the addition of Leaf, who decommitted from Arizona in August, that will likely make it necessary for Bryce to walk on as a senior. UCLA is currently two spots below the NCAA’s 13-scholarship limit, and is only projected to lose senior big man Tony Parker after this season.
“He’s had no issue with that,” Steve Alford said of Bryce. “His whole issue was, ‘Coach, make sure he can really play.’ T.J. can really play, so he fits the mold.”
The move would echo that of Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who was already a two-time All-American when he walked on to free up a scholarship spot for Grant Gibbs in 2013-14. His father, Greg McDermott, is now in his sixth year as the Bluejays’ coach.
For the third time in seven tries, UCLA opened its season with a loss. In one of the ugliest performances of Steve Alford’s three-year tenure, the Bruins choked away a double-digit lead against Monmouth in less than nine minutes — then fell in overtime in an 84-81 decision.
“Pretty disgusted in the way that we played, to say the least,” said junior guard Bryce Alford.
Added senior big man Tony Parker: “They played way harder than us.”
Both pointed to turnovers as the main cause, with the Bruins coughing up the ball 23 times to spur 23 points for the Hawks.
“It was a game where the whole time, we couldn’t control the ball,” Alford said. “A lot of that’s on me. … I can’t have a five-assist, four-turnover kind of night. That’s not something I can do.
“As a leader, as a point guard, as a guard that’s been here for three years now, I can’t have games where, as a team, we have 23 turnovers. That’s not acceptable.”
UCLA point guard Bryce Alford, the son of head coach Steve Alford, could be taken off scholarship as a senior in 2016-17. (David Stephenson/AP)
Two months ago, Steve Alford left open the possibility of taking his son Bryce off scholarship.
“We haven’t talked about that,” the UCLA men’s basketball coach said in June. “But obviously, that’s something that we can do.”
And something that appears to be an increasingly likely possibility. According to Scout.com, the Bruins are willing to make point guard Bryce Alford a walk-on in 2016-17 to make room for five-star power forward T.J. Leaf — who decommitted from Arizona on Thursday. Continue reading →