UCLA head coach Steve Alford talks about the Bruins’ 81-67 over Pepperdine, and how he feels about the team’s improvement through three games.
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.”
Unless another player declares for the NBA or transfers out, the Alford family will be on the hook for full tuition and fees at UCLA.
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.
UCLA earned its first win of the 2015-16 season on Sunday, fending off Cal Poly in an 88-83 decision. The Bruins saw a double-digit, second-half lead dwindle to nothing for the second straight game, but prevented a second straight upset after Friday’s ugly showing against Monmouth.
“We found a way to win,” said head coach Steve Alford. “Very happy with that.”
UCLA coach Steve Alford talked to the media after the Bruins’ 84-81 overtime loss to Monmouth to open the 2015-16 season.
“We obviously have a ton of work to do, because we’re not very good,” he said. Alford also called his team’s guard play “atrocious,” and said that UCLA needs to figure out how to get to “average” before even being good.
This marks the Bruins’ third loss in their last seven season openers. They fell to Cal State Fullerton, 68-65, in 2009, and to LMU, 69-58, in 2011. UCLA went on to finish out 14- and 19-win campaigns, respectively.
With UCLA men’s basketball set to tip off its season against Monmouth tonight at 8 p.m., here’s a look at the Bruins’ roster.