Head coach Steve Alford talks about the differences in this year’s team compared to last year, his impressions of LiAngelo Ball and the importance of Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday.
UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford said Saturday no one within the program has been contacted by FBI officials regarding the ongoing corruption investigation that has rocked college basketball.
Four Division I assistant coaches, including one at USC and one at Arizona, were among 10 individuals charged last month in U.S. District Court in New York as a result of the three-year federal investigation. Representatives from Adidas, UCLA’s former apparel provider, were among those charged for allegedly paying families of high-profile recruits to play for Adidas-affiliated schools.
Alford, speaking at UCLA and Under Armour’s joint showcase at Venice Beach, said the first thing he did when news of the investigation broke was meet with his staff and thank them.
“I thanked them because I sleep well at night,” Alford said. “They know exactly how I want things ran. It doesn’t always work out that way. That doesn’t mean everybody’s perfect, everybody’s going to do the right thing all the time, but the three guys that are on the road for me, I hired them for a reason, of who they are and how they go about things and they know how I want things done and they do that for me and I very much appreciate it and that’s why I sleep well at night.”
UCLA Athletics officially ended its long-time partnership with Adidas this year as its 15-year, $280-million deal with Under Armour kicked in July 1. The men’s and women’s basketball teams debuted their new blue away jerseys during Saturday’s event that featured a skills competition, a 3-point contest and a dunk contest on a custom hardwood court built on the beach boardwalk.
It took a dismal 15-17 season for Steve Alford to give his one-year contract extension back and a third trip to the Sweet 16 for the UCLA men’s basketball head coach to earn it back.
UCLA announced that it signed a one-year extension with Alford on Friday, linking the fifth-year head coach to the school through the 2020-21 season.
Alford led the Bruins to a 31-5 overall record last year and his third Sweet 16 run in four years in Westwood.
“Steve did an outstanding job, helping to produce one of the nation’s most exciting offensive teams in recent memory,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “There was a significant buzz about UCLA basketball around town and among the sellout crowds in Pauley Pavilion. As such, he certainly earned back the one-year extension that he had voluntarily returned prior to the season. We are looking forward to seeing what 2017-18 brings.”
UCLA hasn’t advanced to the Elite Eight since 2008 and Alford has yet to capture a regular-season conference title entering his fifth season after a Pac-12 tournament championship in 2014, his first year.
Weaknesses: Alford was consistently slow to make in-game adjustments this season, showing reluctance to take risks when things were going in the wrong direction. USC flummoxed Alford with a simple zone defense in the Bruins’ ugliest loss of the season Jan. 25 at Galen Center. As UCLA’s defense reached its lowest point of the season, a 96-85 loss at home to Arizona, Alford stuck with an offensively oriented lineup while Aaron Holiday and Ike Anigbogu played just 23 and 12 minutes, respectively.
Best moment: Deep into the season when UCLA’s weaknesses had been thoroughly exposed, Alford led his team to a win in the most improbable of circumstances. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Steve Alford” »
UCLA head coach Steve Alford and guards Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford talk about UCLA’s 79-67 win over Cincinnati on Sunday in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.
Ball led the Bruins with 18 points, seven rebounds and nine assists with only one turnover as he hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half that spurred UCLA to the win. Alford had 16 points (13 in the second half) on 5-for-13 shooting with three assists and one steal.
UCLA advanced to its third Sweet 16 in four years and will face No. 2 Kentucky on Friday at 6:40 p.m. PT in Memphis.