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 center Thomas Welsh, forward Tony Parker and point guard Bryce Alford talk about the Bruins’ 88-83 win over Cal Poly, their first victory of the 2015-16 season.
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.”
Q: Which game do you think we have the best chance of winning and why: Utah, USC or rematch with Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship?
A: USC. The Trojans don’t present the same matchup problems that Utah and Stanford do, or the experience of actually having beaten a Jim Mora-coached UCLA team. It’s hard to imagine the Bruins playing at or near their absolute best for their rivalry game — especially if they’re coming off a loss in Salt Lake City.
Q: If Stanford propels itself into the playoffs, does the Pac-12 runner up lock up the Rose Bowl regardless of committee rankings?
A: I believe so. Here’s the relevant info from the College Football Playoff committee:
“Both participants in the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls are contracted outside the playoff arrangement (Big Ten and Pac-12 to Rose Bowl; SEC and Big 12 to Sugar Bowl; ACC to Orange Bowl against the highest ranked available team from the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame). If a conference champion qualifies for the playoff, then the bowl will choose a replacement from that conference. When those bowls host the semifinals and their contracted conference champions do not qualify, then the displaced champion(s) will play in the other New Year’s bowls.”
Q: Do you agree that the UCLA defense has been carrying more than its own weight over the last three games? They dominated Cal, were on the field most of the Colorado game, and recovered a fumble and three interceptions at Oregon State. Should we be concerned about the offense?
A: I’d say that the UCLA defense is playing better than expected given its myriad injuries. I wouldn’t say that it’s outperforming the offense at this point. Continue reading