UCLA is More Than a Coach

Norman Powell is staying and we need to see more of this from him, instead of 3 point attempts. - Stephen Dunn

Howland was scaring away players and recruits at the end. Generally Recruits WANT to come to UCLA

In this post I am not going to talk about Dan Guerrero but focus on the coaches and players under Steve Alford. Please limit your comments to the players and coaching moves of Steve Alford.

PLAYERS

Norman Powell. First Alford improved on Howland over one thing. He is keeping players. Apparently Norman Powell was likely to bolt or at least considering it if Howland stayed:

Hiring Steve Alford as UCLA basketball coach saved at least one Bruins player.

Or, perhaps more accurately, firing Ben Howland did.

UCLA guard Norman Powell said Tuesday he was staying at UCLA after considering transferring, and the main reason for his decision was because coach Howland was fired. Powell, a sophomore from San Diego, said he would have looked into playing at San Diego State next season had Howland returned, but reconsidered after UCLA fired Howland last week and hired Steve Alford away from New Mexico on Saturday.

. . .

It also helped that Powell is familiar with Alford, who tried to recruit Powell to New Mexico. Also, an assistant coach from Powell's high school team once played under Alford at Iowa.

"He's a good coach," Powell said. "He knows what he's doing and he expects a lot out of his players and that's what it's going to be. I expect for practice to be intense and for it to be up tempo and see how strict he is. I'm excited to see what he wants to do with this program."

I was a huge Norman fan his freshman season and kept wanting him to play more. He has shown flashes of greatness and solid defense. He has also shown to be tentative and seemed content to jack up threes. It is nice that Powell is staying, it will be better if he starts consistently producing under Alford.

Tony Parker. Tony has always been a tough one to figure out. Tony should stay but on the other he definitely has some issues that go beyond Howland. However, transferring will cost him a year of eligibility. Unlike Powell who has a lot of competition for playing time, Tony is really the only inside player on the team right now. Even if Alford were to add one, Tony is still needed. Alford said right after his hiring his priority was the currently players and recruits and I hope he is working hard on Tony.

If you're worried about transfers out, freshman Tony Parker appears to be the only one you need to keep an eye on. The center was still at home in Georgia for an extended break, but will return to school this week.

Tony comes from a tight family. His Dad previously stated:

UCLA freshman Tony Parker is hoping to meet with new Bruins coach Steve Alford and remains uncertain about his future, his father told SNY.tv Saturday.

. . .UCLA assistant Korey McCray recruited both Parker and fellow frosh Jordan Adams and is hoping to remain on Alford's staff but it is unclear if Alford will retain him, a source with direct knowledge told SNY.tv.

"It wasn't a good experience for him out there," Virgil said. "There's a lot of people out there that have a fingerprint on his whole situation, if you sit back and watch this whole thing unveil.

. . . "He just might [transfer], I don't know," Virgil. "I really don't know. I know he's going to give that guy a chance to sit down with him and talk with him or whatever."

ASSISTANT COACHES

Ed Schilling. By my math Korey is likely gone. Not sure what that does for Parker. Alford has hired a Calipari disciple, Ed Schilling:

Schilling led the Panthers to three consecutive IHSAA Class 2A State championship games during his four years at the school, winning two of them with a loaded roster that includes now Indiana University Freshman Yogi Ferrell.

Over his four years at Park Tudor, Schilling finished with an overall record of 87-18, even more impressive considering that the Panthers lost 11 games during his first year with the program.

Schilling, a native of Lebanon, Indiana, has been an assistant coach at the college level twice in his coaching career. Both of those times were under current University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari, as Schilling assisted him at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis. Schilling has also been a Head Coach at Wright State University.

More on Schilling taking the UCLA assistant job:

"I didn't apply or seek it out. Steve and I have been friends for decades. But it's tough to leave."

. . .

"I wasn't really looking to get back into college coaching," Schilling said. "I was content with what I was doing. But to be able to coach with one of my best friends and to do it at UCLA was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." . . .

Schilling was also the executive director and founder of the Zionsville-based Champions Academy, a not-for-profit basketball training facility. Schilling said Champions Academy will continue to operate under the direction of Joey Burton. . .

"I'm sure we will (recruit Indiana)," Schilling said. "Steve (Alford) has always recruited Indiana, no matter where he's been. UCLA has appeal nationally. When you say that name, it has automatic appeal."

Duane Broussard. Alford previously hired Duane Broussard, a long time New Mexico assistant. From his New Mexico bio:

Duane Broussard begins his 10th year at the University of New Mexico and his fifth on Steve Alford's men's basketball staff. Broussard will begin his second year as an assistant coach after spending three seasons as the Director of Basketball Operations.

With the Lobos as an assistant, Broussard handles all aspects of coaching, and one of his main responsibilities is advance scouting and game preparation. Broussard's thoroughness has helped UNM's reputation as one of the most prepared teams in the nation. . . .

Broussard's scouting and pre-game prep have helped the Lobos to not just 126 wins, but to 38 road wins over the last five years, including a school record 14-wins away from home in 2011-12. The 41-year-old Broussard spent the 2007-08 season working as the Director of Recruitment Initiatives in the Enrollment Services office on UNM's main campus. Specifically, he was working with an outreach program that taught the importance of going to college and the process of getting into college to middle school students in the Albuquerque area. Broussard is also completing his Ph. D. in Sport Administration at UNM.

Broussard is a native of Sugar Land, Texas. He earned degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Bradley in 1993. Broussard continued his education by successfully completing a master's degree program in Public Service Administration from BU in 1997. He is married to the former Holly Marshall, and the couple have a daughter, McKenzie and a son, McKel.

RECRUITING

Seems likely Tyus will stay but at least two if not all three of the other assistants will be gone. McCray is the one to watch. But as this article explains:

In the last five classes, Howland has received commitments from eight California players: Anthony Stover, Tyler Honeycutt, Brendan Lane, Reeves Nelson, Tyler Lamb, Norman Powell, De'End Parker and Noah Allen. How many of those guys worked out? Allen hasn't arrived on campus yet, but Powell is the only other one to not transfer or be dismissed from the team.

. . . All of this needs to change. These were the biggest knocks on Howland during the last several years at UCLA. With Steve Alford taking over as the head coach, he needs to make a concerted effort to keep the elite California players at home -- and he also needs to have far less attrition in terms of transfers.

. . .After that, the class of 2014 in California is loaded. There are at least 10 four- or five-star recruits, and only point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is committed (to Arizona). Malik Pope and Stanley Johnson both have UCLA on their lists, and Alford needs to make them a priority. Point guard Jordan McLaughlin is another player whom Alford has to make a move on. He recruited him at New Mexico and needs to continue that at UCLA.

Alford has experience recruiting the West Coast, and he's going to need it if he wants to be successful at UCLA. Which brings us to the point of how will he recruit? Why have people said he is a good recruiter for California? Jack Wang explains it:

He got underrated players like Kendall Williams and Tony Snell out to New Mexico, where they became his top two scorers. Alford's assistants clearly put in a lot of work there as well, so watching his hires will be key. (Lobos assistant Duane Broussard is reportedly the first. He recruited Danny Granger to Bradley and then New Mexico by transfer, though secondary violations dogged the latter move.) Alford also has a reputation as a player's coach, which Ben Howland wasn't. You can take that kind of charisma and extrapolate it to what he might do with new facilities at a historic program.

More on the recent Howland history that led to his downfall and some key insights into Alford are in this article. A quote on the latter.

Alford's strategy to grease the wheels a bit is to reach out to as many Los Angeles-area high school and club coaches as possible in the next few weeks, whether by phone or in person. Since his father was a high school coach in Indianapolis, Alford said he has a unique appreciation for how important building those relationships can be.

"Everywhere I've gone, connecting to high school coaches and programs has been instrumental to what we've done," Alford said. "We're going to try to do that here as well. You visit high schools, you get on the phone and you let them know how important they are, whether they have players or not. And of course, if they have a player, that gives it a little more urgency."

. . . Westwind Academy's Jeff de Laveaga, who coaches Zylan Cheatham, said Alford has a great chance to land the highly touted Class of 2014 small forward now that he's at UCLA, especially if immediate playing time is available. And Barahona reiterated that UCLA is far more appealing to Wright with Alford at the helm than it would have been with Howland.

"I think what was haunting Ben Howland was his stubbornness and his style of play," Barahona said. "His reputation was he put handcuffs on you and he didn't let you play. Alford gives UCLA a clean slate, a new start. He gives UCLA that star power, a big name."

RECRUITS

The last area in this update is the current recruits of Howland. Noah Allen and Zach Lavine were coming to UCLA, not to play for Ben Howland. They are coming. Allerick Freeman is interesting and a priority. A bigger priority may be one who has yet to commit to UCLA but also was interested in UCLA for more than the coach, the best high school senior true Point Guard not yet declared:

Rysheed Jordan's interest in UCLA is not centered on who the head coach is, but more so on the university as a whole, said Jordan's AAU coach and adviser Kamal Yard.

Therefore, everything remains the same for the Vaux senior guard as he nears his college decision despite the Bruins firing of coach Ben Howland. Jordan will announce his decision on April 15 and a sign a letter of intent two days later to attend Temple, UCLA or St. John's.

"He likes the campus, the facilities they have out there and the academic aspect," said Yard about Jordan's draw to UCLA.

Rysheed brings up a really good point that we may tend to forget. UCLA is so well regarded that it draws recruits regardless of the coach. Howland's reputation his last few years was so bad he could not recruit in the west. Alford has a very good opportunity to immediately succeed. Hopefully for once April 15 will be a good day, the day we get the first true point guard in years to UCLA in Rysheed and not another taxing day on Bruin fans who need a break.

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