Steve Alford and his outrageous contract and his private jet whiffed on every one of our top 2014 PG prospects: Josh Perkins (Howland had him until Alford lost him to the mighty recruiting powerhouse Gonzaga), Jordan McLaughlin (he preferred an unproven new coach at a worthless *$c BBall program to us) and now Quentin Snider (wooed by that BBall mecca at Illinois, though they do have a very good coach). Owned in the recruiting world.
So where do we go for a PG now, Alford?
The problem is, there really isn't anywhere to go at all.
Given the shrinking pool of available talent at the point guard position in the 2014 class, UCLA will need someone to step forward and grab control of the offense with an eye towards the future. Of the top 20 point guards on 247Sports.com's composite rankings list just four are uncommitted, with Tyler Ulis scheduled to announce his decision Friday.
The other top prospects remaining are Tyus Jones (he's already begun taking official visits, and UCLA wasn't among his choices), Dante Exum, Alex Robinson (officially visiting Texas A&M this weekend), and Lourawls Nairn (according to reports earlier today he'll be visiting Michigan State this weekend).
In case you are wondering, Ulis is choosing among Kentucky, Michigan State, Iowa, and *$c. Yeah, that *$c. The program that doesn't need him now because they already landed their elite PG prospect.
So where does that leave Alford and U.C.L.A.? Don't look now...
There's also the transfer and junior college markets from which to land a quick fix (UCLA reeled in Lazeric Jones from the JUCO ranks a couple years ago), so UCLA isn't without hope. But for as important as the point guard question is for the 2013-14 season, it's even more important for UCLA in regards to the long-term future of the program.
JuCo and transfer players?
Don't take this wrong. I loved Zeek. The kid had heart, he played hurt, and he gave everything he had for his team. The problem was that Zeek just wasn't the level of point guard the Bruins needed to compete an an elite level. As for the transfer market, we'll all agree that Larry Drew II turned out to be a far better PG than we expected. We got lucky there and he was a class kid. But, all the same, remember how last season went? Remember how last season ended? And with those short term stop-gap measures, look at the situation we find ourselves in. Again. Already.
I'll never be harsh on a good kid who works his butt off the way Zeek and LD II did. But I will absolutely be critical of a coach who fails to bring in a kid who is good enough in the first place to get the job done. That repetitive failure was one of our biggest complaints about Howland. Now if Alford wants a point guard for next year, the JC transfer option looks like the only avenue left to him.
So what has changed? Where's our upgrade, Dan?
I guess if you look at it from the point of view that Bryce Alford (He's a PG. That's what he does) will be our starting point guard for the next 4 years, then there really is no reason to worry. Or maybe Zach Levine will be able to handle the point even though he is really a combo guard and we would be losing his skills at the 2 if he is our best option for running the floor. Or maybe forward Kyle Anderson will become the PG we imagined when he came to Westwood, but he's not likely to stay for the following season.
I doubt these choices are what any reasonable Bruin Basketball fan has in mind.
But then having to pick up a JUCO transfer probably wasn't in anyone's plans, either.