As Nestor detailed and as is now official Rysheed Jordan is going to St. John's. IMO, this failure rests more with Guerrero. Guerrero let it be known that UCLA was after Stevens, Pittino and Donovan. With that list, it was reasonable for Rysheed to think that once Howland was fired a big name would be coming. It is not Alford's fault but Guerrero's that he both failed and allowed expectations to be set like that.
But the most interesting thing out of that thread on Rysheed to me was Nestor's point on Arron Afflalo. Howland signed AA for his second season eleven days after he was hired. And more than signing a Philly kid who twitter's handle is black jesus, I would like to see Alford sign a 2014 kid from southern California soon that could be his AA.
The kind of player I have in mind is Jordan McLaughlin. Just as AA symbolized the end of the soft under achieving Lavin teams, a true point guard such as McLaughlin from southern California would symbolize an end of Howland's recruiting failures. This would be a great sign in my mind much more than the signing of another non-Californian. UCLA needs to successfully recruit the best from California and needs point guards.
So without Rysheed, how does this team look? A very quick run through.
1/NA/?? The Key Kyle Anderson
For those who think the Kyle as Magic Johnson comparison a failure, hold on a minute. While Kyle is no Magic, he did some things that few players other than Magic have done successfully at that size. Kyle finished sixth in rebounding, sixth in assists, and fifth in steals in the conference. Outside Magic Johnson there are not too many players that can put up those kinds of numbers. In the SUC game last year he briefly played Center, which means he played every position his freshman season.
Kyle may be the 1 next year; he may be a 3: who knows. But he is a truly unique player and it will be up to Alford get the most out of him. His success will be a key to this team
2/1 on Defense Norman Powell
Norman Powell is the only player on the team who was recruited by Alford. Powell chose UCLA over New Mexico but always had a soft spot for Alford. Powell also stands to benefit the most (and yes I know about Tony Parker) from Howland being gone. Will Powell reach his potential under Alford? Or will he remain a tentative player content to jack up too many threes? If at the end of next season Powell again takes over 50% of his shots from three, Alford has failed.
The only lock for next year is Jordan Adams will lead the team in scoring. Jordan is the one player right now that we know what we are getting with him.
1/Wing Zach Lavine
Zach is athletic and a great outside shooter. He is the second biggest test for Alford. It is a lot to ask a freshman to learn multiple positions, especially if one of them is point guard. It will be interesting to see how he fits in and where. The only certainity is Zach will be a key.
1/2/3 Alerik Freeman
He used to be a point but has played wing the last two years. Right now it is hard to guess how he fits in.
3 Noah Allen
Noah is a long term kid. Hard to see him playing much this season but that is what we thought about Jordan Adams last year.
4 Travis and David Wear
People need to accept the fact that Travis is a good player. We do not win the PAC 12 without Travis who at times (CO/UT road trip for one) carried the team on offense. Ironically he was both favored and screwed by Howland. He was played too much which caused him to "wear" down and get hurt. Travis is a good stretch four in college if he plays under 30 minutes a game.
David was also screwed by Howland. He was hurt in the Georgetown game and his confidence was shot at times. But you look at his numbers from his sophomore year (which were better across the board even adjusted for less playing time) and you realize that David can also benefit from a new coach.
5 Tony Parker
Tony Parker is staying. I give Alford credit for this. But here is the thing; I cannot imagine a world in which Tony Parker is ready to go 30+ minutes a game at 5 next year. Tony averaged a foul every 3.8 minutes. With more time that will get better but expecting Tony to suddenly become a go to player and starting post overnight is going to be tough. Tony needs times to develop and while he should have received much more time last year, he will likely still be raw next year.
Which brings this full circle. I am not upset about losing Rysheed. I am not as worried about point guard next year. But I am scared about the fact we only have one legitimate inside player. Alford can make this team work without a new point guard. Against loaded front court's like Arizona, I think he is going to need someone else inside. We need another post now, JC or whatever.
That is what Alfrod has to do right away. And get Jordan McLaughlin.