TJ Simers may be leaving but the bright lights and spotlight of coaching at UCLA for Steve Alford are not going to dim anytime soon. Obviously Dan Guerrero is going to make Alford's job harder with his incompetence and "defenses". However, there is reason to be concerned a bit about Alford's make up itself.
A friend of mine from New Mexico told me that Alford is a "very good" coach but he worries that he is too "thin skinned" for Los Angeles.
We have heard he is "worshiped" in New Mexico and a new article by the Albuquerque Journal calls that somewhat into question. Of course that could be sour grapes because Alford was seen as the coach for life there and had just signed a big new contract. Alford did do a good job turning around a once proud program that had fallen into despair. He even apparently improved the basketball team academically and considered that his "most impressive accomplishment" at New Mexico.
Which makes Alford's hire even more curious. UCLA is not a basketball program that is cratering. They won the PAC 12 last season. The problem is in five years UCLA has not made it past the second game in the tournament. Alford has a reputation of choking in the tournament including last season.
UCLA does not have problems academically. UCLA's basketball problems were off the court with kids that were out of control and the fact the Ben Howland was only slightly more popular with high school coaches and players than a USC t-shirt in the UCLA student section at the Rose Bowl. .
Although I don't personally buy it, maybe Alford's hiring would have made more sense after Lavin or Hazzard were fired. It seems the best that can be said of Alford is that he a guy who rebuilds, not a guy who takes to the next level.
Back to that article there is another reason for concern, his temper.
He identified those loyal to him and would go to battle with anyone who challenged him or his team.
No. 10 UNM beat No. 11 BYU in Provo, Utah. Cougar guard Jonathan Tavernari refused postgame handshakes, leading to Alford, again caught on video, taunting the Cougar senior saying, "What are you going to do about it?" and shouting "You're an (expletive)."
Alford was reprimanded by the league.
Alford, who also had heated exchanges with media when he felt they were questioning him or his team, was caught on tape by ESPN in 2011 nearly coming to blows with the UTEP coaching staff prior to an NIT game in the Pit, an argument stemming over practice time on the court.
While I have no idea how Coach Enfield of USC will handle it, last year USC team was a dirty. What about the fans of Oregon who are not exactly upstanding citizens and I am not just talking about the Kevin Love incident. Will Alford be able to keep his cool?
Last there is an argument that Alford mistakes are that he is "too loyal" and stands by his players" too much." This unquestioning defense and faith probably helped with problem kids like Drew Gordon and Kendall Williams. It also led to the unforgivable Pierre
Paul Pierce situation.
How will Alford deal with the likely criticism of his son's play. Steve Alford has made clear that Bryce will be one of the two point guards on the team this year. Kyle Anderson is a unique player as the other. That seems to indicate that Bryce will be playing some significant minutes. The other day proud Dad Steve was watching his son have a very good game.
UCLA's Steve Alford watched his son, Bryce Alford, a spring graduate of La Cueva (Albuquerque, N.M.), pour in 33 points to lead the North Class 4A/5A All-Stars to a wild 119-101 victory over their counterparts from the South, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Bryce Alford, who will be a freshman at UCLA in the fall, drilled 10 of 19 shots - including seven 3-pointers - and was 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
What happens during a bad game by his son. It may not be TJ Simers but someone will call out Steve Alford for this, fairly or not, after a bad game by Bryce. How will Alford deal with it?