There has been a lot written about the Alford hire and will be a lot more written in the coming days. I thought I would throw my thoughts into this and please note these are mostly just my opinions in the form of a list of 10 good and bad things.
10. Bad: Dan Guerrero blew this every way possible. He had a shot at Stevens and missed. It seems obvious that Brad Stevens was listening to the UCLA pitch and turned it down.
10. Good: The UCLA job is elite. The top coaches were interested in the job. Stevens entertained the UCLA job which he had not seriously done for a vacancy despite being considered for virtually every coaching job in the country. Stevens is a quiet family guy by all accounts and LA may not be a good fit for him. But again, his considering the job means UCLA is elite in the mind of the most sought after coach in the country.
9. Bad: Shaka Smart. As Nestor has pointed out numerous places, unlike Stevens, Smart was not seriously considered/pursued. Reports differ on whether he was offered or not. Bottom line, UCLA did not seriously pursue Shaka Smart. IMHO, Smart should have been the number 2 choice to Stevens.
9. Good: Alford is a guy with West Coast recruiting ties. We shall see in the coming days if this pays immediate dividends. But a plus of Alford over Stevens and Smart is short term Alford should be ahead in recruiting.
8. Bad: One of the top five coaches in the country may have been interested in the job. I say may because sometimes these coaches like their names out there for their own selfish reasons. I am not talking about Donovan or Pitino. This coach who won a national championship but was never seriously considered or even talked to. If we had a great AD, I would say the coach just wanted to use UCLA. Since we have the opposite, I will say we may have blown it.
8. Good: UCLA is a place where players want to go. Remember Zach Lavine wanted to come to UCLA, not to play for Howland. The best point guard left unsigned in the country:
Rysheed Jordan is still considering the Bruins after the coaching change.
"Yeah, he's still considering them," Philly Vaux Roberts coach Jamie Ross told SNY.tv, before adding, "I didn't even know that Steve Alford got named."
Rysheed is considering his hometown school Temple, St. John's and UCLA.
7. Bad: Dan Guerrero rushed this because he was embarrassed by the process of hiring a football coach that became a debacle. After Stevens said no, Guerrero was not going to wait around to see what happen with other big names.
7. Good: With the hiring of Alford, UCLA has a shot at keeping Tony Parker. While I think the hiring was too quick, one positive of the quick hire is increases the chances of keeping Tony Parker. I don't for a second think this is a good enough reason and am not sure it is going to work. However, I will give Coach Alford major props if Tony stays:
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. . . .
. . .[Tony Parker's Dad] Virgil said it was possible his son might transfer but he's hoping to meet with Alford first.
"He just might, 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."
Also note Alford has made this a high priority in his press conference he said: "Obviously, the next couple weeks are all about the UCLA players currently on the roster, either incoming student-athletes or the student-athletes that are still there."
6. Bad: Dan Guerrero's idiotic comments about Alford and up-tempo. Alford is not an "up-tempo" coach. Again, it shows why Dan is clueless.
6. Good: Alford comes from Indiana University and Bobby Knight. I think this is really good from the psychological non-basketball perspective. Alford understands the expectations are high and experienced that as a player. Alford played for a guy that treated players like crap just like Howland and can really help them heal from an insider perspective. The current players are big winners with Alford.
5. Bad: Alford's tournament record is mediocre.
5. Good: The most successful coach post Wooden arguably was Jim Harrick. Harrick was 1-3 in the NCAA tournament prior to coming to UCLA.
4. Bad: What happened to all the money to hire a first tier coach? Will it be used to hire top-tier assistants? Will it be used to improve workout facilities? Will it be used for the basketball team to join the big boys and take chartered flights? Or will Chianti Dan simply pocket the leftover money?
4. Good: Again see Harrick. Harrick was second tier on the list before he was hired. Harrick famously said, look at the list. Harrick had ties to California recruiting and knew what he was getting into. Harrick wanted the job bad. Alford has been recruiting here for years and really wanted the job. Anyone think Pitino would feel that strongly?
3. Bad: The long term is a concern. Alford washed out at Iowa. This is not a coach with a perfect record.
3. Good: Alford seems to have the Wooden-Sidney Wicks quality. Drew Gordon was a trouble maker and has well, let's just say issues. Yet, Alford was able to get Gordon to play up to his ability and not be a detriment to the team. Howland by contrast had more problems with Gordon than the well documented problems with Reeves Nelson (think about that for a second).
This brings me to the Sidney Wicks analogy. After Kareem and Walton, Wicks may have been the most talented player to play at UCLA. He also arguably had more issues than any other player under Wooden. Most coaches could not have dealt with Wicks (as happen throughout his pro career), yet Wooden rode him to two championships as the star.
Alford's dealing with Drew Gordon speaks well of his player management skills. In other words, if we had Alford this year, we may have had a starting center named Josh Smith.
2. Bad: This hire was all Dan Guerrero's. We had all this money and all this behind the scenes effort to get a big name and Guerrero overruled them all for his choice.
2. Good: Mora is at least to some degree working out right now.
1. Bad: Dan Guerrero is still our Athletic Director.
1. Good: I think Alford will bring a watchable product in that UCLA will be competitive right away. Alford's system is similar to Howland's. Alford can bring some joy to playing basketball and build on what Howland taught. 2013-14 will not be a rebuilding year.
In a nutshell, the bad is Dan Guerrero who, as of right now, blew an opportunity. The good is the current players and incoming recruits should feel very comfortable with Alford. I think short-term UCLA wins and the current players really win. The bigger question is long term but that is not for today.
Good luck Coach Alford. Stay Tony. Come Rysheed. And Go Bruins!