Darrick Martin appeared on the Petros and Money Show today and discussed the current state of UCLA basketball. Darrick became UCLA basketball radio analyst this year, as announced by Dan Guerrero last October. Darrick's position with regards to the athletic department might make him feel timid about expressing any criticism of the current state of UCLA basketball. However, Darrick who deeply cares about UCLA and says: "I'm not going to deny my Blue and Gold ever. I'm walking around with my shirt on today...I'm going to proudly rep my Blue and Gold", showed the same intelligence and clarity on the show that he did running point for UCLA. He didn't back down as a player and he didn't back down in calling it like he sees it today. The interview starts around the 25 minute mark and the transcription is somewhat incomplete, so I highly recommend you listen for yourself. Listening to Darrick will give you a much better sense of how he, and others feel.
When asked, Darrick says the team did not give up, "we're just not very good".
No I don't think those guys gave up. They played as well as they could... we're just not very good. Everyone has to get better, there has to be some kind of skill development.
Asked about leadership and the lack of effort during the game, especially against your rival and for a chance to keep playing (emphasis mine):
I was a little surprised about that [that it all felt flat]. This is a chance to get a little bit of revenge ... and to make a little bit of a deep run. You wonder where the leadership comes from ... you don't have anybody on the team that has that fire and brimstone... It's kind of hard to hold other people accountable when you take nights off... Maybe they can develop that leadership in the off-season, but I'm not sure.
Petros talks about all the Bruin fans who want Steve gone, and in his question about that, says "obviously that won't happen". Darrick responds:
You know what? Discussions are being had, so I wouldn't totally dismiss it. ... because 15 and 17 is just outright unacceptable, it's embarrassing, and the Bruins can't continue to post records like this going forward...The discussions are being had with boosters, Dan Guerrero, former players. We've had, oh man, so many discussions through twitter, everybody was texting me last night Baron Davis, Rico Hines, I 'm here with Mitchell Butler, Tyus Edney, Toby Baily, Charles O'Bannon, we're all up in arms with how the Bruins played this year and then how they played in the Pac-12 tournament. That didn't represent UCLA very well.
About the three possible obstacles to moving Alford out, the buyout, the incoming class, the Sweet 16s, which is the biggest reason for optimism about the future?:
I think you have to look at maybe the buyout a little and then also the recruiting class coming in. I think those are the two things that are sort of in way of making a move. If they truly want to make a move, I believe $10 million can be raised. With the recruiting class coming in, everybody's going to be pretty good, they're hanging their hat on that. I warn people, I caution people, because they are freshmen...look at Ben Simmons probably the number 1 pick over all and his team struggled. So you can't bank everything on these freshmen coming in ... yes they can play, but this is where you already have to have something in place and then you add them to the mix. What the bruins have in place right now is not very good. So them coming in is kind of like your putting all your eggs in one basket and I'm not sure that's going to work
Joel Klack raises the issue of nepotism. He says he saw first hand how it destroyed the Colorado football program, from which it has never recovered:
It's a valid question when your coaching your son. If I were coaching my son I would hope he was really really good or that he was really really bad, because if he's somewhere in between and it starts to hurt the team in some fashion, now that kind of puts everybody in harm's way so to speak. When I look at Bryce Alford and I look at the other guards that in the Pac-12 that are either in his year or younger than him, why didn't ucla get these guards ...you start to wonder did they not recruit those kids and did they not secure them so that Bryce could get minutes. Those are the questions that I've raised since taking this job this year and seeing how the program has been built a little bit.
In response to USC looking good against UCLA:
That's because everybody looks good against UCLA... It's almost like people circle the UCLA game and say "okay we are going to get well when we play the Bruins. Lets just make it until we get to the Bruins". And that's just not right. That is downright embarrassing to be sort of the laughing stock of the Pac-12.
Dan Guerrero and Gene Block may not get it, but others do, including Jim Rome (emphasis mine):
Millennials might not believe this – but the Bruins used to be awesome. I know it sounds crazy. Especially if you have seen any of Steve Alford and his crew this year. Or even a couple of minutes from last night. Because they got embarrassed by little brother USC last night…hammered by USC last night. And it’s third time this season it’s happened.
That’s the first time that’s happened in 74 years. Not only did they lose to the JV for the third time this season, they were curbstomped in all three games.
I’m surprised UCLA AD Dan Guerrero didn’t whack Alford before he made it off the floor. I’m surprised Alford didn’t just quit before he made it off the floor. Really, it’s that bad.
Ben Howland took this team to 3-straight Final Fours just… 8 years ago! And ALF just took them to a 17-loss season with a loss to Monmouth… And a hospital job by USC. Three hospital jobs by USC.
You ever see a team that’s just OVER it, wants outta there, and is begging for the season to end? We did last night. UCLA cared so much about a moral victory over SC that they started the game down 11-0 and never lead.
Look, a bad stretch happens, Maybe you lose your players’ focus over a 3-game road trip. Two and a half months!?. I don’t remember the Wizard of Westwood admitting the guys just tuned him out for months on end. Or Jim Harrick or Steve Lavin for that matter. What a complete embarrassment at the hallowed ground that used to be Pauley Pavilion. You’re supposed to be one of the premier programs the country… And you’re not even close to the best team in your own city.
Hey Alf – might went to reach your players sometime in the next 6 months before the season tips off… Because USC already owns you… and Northridge, Pepperdine and Marymount are coming for you next.
Our friends in North Carolina cared enough, that The Charlotte Observer publishish an article about another conference's play-in conference game.
USC rolls over rival UCLA 95-71 in Pac-12 tournament
While they may not have written the article (AP did), they did seem to want to read about it. I wonder if the blue bloods in North Carolina are laughing or crying, or both.
It's important that people continue to voice their opposition to Steve Alford continuing to be in charge of the UCLA Basketball program:
According to sources, unprecedented numbers of UCLA donors are urging UCLA to make a coaching change. https://t.co/p3TwvpJ21B— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) March 11, 2016
Current and former beat reporters are finding their own ways of dealing with what they've had to watch this year:
Can't spell unwatchable without UCLA.— Jon Gold (@TheCoolSub) March 10, 2016
UCLA HOOPS..— VIC THE BRICK JACOBS (@vicfeelingyou) March 10, 2016
Photo contest! Provide an image that depicts the state of UCLA basketball. I'll start: pic.twitter.com/4rShBe4xRW— David Woods (@daviddavidwoods) March 10, 2016
UCLA basketball. pic.twitter.com/aFU82uJxq8— Jon Gold (@TheCoolSub) March 10, 2016
I think this is the best:
Folks this is REALLY embarrassing. #UCLAvsUSC— Tim Cates (@timcates) March 10, 2016
USC is dunking like it's an all-star game because UCLA is playing defense like it's an all-star game.— David Woods (@daviddavidwoods) March 10, 2016
Our buddy Ryan wants to know which is worse:
UCLA basketball:— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) March 10, 2016
- worst conference finish since WWII
- throttled by USC three times
- coach has $10.4m buyout
Which is the worst?
Here's ESPN's list:
FINAL: USC 95, UCLA 71— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 10, 2016
USC's largest win vs UCLA since 1945
USC: 1st 3+ game sweep of UCLA since 1941-42
UCLA hired John Wooden in 1948
Baron and others wonder what has happened?
We lost to SC 3 times this year... When has that happened before?— Baron Davis (@BaronDavis) March 10, 2016
Wow— TOBY BAILEY (@toby_bailey) March 10, 2016
One of those point guards that Steve didn't secure, had another great night (in a losing effort):
Jordan McLaughlin has 19 points this half.— Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) March 11, 2016
This says it all. Please keep sending your emails, tweets, and making calls.
Steve Alford should never had been hired. We knew his character didn't qualify him to sit in Coach's seat. It is now abundantly clear that Steve Alford is not an able coach either.
Restore UCLA Basketball - Now!