I get the current UCLA students are going to be cheering for the players and the team. Look, I love Reggie Miller because he was a player when I was there. I even cheered my heart out in the front row for an NIT game with Reggie and company. But I get it that the even "older timers" than me are going to point out (correctly) that the Reggie Miller era in UCLA basketball stunk. But, now, the kids don't even know what is going on?
Out of 100 random students walking to and from classes, only 30 knew that Alford is the current UCLA men's basketball coach. Of that minority, nearly 75 percent either favored giving him a fourth season at the helm or felt indifferent about the situation....
One student mistakenly called Bryce Alford the coach before correcting himself. Another asked if UCLA's coach is John Wooden. A third simply said he thought the coach's name was "something like Jacob."
Many either knew about the billboards and planes on campus or simply knew about the movement to oust the coach, but the majority remained largely indifferent.
What?!? I can understand defending Steve Alford. I can understand liking the current players and pulling hard from them. But being indifferent?!?! No, I don't get that.
As the guy who organized the signature drive concludes:
Forget about national relevancy, Alford and Guerrero have made UCLA hoops irrelevant on its own campus. https://t.co/7dLeskDK4O— Aaron M. (@aaron1050) April 1, 2016
Then there is the truly passionate "old guys." I am in that group that thinks Steve Alford-- as statistically the worst third year UCLA coach since pre-Wooden days -- should be fired. However, apparently some of our passion bucket overflows:
#UCLA Wow? Ali purported to be staying. Can't listen to those rumors I guess. I am surprised -- however.— Chris Sorrentino (@BruinSportsNet) March 31, 2016
As the former-intern and now pretty damn good reporter notes:
I've seen lots of rumors about UCLA's Prince Ali transferring. No truth there. Prince's brother, Sayed, says Ali isn't leaving.— Zach Helfand (@zhelfand) March 31, 2016
Yep, I was one of them when I quoted David Woods of Bruins Report Online (BRO) that believed the rumors on Prince Ali. BRO has become an-anti Steve Alford website in the spirit of fire Dorrell.
Basically, it sounds like the old guys are jumping on every rumor against Steve Alford and the kids can't even be bothered to read a billboard let alone a box score.
Here is the bottom line. UCLA Basketball is special. Even right now we have possibly the best point guard (Lonzo Ball) in a generation coming to play next season. Even in the dark old days of my
error era we had the only player I have ever known who loved to be heckled (Reggie Miller) and was a joy to watch. Shoot, I loved watching an un-athletic modern basketball freak 6'9" point guard Kyle Anderson in Steve Alford's first year.
There is always something amazing going on or possible. Other schools get a unique player once a generation (shoot, Oregon State had to wait for a Gary Payton to have kids to have a good team), we get them often. Look at the NBA whether it is perennial all-star Russell Westbrook or two time dunk champ Zach Lavine, UCLA players are special.
But, as one of old guys, it is time to be a curmudgeon. Dan Guerrero and company are killing UCLA basketball. Not with the players, they will come regardless of the coach as Ball proves and as Reggie did back in my day. They are dividing the old fans and killing the passion of the young.
That is the true crime.
You, Dan Guerrero, are the villain and, worst of all, I am not sure you care about anything besides your paycheck.