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UCLA Basketball Press Conference: “Surprised” Steve Alford’s Last Word on the Balls: “No.”

Between Steve Alford and LaVar Ball, only one showed class.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional Practice
Steve Alford was thoughtful at the press conference today
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Alford started his press conference today saying he heard about LiAngelo Ball leaving the UCLA Bruins from media reports and then checking with a Ball family representative. When asked if he is angry about it, he says he only gets angry at “missed free throws.”

Alford offered some more info on LiAngelo. He said:

LiAngelo has been, since coming back, he has been tremendous as far as, been going to all his classes, all the tutors, mentors, been exactly what’s been asked of him, so I don’t think it’s angry...more surprised. If you are looking for one word, it’s surprised. Nothing we saw coming.

Alford has not talked to LaVar or LiAngelo and is focused on Montana. He is moving forward.

Seen the other two more.... We’ve played 8 games to date without them.... We are getting better.... We’ve had our share of distractions.... We’re getting better at both ends.

A reporter asked if the coaches were to blame for the Hangzhou Three thefts:

These guys are 17, 18 years of age. It’s not like we turned them loose to go across town. They had a 90-minute window to walk around an area outside of the hotel. They were told not to go individually...and, they’re young adults.... They know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Alford dodged a number of other questions. On LiAngelo, Alford dodged the question on the NBA for LiAngelo. On LaMelo still coming to UCLA, Alford would not comment since he has only verbally committed. On LaVar, he dodged the question on LaVar being rude.

Alford seemed pleased with how Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are doing academically.

The player interviews were with Thomas .Welsh, Aaron Holiday, and Prince Ali. They emphasized that Gelo decided what’s best for him. No one received a text or anything from Gelo and were surprised.

Back to Steve Alford’s press conference which ended with:

Q: Do you plan on reaching out to Gelo or his father?

Alford: No

Q: Why Not?

Alford: Why For? I didn’t make that decision.... If they need to talk to me, they know where to find me.

I think that is a great last word on LaVar: No.

I am going to say this: I really feel for Steve Alford on this. He does not deserve to be blamed for the kids breaking the law. While he had to know a little of what he was getting into with LaVar and, to his credit, he did a good job of ignoring it last year, I think he has dealt with this unprecedented circus about as well as he could.

Go Bruins and Go Away LaVar.