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The Lonzo Effect on UCLA and The Lakers

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The Lakers got the number 2 pick in the NBA Draft at last night’s Draft Lottery. So, Lonzo is likely headed to the Lakers. But, what’s left behind in Westwood?

Kent State v UCLA
Lonzo Ball seems likely a Laker. But how does Steve Alford get his “mojo” back with Lonzo gone
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

By now you have probably heard the news, the Lakers have the second pick in the draft and will likely take Lonzo Ball. The good news is that this means probably a lot more chances to see Lonzo Ball play. The bad news, of course, is that it also probably means a lot more chances to hear LaVar speak.

According to LaVar, and who wouldn’t trust LaVar, he has always been this way. On meeting Lonzo’s Mom he said:

He's planned this since he first saw his wife, Tina, walking down the halls at Cal State Los Angeles. She was a college basketball player too, but, more important, she was tall enough to give him tall children. That was a must. And she was tough. He could tell by the way she walked in her heels. . . .

So he looked her up and down with his pale green eyes, smiled and said, "You and me, we're gonna do something. You just don't know it yet." . . .

"You may not like me. You may think I'm cocky or arrogant," LaVar says, explaining the pickup line, and his worldview.

"But you will be thinking about me."

Sigh. To be honest, others can pontificate on the Lakers and LaVar in the comments. It is another ESPN article that does interest me. It is titled “The biggest questions (and answers) for coaches in college basketball.” It states:

Steve Alford, UCLA Bruins

Greatest challenge: Rebooting after Lonzo Ball

Two years ago, Steve Alford had a top-25 recruiting class and talented returnees but finished 15-17 without a postseason berth. You know the story: "Fire Alford" banners flew, and criticism swirled around campus. Alford had a rough summer after the 2015-16 season.

The arrival of Lonzo Ball changed everything. Bryce Alford moved to the wing and blossomed. T.J. Leaf played like a lottery pick. Thomas Welsh became a pick-and-pop nightmare with his midrange game. That 15-win team from the previous season evolved into a national title threat. . . .

But he's moving forward without one of the most impactful point guards of the past 10 years, a player who made his coach's life and job easier. Ball was the player who helped Alford salvage his reputation.

At a place such as UCLA, where cheers can become boos overnight, Alford has to keep the mojo going -- and that's a more challenging task in the post-Lonzo Ball era.

Is Steve Alford the second coming of “Steve-16” Lavin? After a tough first couple years, Steve Alford is proving he can recruit. After four years, though, he has not won a Pac-12 regular season title nor has he advanced past a Sweet 16. After four years, his best finish in the standings was still his first season with the previous coach’s players.

ESPN has it right in that Steve Alford has a lot to prove as a UCLA coach.


Go Bruins!