1) Would you fire Alford now?
chrissorr: Yes. Realistically, the buyout is $10.7 million through April 30, 2017. The "whales" have been useless since the Pete Dalis days. I don't see anyone coming to the rescue. That said, it does appear that a critical mass is forming. The next big milestone: spring signing. If Brown, Zimmerman, Bragg and Ingram pass on UCLA, even though one or two may be one and done, we're looking at years of mediocrity or worse.
DCBruins: No. I would tell him his seat is hot. Mid-season firings should be saved for bad behavior and people nationally are just catching on how bad this is. Unfortunately it needs to crater as I think it will by season's end. Firing now would be "UCLA fans think anyone not named Wooden" is not good enough and have no patience. When we miss the tournament in ugly fashion as I think will happen, and then it is time to go public that his seat is hot. To Steve himself, I would make plain that the level of play is not acceptable and that it is not acceptable that his son is point. That said, Guerrero can't fire him because of the buyout. I wonder if Guerrero's money is guaranteed. I don't think he should be allowed to hire another basketball coach.
2) What are your top 3 player problems on the court right now?
1) I'm going to ignore defense, we knew about that. I'm shocked by the FG%. It's like you put two or three players on the court straight from a 1970's Brooklyn playground, and then they can't actually play in front of a crowd.
2) Bryce and Isaac have a shaky handle. Alabama is the worse I've ever seen. Iham had seven turnovers, the majority unforced.
3) Getting called for fouls on the offensive end when you know there's no one to come in behind you.
1) Misuse of Looney. He is a freak talent and we are wasting him. He should have plays called for him and be involved in the offense now.
2) The guards going solo and not moving without the ball. There are few assists and most of the points are individual efforts. Tell Bryce he can't shoot a contested three until late in the shot clock and tell Hamilton he can only shoot open jumpers early in the shot clock. Isaac and to a lesser extent Powell just stand around waiting for the ball and then go one on one. That needs to stop.
3) Goloman. Alabama figured out that you don't need to even bother playing defense on GG. It was 5 on 4. If GG is going to be called on to play big minutes at least put him near the basket or have him pick and roll. If Goloman spends the next game outside the three point line, I will change my answer on the above.
3) Starting after the introductory press conference (more or less), what are Steve Alford's biggest mistakes?
1) Bringing Bryce.
2) Hiring sub-mediocre assistant coaches. I'm down on Schilling now. No one's been mentioning him. I'm sure he feels unable to disagree with Alford, but for a guy who's famous for drilling and X's and O's, this team is unable to execute.
3) I already mentioned Bryce so I'll go with massive roster mismanagement. It's remarkable. I don't know if anything could have been done about LaVine, but not being prepared for Adams, missing McLaughlin, D. Hamilton, Bluiett, Winslow, and then not getting Octeus, Bolden and Bail on the floor to various extents. I think I read that Octeus is in an engineering program at Purdue. The football team got Malcom Bunche in -- I'm sure not into an engineering program (missing bowl game due to academic issues), but if that's what Octeus had his heart set on, then spend your time on someone else.
1) Failing to have a point guard on the roster. The last four bad seasons in UCLA basketball history have two things in common, Cedric Bozeman and Jerime Anderson as point guards. UCLA had losing records or missed the tournament on the year those not UCLA level point guards started. This year is no different.
2) Not playing LaVine. Who cares that he was going pro. You had a great team last year that was only missing a center on defense. Four pros and one of them did not play much. Ironically if Alford used LaVine as sixth man with big minutes or even started him bringing David Wear off the bench, he might have had a deep tournament run that would dampen the coming criticism.
3) Misuse of Bryce.
4) You're taking over the team now, as is, what would you do?
chrissorr: Nothing may be an option, but on defense I would play all man, but still use zone with the bench in and when there is foul trouble. Norman will guard the Chasson Randle and Delon Wright's of the PAC-12. I wouldn't look to him for offense. I might bench Isaac Hamilton, and try the big lineup. I'm not high on Welsh right now, but there aren't any good options, so I would give the Looney/Parker/Welsh lineup a shot. The good thing about it is that if Bryce is a problem, now you can bench him for Hamilton. It's not an up-tempo lineup. It's deliberate, possible more Wooden-like (except for the conditioning): high post (likely Welsh), low post, and baseline runner which is likely Looney.
DCBruins: Mostly agree. I would go to a high post offense with Looney as the high post. I would bench Isaac until he learns to move his limitations. I would make clear to Bryce no pull up contested threes early in the clock. I would use Parker a lot. He is a good post and option. On defense, I think you are right and it is improving. Effort can make a difference here. I would make the bench 7 men. I would play Welsh for Looney and Parker. Welsh can hit the elbow jumper. On defense it hurts but it is better than the alternatives. I would start Noah Allen and reward his effort. This is so ugly; I may change my mind tomorrow.