Of UCLA's loss last night to Monmouth (NJ) Steve Alford said:
"We obviously have a ton of work to do, because we're not very good," he said. Alford also called his team's guard play "atrocious," and said that UCLA needs to figure out how to get to "average" before even being good.
Alford added that "I did not like how we guarded" and "we did not take care of the ball" and "that falls on me. " For the whole press conference, go here or below.
To his credit, Bryce Alford did not try to blame someone else either. As Bryce said in part:
"I mean, Isaac [Hamilton] got ripped once, I got ripped once, pretty sure Aaron [Holiday] got ripped once," Bryce Alford said.
"That doesn't happen. That should never happen. We had guys running into each other, balls going off our knees out of bounds, passing the ball to nobody."
After one particularly absented-minded first-half turnover, Hamilton grimaced and delivered a few smacks to his head.
"Pretty disgusted with the way we played to say the least," Bryce Alford said.
While the guards were awful, Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker did their parts. As Steve Alford said:
"I thought Thomas [Welsh] was outstanding. Obviously, Tony's [Parker] stat line was tremendous for him having to guard a guard. I thought both bigs gave us a lot. We had a 13-point lead inside 10 minutes, and we have to finish the game. In my opinion, when you have that type of lead, your guards have to take care of the game and we just didn't do that."
Parker's 19 point and 19 rebound game was enough to give UCLA a 13 point lead with 12 minutes left. When UCLA went inside good things happen:
At one point in the second half, UCLA appeared on the verge of putting the game out of reach.
Parker, the senior big man, helped spark a second-half run with a one-handed slam over Diago Quinn off a slick baseline feed from a driving Alford. That started an 11-0 run, with Parker scoring six of those points.
"They just played harder than us," Parker said. "They played way harder than us."
Actually Tony they looked like a better team. As Steve Alford said:
We tried to explain it to the guys and I must have done a really poor job of getting that point across to them. Last year they played four big-time schools really tough. They have all of those guys back, plus a really good transfer in [Je'Lon] Hornbeak. They turned us over 23 times, and our guard play was atrocious. We couldn't handle the basketball, we couldn't make free-throws, and we couldn't make lay-ups. When you don't do those things and then you don't guard in the last 10 to 15 minutes, it makes it hard on you. Jonah [Bolden] was out tonight for disciplinary reasons, but we expect to have him back on Sunday.
Steve I don't think Bolden is the answer. I give you credit for taking the blame, now come up with the solution.