Steve Alford met with the press today and emphasized the needed rest the Bruin players will get after the Southern Cal game on Wednesday. Eight days off for the eight rotation players, Steve feels, will give the Bruins an advantage entering the Pac-12 Tournament which begins next Wednesday.
Of course in order to get all those days off, UCLA must beat Southern Cal to secure a fourth seed in the tournament, thus earning a first round bye. Otherwise, it could be just 7 days off for 8 players, and poetically that just doesn't work. With the Bruins last regular season game coming on Wednesday, and other conference teams playing during the weekend, the Bruins should be at an advantage whether they earn the bye or not.
Alford spoke about the fatigue the team is feeling, both mentally and physically. The fatigue showed in the Bruins nail biter on Sunday against the Cougars, when they just didn't have the energy they usually have at home. Alford says he hadn't seen that lack of energy in a home game this year and is hoping the Bruins will be energized and ready to go against Southern Cal tomorrow.
After that, UCLA will enter what Alford calls the Third season and a win against Southern Cal and a good showing in the Third Season, will help the Bruins get to have what he calls a Fourth Season. Okay, so now I understand why the team got rings last year... they were season champions, the Third Season that is.
By the way, a huge congratulations to Ryan who has done an outstanding job as the Register's UCLA beat writer. I will dearly miss the football game recaps he does with Ed Lewis and the great reporting from practices and games.
Back to basketball!
The Pac-12 Player of the Week again is Norman Powell. Norman will be playing his final game at UCLA on Wednesday, and what a wonderful way to end his career at Pauley then by going up against our alleged rival. This is the third time Norman has earned this honor this year. It will be sad to see Norman go. He has been a true warrior for the Bruins, a hard-working defender, a leader on and off the court, and a wonderful young man to watch play and to watch grow. I am actually going to go to the game and get there early so that I can be part of the cheers thanking Norman for being such a great Bruin.
The players are also planning on celebrating the old man on the team who, according to teammate Tony Parker, has an early bed time. In the video below, Tony talks about Southern Cal's frontcourt and about what a great job Norman has been doing being aggressive and getting the ball inside. He also jokes that he, Tony Parker, is the only one who can stop Norman. According to Tony, the guys will be going out to brunch Thursday morning (Wednesday night will be too late for Norman) where they will buy Norman his favorite oatmeal. Enjoy the video:
Once again, a huge thanks to Ryan Kartje for making this video available.
One last note. In the background of the Alford video, you see Chris Roberts looking on. Roberts has been the voice of UCLA since 1992 and will announce his last game from Pauley this Wednesday. Congratulations Chris and good luck in the future. And here's hoping the Bruin basketball team sends you out right...with a bludgeoning of the catsup and mustard.
Have a great evening and as always ...