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UCLA Basketball Press Conference: Steve Alford's Problems Start at Home

Did Steve just blame Bryce for UCLA's problems?

Did Steve Alford just blame UCLA woes this year on Bryce?
Did Steve Alford just blame UCLA woes this year on Bryce?
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There was a fascinating press conference this afternoon by Steve Alford.  He said some things which are obvious but he also seemingly threw Bryce under the bus.

First the obvious.  Steve said that this must win road trip:

"Tall order, Cal has not lost at home and Stanford plays well at home."

Then the interesting part came.  On the team's consistency.

1.        One problem is defense.

"it's not the work ethic.  . . . Don't play off confidence on made shots.  To learn to do that at the defensive end.  Which is not easy for young guys."

Okay, this is fascinating statement and true on its face.  The problem, of course, is the best defenders on this team are young guys.  Aaron Holiday from day one and I would argue Jonah Bolden (remember what his D did against Gonzaga and UNLV early in the season).

On this team the best defenders ARE the young guys.  So Steve are you arguing you make players worse as they stay longer with you?

2.        Then he goes on to excuse mode on the problems at power forward:

"We have only been playing this way for about a month. . . . A guy like GG, he's only a month at this thing.  Jonah has only been in his role for the last month.  . . . That's not the guys fault that is kind of the way things were dealt."

Okay, I will never buy the GG excuse.  GG is not irreplaceable.  One of the nice things about this team is there is a bench.  I also think Jonah is doing things that GG can't.  Lastly if defense is key, Jonah is much more important.

Second on Jonah, that is your fault Steve!  Again, why was he ever a big guard?!?!?

3.        The lapses each game. Then another fascinating nugget:

If there been a consistent theme, we have gone through a 4-8 minute window when we have gotten out of character. . . . Its been about either tough shots, the right guys not getting the right shots, time and score issue, feel of the game where the ball needs to go type things and defensive stops.

Putting aside defensive issues, who is to blame for those other things.  Let's check this against, oh say, Bryce Alford:

  • Tough shots, check, Bryce is a good shooter but shoots under 40% because he takes tough shots
  • The right guys not getting the right shots, check, Bryce is the point guard, this is his job
  • Time and score, half check, this can be other players as well but, again, Bryce is the point guard
  • Feel of the game where the ball needs to go, check, this is Bryce's job as point guard

Wow, Steve Alford just threw Bryce under the bus.  Admittedly it is only 4-8 minutes a game but the player he is most describing, maybe not intentionally, is Bryce.

Steve also at various points praises Bryce's assist to turnover ratio and ball handling but the point remains the problems on offense he describes can be fairly laid on Bryce as point guard.

I have to add Steve also addresses not going big-big anymore.  He says they "are not against it," just not doing it now at this time because of foul trouble with the bigs.

He also feels bad about the way we have played at home and feels we played better on the road this season.  He talks at length at failing to meet expectations at home.

Well Steve the problem at home may begin with your home and son, point guard Bryce.  As you say he has a great assist to turnover ratio but the other things you list arguably fall on Bryce.

Go Bruins!