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Steve Alford Left Off Naismith Trophy Coach of the Year Semifinalist List

It’s really hard to argue that Sean Miller belongs on the list and Steve Alford doesn’t.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For many Bruin fans, there still is a lot not to like about Steve Alford.

Some believe that he should have never been hired because of the Pierre Pierce incident when he was at Iowa. Others don’t believe he should have been hired because he’s never made it past the Sweet 16. Still others believe he should have been fired for last season’s dismal performance.

Well, one of the best things about this season has been the complete turnaround of the program.

When a program turns around as much from one year to the next as UCLA’s program has, the coach usually is considered as a candidate for Coach of the Year, even if the coach is the one who dug the hole his team was in the previous year.

So, it was extremely surprising that, when the Naismith Trophy website announced the ten semifinalists for Coach of the Year today, Steve Alford’s name was not on the list.

What’s even more surprising is that the only Pac-12 coach on the list of semifinalists is Arizona coach Sean Miller.

Exactly why Miller deserves to be on that list is beyond me. In my book, Miller isn’t even the Pac-12 coach of the year. That should be either Alford or Dana Altman of Oregon.

Of course, just because I think that Alford is worthy of being in the discussion for national coach of the year, it doesn’t absolve him from meeting the expectations we laid out at the beginning of conference play. That simply means that, while he gets credit for UCLA’s turnaround in my book, I still believe in holding him accountable for his team’s performance this year based on what they were capable of.

But, that’s getting ahead of ourselves and we’ll address that when the season is over.

The bottom line today is that he should have been on the Naismith Trophy list instead of Miller.

Go Bruins!