UCLA Bruins head coach Steve Alford met with the media yesterday and wouldn’t really discuss the team’s NCAA chances because he knows that isn’t going to do much. “We just know that we’re guaranteed four opportunities,” Alford said. “That’s all we’re guaranteed right and we’ve got three regular season and we’re guaranteed one in the Pac-12. Beyond that one, we’ve got to create our own opportunities.”
Alford continued, “We just have to take those four opportunities and make them absolute most we can make out of it.” Alford also spoke about how there aren’t any Pac-12 Tournament slots that have been filled yet.
But, the biggest thing Alford spoke about during his interview was the lack of national recognition for Aaron Holiday. He was asked about the fact that Holiday was left off the late season Wooden Award watch list. He was also left off the Cousy Award watch list. The Cousy Award is given to the Point Guard of the Year. Alford said:
That’s a hard one because I don’t understand that. Because, especially the Cousy list, that makes no sense to me. You can look at stats and you can’t prove to me otherwise. You look at wins and losses of people that are on that on that list. He’s easily top five on that list in wins losses of what his team is doing. And, then, when you look at stats, he’s probably in the top two or three. In the history you’re looking at UCLA since Bill Walton, there hadn’t been anybody getting 19 and five. So what Aaron Holiday is doing is extremely special and we’ve been saying it all year, but he’s doing it on a team that is second in the league right now and played well all year long. He’s been highly consistent and the thing that’s not in the statistics is who he’s guarding every night. I watched some of these guards that on the watch list and, then, either they don’t guard anybody. They’re guarding the the worst guard on the other team. He gets the best. He’s got [Utah guard Justin] Bibbens. I’m going to tell you he’s going to guard Bibbens. So, it doesn’t matter who we play whoever the key guard is on the opponent’s team, that’s who he’s defending and he’s done that all year long and he’s just done it at a really high level. So there’s nothing that any committee or anybody can tell me otherwise. It makes zero sense that he’s not on the talk of one of the top five point guards in the country.
Here’s Coach Alford’s full interview, courtesy of UCLA Athletics on YouTube.
This week’s player interviews are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News. First up is UCLA center Thomas Welsh. Welsh spoke about what makes the Mountain road trip so tough as well as what stands out about Aaron Holiday as a leader of the team.
Next up is Prince Ali. Ali spoke about how Holiday brings toughness to team.
Finally is Kris Wilkes. Wilkes mentioned that he played in Colorado for USA Basketball in the past and that it’s tough to adjust to the altitude. He also spoke a little bit about what he appreciates about Aaron Holiday.
Thanks again to Thuc Nhi Nguyen for sharing the player videos!