In a story entitled: “Teams on the outside looking in at Way-Too-Early Top 25” by ESPN, the UCLA section is entitled No reason to trust Steve Alford:
Since his arrival in 2013, coach Steve Alford has assembled multiple ranked recruiting classes. His 2018 class is ranked third by ESPN, the third consecutive top-five class for UCLA.
Seven Bruins have been drafted in the first round under Alford, yet UCLA has never won a Pac-12 regular-season title or advanced past the Sweet 16. That’s why we’re hesitant to include UCLA in our early top-25.
In other words, ESPN is saying Steve Alford can recruit but can’t coach. As a UCLA Bruins fan, I think UCLA recruits itself to some extent. In any case, this is a major slap at Alford from ESPN which is generally not too critical of coaches.
As we mentioned here often, it was not a strong Pac-12 last year (ESPN calls it “lukewarm”) and Alford could only finish third. It is worth noting that, with the wunderkind Lonzo Ball, Alford also could only finish third. Any way you look at it, there is no excuse for Alford never winning a regular season title in 5 years.
ESPN uses this as a reason to keep a very talented UCLA team out of the preseason top 25. We find it hard to disagree. For, as ESPN says, as long as Alford is coach:
Considering UCLA’s recent history of falling short of expectations, it’s unclear how it has matured into a squad that warrants inclusion.
The question that every Bruin fan should be asking is: Is Dan Guerrero paying attention to this? Because he should be.