Steve Alford and the UCLA Bruins are reeling. Issues reached a brand new low for the varsity’s basketball program on Saturday, as UCLA misplaced to Liberty 73-58 at house. Sure, the Bruins have been blown out at house by Jerry Falwell’s faculty.
It was the fourth loss in a row for Alford’s group, which has dropped six of 9 and is now 7-6 on the season. This has come regardless of a wealth of expertise and after a ton of sources have been poured into this system. It begs the query: How, after six years of mediocrity, has UCLA not fired Alford?
UCLA’s basketball group is completely loaded with expertise. Based on 247, the present roster boasts two gamers who have been five-star recruits, seven who have been four-stars, 5 who have been within the prime 50 of their lessons and a whopping 9 who have been within the prime 100. And that doesn’t embody Shareef O’Neal who’s lacking the season on account of a coronary heart situation.
Expertise is clearly not UCLA’s downside, teaching is.
Regardless of having a foolish degree of recruiting success, Alford hasn’t even gained a convention title throughout his first 5 years in Westwood. He’s additionally by no means gotten past the Candy 16, however that’s nothing new for him, as he’s by no means performed that in any of his 23 years as a head coach.
Alford’s greatest likelihood for fulfillment got here throughout the 2016-17 season when his roster once more boasted a ridiculous quantity of expertise. The Bruins had three eventual first-round picks and 5 future NBA gamers on that roster. They have been additionally led by the dynamic Lonzo Ball. No group in faculty basketball was extra gifted. And but, regardless of going 31-5, UCLA completed one recreation out of first place within the Pac-12, misplaced within the semis of the convention event and obtained outclassed (and out-coached) by Kentucky within the Candy 16.
Alford won’t ever have a greater roster than that and UCLA won’t ever be that good once more below his watch. He’s proven repeatedly that his peak would be the Candy 16, when the Bruins needs to be targeted on returning to a championship degree. Heck, even the much-maligned Ben Howland reached three Ultimate Fours at UCLA.
At this level, there’s simply completely no motive for Alford to nonetheless be at UCLA. He’s by no means been something greater than a mean coach and the Bruins ought to notice that by now. The varsity should goal for higher.
Somebody must rescue a one-proud UCLA program from the malaise that’s been created by Steve Alford.