Steve Alford is a flat-out terrible basketball coach, and that was on display for all to see Tuesday night. His UCLA Bruins were shocked by St. Bonaventure in the First Four 65-58, in what was yet another embarrassing loss for the program.
Alford has had a wealth of talent at his disposal during his time in Westwood and has yet to make a deep tournament run. At this point, it is clear UCLA deserves better than great recruiting and mediocre results. There is no reason for Alford to still have his job.
On Tuesday night, the Bruins looked like they had never seen a zone defense before, as St. Bonaventure stifled their offense. UCLA shot just 42.0 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range on the night. Alford’s team was ill-prepared and looked lost.
Last year, with a loaded roster that included three NBA draft picks — including Lonzo Ball — Alford couldn’t get past the Sweet 16. In fact, in 23 years of coaching at the Division 1 level, he’s never been past the Sweet 16.
This season, Alford welcomed a top-five recruiting class nationally and again under-performed as the Bruins barely made the NCAA Tournament. He brought in five-star talents in Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, yet couldn’t even make it into the field of 64.
And before you start making excuses about Cody Riley and Jalen Hill being suspended and LiAngelo Ball leaving school, stuff it. Alford recruited those kids. He was in charge of those kids when they were in China. When they misbehaved by moronically shoplifting there, he was responsible. He’s the head of the program and that’s where the buck stops.
Two years ago, Alford went 15-17. At UCLA. I will repeat that, because it’s utterly insane. With the fertile recruiting grounds Los Angeles has to offer, Alford went 15-17 during the 2015-16 season. Lonzo Ball got him to the Sweet 16 last year, and he was out in the First Four this season. Is this really the best UCLA basketball can do?
Oh, and lets not forget that Alford is also a horrible person.
It’s long past time for Alford to go. He’s simply not a good coach. Anyone can recruit at UCLA, it takes a special kind of awfulness to fail with that kind of talent. Alford has failed in six years leading the Bruins.