68, Michigan was in the title game in 2013, too

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Posted by Underbruin on July 10, 2018 at 02:49:19

In Reply to: I Appreciate The Tenor Of Your Response, But... posted by 68mgr on July 09, 2018 at 23:26:21

It's not unfair to cherry-pick comparative examples to make a point, when the argument is UCLA's academics make basketball success untenable -- how many other D1 schools are comparable to UCLA in academics? It's not 2 out of 350, it's 2 out of maybe 25? Both Villanova and Michigan have had success under their current head coaches for more than just the past year or two. Virginia, too, would be an example of a strong academic school that doesn't recruit 'one-and-done' types and has sustained basketball success.

"However, while these schools, plus UCLA, may fashion themselves as both outstanding academic and athletic institutions, they are not under the same year-to-year and local pressures to win at once that UCLA operates under and the pressure the kids feel to leave early."

That's an odd thing to say about Michigan athletics. The pressure was enough for their boosters to buy players for years, cf. Ed Martin.

"I don't believe that either Ann Arbor or Philly have the same concentration of cheaters, hustlers, AAU pimps, glad-handers, touts, family pressures and legit NBA personnel encouraging Bruins to exit quickly."

Self-selection. Beilein built his program on multi-year players. Michigan has as many resources as any AD in the country, and midwest teams absolutely can recruit at a high level. But UM has consistently targeted guys that aren't one-and-done. Villanova has been the same way for Jay Wright's tenure.

"Who the heck had ever heard of Mo Wagner until this past season?"

Wagner was a 4-star recruit, and a borderline top-100 player. He was an all conf honorable mention selection last year (his sophomore season), and was a primary offensive option for a Big 10 tourney champ and Sweet 16 Michigan team. No offense, but whether or not you know Mo Wagner has zero bearing on whether or not he's unknown to everybody.

"Imagine a 5-Star freshman with a most difficult academic load who finishes his first year as an All-American with a guaranteed Top-3 draft status as a "can't miss" pro career - which translates to untold millions before age 25 - with a 4.2 GPA, telling his parents that he enjoys school so much that he is going to shelve his NBA dreams until he graduates."

... No. I'm not going to imagine that. Reductio ad absurdum is unhelpful. Nobody is suggesting that. What people are suggesting is that a coach who chooses (chooses) to pursue elite, one-and-done type players risks those players being... well, one-and-done. If he cannot build and sustain a program with relative constancy with that approach, that is his own fault.

"The Pauleys, Ostins and their ilk don't squander their millions to improve grade-point averages; they do so to win NOW and four-year programs ain't in their DNA, nor in the DNA of the Bruin fanatics who populate this board."

Sorry, but no. Alford hasn't won squat and he's STILL HERE. This argument would only make sense if Steve had been run out on a rail two years ago. In Alford's first 3 seasons, UCLA was 65-40. In what POSSIBLE world is that considered to be winning "NOW?" The Bruins won 28 games in Steve's first season almost entirely on the backs of players he inherited from Howland, than won 19 and 15 regular season games in the following two years. You'll have a really looooooong walk trying to convince me that's 'winning now' in any sense of the word - and instead of pursuing guys who would be solid upperclassmen, Alford chased (and mostly struck out on) national super-elite players -- when he missed, he had to pivot to guys that were less capable (hi, Alex O!), and the few elites he DID get tended to leave early, shocker.

This is not an argument that the UCLA job is an easy one to succeed at. But it is kind of insulting to argue that UCLA cannot succeed due to some inherent flaw, we might as well just close up the program and go home in that case. I don't think Alford has done as poorly as some here seem to feel - but his struggles are of his own making, not due to magical bad luck that only UCLA faces. This is Steve's sixth season. Athletics is a results-oriented business. Maybe he does have bad luck - but at some point that becomes his problem, and should no longer be UCLA's.

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