Always glad to talk hoop with you, 68

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Posted by Underbruin on July 10, 2018 at 18:08:58

In Reply to: UnderBruin: Thank You For Your Reasoned Response... posted by 68mgr on July 10, 2018 at 10:01:39

It's what keeps us all coming back to this board :)

I get your theoretical, but the point is not what Steve can/should do tomorrow, it's what he's already done. "Thus, we would be willing to camp in the basketball wilderness for two or three years until we get up-to-tournament-speed with our crops of academically-inclined student-athletes." What were the 2014 and 2015 seasons, if not basketball wilderness? Somehow, when UCLA started winning again in 2016 Pauley was just as full as it has ever been. Alford chose to pursue a strategy fairly reliant on one-and-done talent, and his inability to consistently secure and/or coach up talent of that level has meant a highly up-and-down tenure. He has to be responsible for his results. Again, I recognize it's a tough job. He gets paid $2.5MM a year to do it and has made more money from UCLA alone than most (myself included) will earn in an entire lifetime. My sympathy is pretty limited. Either he succeeds or he doesn't.

Additionally, I don't think your dichotomy of choices is an entirely honest one. LCT isn't advocating UCLA recruit ONLY three-stars. But it's certainly true that not all high-major recruits are the same, with regards to NBA prospects. Tyger Campbell is a great example - he's 6' tall mostly if you include the hair :). He's almost a lock to be a 3- or 4-year player. He comes from a very strong academic school (La Lumiere is an elite prep school in Indiana), is a top-100 player (4*, ranked 89th in the 247 composite), had numerous other high-major "BCS" offers, and has a legit chance to contribute as a freshman, admittedly in part due to UCLA's limited depth chart at that position. But he will most likely man the point for UCLA until his junior or senior year (barring transfer).

Guys like that are absolutely out there each year, and Alford (especially in his early seasons) basically never pursued that level of player, opting to chase top-25 guys, mostly failing to land them, and ending up with MUCH less capable talent in replacement. That is a circumstance that falls as the coach's responsibility. It's absolutely fair to ding Alford for choosing to chase Stephen Zimmerman and failing to land him, if that failure means giving a scholarship spot to a guy who appears to be incapable of contributing at a high-major level like Olesinski. Doing that once isn't a problem - but when you have multiple rotation players that probably would struggle for minutes at a mid-major, the buck has to stop at the head coach.

Look, here's the thing -- let's say UCLA really IS fundamentally flawed and won't be consistently successful at an elite level anymore. Why should that mean we must keep Alford? If UCLA is just incapable of success due to some inherent quality, then changing coaches shouldn't really be a problem because Alford will never have sustained high-level success either. I'm not loyal to Alford, I'm loyal to UCLA. If it's true that UCLA is the problem, I'd at least prefer to keep trying something NEW to solve it, rather than continuing with an approach that hasn't worked. Unless you honestly think what Steve has done in his 5-going-on-6 seasons is TRULY the best UCLA basketball can ever be, in which case I think we just have a fundamental disagreement as to the potential of the team.

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