In Reply to: Re: My Usual Response To: ...look for someone else. posted by ej on October 10, 2018 at 15:38:59
You picked a poor effort as emblematic, when it was not. UCLA was expected by most to be a #9 or #10 seed, as long as they played decently in the conference tourney, which they did, beating Stanford handily, and then losing in OT to #1 seed Arizona. That was a demoralizing loss, and the team was utterly fatigued in the OT period. The predictors did not realize how badly downgraded the Pac-12 was going to be by the NCAA metrics (USC didn't make the tourney at all), and somehow UCLA ended up in a play-in game, despite going 21-11, with a win at Arizona, two wins over USC, a win over Kentucky, and an OT loss at Michigan, due to several missed FTs. So now UCLA had to immediately fly out to Dayton, to play in front of a crowd 98% in favor of SB, which had won a bunch of games in a row until losing in their league tourney semis. A win in this game would have earned UCLA a game against Florida, and then Texas Tech in Texas. So UCLA played flat; SB ran zones against them, and UCLA did not shoot well. Was it in any way a good effort? No. Was it some exemplification of how UCLA played last year down the stretch? Not really. And that was the first time UCLA had lost as over a two-point favorite in the tourney under Alford, who was previously 5-0 in that role. But you choose to see that game as indicative. If UCLA had won that game, with its weary eight-man squad, do you think they would have beaten Florida? Not I. I realized the season was over once they got that bad seeding, and maybe the team sensed it as well. Would a really good coach have won that game? Probably, but they would have lost to Florida, which was just better. I think that last year, the loss of the depth, and particularly Riley, cost UCLA something like a 24-7 regular season (if we had played 31), and at least two wins in the conference tourney, and thus a #6 or #7 seed.
This year I really thought that we had a chance to go a long way. But without our only point guard, we will not. Hands cannot play PG consistently, and there is no one else. We can't make trades in college basketball. So Alford may well be replaced, but I am far from optimistic about us finding anyone appreciably better.
You used the term "deliberate," which conveys to me that you are someone who favors a deliberate style. Maybe you want Krystowiak, who plays slowly in most games. In my view, coaches who play that way get more credit than they deserve, because they run the clock down, work the ball around, and so people think that this is good fundamental basketball. Playing faster looks more slapdash at times, but that is the way UCLA must play to attract sufficient talent. Yes, Howland did very well even when playing deliberately--for a while, but then the players stopped coming for the most part, and the AAU and high school coaches advised their players to eschew UCLA.
I'm sure we will hire someone, but there are very few top coaches out there, even fewer who would come to UCLA, where the living costs are high, the fans attend sporadically, the admissions are not as easy as at most places, everyone in the media talks about the NBA, and the players leave after a year. Do I think Alford should be here indefinitely? Of course not. But I really wanted for him to have a shot at what I think would have been an outstanding season, with a team full of young talent and depth. Now he will not. We could still have a decent season, but that would never be enough for you. So bring in someone else, but the odds are it would be someone who is overrated because he played slow, like Cronin at Cincy. And the coaches I would want, like Mike White at Florida, would not dream of leaving their school to come here. Krystowiak might, but he is a hothead, who is trending downward. I doubt that Musselman would, and I don't think UCLA would want to hire him based on personal issues. Tony Bennett is never coming here. Bruce Painter is much overrated. Donovan is the one name coach out there, but we could not afford his price, and if he leaves OKC, he has many options which pay more. We're likely going to end up with someone who MIGHT be a better technical coach than Alford, but who may well not recruit as well. UCLA is not going to run its program like Kansas or Arizona, so there are limits to what we can do, unless we got a great coach. But sure, take another stab at the pool, and see what happens in the five or six years he gets to stay here. Maybe UCLA will surprise us, and make an amazingly good hire. I think it is unlikely; even if they somehow focus on the best coaches,they can't get them; and they're likely to focus on someone who is overrated but available.
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