The UCLA Bruins have a long and storied program. Long before my father was even a thought in his father’s cranium (or other, less print appropriate body parts), the Bruins were being all sorts of great. Then, mostly because life can have its up and downs, the program went through a little transition period. No horrible, god awful stretches, but nothing even remotely as great as the John Wooden era.
Because the fanbase wants to be closer to that than to any other generic, ho-hum program, though, Steve Alford was brought in to replace Ben Howland. Not that the move was horrible or anything that would result in any sort of all-time calamities.
Wait, what is that you say? Steve Alford is a giant Jerkface Magoo? Please tell me more.
Apparently, according to a ChicagoSide article (also H/T to DeadSpin for bringing this to our attention) Steve Alford really knows what is best for his players. You know, his players that are his until he jets to another program.
Case in point: Tony Snell of the Chicago Bulls.
In an interview with ChicagoSide, Tony Snell’s mother talked about an incident when his son was telling Alford he was going to go pro. Naturally, being the kind of caregiver usually reserved for Disney movie villains, Alford was non-to-pleased about losing his best player.
From ChicagoSide’s interview:
According to Brown, when Alford heard Snell was leaning to the NBA, he angrily called a meeting with player and mother.
“Alford, of course, is a control freak and he is mad as hell and he wants a meeting with me to know what I am doing with Tony,” Brown says.
“We were having a screaming match, him literally telling me he is not going anywhere, saying ‘What if he doesn’t make it?’ First of all, I have a positive attitude. I am a woman of God. I believe in prayer. I have had (Snell’s) back since day one.… I don’t care if he goes first or second round, or if he goes overseas, we are going to take that chance.”
Brown inferred selfish motives in Alford’s efforts . Alford was the brand-name player, the white All-American with the charmed high school and college careers. He played his senior year at Indiana and ended up getting drafted in the second round.
“I called him a mother(rhymes with trucker) at the time,” says Brown.
Oh. Just oh.
So Snell’s mom called Steve Alford something that rhymes with smother-ducker because Alford “knew” what was best for Snell. When we say what he knew what was best we mean that he wanted to make sure he got every ounce of free labor that he could out of Snell so he could later parlay that into a new, higher-profile job — say, the one with the UCLA Bruins.
Obviously this has very little to do with UCLA. Well, with the whole exception of Alford’s perception of a human-being becoming that of a lobster who likes to cut off the heads of unicorns or something.
I honestly feel bad for UCLA. I am not saying this will alter any of their possible future successes, but this is just some random BS they now have to deal with. All of that while they are having a pretty good season.
Just when you think that UCLA basketball is going to be in the forefront of the news. Not some head coaching search or Bill Walton looking to destroy Howland one snarky broadcast comment at a time, Steve Alford had to go all devil-incarnate on us.
I wonder if all of this “bullying” and mean behavior by Alford makes him a thug (coded word filled with racism, never applied to white people)? What say you, Richard Sherman?
None of this would be that troubling if Alford did not have a history of iffy-behavior. The coach has been accused of tossing vulgar language toward a BYU player, fighting with Tim Floyd and some other things in the past. If any were an isolated incident it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Couple them together, though…
Somehow I think this will be a bigger deal for anti-UCLA people (Stanford, other Pac 12 fans) than it will be for the Bruins.