It’s not easy being the coaches kid. Bryce Alford is exactly that. While he might get extra attention from his coach off the court, his play on the court has garnered him a national spotlight.
UCLA has advanced into the Sweet Sixteen. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this for the Bruins, as many thought the team wasn’t tournament worthy. However, with wins over SMU and UAB, UCLA has proved many analysts and fans wrong. A lot of the credit can go to Bruins coach–and Bryce’s father–Steve Alford.
Steve Alford leads one of the most talent-rich lineups in the NCAA, one which is loaded with NBA prospects, including Kevon Looney and Norman Powell. Although, it’s Bryce Alford that has gotten the most attention.
Alford may never be an NBA level player but his college career thus far has been exceptional. The sophomore guard is a jack of all trades for the Bruins, putting up 15.4 points, 4.9 assists and a team high 88 three-pointers.
It must be nice for coach Alford to have a reliable option at his disposal, but some say he shows favoritism towards his son, which is not the case at all.
Bryce Alford was a former New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year, and he committed to playing for his father at New Mexico. However, when Steve Alford took a job at UCLA, son Bryce was not far behind.
The coaches son had to work at becoming the Bruins starting guard, and it wasn’t an ideal freshman season for Bryce, as he was fairly inconsistent. There was a game that saw Alford score 31 points, but that was without starters Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams in the lineup. Despite his big game, Bryce would only go on to average 8.0 points his freshman season.
UCLA was deep at guard with Anderson and Zach Lavine on the roster, but when both left for the greener pastures of the NBA, Steve Alford handed over the starting point guard role to son Bryce, a move which has paid serious dividends.
Bryce Alford has been a key component in the Bruins tournament run. He scored 27 points during the team’s second round match-up with SMU, and put up 22 points during the team’s third round win against UAB.
In addition to son Bryce, coach Steve Alford’s UCLA Bruins team also includes son Kory, who isn’t a main contributor on the team. However, Kory understands the amount of pressure his dad faces being coach of such a high profile team.
“I think he’s handled it outstanding because it’s tough, especially in LA; it’s a huge media market. He learned not to listen because, no matter matter what they say, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter.”
The criticism Steve Alford has faced for placing son Bryce at such a pivotal role in the team’s success will follow him through his sons tenure at the school. Although, if the Bruins keep winning, and Bryce Alford keeps scoring, then it really doesn’t make a difference.