Recently, UCLA Coach Steve Alford has had some unusual conversations with his son, Bryce.
Bryce Alford has a scholarship to play basketball. Steve Alford would prefer that he did not. So, unless UCLA loses any underclassmen next season, Bryce Alford will become a walk-on, Steve Alford said Tuesday.
The planned move is because of UCLA’s talented four-man recruiting class, which would put the Bruins one above the scholarship limit of 13 next season. One perk of coaching your son, Steve Alford said, is that you effectively have one extra scholarship spot.
“It’s huge,” Alford said. “The last couple years it didn’t present it because we hadn’t gotten to 13 yet.”
UCLA filled out its three open roster spots on the first day of the early signing period last week. But it was widely expected that UCLA could accommodate one more because of Bryce Alford’s flexibility.
On the next day, UCLA signed five-star recruit T.J. Leaf, who had previously decommitted from Arizona.
Bryce Alford had only one concern.
“ ‘Just, Coach, make sure he can really play,’ ” Steve Alford said. “T.J. can really play.”
This recruiting class, projected as the strongest in the coach’s tenure, should give UCLA depth it hasn’t had in recent seasons.
“We’re building that base, we’re building the culture of how we recruit,” Alford said. “So now you get into year four, we’ve got a lot of guys wanting to come here. So it’s fun being on the other end, now where it’s being very selective again. And that’s really what UCLA should be.”