UCLA has rid itself of uncontrollable coach Ben Howland, signed former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford and is closing in on one recruit who could propel them past Pac-12 success and back on to the national stage.
Alford’s first order of business, besides sideswiping scandals that occurred while he was the head coach of Iowa, is securing five-star Aurora (Colo.) Regis-Jesuit point guard Josh Perkins.
Scout.com blog Bruin Report Online reported Alford will offer Perkins a scholarship, according to the 6-foot-3, 185-pound point guard’s father. USC, Creighton, Nebraska, Gonzaga, Colorado and New Mexico have expressed interest, Perkins’ father said.
Expectations are always high in Los Angeles, more specifically Westwood, Calif., but after continued mediocrity by Howland, UCLA fans may be more patient in Alford’s first season. However, by successfully signing Perkins, Alford may be able to take the Bruins to their first Final Four appearance since 2008.
UCLA has never been short on talent, and failing to escape the second round of the NCAA tournament is unacceptable for the Bruins. Shabazz Muhammad has declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, leaving a vacancy in the limelight. Perkins has quickly become one of the most highly prized back court recruits in the last year, and he would fit in perfectly as a star for UCLA.
It always feels odd when describing UCLA as a “bounce-back” team after reaching seven NCAA tournaments in 10 years, which included four straight Final Fours. Recently though, Pac-12 success hasn’t been enough for the UCLA faithful, and Perkins is just who they’ve been waiting for.
John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.