The UCLA Bruins began the Steve Alford era with one Alford recruit committing to UCLA: Bryce Alford. Unlike his brother Kory Alford, who also is a member of Alford’s squad, Bryce was a decent college prospect coming out of high school. The 2013 Gatorade New Mexico player of the year had the skill set to be a sixth man combination guard as a true freshman.
In his first two games as a Bruin, Alford played twenty minutes in each contest. The Bruins were able to win their first two games but with little contribution from Alford. The 6-foot-2 combo guard from La Cuerva High School had a breakout senior season because of his ability to hit long range shots off of quick passes. In his first two games, Alford was 1-for-7 from outside.
The Bruins didn’t need Alford to be a marksman against Sacramento State, winning handily 86-50. However, the clock is ticking on instilling confidence in the young freshman who has insurmountable pressure resting upon his young shoulders. Alford enters one of the most storied programs in all of basketball that has produced top tier talents recently in the form of Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday. Alford is also competing for minutes against Ben Howland‘s recruit Zach LaVine who has gotten off to a fast start. Not to mention the giant elephant in the room — Alford’s father is his coach and one of the finest sharpshooters the college level has ever seen.
It appears that Alford will continue to be buried on the Bruins bench behind Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and LaVine. His statistics were nothing flashy, but Alford did make the only three pointer he attempted. He also contributed five assists and three steals. With time moving quickly, the Bruins have little time to get Alford into a rhythm before conference play. Alford has the potential to be a great sixth man for UCLA this season, but his potential could be wasted if he continues to shy away from utilizing the skill set that made him a viable college prospect.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS.