In regards to UCLA Bruins basketball, things have taken a turn for the worst since Lonzo Ball left the school early to enter into the NBA Draft.
Many doubted Steve Alford’s coaching ability, and it became clear as to why after Ball’s departure. Last season, UCLA just barely qualified for the NCAA tournament, losing in the first four to St. Bonaventure.
UCLA decided not to fire Alford at that time and let him begin coaching this season. They opened 7-6, including 0-3 against ranked opponents and losing three straight games to unranked opponents Belmont, Cincinnati, and Liberty.
It became clear Alford was no longer a fit, and on New Years Eve, he was relieved of his duties as head coach. Now, as the Bruins scramble to find a coach as Pac-12 play began, Ball named Earl Watson as his choice to take over.
“It’s tough. Steve Alford is a good person, good coach. He helped me a lot.” Ball said. “I would like to see Earl Watson get the job. I know Earl personally. He has coaching experience in the league, obviously he went there, so I think he’s a good fit.”
Watson played at UCLA for four years from 1997-2001, and went on to have a lengthy NBA career. “I think [Watson can relate to collegiate players]. He knows how to get to the league, how to stay in the league, he’s coached in the league,” Ball said.
“So I think he’s the best for the job.”
Ball didn’t spend much time with Watson while attending UCLA. However, he knows what Watson has done for the program since he left, and also what he’s done for Ball personally.
“I didn’t really see him too much but I know he’s in the practice facility working with guys and helping the team out.” Ball said. “I know him personally off the court. He’s helped me with a few things business-wise.”
UCLA will look to hire a new coach soon, as a weak Pac-12 should allow for them to sneak into the tournament if they can figure out some type of defensive scheme, as they currently are second to last in the conference in opponents points per game.
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