On Friday Bryce Alford
was a future University of New Mexico Lobo.
Today he's a future UCLA Bruin.
It was confirmed this morning that Bryce's father, New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford, has taken the job as head coach at UCLA. The move was a shocker to the Lobos, because Alford's new contract - which would have paid $20 million over 10 years - was due to kick in on Monday.
The senior Alford's seven-year contract with UCLA will pay $2.6 million per year with a $200,000 signing bonus.
Contacted by MaxPreps today, Bryce acknowledged, "I will be going out there with my dad and my family." Then he added apologetically, "My dad said to not talk about anything at this time."
A sweet-shooting 6-foot-3 guard, Bryce broke the New Mexico single-season record by scoring 1,050 points as a senior at La Cueva (Albuquerque, N.M.)
. He averaged 37.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
MaxPreps reached Sam Alford, who coached Steve in high school and later assisted him for nine years at two college stops before retiring in Indiana. Sam explained that for Bryce to play right away, he must get a release from New Mexico, where he already had signed. His brother, Kory, a 6-4 redshirt freshman at New Mexico, must get a waiver from the NCAA.
Sam said he expects to see his share of UCLA games in the future. He noted that on two long trips he was able to see Bryce play 17 times this season and Steve's teams play 11 times.
He noted, "Any time you're talking UCLA, it's a fabulous opportunity. Steve thinks he has an absolutely good athletic director (Dan Guerrero)."
Asked to compare Steve with Bryce, Sam replied, "I'd hate to have to pick between the two. Steve never took a bad shot and never had a shot blocked. His hair never was messed up. Bryce is athletic and more of a Jimmy Rayl (as a shooter). He'll dunk on you just to hear the crowd roar. But their work ethics are very similar. Both are self motivated."
Steve Alford told the Albuquerque Journal, "I love the University of New Mexico. I love Albuquerque and New Mexico. This is truly a leap of faith decision. I think it becomes easier when it's UCLA. You're talking about the premier basketball program in the country. This kind of opportunity doesn't come around every day."
The 48-year-old Alford has a career record of 463-234, including a six-year mark of 155-52 at New Mexico. He was Indiana's Mr. Basketball, won an NCAA title at Indiana and an Olympic gold medal.