With recent Arizona de-commit T.J. Leaf opening his recruitment, UCLA Basketball is looking to make room for the power forward in 2016, which would mean pulling point guard Bryce Alford‘s scholarship.
Recruiting is a non-stop roller coaster and the recruitment of 5-star power forward T.J. Leaf out of Foothills Christian High School (El Cajon, CA) just took another turn, which should peak the interest of UCLA basketball fans. Not long after Leaf announced his recommitment from Arizona did word get out that he could be reconsidering UCLA.
Just a short time ago, 247Sports.com released information that UCLA, which is at their limit of 13 scholarships for the 2016 class, has a scholarship available for Leaf… Bryce Alford‘s scholarship. Alford, son of UCLA Basketball head coach Steve Alford, will be a senior for the 2016-17 season. In this case, it does not mean that he is off the team, rather, he will be a walk-on for his final year in Westwood, which is a brilliant idea.
Steve Alford has a very lucrative contract as the head of Bruin hoops, so there is not an issue of paying for Bryce’s education. What this plan does, if it goes through, is allow the Bruins to have 14 scholarship worthy players on the roster while only using 13.
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The idea of a coach’s son playing as a walk-on to conserve scholarships is not a new idea. As of two-years ago, Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer in Division I college basketball, was a walk-on for his dad’s Crieghton team and things worked out for him. McDermott was selected 11th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Having Bryce Alford play as a walk-on (which does not mean he will lose any time on the court), gives the Bruins more players to work with. If Leaf does commit to UCLA, the Bruins will have six guards (Alford, Isaac Hamilton, Aaron Holiday, Prince Ali, Lonzo Ball and Kobe Parras), five forwards (Leaf, Noah Allen, Jonah Bolden, Gyorgy Goloman and Alex Olesinki) and three centers (Thomas Welsh, Ikenna Okwarabizie and Ike Anigbogu) at their disposal.
Check out The UCLA Basketball Scholarship Chart for more information.
After the first two years of UCLA basketball being short-handed on scholarships, having more would be much welcomed, especially with the four and five-star recruits Steve Alford is hauling in. Let us just hope Leaf is part of that collection.