Steve Alford had a great player career at Indiana under Bob Knight winning a national championship. Alford started his coaching career at Manchester at division three school from 1991-1995. Then he got a Division I opportunity to with Southwest Missouri from 1995-1999 having very good success getting to the Sweet 16 in his last year there. Following he got an opportunity with Iowa from 1999-2007 where he had mediocre success making the NCAA tournament three times. Steve Alford is looking to succeed quickly at Nevada just like at New Mexico and UCLA.
New Mexico and UCLA
His biggest success came in New Mexico from 2007-2013 going 155-52. This included three NIT appearances and three NCAA tournament appearances. Next, his time at UCLA got off to a very good start making three out of four Sweet 16’s in the first four seasons. After that, he lost momentum and could not get it back with a scandal in China and losing the locker room in his last season before getting fired in December.
He knows how to win in the Mountain West Conference, therefore, he should translate quickly. He is very capable of building a consistent winner at Nevada. The dominance at New Mexico gives great hope that Alford will recreate that at Nevada. The conference is Utah State’s to lose, but after that, it is wide open and Nevada should be in the mix to be a part of the top of the conference. Alford will look to take his MWC experience and start building another dominant program.
In order to get off to a really good start at Nevada, the backcourt must be great. The return of Lindsey Drew and Jazz Johnson to the backcourt will give a major boost for the potential of immediate success. This goes along with Eric Parrish and Jalen Harris on the perimeter who are very talented as well. The frontcourt is a major concern for Nevada as the loss of Jordan Brown was big. Therefore, Johncarlos Reyes, Zane Meeks, Robbie Robinson and K.J. Hymes will have to bring some production. Pieces are in place for Nevada to have a good first season under Steve Alford as long as the newcomers can mesh well with the returners.
Further, the ability to bring in transfers who can have success will be key. Under Eric Musselman, Nevada was able to bring in high-level transfers who would further develop in his system. Alford must be able to keep that trend going for further success. Also, they must be able to recruit well on the west coast bringing in good players within their region. In order for Alford to keep the recent success at Nevada continuing. There must be a great success in attracting transfers and smart recruiting specifically on the west coast.
This could very well be the last chance for Steve Alford as a head coach at a decently big school. He has had many opportunities with mixed results. New Mexico was his best job and UCLA had its moments of success. Iowa overall wasn’t a success and the way UCLA ended was not great at all. Therefore the opportunity at Nevada will be huge for his reputation. If he has great success at Nevada he could get one last shot at a power conference job. However, if this does not turn into a success it could very well be the last stop for Alford. The last chance for Alford potentially is a good one, but he must capitalize quickly and keep the momentum that Eric Musselman left for him.
Alford is in a position to succeed at a high level at Nevada. His overall coaching experience and previous success in the Mountain West Conference gives him a great opportunity to excel. The return of Lindsey Drew and Jazz Johnson will be very important for the success immediately. Also, the wings on the perimeter in Eric Parrish and Jalen Harris will have a major impact also. The frontcourt must have a major impact by at least two of Reyes, Robinson, Meeks and Hymes. Recruiting transfers and west coast players will be a crucial part in the development of the program under Alford. Steve Alford’s experience sets him up to have major success at Nevada such as he had at New Mexico.
Images Courtesy of, Reno Gazette-Journal, SB Nation
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