Quick bullet-points on Steve Alford’s hire at UCLA:
— Alford can recruit the state of California. New Mexico’s top two players — Kendall Williams and Tony Snell — are from Rancho Cucamonga and Riverside, respectively.
— Alford has never coached or played against the Wildcats. The unfortunate aspect of the Pac-12 schedule rotation: UCLA plays Arizona only once in the regular season in 2013-14 and 2014-15, which means the Wildcats will not play against Alford and the Bruins either at McKale Center or Pauley Pavilion in the next two seasons.
— Speculation is Alford may bring New Mexico center Alex Kirk (a former Sean Miller recruiting target) with him, but not so fast. Kirk redshirted as a freshman. If he transfers to UCLA and sits out a season, he would lose a year of eligibility with the NCAA’s five-year eligibility rule. Kirk is from Los Alamos, N.M., and will likely stay with the Lobos.
— Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, now an ESPN college hoops analyst, said on the air Saturday morning that Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack belongs among the candidates to replace Alford at New Mexico. He also mentioned New Mexico associate head coach Craig Neal and his former Tennessee assistant Tony Jones, who has coached on the high school level the last two seasons.
— CBS college basketball writer Jeff Borzello writes that Alford should call high-profile forward recruit Aaron Gordon of San Jose Bishop Mitty. Gordon has narrowed his choices to Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Kentucky, but it is rumored that Gordon will announce Arizona as his choice Wednesday at the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Borzello writes: “It might be too late to make an impact in the class of 2013, but Alford has to at least call top-five prospect Aaron Gordon. Gordon is down to Arizona, Washington, Kentucky and Oregon, but his older brother (Drew Gordon) played for Alford at New Mexico (after transferring from UCLA) and they have a good relationship. Will it work? Probably not, but he has to at least reach out.”
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner