UCLA’s Bryce Alford considers attention on LaVar Ball ‘an unfair thing’ for Lonzo

first_imgEL SEGUNDO >> The compliments rolled off of Bryce Alford’s tongue, as the UCLA guard reflected on playing with Lonzo Ball.Though Alford projected that Ball “will be just fine” should the Lakers draft him with their No. 2 pick, one question keeps following the Bruins’ former point guard. Will his outspoken father, LaVar Ball, put his son in a precarious position because of his outspoken nature?“It’s just an unfair thing for Lonzo. He gets a rep that he doesn’t deserve,” said Alford, who took part in a pre-draft workout with the Lakers on Monday at their facility. “I don’t want to say anything against LaVar. I think he’s done a good job of getting him ready to be where he’s at and has helped him become a great basketball player. So I don’t want to say anything that way. But he does get a persona that is totally not him.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWhile he now appears more concerned with his new company, the Big Baller Brand, LaVar Ball never hesitates to share his opinions, including an interview with Southern California News Group when he blamed UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky to the lacking footspeed “with three white guys,” an indirect reference to UCLA starters Alford, TJ Leaf and Thomas Welsh.“He’s an absolutely great kid and great teammate and truly cares about what his teammates are doing more than himself,” Alford said of Lonzo Ball. “I hope in the NBA, people can see that.”The Lakers have yet to finalize workouts for players they are considering with their No. 2 pick, though Lonzo Ball and Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox will be among those candidates. They have publicly dismissed the thought that LaVar Ball’s outspoken nature would deter them from drafting his son.“This will be a good fit for him, but that dude can fit in with just about anybody,” Alford said of Lonzo Ball. “He makes everybody around him better, whether it be a guard or a big, anybody. That dude’s a special kid.”Alford also called Ball a “great locker room guy” who “leads by example,” before explaining how Ball’s point-guard duties made his job easier as an off-ball shooter.center_img “It may look like he’s out of control, but that dude’s under control all the time. He finds you every time you’re open,” said Alford, who set UCLA’s career record for 3-pointers baskets (329). “When you don’t have the ball, it makes you cut harder. It makes you always alert and you always have your hands ready.”The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Alford hopes to establish his niche in the NBA as a shooter, and he is aware Ball’s presence could help his case.“I’ll probably hit him up after this, let him know I was just here and just kind of throw that idea at him,” Alford said. “Maybe he can put in a good word for me.”Welcome appearanceFormer Lakers forward Lamar Odom sat along the bench on Monday to watch pre-draft workouts. For a man who nearly died nearly 1½ years ago after losing consciousness at a Nevada brothel, Odom’s presence at the Lakers’ practice facility represented more of a return to normalcy.Lakers coach Luke Walton, who played with Odom on the Lakers from 2004 to 2011, invited him to watch workouts. Though it’s not clear if Odom would ever help Walton’s staff in a formal capacity, Walton expressed interest last season about the possibility.“It’s crazy. He was one of my favorite players,” said Oregon forward Jordan Bell, who grew up in Long Beach and attended Long Beach Poly High. “I always tried to play like him.”Bell, who prides himself on his defensive versatility, said it “means everything to me” to work out for the Lakers because of his local connections. So does training in front of Odom, who used his versatile, all-around skills to help the Lakers win two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.“A big guy who handles the ball, makes good decisions and plays good defense,” Bell said. “He’s a good all-around player.”Odom seemed alert when he talked with a few reporters. His last Lakers-related appearance was attending a Lakers-Miami Heat game at Staples Center on March 31, 2016 during Kobe Bryant’s final season.Taking attendanceIn addition to Alford and Bell, the Lakers’ workout on Monday included Florida State sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon, Connecticut senior center Amida Brimah, Michigan senior guard Derrick Walton Jr. and North Carolina senior forward Kennedy Meeks. …The Lakers will hold another workout on Tuesday featuring Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame, SMU guard Sterling Brown, Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey, Nevada forward Cameron Oliver, California forward Ivan Rabb and Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes. …Following Monday’s pre-draft workouts, Lakers third-year forward Larry Nance Jr. and second-year guard David Nwaba completed their training sessions.last_img