UCLA’s Steve Alford hasn’t spoken to LiAngelo Ball, focused on remaining Bruins
LOS ANGELES — Steve Alford saw the media reports right before practice on Monday. That’s how the UCLA head coach found out LiAngelo Ball would be leaving the school at his father’s urging.
Then he carried on with practice. It was a “great practice,” he would say one day later.
Ball’s sudden departure is just the latest in a string of early-season distractions for the Bruins. They’ve played eight games without the sharp-shooting guard and fellow freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, compiled a 7-1 record heading into Wednesday’s game against Montana (5-3) at 8 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion, and don’t plan to slow down after this week’s additional drama.
“They’ve been able to not listen to noise, not listen to distraction, just really focus on individually, collectively getting better,” Alford said. “So I don’t know if there’s an adjustment, we just keep moving forward.”
Flanked by Cody Riley, left, and Jalen Hill, third from left, UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball reads his statement as head coach Steve Alford listens during a news conference at UCLA Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Los Angeles. The three players were detained in Hangzhou following allegations of shoplifting last week before an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LiAngelo Ball, seen during the press conference Nov. 15 where he and two UCLA teammates apologized for shoplifting in China, has reportedly been pulled from the school by his father. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)