By Dave Thomas

Name: Bryce Alford
University: UCLA
Year: sophomore 
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
Position: Guard

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Playing for your father on any level of athletic competition comes with some ups and some downs.For sophomore guard Bryce Alford and the UCLA Bruins, the ups have certainly outweighed the downs, as the team from Westwood heads to yet another Sweet 16 appearance this Friday evening versus Gonzaga in the South Regional semifinal in Houston.

With a nail-biting win over SMU in the first-round, followed by a rather convincing 17-point defeat of UAB in a second-round game, the Bruins appear to be hitting their stride as they and 15 other teams battle for a trip to the Final Four and the ultimate goal.

While former Indiana star Steve Alford is directing the production from the bench, his son (middle of three kids), Bryce, is helping lead the production on the floor. So, want to play for your dad in college basketball or some other sport?

Younger Alford Has Talent Too

In just his second season with the Bruins, Bryce Alford has been a notable cog in the UCLA machine (on to its second-straight Sweet 16 date), leading the Bruins with 5.1 assists per game and placing second (behind Norman Powell) with 15.5 points per game.

With two tournament games this post-season under his belt, Alford tallied 27 points (led all scorers) in the narrow win over SMU and former Bruins’ head coach Larry Brown, then followed that up with 22 points in the blowout win over the Blazers from Alabama-Birmingham. When it came to dishing out assists, Alford totaled one and five, respectively.

In notes from the UCLA athletic website after the win over UAB, it was pointed out that the Bruins have garnered their first consecutive Sweet 16 berths since reaching the Final Four three straight seasons from 2006-2008. ”There’s no better time to do that than March,” UCLA coach Steve Alford noted.

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During the regular season, the younger Alford had his moments too, notching 28 points/13 assists in a 107-74 win over Nicholls, 23 points in an 87-74 loss to upcoming opponent Gonzaga, and 12 assists in a decisive 113-78 season-opening triumph over Montana State.

Playing for his father, Bryce Alford saw court time in all 37 games a season ago (35 so far this season), while playing on the same team as older brother Kory. Yes, there is definitely some basketball lineage in the Alford family.

The current head coach was quite the player in his days in Bloomington, Indiana, helping the Hoosiers (defeated Syracuse in the title game) under legendary head coach Bobby Knight to the NCAA title in 1987. Alford left school at the time as Indiana’s all-time leading scorer (2,438 points).

Alford would go on to see time in the NBA (four seasons with Dallas and Golden State), along with several head collegiate coaching jobs (including Iowa and New Mexico) before landing in Westwood, where he has had the opportunity to coach both Bryce and Kory.

Bryce came out of New Mexico setting a state single-season scoring record, along with being tabbed the state’s top high school player.

For Bryce Alford, helping run the offense under the watchful eyes of his father has certainly been a great opportunity, especially given UCLA’s recent run the last two seasons in March.

If the Bruins are to continue that run to the Elite Eight, no doubt both father and son will have something to say about it.

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Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.