UCLA HC Steve Alford Says LaVar Ball Was Never Distraction During Lonzo's Tenure

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 19:  Head coach Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins watches on against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 19, 2017 in Sacramento, California.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Despite concerns about LaVar Ball's involvement in his son Lonzo's basketball career, UCLA head coach Steve Alford said Friday that he had no presence during Lonzo's time with the Bruins.

According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Alford said LaVar was never around the team or at practice and that he never meddled in his coaching.

The elder Ball is outspoken and developed a reputation for getting involved at Chino Hills High School, which is where Lonzo played and where his other sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, currently play.

Per Ganguli, Steve Baik resigned as coach after the team went 35-0 in Lonzo's senior season. Stephan Gilling was then fired last season after butting heads with LaVar, but both coaches said he wasn't the reason for their departures.

LaVar has had plenty to say regarding Lonzo's NBA draft prospects, including telling Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation that the Los Angeles Lakers are the only team he will work out for.

The Ball family patriarch has constantly pushed for the Lakers to select his son No. 2 overall, and he expressed to Ward that he feels strongly it is going to happen: "There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever. I'm going to say it again, in English, speak it into existence. In Spanish, speak it into existence. In Africa, speak that mother[expletive] into existence."

Per A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said Ball declined a workout despite the Celtics holding the No. 1 overall pick.

LaVar's influence on Lonzo is undeniable, but Lonzo is also a supreme talent as evidenced by his fantastic season at UCLA, and that alone should still make him a top consideration in the 2017 NBA draft.

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