Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Comments on Current State of UCLA Basketball Program

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2015

Former UCLA and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar poses for a photo by a commorative banner as he arrives for a memorial service for the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Saturday, June 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Reed Saxon/Associated Press

UCLA is one of the most-decorated programs in college basketball history, but Bruins legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn't pleased with the on-court direction of his alma mater. 

According to the Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung, Abdul-Jabbar appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio's NBA Today Wednesday and expressed concerns regarding the team's recent performance. 

"People used to learn how to play the game at UCLA, and I don't think that's happening now," Abdul-Jabbar said, per Leung

While the Bruins have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the past three seasons, they haven't advanced past the regional semifinal during that span. 

"I think that that's a real disappointment to those of us who are part of the tradition," Abdul-Jabbar explained, per Leung

And although Abdul-Jabbar reportedly said it appeared as if the Bruins didn't "even know how to run the fast break," when he watched them during March Madness, he stopped short of saddling head coach Steve Alford with much of the blame. 

"I'm not trying to sit on the sideline and throw stones at Coach Alford," Abdul-Jabbar said, per Leung. "He has a tough job."

Relative to the program's historic resume that included 10 NCAA titles in 12 years from 1963 to 1975 and an 88-game winning streak under legendary head coach John Wooden, the Bruins have undeniably taken several steps back in recent years. 

However, Alford led UCLA to a Pac-12 conference tournament title in 2014, and the Bruins have topped 22 wins during each of his first two seasons at the helm. 

With a fresh season slated to get underway Nov. 13 against Monmouth, Alford and Co. have plenty of work to do if they want to shock the nation and try to qualify for the school's first Final Four since 2008.

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