Some of Kory Alford’s fondest childhood memories are games of hide-and-seek inside the Spurlock Center.
Alford and younger brother, Bryce, are familiar with every square inch of the Franklin College facility, having for years tagged along with their father for his annual summer basketball camp.
Even now, they continue to move different directions.
Kory, the eldest of UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford and his wife, Tanya’s, three children, is entering his second season as the Bruins’ video coordinator.
Bryce Alford, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who is 30th on UCLA’s career scoring list (1,364) and 10th all-time in assists (445), is on track to play some level of professional basketball either here or abroad.
Different, but same.
“The biggest thing for us is we’re very different people,” said Kory, 24, who aspires to follow his dad and paternal grandfather, Sam Alford, into coaching. “Me and my brother are completely opposite.
“We have a lot of differences, but at the end of the day we both love basketball. That’s kind of what brought us together.”
Both played at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while Steve was head coach at the University of New Mexico.
A 2011 graduate, Kory Alford, a 6-4 guard, redshirted as a Lobos freshman. He played in a total of 24 games during the next two seasons before joining his father and brother — then an incoming freshman — at UCLA.
Bryce Alford scored 2,479 career points at La Cueva, averaging 37.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists. He followed his dad to UCLA knowing the potential scrutiny that might follow in regards to his role on the Bruins.
It’s what the Alfords do.
Steve Alford won Indiana Mr. Basketball honors in 1983 after four seasons of torching opposing defenses as a shooting guard at New Castle High School.
Alford’s coach was his father, Sam, who coached boys high school hoops in Indiana for 29 seasons (1966-95). He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 on the strength of 452 career victories.
“Playing for your dad is a unique situation,” Bryce said. “It’s kind of difficult to describe because there’s just so much that goes into it. Obviously there are times when you can’t stand listening to him and having his voice be the only voice I hear all season long.
“But at the end of the day I know how well he knows the game of basketball and that he’s trying to put me in the best position he possibly can. I know that if I played for anybody else my dad would never get to see me play a single game because he’s in the same profession.
“When it comes down to it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Kory Alford works for his father; Bryce plays for him.
Therefore, both were close enough to hear the criticism of someone they love following the Bruins’ 2015-16 season.
UCLA had finished with a 15-17 record — only the third losing season in Steve Alford’s 25-year coaching career– and 10th place in the Pac-12 Conference.
A small plane flying above campus gained notice by pulling a banner with the message: “UCLA deserves better. Fire Alford.”
“He’s used to it. He’s been in the limelight for so long as a player and as a coach,” Kory said. “No matter what, you’re going to get criticism. People always see you. People have opinions. It’s all part of it.
“For me and Bryce, growing up in the business that he’s in, you see it everywhere. You don’t become numb to it, but it’s just noise. You realize that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. My dad’s been an extremely successful player and an extremely successful coach.”