Bill Walton Gives Steve Alford’s UCLA Bruins a “Pass Go” while the viewing fans get some Walton Histrionic Fundamentalities
Bill Walton on UCLA Basketball (Photo: Big League.Com)
When ESPN made the call for Bill Walton to be the color commentator at UCLA's home game against Alabama, they knew what they were doing. Walton's host commentator and his bosses at ESPN are never sure what nuggets their viewing audience are going to hear when the former, Three time College Player of the Year, NBA Hall of Famer formerly, aka the Big Redhead gets in front of a microphone.
The UCLA Bruins beat Alabama on their home court -- -- in a game where neither team was the best team for the whole game. Alabama's best player Trevor Releford did not start the game because of disciplinary problems, his teammates seemed lost. UCLA took advantage early, looking impressive.
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6'9 point guard, utility man, Kyle Anderson, had the high scoring Bruins on the move passing out assists, hitting his own shots and collecting rebounds on the defensive end. The Bruins showed The Crimson Tide various defensive looks, full court pressing, half court traps, falling back into man to man, switching back and forth between man and zone. The Bruins turned fast-breaks into quick scores.
All this quick scoring activity UCLA possesses along with the creative fluctuations the Bruins displayed defensively caught Bill Walton's attention. Walton, expressed like only he can, why he thought that the Bruins were heading in the right direction and that Bruin fans were now getting an entertaining, up-tempo style of play that should keep Bruin fans excited ... for the time being, for the new coach.
Of course, analyst Bill Walton did not cut his comments there. Walton proceeded to address the previous regime under Ben Howland where the goal was to slow the opponent's game down defensively while methodically attempting to score defensively. Definitely not the style UCLA played during Walton's years at UCLA. Walton took the viewer further in on the recent histrionics of UCLA Basketball.
When Trevor Releford finally entered the game his impact was immediate. The Bruins went from the aggressor to the oppressed. Alabama returned the favor and put the press on UCLA. The Bruins had put together a 14-2 run early to give them a 20-9 lead. Releford scored seven of Alabama's next nine points, the Tide went on and closed out the first half with a one point lead over UCLA, 34-33.
Though, Walton had given Steve Alford and his first UCLA team a "Pass Go", for the time being, he was not as nice in stating what the expectation level still is at UCLA and how he thought the Bruin faithful fans deserve it. Walton combed over Alford's coaching career noting that none of those schools where Alford coached was a barometer that in any way resembled the UCLA championship mantra of expectation.
Throughout the first half of the game, UCLA viewers were given a history lesson in basketball histrionics and fundamentalities as only Bill Walton can deliver. Walton's commentating partner, Dave Pasch, made the mistake of mentioning one of the current players first game early season stats; why did he do that! Walton preceded to roll out Kareem Abdul Jabbar's, 56 or so points and twenty something rebounds in his first college game and Wilt Chamberlain who scored 50 plus point and 30 plus rebounds in his first college game for the University of Kansas.
While the Crimson Tide, led by their big little man, Trevor Releford, tried to squash UCLA early in the first half as the Bruins came out unenthusiastic, not a good thing to display if Bill Walton is announcing your game. You are assured to be noticed by Walton and receive a history lesson, or a quote will follow to verify your inadequacy.
Walton was in rare form even for himself. He broke down the fundamentalities of the game, as the ebb and flow of the game created the fodder he utilizes to take the viewing fans into a palate of history they either love or hate. In essence, that is the reality about Bill Walton as he hyperbolizes the game of organized basketball for viewers throughout the nation and the world.
Bill Walton has no problem switching from a definitive perspective earlier projected to a totally outlandish perspective. When you are watching and listening to Walton color commentating you soon realize consistency is very important in his evaluation process. If you become inconsistent around Bill Walton he may go in a multitude of directions that you may not like or want to hear or even understand why he went there!
During this game Walton quoted his college coach John Wooden that is a reality you will not escape any time you listen to Bill Walton speak longer than a few minutes. He also gave a little but precise UCLA basketball history lesson on today and yester-year.
Walton loves true greatness so he quoted the legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, which he then showed the similarity Coach Wooden and Bryant had in principle and gave a little history tidbit about their ranking by Sporting News Magazine's greatest coaches of all time.
Walton has found a way to make history relevant. During his career as a NBA analyst Walton generated a love or hate viewing audience. Many fans love Bill even if they do not agree or understand what or why he says what he says, but they love him. The Walton haters love to bash him. "Did your hear what Walton said about @#$%^&*? . . . He is crazy. I can't stand Walton. He is such a UCLA, Portland Trailblazer homer!" There appears to be no middle ground group cheering for Bill Walton, it is a love or hate sports thing.
When UCLA rallied and won the game in the end, Walton said he thought any team could have won the game. In other words, neither UCLA nor Alabama was consistent enough in the execution of their fundamentalities that they could probably learn from some of Bill Walton's histrionics to get their game to the next level of consistency.
When you have made yourself "relevant", the modern flash word of the day, while doling out history fondue you must have been consistent and that Walton did do, when it was his turn on the basketball court.