UCLA Introduces Steve Alford

Pierre Pierce responds to Steve Alford’s apology and Pat Harty’s column

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Since Steve Alford accepted the UCLA head coaching job two weeks ago, some of his past has been brought up. Most notably his time at Iowa and the accusations against of his players.

Former Iowa guard Pierre Pierce was accused of sexual assaulting a female student and as a result Alford was criticized for not doing enough in regards to disciplining  Pierce. That was brought up during his introductory press conference at UCLA and Alford said he did what he was instructed to do by the university. On Thursday, Alford issued an apology for the way he handled that issue, calling his actions, “inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful.”

“I don’t have an issue with anything he said,” Pierce told Jared S. Hopkins of the Chicago Tribune on Friday.

Pierce, now a father, is back in Chicago after injuring his shoulder while playing in France. He told ChicagoSideSports.com that he congratulated Alford on the UCLA job and that they keep up from time to time.

“I don’t have an issue with anything he had to say,” Pierce said. “He has always been in my corner since he recruited me, so I have nothing — you will never find me saying anything about coach.”

He also commented on the column from Iowa City Press-Citizen columnist Pat Harty that was posted last Friday. In the column, Harty mentions a moment when his niece, an 18-year-old University of Iowa freshman at the time, claimed Pierce attempted to assault her.

“I wish Pat Harty nothing but the best, but I can’t respond to everyone’s allegations or false allegations,” Pierce told Daniel Libit. “I have moved on from my past. I am not calling it anything. If he wants to say anything about me, he can say it, and do with it what he wants to. At this point, I have moved on from Iowa, the writers, I have moved on from them all — far from them.”

He does not claim any wrongdoing in the alleged incident.

“It couldn’t be more false,” Pierce added. “If they wanted to press charges, why wait 10 years [until] Coach Alford has a job at UCLA to bring more negativity to it? My focus was about the future and nothing about the past because it has no merit.”

Pierce is rehabbing a shoulder injury, but told the Tribune and ChicagoSideSports.com he has thought about becoming a coach when his playing days are over.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: