UCLA is now the grooviest team in the Pac-12 Conference.
From the basketball courts to the locker rooms to the players lounge to the training room inside the new $35-million Mo Ostin Basketball Center, the Bruins are bopping to a variety of beats.
“It’s like you’re in a studio,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said Tuesday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, before the start of the Southern California Basketball Coaches Tip-off Luncheon. “That’s what Mo wanted to do. He wanted to tie music and basketball together. … It’s like the best sound system you could have.”
Ostin, 90, is the record executive and UCLA alumnus who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performer category in 2003.
That doesn’t mean the Bruins are listening to a steady stream of Pink Floyd and The Who. The mix of music they’ve heard since moving into the facility earlier this month has been eclectic.
But Alford has found a way to influence the play list.
“Because Tommy Welsh is my senior and he’s probably the only guy on the team that’s country,” Alford said, “I said, ‘He’s the senior, so every third or fourth song, it’s got to go back to Tom.’”
Dan Monson, entering his 11th season at Long Beach State, noted that he’s the dean of coaches at the luncheon. He was also the only one with his name misspelled in the program, “Don Monson” appearing in big block letters on the 49ers’ page.
Don Monson is Dan’s father and a former head coach at Idaho and Oregon.
“The program says it’s Don Monson,” the younger Monson said. “Unfortunately he won’t be here today. He’s 84 in Spokane taking a nap right now. That’s some Monson sarcasm coming out right now.
“I owe a lot to my dad. I’m not a Junior, but I’m proud to [be called] Don, Dan, it doesn’t matter. I’m proud to be his son because I wouldn’t be in coaching without him.”
Call him ‘Slim’
UC Irvine’s roster features two familiar names in Spencer Rivers, the youngest son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers, and Max Hazzard, the grandson of former UCLA star and coach Walt Hazzard.
Then there’s Brad Greene, who unequivocally qualifies as the big man on campus. Greene, a sophomore center, is listed at 6 feet 10 and 320 pounds on the school’s online roster.
“People remember him because his jersey didn’t fit,” Anteaters coach Russell Turner said. “It looked like a compression shirt when he wore it. We used to joke that rather than iron our jerseys, we’d just have Brad wear them all for a minute or two. Well, he’s lost 50 pounds since last year. If you see him, he’ll look like one of the contestants from ‘The Biggest Loser’ on TV, but he looks great that way.”
Brian Dutcher, a longtime assistant under Steve Fisher, is succeeding his boss at San Diego State. That makes Dutcher a 57-year-old first-time head coach with an enviable resume.
“I am the only undefeated head coach here today, I want you all to know that,” Dutcher said. “I’ve been waiting 18 years to lose a game. I hope it doesn’t happen for a while.”
Alford noted that Dutcher is in a unique situation for another reason.
“You might be the first guy to get a coaching job in waiting (so long) that the very next year you’re talking about retirement,” Alford said, looking at his longtime rival. “You’ve been there a long time, Dutch.”
Not so sweet
Cal Poly was so excited about David Nwaba becoming the first player in the program’s 107-year history to play in the NBA that a group of Mustangs bought a suite to see him play for the Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Only one problem: Nwaba was waived in July.
“Hey, we’ve still got the suite,” Cal Poly coach Joe Callero said. “We’ve actually got one more spot — somebody canceled — so if anybody wants to hook up a little bit later … come see us .”
Villanova’s Jay Wright was announced as the 2018 winner of the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award. … Several coaches paid tribute to Tommy Hawkins, the former Lakers forward and longtime emcee of the event who died in August. … UCLA received a nonbinding verbal commitment from Los Angeles Windward High shooting guard Jules Bernard. The Bruins also have a commitment from David Singleton, a shooting guard from Torrance Bishop Montgomery High.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch