Alabama/UCLA basketball notes

Mark Gottfried began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UCLA in 1988. He remained on staff there for seven seasons (becoming full time assistant along the way). On Saturday, the 1987 University of Alabama graduate returns to the area where his career began and will coach against the Bruins for the first time when his No. 16 University of Alabama men's basketball team (6-1) plays No. 18 UCLA Bruins in the John Wooden Classic.


  • No. 16 AP/No. 19 ESPN/USA Today ALABAMA vs. No. 20 AP/No. 18 ESPN/ UCLA
  • Saturday, December 8
  • Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
  • 6 p.m. CST/4 p.m. PST


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No. 16 AP/No. 19 ESPN/USA Today ALABAMA (6-1 OVERALL, 0-0 SEC):

  • F- 35 Erwin Dudley 6-8, 260, JR, Uniontown 12.7 ppg/7.9 rpg
  • C- 42 Kenny Walker 6-9, 230, JR, Jacksonville, Fla. 9.3 ppg/5.6 rpg
  • G- 21 Rod Grizzard 6-8, 200, JR, Birmingham 16.0 ppg/6.7 rpg
  • G- 14 Terrance Meade 6-2, 190, JR, Scottsboro 12.0 ppg/3.4 rpg
  • G- 25 Mo Williams 6-1, 185, FR, Jackson, Miss. 10.4 ppg/3.3 rpg
  • Head Coach: Mark Gottfried (Alabama, 1987)

No. 20 AP/No. 18 ESPN/USA Today UCLA (2-2 going into Dec 5 game)

  • F-23 Matt Barnes 6-7, 235, SR, Citrus Heights, Calif. 8.3 ppg/6.5 rpg
  • F-24 Jason Kapono 6-8, 213, JR, Lakewood, Calif. 22.3 ppg/5.0 rpg
  • C-50 Dan Gadzuric 6-11, 240, SR, Den Haag, Holland 3.5 ppg/3.5 rpg
  • G-03 Billy Knight 6-6, 201, SR, Los Angeles, Calif. 12.0 ppg/3.3 rpg/2.5 apg
  • G-21 Cedric Bozeman 6-6, 193, FR, Los Angeles 5.3 ppg/2.3 rpg/3.3 apg
  • HeadCoach: Steve Lavin (Chapman, 1988)


ALABAMA: Mark Gottfried; 129-67 (.658%) in 7 (6 complete) seasons overall, 61-43 (.587%) in 4th season at Alabama; 2 NCAA appearances (1997 & 1998) at Murray State; 3 NIT appearances (1996 at MSU, 1999 & 2001 at UA); Assistant for UCLA's 1995 NCAA Champions team; 3 NCAA Sweet 16 appearances as a UA player 1985-86-87.

UCLA: Steve Lavin; 116-49 (.703%) in 6 (5 complete) seasons overall & at UCLA; Was an assistant at UCLA for five seasons before becoming head coach on November 6, 1996; assistant on UCLA's 1995 NCAA Champion team; 2001 Pac 10 Coach of the Year; 5 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and 20-plus winning seasons; Four NCAA Sweet 16's in last five years; UCLA went to Elite 8 in his 1st season as head coach and won the Pac 10 title


  • Mark Gottfried coached 7 seasons at UCLA as an assistant, culminating in the 1995 national championship
  • With this UCLA game, Mark Gottfried will have coached against all the men he coached with at UCLA on that 1995 national champions team as he's coached against St. Louis's Lorenzo Romar as well as Georgia's Jim Harrick
  • Alabama has won four out of its last 7 road/neutral games (full note is included in this week's release)
  • Mark Gottfried's longtime mentor has been former UCLA coach John Wooden who Gottfried befriended while he was an assistant at UCLA and whom he still visits everytime he goes to LA (as recently as this past August)
  • Alabama brings its highest ranking of the season, No. 16 AP/No. 19 ESPN/USA Today

Gottfried Returns To His Coaching Cradle

The matchup marks the first time Gottfried has coached against the Bruins since he became a head coach, first at Murray State in 1995, then at Alabama in 1998.

Third Ranked Opponent Tide Faces

When Alabama plays UCLA on Saturday, it marks the third Top 25 ranked team the Crimson Tide has played so far in a season just seven games old. Alabama played then No. 5 (now No. 2) Missouri in the Guardians Classic on November 13 in Kansas City. Missouri won that game by seven points, 75-68. Alabama rebounded the next night in that same event, defeating then No. 12 ranked Memphis 81-70.

Playing the Top 25 will become a familiar scenario for the Tide this season. Just running down the this week's AP rankings, the list of Tide opponents includes No. 2 Missouri, No. 6 Florida, No. 11 Kentucky, and No. 20 UCLA. (It's already played No. 22 Memphis).

And still more are receiving votes or have only recently dropped out of the Top 25 including Notre Dame (would be 27th), Georgia, Temple, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. The ESPN/USA Today poll adds to that list in the receiving votes category Arkansas, a team Bama plays twice during the regular season.

Lavin Completes Gottfried's UCLA Staff Tour

When Alabama plays UCLA on Saturday, Mark Gottfried will have coached against everyone he coached with when he was an assistant coach at UCLA during the Bruins 1995 national championship season.

Gottfried's first UCLA coaching staff matchup came against St. Louis head coach Lorenzo Romar during the 2000 season. (St Louis won 78-70). Jim Harrick, head coach of UCLA's team when Gottfried was an assistant, is now head coach at Georgia, so he and Gottfried meet at least once a season (Georgia is in the SEC East, Alabama in the SEC West, so they only play once during the regular season). Gottfried is 1-1 against Harrick.

Games Will be Televised in California

Both the Arizona - Purdue and Alabama -UCLA games in the John Wooden Classic will be televised, live, in California on KCAL-TV. It's a Fox affiliate.

Game Will Mark Only 2nd Ever Meeting With UCLA

Alabama and UCLA have played one another in men's basketball only once. That was in 1983 (a year before Mark Gottfried arrived as a player at Alabama).

That game was played at UCLA and it was wedged in with Alabama's Southeastern Conference Schedule. (It had played eight SEC games before the trip to California). Wimp Sanderson was in his third season of being head coach of the Tide. Alabama won the game 70-67, one of only three road games Alabama won that season.

Incidentally, Alabama made two trips to Los Angeles that season as it traveled there in December to play in the Winston Tire Classic (which it won with wins against USC and Georgetown) and then returned a couple of months later to LA for the UCLA game.

Tide Team That Beat UCLA Included NBA Players

In the one game that has been played in basketball between Alabama and UCLA, Alabama won 70-67. That Tide team that barely edged the Bruins included two future NBA 1st round draft picks, Ennis Whatley (Kansas City Kings) and Jim Farmer (Dallas Mavericks) and five more players who played in the NBA including Buck Johnson (Houston & Washington), Bobby Lee Hurt (Golden State), Mike Davis (Milwaukee), Eric Richardson (San Antonio), and (Terry Williams Seattle).

Hurt led the win with 23 points. Whatley, an All-American guard in 1983, scored 20 points. Buck Johnson scored 15. And Mike Davis---famous now as the head coach at Indiana---scored eight points.

UCLA, winner of the Pac 10 championship that season and coached by Larry Farmer, was led by Kenny Fields' 15 points, 14 from Ralph Jackson, 13 from Darren Daye and 10 from Rod Foster. Foster was drafted by Phoenix, Daye by Washington, Fields by Milwaukee and Jackson by Indiana----making for a fairly powerful field of talent on the floor between the two teams that season.

Interestingly enough, Alabama's team, which held those seven future NBA players, finished 20-12-and a dismal 8th (of 12 teams) in the SEC that season, though it made it to the SEC tournament championship game.

Tide Team Plans Meeting With Coach Wooden

Mark Gottfried talks to his mentor, John Wooden, about once a month. He called Coach Wooden this week and asked the legendary coach, who took Gottfried under his wing when Gottfried was an assistant at UCLA from 1988-95, if Coach Wooden would meet with his team. Coach Wooden graciously obliged. He's staying in the same hotel as the Tide team, so they'll meet up on either Thursday night or Friday.

Gottfried First Experienced LA as Newlywed

Mark Gottfried graduated from Alabama in 1987 then spent a year playing basketball and touring internationally with Athletes in Action. In August of 1988, he married his University of Alabama sweetheart, the former Elizabeth Kozel of Birmingham (who was a Crimson Courter-hostess for the Tide basketball team). The two married in 1988, and, with a wedding and a new life financed through the help of the $1500 Gottfried got from selling his car, they jumped in Elizabeth's MGB, put the top down and drove all the way from Alabama to Los Angeles where Jim Harrick had hired Gottfried as a graduate assistant for his UCLA basketball team.

With a grad assistant's paycheck of $362 a month and rent at $650 a month in their efficiency apartment (Bedroom & kitchen were one and the same room), Gottfried took the bus from Venice to Westwood each day to work.

He soon worked his way into a full-time assistant's position and was key in UCLA's recruiting. UCLA's 1994 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 nationally. He coached NBA bound players, including Ed O'Bannon (New Jersey Nets), George Zidek (Charlotte), Tyrus Edney (Sacramento), Don MacLean (Philadelphia), Tracy Murray (Washington), Pooh Richardson (LA Clippers), Tervor Wilson (LA Lakers), Darrick Martin (LA Clippers) and Mitchell Butler (Portland).

Following the 1995 national championship season, Gottfried became a sought-after head coach prospect and decided to start his head coaching career at Murray State. He coached there three seasons before becoming Alabama's head coach in March 1998.

In his seven seasons on UCLA's coaching staff, the Bruins advanced to seven NCAA tournament appearances, including the 1995 NCAA Championship (31-2), the 1992 Elite Eight and the 1990 Sweet 16. UCLA went 168-55 during his tenure there.

Gottfried Has a Favorite Wooden Moment

Mark Gottfried spent many a moment with John Wooden during the seven years Gottfried was an assistant coach at UCLA (1988-95). Coach Wooden became his mentor and to this day Gottfried still says he wishes he could have recorded most every word of advice and guidance Coach Wooden has given him over the years.

One of his favorite stories involving Coach Wooden was also one of his most mortifying. When Gottfried got the Murray State head coaching job after UCLA's 1995 national championship season was over, Gottfried and his wife Elizabeth and their two toddlers, Brandon and Mary Layson went over to Coach Wooden's house to say goodbye.

At the time Elizabeth was about eight months pregnant with their third child, Cameron. Gottfried beamed proudly as his little girl, then two years old, sat lovingly in Coach Wooden's lap. The mentor and his apprentice bonding.

...But pride turned to mortification for the young coach when two year old Mary Layson began patting Coach Wooden on his stomach and asking him if he had a baby in his tummy like her mommy did....

Gottfried says Coach Wooden still loves to tell the story..

McDonald's All-Americans Re-Unite

Though knee surgery on December 3 will prevent one of them from playing Saturday, two men who were on the court together this past summer as McDonald's High School All-Americans will meet up.

Alabama's Mo Williams, a freshman from Jackson, Mississippi, played on the East team. UCLA freshman Cedric Bozeman, a freshman guard from Santa Ana, California, played on the West team.

The McDonald's High School All-American teams are chosen from a field of some 1,500 top high school senior boys from around the nation who are nominated. Twelve are chosen to the East and 12 to the West teams. Williams and Bozeman are in good company on the McDonald's alumni list as it includes Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, Patrick Ewing, and Magic Johnson, just to name a few.

UCLA's current roster also includes McDonald's All-Americans Jason Kapono (1999), Dan Gadzuric (1998) and Ray Young (1998)

Kapono, Dudley & Grizzard Were At Summer Trials

Mark Gottfried will see UCLA junior forward Jason Kapono up close and personal when the John Wooden Award finalist plays and likely starts against his Crimson Tide team. But Gottfried has already gotten a glimpse of Kapono and the talent he brings to the floor. Gottfried went to USA Basketball's summer trials in Colorado Springs with two of his Tide players, Erwin Dudley and Rod Grizzard. (Dudley was a finalist for the World University Games Team but had to pull out because of an injury). Among the men Dudley and Grizzard were playing alongside at the trials was Kapono who made the 2001 FIBA World Championship team (and helped win the Gold Medal).

Teams Are Similar With Starters Returning

While Alabama returned five players who started last season (one of those, junior Travis Stinnett was a late season starter) on its 25-11 team, the UCLA Bruins returned four starters from its 23-9 NCAA Sweet 16 team of 2001.

Alabama, which started the youngest lineup in the Top 25 last season with its five sophomores on the floor, returns 2001 starters Rod Grizzard, Erwin Dudley, Kenny Walker, Terrance Meade and Travis Stinnett, though freshman Mo Williams has moved into the starting point guard slot in all seven of Alabama's games this season. Grizzard, who finished second in the SEC in scoring in 2001 by .3 (three tenths of a point), led Alabama with 17.0 points a game. Dudley, the 2001 SEC rebounding champion and the only SEC player to finish the season with double digit scoring and rebounding averages (10.0 rebounds), averaged 16.3 points. Meade also finished the season in double digits with his 13.6 points a game.

UCLA's returning starters include two who were on the 2002 Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. Jason Kapono, a junior forward, has been the Bruins' scoring leader the past two seasons, averaging 17.2 points in 2001 and 15.0 in 2000. He led the Pac 10 in 3-point field goals made (2.62). Dan Gadzuric, a senior center, averaged 11.7 points and 8.6 rebounds last season. He finished second in the Pac 10 in rebounding.

UCLA also returned starters Matt Barnes, senior forward and Billy Knight, a senior guard.

And, like Alabama, up until he injured his knee and had surgery on December 3, a freshman, Cedric Bozeman, was starting at guard. Bama starts freshman Mo Williams at point.

Three Bruins Average in Double Digits

Going into its midweek game against UC Riverside, three UCLA players were averaging in double digits, led by Jason Kapono with 22.3 points a game, T.J. Cummings (son of former NBA player Terry Cummings) with 14.5 ppg and Billy Knight with 12.0 ppg.

Four Tide Players Averaging In Double Digits

Four Crimson Tide players are averaging in double digits after seven regular season games. Rod Grizzard leads the quartet with 16.0 points a game, Erwin Dudley has 12.7 a game, Terrance Meade 12.0 ppg and Mo Williams 10.4 ppg. Close to reaching them is Kenny Walker who's averaging 9.3 points a game.

Scoring is Diverse

Out of seven games Alabama has had three different scoring leaders. Rod Grizzard led Alabama's scoring in two wins and tied with Terrance Meade in another. Erwin Dudley has led two wins and Meade has led in one and tied for the lead in another.

Bama Wins Fourth Straight

Wee though it be, Alabama brings a four-game win streak in to the UCLA game. The streak began with a 81-70 win against Top 25 ranked Memphis, followed by a 76-61 win against Rick Majerus Utah Runnin' Utes, a 90-61 win against McNeese State and a 74-68 December 3 win against the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

Mo's Double Double A First Since 1987

Tide freshman Mo Williams collected his first collegiate career double double on Monday, December 3 when he coupled 13 points with 10 assists. He's the first Alabama player to make a double double in points and assists since the 1987 season (Mark Gottfried's senior year). The last time it happened was on March 16, 1987 when Terry Coner---who made a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to lift the Tide to victory and advance it to the NCAA Sweet 16---had 12 points and 10 assists in Alabama's NCAA tournament game and 58-56 win against Illinois.

Coner's double doubles in points and assists in 1987 include 10 assists and 12 points in a 83-67 win against LSU on January 9 in Tuscaloosa, 10 assists and 14 points at Mississippi State on January 2.

...And Erwin Is His Double Double

Two men had double doubles for the Tide in the UTC game on December 3, Mo Williams with his 10 assists and 13 points and Erwin Dudley with his 13 points and 10 rebounds.

It marked the first time in 11 games Alabama had two or more players end the game with double doubles. The last time it happened was on March 13, 2001 in the Seton Hall game. Three Bama players had double-doubles. Dudley had 22 points and 19 rebounds. Rod Grizzard had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Gerald Wallace, now with the NBA's Sacramento Kings, had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Bama Sets 3-points Attempts Record

Alabama set a school record in the December 3 UTC game in 3-point field goal attempts with the 35 treys it attempted in that game. The previous best, set last season, was 32. Alabama made 13 of the 3-point shots attempted against UTC. Terrance Meade was 5 of 14 from that range, Mo Williams 3 of 9, Rod Grizzard 2 of 5, Travis Stinnett 2 of three, and Antoine Pettway was 1 of 2 in that game.

Bama is Averaging 82.7 After Seven Games

Going into Saturday's game against UCLA, Alabama is averaging 82.7 points a game after seven games. It is out-scoring its opponents by a margin of 18 points a game.

Going into its midweek game, UCLA was averaging 77.8 points a game after four games. Its opponents (Houston, Ball State, South Carolina and Pepperdine) 78.2.

Two Teams Share an Opponent

Alabama and UCLA share one opponent this season, South Carolina. UCLA played the Gamecocks on November 21 and beat them 89-77 in the Maui Invitational.

Alabama plays USC at least once a season as the two teams are both members of the Southeastern Conference, Alabama in the SEC West, South Carolina in the SEC East.

Two Tide Players Among SEC's Top 20 Scorers

Helping fuel Alabama's offense are two junior starters who both rank among the SEC's top 20 in scoring. Rod Grizzard (16.0) ranks among the top 10 in the league and Erwin Dudley ranks among the second ten (12.7).

The duo also ranks in the top 12 in the league in rebounding.

Dudley Leads Tide Under the Boards

Erwin Dudley continues to lead the Crimson Tide in rebounding, averaging 7.9 boards a game. Dudley has 650 career rebounds now (9.0 average), a total that moves him into 19th in Alabama's all-time top 20 career rebounders.

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