Pacers open summer league practice, reuniting UCLA products Alford, Holiday, Leaf
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There’s quick chemistry on the Pacers’ summer roster with TJ Leaf, Aaron Holiday and Bryce Alford all having played at UCLA.
“That was a really good UCLA team that these guys are all from, so it doesn’t surprise me that all of us are getting opportunities in this league,” Alford admitted.
“It’s a coincidence that we are all in the same spot, but the Pacers are a smart organization,” he added with a smile.
“There will be rotations were all three of those guys are going to be in there and just looking forward to it,” Pacers Summer League Head Coach Steve Gansey said.
For this year’s top draft pick, Aaron Holiday, who signed his rookie contract on Sunday, the transition is made easier thanks to his relationship with Leaf, who was in the same spot a year ago.
“It helps a lot, I can go to him if I need anything, he’s been here through the system for a year, if I need any questions, any help, I can go to him,” Holiday said of Leaf.
It was 31 years ago that the Pacers drafted another UCLA Bruin in Reggie Miller, passing on Bryce Alford’s dad, Steve, in that draft. Now, Bryce is the first in the family to put on a Pacers jersey, and he thinks the team got it right again.
“I think it worked out, I think they took the right call, even though it’s my dad I say they took the right call,” Alford said with a laugh.
Having been born in Indiana, Alford hopes this homecoming isn’t short lived.
“I’m hoping I can make it last, that’d be the goal so i can have something to talk to him about,” Alford said. “As a hooper to be from Indiana, that’s a big deal, that goes a long way in the basketball world.”
The Pacers rookie and free agent camp continues this week, before heading to Las Vegas for Summer League play.