LaVar Ball didn't meddle with UCLA basketball while Lonzo played for team, coach Steve Alford says

Former UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball is widely expected to be a top-five pick in next month's NBA draft. It's also no secret that his outspoken father, LaVar, is seemingly steering the ship when it comes to Lonzo's brand and destination at the next level.

Ball's camp has already publicly expressed a desire for Lonzo to land with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, owners of the No. 2 overall pick, and even declined a workout invitation from the Boston Celtics, who will be selecting first on June 22.

Despite LaVar's antics and controversial statements in recent months, the team that ultimately chooses Lonzo can take solace in the fact that LaVar apparently did not insert himself into basketball affairs during his son's lone season at UCLA.

When asked by the Los Angeles Times about LaVar's influence on the Bruins, head coach Steve Alford might have assuaged any potential doubts that NBA teams might have about separating father from son when it comes to basketball decisions.

Was LaVar Ball around the team much?

"Zero," Alford told the newspaper.

Was he ever at practice?

"Never at practice," Alford said. "Never at practice; never called me."

Did he ever try to meddle in your coaching?

"Never," Alford said.

Several members of the Lakers' brass, including new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, told the newspaper that they don't believe LaVar is going to influence whether Los Angeles selects Lonzo next month.

Ball, currently the No. 2 prospectInsider on Chad Ford's latest Big Board, helped lead UCLA to a 31-5 record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 a year after the Bruins went 15-17.

-- Nick Ostiller