Monday, February 27, 2006

Afflalo and Farmar Expected To Return Next Season

UCLA's four seniors were honored before Saturday's 70-53 win against Oregon, and it appears those were the only four Bruins playing their last game at Pauley Pavilion.

Point guard Jordan Farmar said recently he expected to return for his junior season, and shooting guard Arron Afflalo made similar comments after the victory.

"I'm in no rush to get out of here," Afflalo said. "I'm not going to lie, the NBA is definitely a dream of mine, but unless it's clearly the best, best thing for me, then there's no way."

In the past two weeks, several scouts said both players should return for at least one more season before thinking about an early jump to the NBA.

Of course, sometimes college players leave school early despite feedback to the contrary. Bruins coach Ben Howland experienced that after his first season when Trevor Ariza left for the NBA.

Afflalo, who scored 14 points in the win against the Ducks, leads the Bruins in scoring at 16.8 points per game. Farmar is second on the Bruins in scoring with 14.3 points per game, and leads the Pacific-10 Conference in assists with 5.4 per game.

"I'm not even thinking about (the NBA) right now," Farmar said recently.

Farmar was the Pac-10 freshman of the year last season, and was a much more known commodity entering this season.

Meanwhile, Afflalo averaged 10.8 points last season. After an efficient start this season, he has leveled off in conference play, in which he is shooting 45.2 percent from the field, including 30.5 percent from 3-point range.

"I have my own drive, my own will and I've gotten a lot of great teaching before I got here," Afflalo said. "But I've also gained a lot since I've been here. Coach Howland taught me a different side of being a different type of player. This year I'm moving a lot more without the ball. I've learned so much." L.A. Daily News/Brian Dohn



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