Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Afflalo Delays Announcement, Farmar Weighing Options

By Brian Dohn, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Daily News

UCLA was ready to hold a news conference today for sophomore guard Arron Afflalo to declare his intentions to make himself available for the NBA draft, but second thoughts have crept in for Afflalo, and an announcement was delayed, sources said Monday.

If Afflalo follows through and enters the NBA draft, he would remain enrolled at UCLA and not hire an agent, which would allow him to return for his junior season. A decision is expected by the end of the week.

"Nothing is set in stone right now," said Ben Afflalo, Arron's father. "He hasn't made a decision."

The Bruins are also awaiting word about the future of Afflalo's classmate, point guard Jordan Farmar.

"At this point anything is possible," said Farmar's mother, Mindy Kolani. "We still have to sit down and talk about it some more. By the middle or end of this week we could know. It will be Jordan's decision."

Sources said Afflalo and Farmar were leaning toward putting their names into the NBA draft (the deadline is April 29), but both would take the necessary precautions to maintain their collegiate eligibility.

Once they enter the pool, players have until June 19 to withdraw from the draft, which is June 28. Farmar previously intimated he would not leave unless he believed he would be chosen in the first round. Afflalo said days after the Bruins lost to Florida in the national championship game he expected to return for his junior season, and sources close to the player believe he will still be at UCLA next season.

Afflalo led UCLA in scoring at 15.8 points per game, but struggled offensively in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 11.5 points and shot 33.9 percent from the field in the Bruins' run to the title game, and was scoreless for the first 28 minutes in the championship game loss to Florida.

Farmar scored 12.5 points per game in the NCAAs. He shot 37 percent from the field and had 25 assists and 20 turnovers.

If they declare for the draft, Afflalo and Farmar would have the opportunity to work out for NBA scouts and general managers. It was unclear whether either would be invited to, or participate in, the NBA's pre-draft camp in Orlando June 6-10.

By continuing to attend classes at UCLA and not hiring an agent, each player would remain eligible under NCAA rules. Two years ago, Dijon Thompson did the same thing after his junior season at UCLA. He returned for his senior season and led the Bruins in scoring and rebounding, and helped them back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.

But perhaps a sign of UCLA's concern at guard is coach Ben Howland's decision to offer Leuzinger High of Lawndale senior guard Russell Westbrook a scholarship. UCLA was recruiting Westbrook for a while, but held back on a scholarship offer until Friday.

On Monday, Bruins coach Ben Howland and assistant Kerry Keating had an in-home visit with Westbrook and his family, the player said. Westbrook visited Arizona State over the weekend and his school choice is narrowed to the Sun Devils and UCLA. He hopes to make a decision by the end of the week.

"I can see myself playing at both spots," Westbrook said. "I'll look at the opportunity to play, and if they have good coaches, and good players, and (offer) a good education."

(reprinted with permission)



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