April 20, 2006
UCLA sophomore starting guards and first-team All-Pac-10 performers, Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar, will make themselves eligible for the upcoming NBA draft, but will not hire an agent, keeping the door open for their return to UCLA as juniors in 2006-07.
Afflalo and Farmar have until April 29 to apply for the NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (both players applied today); June 6-10 is the NBA Pre-Draft Camp at Orlando, FL Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex and June 18 is the NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline. The NBA Draft is June 28.
"I am totally 100% behind Arron and Jordan, as is our entire UCLA basketball family, in their decision to test the waters and give this opportunity a great shot," said Bruin head coach Ben Howland at Thursday's press conference. "They are the first two recruits that signed at UCLA when I became the head coach. I am indebted to them forever. They have helped start something which is very special, in the infancy of this program. We are very, very proud of them and 100% behind them all the way. If they come back, God bless'em, I'll be so happy. But if they elect to stay in the draft and go in the first round, that would be great, too."
Afflalo and Farmar in 2005-06 were UCLA co-captains, helping to lead the Bruins to the NCAA Championship game (first time since 1995), to the Pac-10 Regular Season title (first time since 1997) and to the Pac-10 Tournament Championship (first time since 1987). The Bruins were 32-7 overall (tying the school record for wins and setting the school mark for most games played, 39) and 14-4 in Pac-10 play. At Tuesday's annual Hoopsters Dinner/Awards banquet at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Afflalo and Farmar were given the Coach John Wooden Award as the Bruins' co-Most Valuable Players.
Afflalo was UCLA's leading scorer (15.8/17.1 in Pac-10 play), and averaged 4.2 rebounds and 1.77 assists. He shot .462 (203-439) from the field, .366 (83-227) from three-point range and .806 (129-160) from the foul line. Afflalo scored in double figures 34 of 39 games, scored 20 or more points on 11 occasions, including a career-high 27 points vs. Arizona (Feb. 4) and led the Bruins in scoring 18 times. Along with his Pac-10 honor, Afflalo was an honorable mention AP All-American and earned first-team honors from the USBWA (Dist. IX) and the NABC (Dist. 15). Afflalo was also an All-Tournament selection at the Oakland Regional and All-Pac-10 Tournament. "This is a good opportunity to see how I can compete against NBA players," said Afflalo at Thursday's press conference. "If I'm able to do so, that will assist my decision, but otherwise, I will be coming back to a great situation. We have a great team and I would love to be a part of it. I had a lot of fun this year. I have two more years left and I'm very excited about that. Whatever decision I make is going to be the right one - I wouldn't want to jeopardize anything."
Farmar was the Bruins' second-leading scorer (13.5) and led the Pac-10 in assists (5.11). A member of the NCAA All-Tournament teams in Oakland and Indianapolis, he was UCLA's leading scorer (12.5) in NCAA Tournament play. Farmar scored in double figures 26 times, including a career-high 28 points vs. Memphis in the NIT Season Tip-Off and he led the team in scoring 13 times. He led the team in assists in 23 of the last 27 games and in 30 of his 37 starts (including ties) and in steals on 17 occasions. He's a CollegeInsider.com All-American and first-team USBWA (Dist. IX) and NABC (Dist. 15). Farmar was on watch lists for the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and Bob Cousy Award.
"It's a life-long process," Farmar said at the press conference. "My goal as a basketball player is to play in the NBA. I feel I'm getting closer and closer to that every day as each year goes by. I think it's a win-win for me to test the waters. I can always come back to a great team. We have so much momentum and confidence built up in the UCLA program. It will be a great situation to come back. But at the same time, it's also a good situation to test this, and see what people think about me, and where I am to reach my goal. I can use this as a learning experience. If I'm told I'm not ready and need more work, I can learn what it is I need to work on and help my game. It's been a life-long decision and I think it's a win-win and that's why I'm going forward with it."