LOS ANGELES -- UCLA All-American Arron Afflalo is passing up
his senior year to enter the NBA draft.
Afflalo, who averaged 16.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists
and led the Bruins to consecutive Final Fours, announced his
decision Tuesday at a news conference on campus.
The 21-year-old junior from Compton declared for the NBA draft
last year, but withdrew his name and returned to school after
attending evaluation camps. A player who declares a second time
isn't allowed to return to school.
One assistant GM said his team would consider Arron Afflalo with a late first-round pick, so there's hope, but he's clearly going to have to impress in workouts to improve his stock, writes Chad Ford. Blog
Afflalo said it was time to move on.
"The decision wasn't easy," he said. "I did this for my
personal growth, my happiness and where I felt I should be as an
individual, what can get me to compete and be the best basketball
player I can be."
Afflalo averaged 10.8 points while starting each of UCLA's 29
games as a freshman, and a team-leading 15.8 points as a sophomore,
when the Bruins (32-7) reached the NCAA championship game before
losing to Florida 73-57.
UCLA (30-6) was eliminated by the Gators for a second straight
year on March 31, losing 76-66 in the national semifinals. Florida
beat Ohio State 84-75 in the title game.
The Bruins were known for their outstanding defense this season,
and the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Afflalo was one of the main reasons. He
and sophomore Darren Collison made up one of the nation's best
backcourts at both ends of the floor.
Afflalo was the Pac-10 player of the year this season and
finished sixth in the voting for the John R. Wooden award, given to
college basketball's outstanding player.
Afflalo said he was disappointed to leave UCLA without winning
an NCAA title.
"My intent was to come here and win a championship. That was
what I was recruited for," he said. "I compete to win, I don't
compete to participate ... so I was very disappointed."
Bruins coach Ben Howland said he was certain Afflalo will be a
first-round pick in this summer's draft.
"I've done a lot of research and talking to NBA GM's over the
last week. There's a lot of people excited about Arron," Howland
Afflalo planned to drop his classes Wednesday to prepare for the
draft, and said he intends to complete some 10 remaining classes in
the future obtain his college diploma.
"I will be graduating," he said.
He declined to comment on which NBA team he would like to play
"I just want to play, become part of a family, part of a
team," he said.