Players at Final Four Presser

Arron Afflalo, Cedric Bozeman and Jordan Farmar answer questions at the Final Four Press Conference, talking about the semi-final game with LSU, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and the role of carrying on UCLA's basketball tradition...

Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar and Cedric Bozeman answered questions from the media Friday.

I know you were big targets as far as recruiting.   Did you have any doubts about the program at that time?   How did he sell you on his style?

Arron Afflalo:  "No, personally he didn't really have to sell me too much.   UCLA has got a lot of rich tradition, history around it.   Has been down for a few years.   I thought that might be a good challenge to try to get in there and help out the current team."

Jordan Farmar:   "I feel the same way.   Not too much selling was done on the school.   But, you know, style of play, things like that were not what a lot of other schools were talking about.   You really emphasized defense and toughness, not things like shot attempts or minutes.   I think that was definitely a challenge for me, especially seeing the way the program had been going the couple years prior to us getting there.   It was a good opportunity for us to get in there and accept the challenge and help turn the program around."

How much did you know about the UCLA tradition, John Wooden, all the championships?   Now that you're there, is it a burden, fun?   Does it affect what you do?

Afflalo:  "I definitely knew about it, being from Southern California.   Coach Wooden is the top coach in college basketball history.   You're definitely aware of it. It's not a burden at all.   His success was his success.   We're just trying to add our little piece of history."

Bozeman:   "Exactly, I mean, the same thing.   We're all from Southern California, all three of us.   You grow up listening and hearing about UCLA basketball.   Just to be a part of that, it feels good.   Hopefully we can add on to that tradition."

Farmar:  "Same thing.   Being an LA kid, you know how big UCLA is.   Walking into Pauley Pavilion every day for practice, you see those 11 banners up there hanging.   I think it makes us set our goals higher and strive for more, like we said earlier, we won the PAC-10 championship this year, we made it to the Sweet-16, the Elite 8, the Final Four.   None of that is going to be recognized in terms of banners in Pauley Pavilion.   It helps us reach for the stars and keep our goals high and work hard to try to accomplish those."

Can you talk about embracing defense.   You have to take a lot of pride in what you do out there defensively.

Farmar:   "I think we really embrace winning.   Everybody likes to win, especially knowing that you only have one college experience.   Winning makes it much more enjoyable.   Anybody in our program is going to do anything it takes to win.   Knowing that defense is the key ingredient, the key component that can help us do that, that's exactly what we'll do."

Arron, given that you're probably going to be matched up with Garrett Temple from LSU, given the way that he performed playing defense last weekend, can you give us your take on that match-up, given that UCLA really counts on you to do some scoring.

Afflalo:  "Offensively?   No, not much is going to change.   I'm not going to try to force shots or take less shots.   I'm going to take what's available, still play within the flow of the game.   Hopefully he does a great job on me, he's a good defender.   I have to worry about my own team, what allows us to succeed."

Defensively LSU is a team that can really match up with you guys, go toe to toe.   This is a game that's going to come down to whoever gets the final stop wins?

Farmar:   "It may.   We don't know.   We'll just have to wait and see.   We'll take it however it comes.   If our best bet is get out in transition and push the ball and get easy opportunities, that's what we'll look for.   If it's best for us to slow it down, execute in the halfcourt, that's what we'll do. We're always going to rely on our defense, maintain and focus that.   Offensively we'll just take it how it comes, one play at a time."

Bozeman:  "I mean, these are two great defensive teams.   I think it's going to be a defensive battle.   They pride themselves on defense.   We pride ourselves on defense.   I guess the best defense wins. "

Along the lines of defense, how important is it going to be for you to contribute to stopping Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas?

 Farmar:  "Our defense is always a total team effort.   It's five guys with the same goal, really helping each other out at all times.   It's not going to be any different for this game. For myself and Cedric, all the rest of the players on the team, it's going to be our responsibility to get in there and really help on the boards.   They do a great job of getting second-shot opportunities.   We have to limit them as much as possible.   That's just being tough and physical and getting down there and banging with them."

 Bozeman:  "We've definitely prided ourselves on team this whole season.   I know people get caught up in the individual match-ups.   We're a team-oriented organization.   That's what we're here to do."

What does it mean to be trying to bring the tradition back to UCLA?   What is it like going up against a guy named "Big Baby"?

Afflalo: "Yeah, again, just restoring that tradition is what we're playing for right now.   We're not playing for just our team, our university, we're trying to carry on something that John Wooden started that, Harrick continued, and hopefully us. Winning this is more meaningful than what it appears - at least to us.

"As far as Big Baby goes, I think that's just a nickname for his personality.   I've known him for a few years.   He's just a great kid.   He doesn't play like a baby on the court.   That will be very interesting."

Bozeman:   "I mean, basically what Arron said, we're playing for the tradition of the school, tradition of John Wooden.   Hopefully we can build on that. 

"Big Baby, that's a nickname.   It's a big-time nickname, too."


Bruin Report Online Top Stories