Afflalo and Howland Talk About Return

Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo announced today he has taken his name out of the NBA Draft and will return to UCLA for his junior year. He and Head Coach Ben Howland talked about the decision in a teleconference call this afternoon, discussing the factors that went into Afflalo's decision...

Arron Afflalo and Head Coach Ben Howland talked to the media today in a teleconference.

Howland's Opening Statement:

"As you're aware, Arron Afflalo signed the paper to take his name out of the NBA draft about an hour ago. He's back for next year as part of our team and our program. Obviously it's a great thing for UCLA basketball. We're very excited and we're looking forward to him continuing his career here at UCLA He'll continue to get better and there is no doubt in my mind that he'll be in the NBA someday. It's just a matter of when, not if."

Arron, can you take us through the process a bit, such as the last few weeks?

"The process is pretty simple. I worked out for the teams and waited for some honest feedback, which they gave me. I was very hard for team to guarantee things as far as your draft status. And it wasn't work jeopardizing the great situation I'm in here at UCLA. I ran out of time to find out more. It was overall a good process and one I learned from, definitely."

In the feedback you got from the NBA, was there anything about what they thought you had to work on?

"They really didn't give me too much negative feedback. It was mostly positive. They said I could get better at creating off the dribble, for others and myself, but as far as my shot, intensity and defensive intensity, it was good."

Did you talk to Coach Howland about your final decision?

"Of course. I was talking with Coach and my dad, and that's about it. When I was going through it we tried to keep in touch as much as possible, and they [the coaches] were always pretty aware of what was happening."

Are you disappointed that you have to return?

"What's to be disappointed about? This is a great team. This is a win-win situation. I really enjoyed playing at UCLA and with my teammates, and hopefully I'll make a lot of people happy with my decision."

Does this make it more or less likely that you'll put your name in the draft next year?

"I'm not thinking about that at this point. I'm going to be focusing on one thing, getting back to where we were this last season, with just a little more success."

Have you talked to Jordan  Farmar at all? Will you talk to him today?

"No, that's not likely. I'm sure he'll make a decision that's best for him. I wish the best for him.".

What excites you most about coming back?

"My teammates. The character of these guys was something I thought I would miss. All of them want to win and better themselves, and I feel blessed to be around people like this. Not often are you around a group of guys like this."

What were some of the things in the feedback from the teams that you'll think about the most?

"People always ask me about negative things I was told, but I got a lot of positive feedback, and I think that will require a lot of thought. For me, the decision was never about money. That was the least of my concerns. I was always looking for the right situation for me, and hoping a team would recognize how I fit in for them."

What teams did you work out for?

"I worked out for five. The Lakers, Clippers, Indiana, Chicago and Cleveland."

What kind of specific information did you get from them?

"None of them said anything specifically. Some thought I was a second-round talent, for sure. Some indicated I was a first-round talent. But it really wasn't about getting an idea of the talent level from them as much as the guarantee, and it was just too early for that."

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

"I'll be discussing with Coach H, the things he'll ask me to work on, some specifics, and then there'll be my usual routine, my usual work, to better myself."

Would you be excited about getting some minutes at point guard potentially?

"Yeah, if I have to. My ballhandling is something I'm going to continue to work on. I want to do whatever my team needs. If that's playing point guard, that's fine."

Coach, Howland, what is the possibility that Arron could see some back-up point guard minutes?

"I'll tell you what. In about 24 hours I'll give you those answers."

Coach Howland, is it a relief that Arron is returning?

"I want what's best for them. I'm confident this will work out in the best interest of Arron and his future as a player. And it's great for UCLA basketball. He's a great competitor. He's one of the best guards in the country next year. We're very fortunate to have him back in the program. He's just such a great leader and a great person. He's the total package."

Arron, are you hoping that Jordan returns?

"You want to always see your teammates come back. He's definitely a good player and a leader, and he's part of what has turned around this program. I would love to have him back, but he has to make a decision that's best for him."

Coach Howland, will it be good to have Arron back around the program?

"He's been here, doing his school work, and he's been up here often, working out. We stayed in touch with him during his travels. He was gone for that week, on that trip to Indiana, Chicago and Cleveland. The experience he gained from working out for those teams is going to benefit him this year."

Do you listen to what the NBA said about him in considering what you think Arron should work on?

'Yeah, we're always trying to work on all the different aspects of a players game. There are many things I want to help Arron improve at. I'm excited to get a chance to coach him for another year."

Coach Howland, what's the latest word you've had with Jordan?

'He's still formulating his decison. He has about 23 hours to do so."

Will you talk to him today?

"Yeah, probably. We've talked often, and I've seen Jordan often.  He was here Tuesday and Thursday, and an assistant saw him yesterday. He's turned in his paper work for his class work. I'm really grateful that he and Arron handled their responsibility academically. It was very good that  they were on top of it."

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