Farmar Talks About Decision

Jordan Farmar and Head Coach Ben Howland talk about Farmar's decision to remain in the NBA Draft, all the factors that went into the decision, what turning around the UCLA program meant to him, and more, in a telephone conference call with the media Sunday afternoon...

Jordan Farmar and Head Coach Ben Howland answered questions in a telephone conference call.

Ben Howland's Opening Statement:

"I want to say that I'm really proud and excited about everthing Jordan Farmar helped us accomplish here at UCLA. He did a great job for us in re-establishing this program as the outstanding program it was for years. I'm looking forward to him having a great and long career in the NBA."

Jordan, what was the factor that made your decision?

"It was really tough. It went down to the wire. There were so many positives and negatives, both ways, in staying and leaving. There were the risk factors for staying and going. In the end I went with my gut, my instinct and my heart."

When did you make your final decision?

"Late last night. I just wanted to sleep on it and see how I felt in the morning."
Final decidiosn?

You never received a first-round guarantee, though, correct?

"I didn't. But I learned a lot through the whole process. I got nothing but positive feedback from the teams I worked out for. Coming back would have been promising, but it was my life-long dream to play in the NBA."

Why was it a tough decision?

"The potential to come back was so great. This team, and with such a great coaching staff. This institution I've been at and enjoying. We've done some great things, and I'll never forget them. And the staff has been very supportive. My teammates were calling me on the road, and telling me they were supporting me. It made it really tough."

How difficult would it be to go through the process you did, and go to the NBA camp, and then go back to college?

"It's very tough. I think it would really depend on the feedback, though. If people were telling me I just wasn't ready yet and I had to go back to school, it'd be a different story. But I got a lot of positive feedback. I'm ready. Mentally and physically. Everything can always been worked on. But I know I can play at that level against anybody."

Specifically what did the teams say to you?

"The various teams I worked out for and have been in close contact with, they talked about the things that were important for a point guard. There were some question marks before about my athleticism and physical strength, and my ability to play at that level, but that really ended up not being a factor. I know that whatever happens on draft day will just be the start, and nothing but hard work is going to come after that."

Where do you expect to go in the draft?

"I still may go for a few workouts with more teams. But I have no control in that process. You can't expect a perfect situation. I only have control over what happens on the court, and in interviews."

How many teams did you work out for?

Farmar hesitates, so Howland intervenes:

"Five. New Jersey, Phoenix, Sacramento and the two local teams."

Who showed you the most interest?

"I got a lot from all of them. I couldn't tell you who was the most. The draft and where I go is based on me and the situation, and who's going to be left on the board at the time. Other teams may show interest that I may go visit."

What would be that perfect situation for you?

"I think mabye going to a team that has a point gaurd already who's a veteran and established. It would enable me to sit back and learn, and watch, and see how they go about their business. It'd be good to start off my career that way, and take into account so many things that could help me throughout my career."

Did the possibility of who could be in next year's draft affect your decision?

"Not necessarily. When the time comes, the time comes. I wanted to go out there this year and see all the feedback. I wasn't thinking about next year's draft or coming back next year. I just wanted to do what I could do."

Did teams realize that you were capable of things they might not have thought before? What were some things that teams discovered about you, do you think?

"My strength and my athleticism. At 170 pounds they thought I'd be weaker than I was. Athleticism and quickness were questions, but when I did the drills I tested at the top of the charts in every category."

How do you think UCLA will be without you?

"UCLA, they'll be fine. Darren (Collison) is getting nothing but better. Every time I come here he's working hard. He'll step right in and be ready to go. And Josh (Shipp) will step in. They'll be fine. And you have Coach Howland running the show, emphasizing defense. They'll be just fine."

Will there be a difference in the team's ability to make plays?

"I'm not sure. Darren's very quick and athletic. He can make things happen. As long as they play at the defensive end, as long as they do that, they'll be okay."

Are you prepared for possibly being taken in the second round?

"I am. I'm mentally prepared. If that's what happens, that's what happens. Whatever the situation, I'm going to make the best of it. It will make me work that much harder."

What is the toughest about leaving UCLA?

"The relationships here, all in good standing. To be here, it's fun. And then now it will be all about business. It's a career decision."

With Arron Afflalo coming back, do you slightly envy him for returning?

"I respect his decision. I'm glad he did what was best for him. My decision was based on sitting down with my family and weighing the negatives and the positives. Then I went with what I trusted in my heart."

Will you get your degree?

"I just talked to my academic coordinator. They were telling me everything I have to do, and that could be taking courses on the road or on the Internet. That was really a big part of the process, probably the hardest part. The support I got, though, was great. They helped through the whole process. They really worked with me though it."

How long will it take you to get your degree?

"I'm not sure. It depends on what and when classes are offered and when I'm available."

Was helping UCLA get back on track the best thing about your experience there?

"I definitely do think I helped to turn it around. We did great things. We wanted to win that national championship, but it didn't work out that way. I enjoyed myself a lot while I was here, but now I feel like it's time to move on."

Do you have an agent yet?

"Not yet. I'll probably get one in the next couple of days."

Who was most influential in your decision?

"My family, all the way around, and how they were supportive. I know they're going to love me regardless. Even if I never dribble a basketball again, they'd still support me."

Do you think you've been prepared well at UCLA for the NBA?

"When I was recruited, Coach Howland didn't promise me anything, and I got promises from a lot of other coaches. Coach Howland told me I'd come in and get better. He stressed defense, and that was really important to me, and I know how important it is now. I really think it was a really good choice for me. There are so many key things that I've learned through my experience here."

Coach Howland, how do you see your backcourt for next season? Will Afflalo get back-up point guard minutes or will Russell Westbrook?

"Darren Collison will be slotted as the starting point guard.  Beyond that, it remains to be seen. I haven't given a lot of thought to it. I wasn't going to spend a lot of time worrying about it.

"I just want to say, though, that Jordan is handling this all very well. He went through the process, trying out for teams and going to the camp and did well. We wish him nothing but the best. I'm very confident he's going to have a very successful career in the NBA. He's only 19 years old. He could end up being the youngest guy in the draft this year. He has an unbelievably bright future, and I'm just excited about him reaching his dream."

What will you miss about Jordan the most?

"He comes to compete every day.  He's a winner. Everywhere he's been he's been a winner, and I'm sure that will continue. That's what it's all about."

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