The Spirit Of AA

I still miss this kid:

To show what it's like to scrap with Richard Hamilton every day, Arron Afflalo held out his arms.

"Look at this," he said. "I have the most scratches of all-time in Pistons history."

One of the highlights of the daily scrimmages is the physical and verbal jousting between the two shooting guards. On Wednesday, Afflalo knocked Hamilton hard to the floor and when Afflalo went to help him up, Hamilton angrily waved him away.

A few plays later, Hamilton aggressively forced Afflalo out of bounds, causing a turnover. What he said to Afflalo could not be printed in a family newspaper.

"I try to talk to him and I talk bad to him sometimes," Hamilton said. "But that motivates him. He never backs down. I love that from him. He ain't never going to back down and if he does, I am going to be disappointed in him. I tell him, 'In a game if somebody hits you, you hit him back. We all got your back.'

Where again did AA honed that ferocious mentality?

Afflalo, in his second year out of UCLA, figures to play a more consistent role off the bench this season. His rugged and fearless defensive play might be his calling card and his ticket to more playing time, but he has worked hard to improve both his ball-handling and shooting skills.

That is from a profile in the Detroit News, which starts with these two words: “Bruisin’ Bruin.” Just a little example of why blue chip recruits like Anthony Stover are flocking to Westwood and high profile alums are constantly working in that magical four letter word in their hoops discussion.

I have written this before … I don’t think Bruin Nation has felt this jazzed about our basketball program since the days of Coach. Okay 66, Fox 71, we will never get back to the level of hanging 10 Banners and the streak of 88 wins .. but right now … this is a pretty damn good feeling.

It feels even more special, when recalling the struggle and growing pains we all went through during Howland’s first two and half seasons in Westwood. Just something to keep in mind, when you take in all the football actions tonight and rest of this first season of CRN.

I hope all the talented football players in our football program such as Harwell, Bell, Carter, ATV, Ayers, Coleman, Moore, Baca, Dye, Dean and incoming recruits such as Brehaut and Todd Golper read up a little on AA, JF, RH, CB, DT (non bandwagoners should have no problem figuring out the last three initials). If those kids can capture the same spirit of the legacy AA and his team-mates left behind in Westwood after helping Howland rebuild this program in his first three seasons, we are going to be all right.

Even though AA et al. didn’t bring home a banner, I will always remember those kids with the same reverence I have for Ed O and Tyus Edney. They are the ones who formed the foundation of the Ben Ball in Westwood. Hopefully the kids who are now playing under CRN and his new staff will work to build this program with the same sense of passion, dedication, and fiery competitive spirit that facilitated Howland’s masterful rebuilding efforts at UCLA.

Anyway, sorry for getting a little sidetrack from the AA story. But reading about AA, BDiddy’s quote, and the news of our latest high profile commit just drove home the point for me how good it feels when everything starts clicking for our program, after going through the growing pains under a competent head coach. When everything starts clicking in the world of Bruin football in next few tears, it will feel better than more than I can write in any blogpost.

GO BRUINS.

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