clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Test for Ben Ball Warriors

Huge game for the number 1 ranked Ben Ball warriors today. We will lead off with an epic profile on Arron Afflalo - the ultimate warrior - from DN's Brian Dohn. Those of who have been following AA's every move ever since he came into Westwood already know about his intense fiery and competitive spirit. We know how driven AA is in his basketball aspirations and how much he loves UCLA. Dohn has a profile which adds lot of new tidbits to AA's growing lore in Westwood:

Already intensely dedicated, and an obsessive competitor, Afflalo fine-tuned his already tunnel-vision focus in an effort to become a more complete basketball player, and raise his profile in UCLA lore.

Entering today's matchup between his top-ranked Bruins and No. 6 Texas A&M in the Wooden Classic at the Honda Center, Afflalo leads UCLA in scoring (17.1 points per game) and is one of the best defensive players in the country.

"I think coming back to school is going to do me a lot of good in the long run, as far as just my perception around UCLA," said the chiseled 6-foot-5, 215-pound Afflalo. "If I'm able to have a good individual year, maybe be All-American, and most importantly we stay No. 1 and win the (national) championship & I don't want to be forgotten here."

Those closest to Afflalo said his undying commitment to improving his game could cement his legacy in Westwood.
I think lot of you may remember the story how AA snuck back into Pauley for an intense individual workout after struggling in a game in which we lost to West Virginia last year. Well AA is still at it:
And fresh of scoring 20 points in Tuesday's win against Cal State Fullerton, Afflalo went back to his apartment and watched the game.


"After one of the volleyball playoff games last week, I was in (Pauley) playing one-on-one with (Pagan) for about an hour," Afflalo said. "I don't like to lose. I have a lot of pride. And what took it over the top is I love basketball, I play it, I practice it so much. So if you beat me at that, I'm hurt even more."
Any wonder why AA is the unquestioned leader of our Ben Ball warriors. Make sure you go to the DN link and read the entire article. I think I have mentioned this before. But AA reminds me of Ed O'Bannon. You can't help but fall in love with this kid and what he has meant to those magical four letter word in blue and gold.

Well AA and his team-mates will have a huge challenge today as they get to take on a big, powerful, athletic, and defensive oriented team from the Big-12. Here is Coach Howland on the challenge facing the Bruins:
UCLA Coach Ben Howland spoke forcefully during a news conference Friday about the Texas A&M inside players his Bruins will be facing today in the Wooden Classic at the Honda Center.

"Big," Howland said, "tough" and "a real handful." [...]

Howland made his point, though. Joseph Jones, the Aggies' 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward, is "a monster," according to the UCLA coach. And Antanas Kavaliauskas, also 6-9 and 250, is "a man."

When it was suggested that UCLA's 6-9, 240-pound center Lorenzo Mata might be able to hold his own along with some help from 6-8, 230-pound Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Howland rolled his eyes and said, "Those guys are strong."
More from Coach Howland in the OC Register:
Howland does not sound so hollow when talking up Jones, Law or Texas A&M, as opposed to seemingly every other player or team that he comes across.

"They are probably the most physical inside presence that we have seen in the last two years," Howland said. "There is no one we played a year ago that has the kind of bruisers they have inside with (Antanas Kavaliauskas), and also Joseph Jones. These guys are really strong and athletic and really post up well.
This game will be a huge test for our bigs. These are the kind of games that will prepare the team well for tough Pac-10 games ahead. Let's hope there is a huge Bruin turnout in Anaheim painting the Honda Center blue and gold.