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:
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.
"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."
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:
"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."
"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.