UCLA: Arron Afflalo

Past stars appear at L.A. Hoop-A-Thon

August, 28, 2010
UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland hosted the second annual HDSA LA Hoop-A-Thon inside Pauley Pavilion on Friday night, with many former players stopping by to promote the awareness of Huntington's Disease.

HD is a genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable body movements and deprives people of their abilities to walk, talk, eat and think rationally. Howland's father-in-law passed away from the disease six years ago.

More information on the disease can be found by clicking here.

Recent Bruins Arron Afflalo (Denver Nuggets), Trevor Ariza (New Orleans Hornets), Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers), Jordan Farmar (New Jersey Nets), Ryan Hollins (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee Bucks) attended the event.

Former UCLA guard Collison nets career-high

March, 8, 2010
In case you missed it, former UCLA standout point guard Darren Collison dished out a career-high 20 assists in the New Orleans Hornets' 135-131 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Collison's rookie season has taken off since New Orleans' all-star leader Chris Paul was sidelined with a knee injury in late January. He is averaging nearly 19 points and nearly nine assists in 25 starts.

Monday's stellar performance may have left Bruins fans wondering where this double-double machine was last season when UCLA exited the tournament in the second round.

The same goes for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who averages nearly 17 points and eight assists per game.

Perhaps these two were not used correctly during their time in Westwood. Perhaps their numbers have benefited by the fast-paced style of the NBA.

Whatever Collison and Westbrook's success -- along with the continued progression of Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar and Jrue Holiday -- may be attributed to, it only raises the standard by which coach Ben Howland's current batch of underachieving guards is judged upon.

That may not be fair to Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson, but that's just the way it is.

UCLA's defense a dead zone

March, 8, 2010
Coach Ben Howland never wanted to turn his back on the man-to-man defense Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Arron Afflalo and Russell Westbrook helped him cultivate.

He did earlier this season, mostly out of necessity (see: UCLA's lack of athleticism).

He did it again Saturday with the Bruins trailing by just five early in the second half of an eventual 56-46 loss to Arizona State at Wells Fargo Arena.

"I went back to the zone, stupidly," Howland said.

The Sun Devils were glad he did. ASU's Jamelle McMillan nailed a 3-pointer thanks to Ty Abbott's ability to infiltrate the zone. Less than two minutes later, Abbott did it again, this time finding Eric Boateng inside for an easy layup.

Just like that, the Sun Devils' lead was back to double digits.

"We just couldn't make stops," Tyler Honeycutt said.

And that's why no matter how UCLA does in the Pacific 10 Conference tournament at Staples Center this week, Howland intends to return to a man-t0-man scheme next season. Perhaps Howland will be able to stick with it.

There are some promising signs. First, UCLA should be more athletic -- at least defensively -- with the graduation of Nikola Dragovic, as well as the continued progression of post players Honeycutt, Reeves Nelson and Brendan Lane. Honeycutt's versatility and Malcolm Lee's cover skills should be assets for defenses of the future.

But for now, the 2-3 zone that earlier in the season allowed Howland to compensate for a lack of athleticism is simply not working.

"It's being torn apart by good teams," Howland said.
Former UCLA All-American and current Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo is in the house tonight.

Bruins fans are probably wondering if he has any eligibility left, as UCLA trails Stanford 32-29 at the half.

UCLA's defense sure could use Afflalo in its effort to contain Stanford's Landry Fields, whose 15 points leads all scorers. Fields is five for 10 from the field and has made four of five free throws.

Guard Michael Roll has nine points -- all on three-point baskets -- to lead the Bruins. Forward Tyler Honeycutt has six points, six rebounds, a block, a steal and four assists.



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