Chat with UCLA guard Arron Afflalo
After helping lead the Bruins to a berth in the NCAA national championship game last season, Afflalo has picked up this season right where he left off last year. The 6-foot-5 junior guard leads the team in scoring with a scoring average of 17.0 points per game. He also is seocnd on the team with 52 assists. He leads the team in 3-pointers made with 55, while shooting 40.4 percent.
In 12 games this season, UCLA's team leader has been the high scorer, including the Bruins' last five games. His season-high of 27 points came in a 96-74 win over Washington back on December 31.
Send your questions now and join Arron right here on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET for all the answers.
Arron Afflalo (3:28 PM)
Welcome to the chat room, let's get started!
Kendall Salter (Westwood, CA)
What do you think of the crowd in Pauley Pavilion? Does it get you pumped for your games? How do you handle the pressure that comes with being the go-to guy?
Arron Afflalo (3:29 PM)
As far as the crowd I love them, they have been great this year. They have been making a lot of noise for us and we appreciate it and love it. As far as pressure it's just a matter of dealing with it and getting used to it.
You guys looking for revenge against WVU this weekend? Has Coach Howland tried to prepare you for the crowd?
Arron Afflalo (3:31 PM)
Well you know first we have to worry about SC. But looking ahead I would love to get a little revenge, but it is a very different team from last year. I haven't played at WVU, but I'm sure it will be very loud.
Mike, L.A., Ca
Does it bother you that you have beat more rank teams than any other school, you play in the toughest league in the country, you were in the finals last year yet, so called experts are still hestitant to talak about you as the best team in the country?
Arron Afflalo (3:32 PM)
Well you can't control other people's thoughts. You have to go out and compete; winning speaks for itself.
Pete: Fresno, CA
You guys responded to a tough loss at Stanford with two convincing wins this last week. With 5 of your next 8 games on the road against some pretty tough competition, what do you think are the keys for you guys to finish the season strong heading into the Pac-10 tourney and the Big Dance?
Arron Afflalo (3:34 PM)
We learned a lot from our two loses. In our first loss we didn't come out to play, and we didn't have enough to come back. Against Stanford we came out ready, but didn't have the killer instinct to finish them off. But we need to take it one game at a time, and we should be fine.
Andy Okuneff (Culver City, CA)
Based on where you are right now, what would it take for you to stay in UCLA another year and not declare for the NBA draft?
Arron Afflalo (3:36 PM)
I don't know. A lot of those decisions come with my maturity level. A lot of factors will go into that decision, including the fact that we have some great guys coming in next year. To leave UCLA would be very hard. It is a very tough question for me to answer at this point in time. Furthermore, I was recruited to win a title, and I will feel unfulfilled until that happens.
Rob Erzen, Aliso Viejo, California
UCLA and Florida look to potentially be on a collision course for a rematch in the final four this year. UCLA is known for its stifling team defense. How did Florida break down that defense in the final last year? What have you learned from that experience, and if the rematch happens, what will UCLA do differently to stop Florida?
Arron Afflalo (3:38 PM)
Well last year's team we were very good on defense, but had trouble scoring at times. With this year's team we have a lot of go to guys who can make plays. Last year Florida had so many weapons and their bigs did a great job passing the ball. But I don't know, this year we may have to play a little one on one and hope for the best
Adam Zutler (San Diego, CA)
The real greatest rivalry in college sports if you are objective is UCLA - USC. It covers all sports, mens and womens. Two schools with the most TEAM national championships. Two large schools in the 2nd largest city in the USA not the backwoods. Aaron do you think the rivalry gets the respect it deserves on the east coast? If we were talking about being in NYC do you think it would be takled about more?
Arron Afflalo (3:40 PM)
That's a good question. I think the respect level for our rivalry has gone down in basketball, because of UCLAs strong basketball program. But the tradition as a whole is very large. I don't know about the east coast respect factor. But I do think that the basketball side of it will start to get much more attention.
Nick (Norwalk, Ca)
What's up Arron? How crazy was the UCLA campus after the football team beat SC to knock them out of the championship game?
Arron Afflalo (3:42 PM)
It was very crazy around here. The team was not around campus, but the whole area was very excited. The football team came out and played so hard, and it was a great promotion for our school.
Bill Shepson (Moreno Valley, CA)
What Bruin player would give you the hardest competition in a one-on-one game?
Arron Afflalo (3:44 PM)
All-time, probably Kareem because he's seven feet. Right now it would probably be Darren Collison because he is so quick and can shoot, but Josh has a lot of tools, and so does Luke. So one of them. Actually to get ready for Oregon I had to guard Darren all week, and it was no easy task.
David Matthew ( Sacramento, CA)
This is not a question: PLEASE STAY ONE MORE YEAR!
Arron Afflalo (3:45 PM)
I appreciate it, and it will be given a lot of thought, not right now, but when the time comes. I love my situation, my city, and my family, and that is all here.
Josh (Richlands, NC)
Aaron, who you like in the UNC/Duke game this week? Carolina hasn't lost 2 games back to back this season and when has Duke ever lost back to back games at Cameron Indoor & plus on top of that lose 3 games in a row. Thanks.
Arron Afflalo (3:47 PM)
I'm a big fan of both schools they have a lot of history, and two great coaches. UNC has a lot of talent and so does Duke, but I don't know if Duke has the same depth. If I had to choose I would say UNC, but it should be very close.
Darren, Vancouver Washington
What type of off season conditioning program do you participate in that provides the endurance needed to play such intense offense and defense?
Arron Afflalo (3:48 PM)
I love to play a lot in the offseason. But I also weight train three times a week, and get to the track two times a week. I work on my upper body strength a lot, and my legs, and then play a lot of games.
Brooke (Oakland, CA)
One of best moments I had at UCLA was when Coach Wooden spoke at our Sports Psychology course lecture, have you and the team gotten to speak with him much this season? It is always wonderful to see him in the stands, hopefully he will make it to Wednesday's Big Game!
Arron Afflalo (3:50 PM)
You know he hasn't spoken to us personally this season. But we did hear him speak at the Wooden Classic. He is very intelligent person, and is still very sharp at his age. We don't even have to hear him speak, just his presence at the games is motivation enough for us to play hard and win.
Shoyu (Redondo Beach, CA)
What are the keys to beating USC tomorrow?
Arron Afflalo (3:52 PM)
It will take a group effort. SC has improved a lot in the last weeks. We will look to guard the perimeter. Luckily it is on our home floor. But we have to knock down open shots and defend them well because they have a lot of offensive weapons and a lot of leadership on that team.
If you werent playing basketball which sport would you have taken up?
Arron Afflalo (3:53 PM)
I've never given any thought to that; I've played basketball since I was two. I did play football a bit, but I don't know if I would have stuck with it. I love ping pong though, so maybe that would've been my sport.
Best player you've had to go up against this season?
Arron Afflalo (3:55 PM)
This season Aaron Brooks. He covers so much of the floor. He was the toughest guy because of his size and skill level.
Which Pac-10 school do you get most pumped for to play against? It's gonna be Zona, right?
Arron Afflalo (3:56 PM)
Yeah, I'm always amped up for that game. And I kind of like their gym, it has soft rims, and their crowd is great.
Andy (Irvine, CA)
Do you think that there is a valid argument that the pac-10 is the best conference this year. Look at all the solid teams...
Arron Afflalo (3:58 PM)
I think if you had to go by the ratio of good teams to the teams in the conference, then yes. We had a record six teams in the top 25 at some point this year. The ACC and Big East are larger so they will get more teams in the dance, but we play tough games every night.
Michael (Los Angeles, CA)
As of now, your record is 20-2. What were your pre-season expectations on where you would stand at this point?
Arron Afflalo (4:00 PM)
I've said many times, this was a team that I didn't think could lose. We have a lot of options on O. Now we've had a few lapses, but this team expects to win every game.
Zach (Philadelphia, PA)
Who is the best team in the land, other than UCLA and why?
Arron Afflalo (4:01 PM)
I would probably have to say Florida because they are so mature, and have an inside and an outside presence, and they have leaders. That's what you need to win in college basketball.
Lennon, Los Angeles, CA
Hey Arron, You guys have had some problems playing against zone defenses in the past, but have looked significantly better as of late. What has been the secret?
Arron Afflalo (4:02 PM)
Well we've practiced on it a whole lot. We don't play zone a lot so it was often hard to simulate. But the in-game experience has been good for us. We have a lot of shooters this years which opens the floor up and allows us to attack the basket more. We're not perfect but we will keep getting better.
Arron Afflalo (4:04 PM)
I have to get going, but thanks for all the questions and all the support. Keep watching us this year.