SOPHOMORE (2005-06)

  • First-Team All-Pac 10
  • Fourth-Team All-American
  • NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team
  • Pac-10 All-Tournament Team
  • Oakland Regional All-Tournament Team
  • Played 39 Games, Starting 38 (Senior Day)
  • Scored in double-digits in 34 of 39 Games
  • Scored 20 or more points 10 times
  • Ranked 1st on UCLA, 7th in Pac-10 in Points Per Game (15.8)
  • Ranked 1st in Pac-10 in 3-Pointers Made (83)
  • Ranked 2nd on UCLA in Free Throw Shooting (80.6%)
  • Ranked 1st on UCLA, Sixth in Pac-10 in Minutes Per Game (33.4)

The departure of leading scorer Dijon Thompson created a significant void in UCLA’s offense entering Arron’s sophomore year. He had already established himself as the squad’s premier defender as a freshman. But jumped into Thompson’s lead guard spot on offense to showcase his all-around talents.

Arron instantly proved he was more than capable of taking over the Bruins’ primary scoring load. He scored a new career-high of 23 points in the team’s season-opening win against New Mexico State.

"I'm going to definitely get some career marks scoring-wise and that's all because Dijon [Thompson] is gone and coach is looking for me to score," Arron told the Associated Press after the season-opening victory. "When I step on that floor, I still take pride most in my defense, so that's what you're going to get out of me first."

Higher scoring totals became a trend that carried on throughout the whole season as AA led the team with 15.8 points per game while also recording 4.2 rebounds per game.

The two-way nature of Arron’s skillset was on full display in UCLA’s non-conference clash at Michigan. With the rest of his teammates struggling offensively in the first half, Arron put the Bruins on his shoulders to keep them in the game, scoring 17 of the squad’s 32 first-half points. Though he cooled off significantly in the second half, he turned to the defensive end of the floor to make what Howland called the “play of the game.”

Arron picked off an outlet pass and set up Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for an easy two that put UCLA up six points with 1:23 left, effectively sealing what would be a 68-61 victory over the Wolverines. The win pushed UCLA’s record to 8-1, its best start in eight seasons.

AA later scored 16 points and helped contain Stanford’s Chris Hernandez — who scored 37 against UCLA a year earlier — in a 75-54 victory over the Cardinal that clinched the Bruins’ first Pac-10 Regular Season Title since 1997. Arron and his teammates rode the momentum to also claim a Pac-10 Tournament Title and were rewarded with a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

After a blowout win against Belmont in the first round, Arron proved instrumental in UCLA’s second-round win over Arkansas. Not only did his 3-pointer give UCLA a four-point cushion with 35 seconds left, but he defended Alabama star guard Ronald Steele on the Crimson Tide’s final play in a one-possession game. Arron forced Steele into a difficult shot that missed, propelling the Bruins to a 62-59 victory. The win sent the Bruins to the first NCAA Regional since 2002

Drama would follow UCLA to Oakland where they played Gonzaga in a regional semifinal. The Bruins trailed the Adam Morrison-led Bulldogs by as many as 17 early and despite playing significantly better in the second half, UCLA was still behind by nine with three minutes left.

"Obviously it was desperation," Arron told the Associated Press. "But three minutes is a long time and nine points is four possessions.”

The Bruins scored the game’s final 11 points — led by AA, who finished with a team-high 15 — to pull off the colossal 73-71 comeback win and reach their first Elite Eight since 1997. Morrison, playing in his final collegiate game, couldn’t help but break out in tears and fall to midcourt as the final buzzer sounded.

Arron Afflalo was one of the first to help the distraught Morrison to his feet.

"That's just a sign of a great program and great people," Morrison told the Associated Press. "They had enough guts as a man in their moment of victory to pick another man up off the floor. That's more than basketball and I would thank them if I could."

UCLA drew top-seeded Memphis in the Elite Eight, a team who it had beaten the Bruins, 88-80, in a preseason NIT semifinal matchup four months earlier. The 88 points were the highest total the Bruins allowed all year. Arron turned in one of the finest defensive performances of his career to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

AA shut down Memphis’ leading scorer Rodney Carney, holding the Conference USA Player of the Year to just five points — less than a third of his season scoring average of more than 17 per game — on just 2-of-12 shooting. Meanwhile, Arron scored a game-high 15 points to help send UCLA to its first Final Four since 1995.

Arron and his Bruin teammates continued their trademark lockdown defense in the National Semifinal against LSU. UCLA allowed just 45 points in the 59-45 victory, the second fewest points allowed in a Final Four game since 1986. Along with suffocating defense, AA chipped in nine points and six rebounds as the Bruins advanced to the National Championship Game.

The ride came to a disappointing and abrupt end in the title game as UCLA couldn’t stop the surging force that was Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators, losing, 73-57. Despite leading the Bruins to a level of prominence they hadn’t reached in years, Arron couldn’t help but dub the season a disappointment.

"This team really thought we could win a championship, and to come up 40 minutes short after all we've been through, it hurts," he told the Associated Press. "We didn't achieve the ultimate goal. I feel incomplete.”