JUNIOR (2006-07)

  • Consensus All-American
  • Pac-10 Player of the Year
  • USBWA District IX Player of the Year
  • First-Team All-Pac 10
  • West Regional Most Outstanding Player
  • Finished 6th in Wooden Award Voting for National Player of the Year
  • Ranked 1st on UCLA and 3rd in Pac-10 in Points Per Game (16.9)
  • Ranked 1st on UCLA and 2nd in Pac-10 in 3-Pointers Made (87)

Following his sophomore season, Arron initially declared for the NBA Draft. But after working out for a handful of teams, Arron decided to put his professional basketball dreams on hold and withdrew from the draft. After going through part of the process, he’d decided that the value of returning for one more season in Westwood outweighed being a likely second-round pick. Not only could Arron improve his draft stock by playing for UCLA for one more season, he could also chase the National Championship that he had came just short of as a sophomore.

“I looked at it from a team standpoint,” Arron told collegehoopsnets.com. “We were so close last year. It was a once in a lifetime situation. It just really hurt not to win. If I left I knew I would miss my coaches and my teammates. This city and this school just showed me so much love. At the time there were some people telling me I might go in the first round, but there weren't any guarantees. And that's what I would have needed to go. By returning I've given myself a chance to continue improving my game."

No one was happier to learn the news than Howland, who noted that the NBA would wait for a talent like Arron.

"We're very fortunate to have him back," Howland told the Associated Press. "No doubt in my mind, he will be in the NBA someday. It's just a matter of when, not if."
Arron used the disappointing end to his sophomore season to fuel him to new heights as a junior and appeared as determined as ever.

Led by Arron, the Bruins announced their intentions to remain a pre-eminent force in college basketball on the national stage at the Maui Invitational in November. UCLA disposed of Chaminade and two ranked teams, Kentucky and Georgia Tech, to claim their first ever Maui Invitational Championship. Arron averaged 19.3 points per game across the three-day tournament.

Upon leaving Maui, the Bruins kept rolling to a 14-0 start and a No. 1 ranking, highlighted by a career-high 27-point performance from Arron in a 96-74 blowout of No. 13 Washington. In what Howland described as the best game of his dynamic wing’s career, Arron tied his personal best with 27 points while also recording eight assists, five rebounds, and two steals.

UCLA grabbed a second-straight Pac-10 Regular Season Title behind Arron’s shooting and continued defensive wizardry. While leading the Bruins in scoring, Arron was also routinely shutting down conference stars like California’s Ayinde Ubaka and Arizona’s Marcus Williams. The Bruins went 6-1 against ranked Pac-10 opponents and avenged their only loss (Oregon).

Arron’s most heroic moment came in truly dramatic fashion. A week after UCLA suffered its first defeat of the season, USC had them on the ropes, down one with time running out. Howland drew up a play out of a timeout, but it broke down and the onus to put UCLA ahead fell entirely on Arron’s shoulders. 

AA came up big, knocking down a jumper with 4.7 seconds left to push the Bruins to a 65-64 road win. 

“We wanted to shoot it a little earlier, but it worked out,” Howland told the Associated Press. “He created his own shot. You have to give him credit. That was him creating a shot, where he leaned back. It was a great shot. He wanted it.'' 

Arron’s impressive campaign was rewarded with numerous accolades, including UCLA’s first All-American selection since Ed O’Bannon received the honor in 1995. Arron’s 16.9 points per game were the third most in the conference and was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Year.

Though Arron’s scoring average wasn’t the league’s best, opposing coaches had been victimized by his versatile play enough times to recognize him as the conference’s top player.

"I like to be defined as a player who, when put in any situation, can flourish," Arron told the Los Angeles Times. "I like to be called upon for any of my abilities -- passing, scoring, rebounding, defense. It is good that contributions on both ends of the floor are recognized.… "If you truly have a love and passion for the game, then you should work at every aspect of it, not just the part that gives you [attention], that being scoring. That's what separates teams and players."

Arron was disappointed when he played poorly in UCLA’s upset loss to California in the Pac-10 tournament, in which he scored a season-low three points. Howland called it the “one poor game” of Afflalo’s he could remember over his three-year collegiate career. 

However, AA quickly shook off that performance to post 22 points and eight rebounds in the Bruins’ win over Weber State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He added another 10 points in UCLA’s victory in a second-round defensive struggle against Indiana.

Arron struggled to find his shot in the Bruins’ semifinal date against Pittsburgh — Howland’s former team — but came through when UCLA needed him to, knocking down 10-of-10 free throws and scoring five points in the game’s final two minutes as the team reached another Elite Eight with a 64-55 triumph.

But as he had proven throughout his career, Arron was too good not to shine on such a big stage. In a tooth-and-nail Elite Eight matchup with top-seeded Kansas AA starred, scoring 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Fifteen of those 24 points came in the second half as he willed UCLA to an NCAA-record 17th Final Four with a 68-55 win over the Jayhawks. But despite his star turn late in the game, Arron showed a humbleness befitting his game when he credited his teammates for making his performance possible.

"I don't really think about it during the game, but when you're making shots, you're gaining confidence," Arron told the Associated Press. "My teammates showed a lot of confidence in me. If I'm fortunate enough to make shots -- just keep shooting, keep playing. That has to be a scorer's mentality."

Again, however, Arron and UCLA would come up short of their ultimate goal, and the Florida Gators were again the ones to send them packing from the NCAA Tournament.

Arron fought through foul trouble to score 17 points in only 22 minutes of action, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 76-66 loss to the Gators in the National Semifinal. Despite being the primary reason UCLA reached the Final Four, he was disappointed because he felt like he let his teammates down.

"The only thing disappoints me a little bit is that I wasn't there full-time for my team," Arron told the Associated Press. "I'm trying to keep my head high and be strong for my teammates. I'm in a lot of pain right now."

Days later, one of the best players in UCLA’s storied history announced his intentions to forego his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. Because a player can only withdraw from the draft once, Arron was officially closing the book on his UCLA career by declaring. He finished 17th on the school’s all-time scoring list, as well as No. 2 in career 3-pointers made. 

“It has been a wonderful three years,” Arron said at his press conference. “I have great teammates and I'm going to miss them a lot. But at this point and time, I feel it is time for me to move on."

Howland said he would never forget Arron as the first piece to his rebuilding puzzle at UCLA, and called it a “blessing” to coach him. He also expressed little doubt that Arron would find success at the NBA level, just as he had at every previous stop.

“He is all about helping his team win and being a great teammate, one that is unselfish and plays both ends of the floor,” Howland said at the press conference. “And those are things that coaches are looking for at the next level. I believe he will have a long and successful career in the NBA."