UCLA's Farmar saves draft talks for later

By Seth Fast Glass Daily Bruin

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The Pac-10 Tournament starts on March 8.

The NCAA Tournament starts on March 16.

The NBA starts when a college basketball player retains an agent.

UCLA's Jordan Farmar is thinking about none of them - for now.

The sophomore point guard said he will wait until the end of this season to address any potential future plans, whether those entail staying at UCLA, jumping to the pros, or having his draft status evaluated and returning to Westwood. In fact, he believes he won't even need to make a decision.

"That's my lifelong dream when I started playing basketball, and it's a privilege to play at that level," Farmar said of the NBA.

"But it's completely an end-of-the-season matter, and I'm not even remotely close right now. I really truly believe if you handle your business and do what you're supposed to do, everything else will be cut and dry. My decision will be right in front of me. I won't have to make a decision. It will be obvious what I'm supposed to do, what my fate is."

That could hinge on the Bruins' success in the NCAA Tournament and the lure of next season's potential. Farmar said he's only briefly pondered how this year would have turned out had he been healthy, had his teammate and roommate Josh Shipp been healthy enough to play, and had sophomore Lorenzo Mata not suffered a fractured tibia.

Yet when he does think about it, he admits the prospect of next year's team is enticing.

"I think how we could have had something special this year, so it's definitely very intriguing to think about next year, when our freshmen won't be freshmen anymore, (and) Josh will be back," Farmar said. "It's great to think about. There's no rush. This is a great place and a great situation we have here."

Last season, Farmar earned the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors after averaging 13.2 points and 5.3 assists per game in leading UCLA to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

This year, the sophomore is averaging 14.3 points and a Pac-10-best 5.4 assists per game.

The last Bruin to leave Westwood early for the NBA was Trevor Ariza, who declared for the draft after his freshman year in 2003-2004, coach Ben Howland's first season at UCLA.

Farmar is not entertaining such thoughts at this point in the season.

"All I'm thinking right now is trying to help my team win as many games as we can during this final stretch," Farmar said.

STANDINGS STUMPER: It's the last week of the regular season, but a lot is still left to be decided in the Pac-10 standings. The possibility exists that Arizona, California, Stanford, Washington and UCLA can all finish tied atop the Pac-10 with identical 12-6 conference records. If that's the case, the Golden Bears would claim the Pac-10 title and the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament by way of a multitude of tiebreakers. They would be followed by Arizona.

In the case of a five-way tie for first, UCLA would actually be the fifth seed in the Pac-10 Tournament by virtue of its 1-3 record against Washington and Stanford, who would be seeded third and fourth respectively.

DRIBBLERS: Freshman Alfred Aboya, who has been hampered by a lingering strained left hip flexor, will sit out practice Tuesday and Wednesday as a precautionary measure. ... Howland also said that Mata, who suffered a fractured right tibia on Jan. 12 and was expected back around the Pac-10 Tournament on March 8, won't be in a position to make much of an impact on the court this season. "He's still a long ways away," Howland said. ... In 14 weeks, UCLA has not had a single player named Pac-10 Player of the Week this season.

(C) 2006 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

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