Peering Closely and Clearly into that Crystal Ball!

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Article by CBS News’ Gregg Doyel

Corey Brewer vs. Arron Afflalo

UCLA All-American Arron Afflalo can’t score — not with any efficiency, anyway — against Florida’s Corey Brewer. This isn’t a theory. This is a fact.

Stop Arron Afflalo? Corey Brewer did it last year. (AP)  
Stop Arron Afflalo? Corey Brewer did it last year. (AP)  

Afflalo tried it once, remember, and couldn’t do it. He scored 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting in the 2006 NCAA title game, one reason the Bruins were blown out 73-57.

Afflalo needn’t feel all that badly. Few players can score on Brewer, a 6-foot-9 wing who has an NBA player’s length, quickness and explosiveness, three traits Afflalo lacks. UCLA fans actually owe Brewer a bit of thanks, considering his dominant lockdown of Afflalo last season triggered the chain of events that brought Afflalo back to school for his junior season.

One year later the same thing could happen, with UCLA again owing Brewer an odd bit of gratitude.

See, UCLA can’t beat Florida — not if the Gators play with any intensity at all. Florida is way too big and way too deep for the Bruins, just as it was a year ago. It’s the same Florida team that dismantled UCLA at Indianapolis, and it’s basically the same UCLA team (albeit with Darren Collison replacing Jordan Farmar and Josh Shipp in for Cedric Bozeman) only smaller with 7-footer Ryan Hollins replaced at center by 6-9 Lorenzo Mata.

UCLA can’t win this game, but it can be the dominant team next season … if Afflalo returns. That’s where Brewer comes in.

For some reason, Afflalo is sending out vibes that he will again enter the NBA Draft, which would be irreversible since he used his free draft entry a year ago. Someone close to Afflalo needs to ask him to name one NBA shooting guard who stands 6-4, isn’t a great shooter, has average quickness and plays below the rim. Answer: There aren’t any.

Maybe, if prototypical NBA shooting guard Corey Brewer hounds him into irrelevance again in the Final Four, Afflalo will get the message. He would return to a 2007-08 UCLA team with every starter back and incoming freshman Kevin Love — a possible All-American — plugging the hole in the middle.

UCLA could be awesome next year. Corey Brewer could help make it happen Saturday.

Check, check, and check.

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