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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 5, 2008 8:37 AM

Wolfinger dreaming big

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote today about Husky center Joe Wolfinger, who UW coach Lorenzo Romar has long maintained has legitimate NBA potential.

"He has an opportunity to play at that level because shooting like that at that size is so unique,'' Romar said yesterday.

Wolfinger doesn't shy away from such talk.

"I think I've got a good chance because I'm tall and I've got skill,'' he said. "I've just got to get more athletic and quicker feet and better on defense.''

Wolfinger is listed as a redshirt sophomore, but having missed two full seasons at the beginning of his career, he could likely earn a sixth year later. The way the process works, he can't apply for it until his fifth year, so nothing official on that would happen for a while.

But Romar notes Wolfinger's age --- he's already 22 and would be 25 by the time of a sixth-year senior season --- and isn't sure what will happen.

"He could get his last year back if he really wanted to but he may be a guy who could play these final three years and that's it, and not need his extra year,'' Romar said.

Wolfinger said he'll keep all options open.

Also today, Bud Withers has his weekly Pac-10 notebook.

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Posted by scott

9:21 AM, Mar 05, 2008

I remember early this year some people on this board thinking Wolf was going to be huge this year.

I wasn't in this camp. This was based on seeing him in one exibition game. He did contribute a bit more than I expected. His shot does look really nice.

He is definetely self aware of his shortcomings as a player. I'm not confident he will be able to overcome those shortcomings, but I hope he can. He's still only 22. He could be very good if he can "get more athletic and quicker feet and better on defense."

Good luck Wolf. Keep working. Prove me wrong.

PS: Stop reading this blog Wolf.

Posted by MT Husky

9:35 AM, Mar 05, 2008

Scott, I agree with you. I've hoped/wondered how much the foot injury along with the missed time has hurt his foot speed. I would have loved to see how he looked against the Lopez twins but from the reports it sounded like he played real well against them which is extremely encouraging.

A 7 footer who can hit the 3 has the potential to create some serious match-up problems for teams. Like you I wasn't in the 'Wolfinger will be huge' camp...but lately I'm becoming more excited at the potential/possibilities. Especially if MBA continues to progress with his game...put in Wolfinger, MBA and Brockman and not a lot of teams will be able to match-up well against those three.

Posted by Josh

9:39 AM, Mar 05, 2008

I hope we, who are skeptical, are wrong about Wolfinger. But, he had one good weekend and now all three local papers are printing articles about the possibility of an NBA career. Obviously, being 255 and 7' will at least get the scouts to take a look, but one good weekend. Be realistic. Other than a nice outside shot and size, Wolfinger hasn't shown much. Not that I was expecting anything. He hasn't played in two years and is coming off a broken foot. There's going to be some rust and hesitation. Also, he is only a sophomore (or freshman if you consider potential eligibility). Have the dream to play in the NBA, be motivated to put forth the tremendous effort needed to accomplish that dream, thereby contribute greatly to the success of your college team. Good luck against the Cougars and in the Pac-10 Tournament (and hopefully a post season tournament) and continue the trend that began only last week in the Bay Area into next season. Then let's write the article about the NBA.

Posted by justin

10:01 AM, Mar 05, 2008

i think wolf can be good at helping to spread the defense but still think he has liabilities that will prevent him from becoming a huge contributor in all facets. i disagree with him that, with a little work, you can just "get more athletic."

Posted by Noah

10:24 AM, Mar 05, 2008

Well I guess it is good that he isn't suffering from lack of self-confidence. I don't know how I feel about him on the team as a 25 year old if he is only good for two games a year though. I am not sold on this guy yet.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

10:50 AM, Mar 05, 2008

Meatball is in need of a sweep this week, but even at 8-10 in the Pac-10, when my CATS win our 1st Pac-10 tourney game, we will have 19 wins and make the NCAA tourney to continue the steak. I saw a postor (who might be Mallory) on an earlier thread complaining about RPI...only complaint should be to Romar and the schedule that he offers up every year.

Posted by justin

11:33 AM, Mar 05, 2008

by the way, is "shooting at that size" really "that unique"? don't most NBA big men shy away from the paint and try to stick it from outside? they're not all great shooters...but a big man who prefers to play outside seems to be the rule more than the exception these days.

Posted by Ziasudra

11:39 AM, Mar 05, 2008

Dave, the RPI is grossly distorted by the NJIT thing, and that wasn't Romar's doing - the preseason NIT scheduled that matchup, not UW.
Re: Wolfinger, I expected more from him this year, but I had never seen him play - just gong on his size. I did expect more of Artem than he produced. I know he is starting and doing better, but I did expect more.

Posted by Junkman

12:22 PM, Mar 05, 2008

Based on what I saw against Cal and what I read about the Stanford game, Wolf seemed quicker and more assertive than he had earlier in the season. That must be attributed to getting his legs back. If he can just get a little more mobile and become a little stronger (and stay healthy of course), I think he has a shot of making an NBA roster. Let's face it, Hawes is not a much better rebounder or defender and he was a lottery pick. Wolf passes well and is better shooter than Hawes. Hawes has a better low post game and is a bit more mobile and stonger at this point but if you matched them against each other, I certainly think Wolf could hang. Maybe last weekend was fluke - but if Wolf can build on that and continue to improve, he could be a huge asset for the Dawgs.

Posted by old dawg

1:28 PM, Mar 05, 2008

The most obvious thing is that Wolf needs to prove himself at this level before going anywhere. And that includes staying healthy. If he can't handle the rigors of a college season, no way he makes it through a pro season at roughly 2 1/2 times the games, not including playoffs.

Foot problems have truncated the careers of much more talented players, including Walton. That's a lot of weight and stress on a relatively small area of an athlete's body.

Still, I'd like to see him try. Shooting high can only help his game while at the U, as long as he doesn't do something stupid.

Posted by Dave

2:08 PM, Mar 05, 2008

(not the meatball)

I wish Wolf the best. Hope he maximizes his ability, contributes to the Dawgs and succeeds in life. He's gonna have to absolutely explode in an unprecedented way to make the NBA as a 25 yo rookie with an injury history, though. That is ancient for the NBA these days. Most 25 year olds in the NBA have already been in the NBA for 4 years or more.

Posted by Splash

2:16 PM, Mar 05, 2008

Strength of schedule is not the reason why UW has such a low RPI. Consider this:

According to Kenpom.com, UW has an SOS rated the 53rd toughest in the country. Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, and Stanford all have worse SOS's (#54, 55, 70, and 92 respectively) yet because those teams played well this season against their schedules, they have much better RPIs than UW's 106 (8, 16, 9, and 17 respectively)

Obviously, you have to win when you play a good schedule in order to reap the benefits of it in terms of a good RPI. Georgia Tech and Cincinatti played two of the toughest schedules in America (6th and 7th toughest overall) yet because those teams went 12-16 and 13-15 they end up with RPIs of 83 and 89. UW is in a similar boat.

Posted by MT Husky

3:50 PM, Mar 05, 2008

A friend of mine e-mailed me this link asking if this was the Husky recruit Elston Turner. I presume it is. 29 points! http://www.hcnonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19329127&BRD=1574&PAG=461&dept_id=639294&rfi=6

Posted by Frankie

5:05 PM, Mar 05, 2008

hahaha. you have got to be joking?? who wants a guy that is 7'0", has slow feet, can't rebound and hit occasional 3's in the NBA??? This is a joke!!

Posted by neverfairweather

5:29 PM, Mar 05, 2008

Ever hear of Matt Bullard?

Posted by condottarulz

6:03 PM, Mar 05, 2008

Splash,

You are right on. SOS is not UW's problem. It's lack of wins against what is actually a quality non-conference schedule.

UW went 0-4 against Syracuse, Texas A&M, Oklahoma St. and Pitt--all of whom have had average seasons by their standards but play in competitive major conferences. Suppose those teams were all in the top 20 right now. UW could have just as easily gone 0-4 against the same teams and would have an RPI in the 50s.

Oregon and Arizona have actually lost to more bad teams this year than UW--which shows how flawed the entire RPI system is. The RPI system rewards high RPI teams for losing to other high RPI teams and protects highly rated teams who play in competively unbalanced conferences (Memphis, Saint Mary's, Xavier, Butler).

Interestingly, the "worst" RPI team UW has lost to this year is Cal and the second worst is Oklahoma State--and they beat Kansas a couple weeks ago so they must not be any good.

Posted by 206er

6:29 PM, Mar 05, 2008

alluding to the top. well said scott. i second everything you said-

Posted by Gol

6:52 PM, Mar 05, 2008

To discuss Wolfinger as a pro prospect makes no sense at all. Even if Romar made this statement, it doesn't warrant a stor of its own. The guy has hardly played a lick this year -- and we're talking NBA? Are you kidding me? Of course, he's very tall and has at the very least established himself as a guy who can hit the long shot -- but a pro prospect? Hardly. We hope that the guy will be -- first -- able to start for the Huskies on a regular basis. That might be a good first step. Then let's see if he can play good every time out before we start shouting from the rooftops that the guys going to realize his pro dreams. I would have just filed this one away for future use because he's not even a Pac-10 starter yet.

Posted by grant

7:12 PM, Mar 05, 2008

If Robert Swift can play in the NBA, why can't Wolf?

Posted by Ridiculous

8:21 PM, Mar 05, 2008

I was expecting a story about how wolf would be asked to give up his scholarship.

He got no rebounds last game. 0. Anybody can get hot and make a couple 3's if they're left wide open.

I think Wolf has the lowest prospects for the nba for anybody except dentmon and joel smith.

Posted by Cougfan

6:49 AM, Mar 06, 2008

condottarulz: why do you think your determination of who is good and who is not should be the ultimate determiner? You are one of those who bitch about subjective criteria--like the Huskies being left out of the NIT last year--and then bitch when there is an objective measure. You are obviouly Mallory, so why don't you stop hiding behind your facade. SO OSU beat Kansas--SO WHAT--they lost to and average Oklahoma team at home last night. Your logic is so flowed it is ridiculous!!! Mercer beat USC so they must be good, right??? I guess there is no such thing as an upset. If a team beats another they must be better. There is a system in place and the UW is not good enough to make the tournament...LIVE WITH IT!

Posted by MT Husky

7:50 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Ridiculous - though the lack of rebounding from a 7 footer is a valid concern - it's a lot easier to learn to rebound than it is to learn to shoot 3 pointers. Wolfinger is reportedly a very hard worker, if he invests some time working on post moves, footwork and positioning he can sure develop his low post game. You can teach that, you can't teach size.

Posted by condottarulz

8:06 AM, Mar 06, 2008

Cougfan,

Oklahoma has 20 wins and will be in the tourney. They've beaten Gonzaga and WVU and are tied for 4th in the Big 12. If that's "average", the Cougs are in trouble in the tournament.

Might want to check your facts, Pal.

Posted by Cougfan

8:21 AM, Mar 06, 2008

condottarulz/Mallory: OK pal, like you always do you only pull out facts that support your opinion. Just so everyone knows, OK lost to Stephen F. Austin St. (quite the power) and to Colorado. You are obviously Mallory. Only he argues points like this. You are an idiot of the first degree!!! Oklahoma is average at best, like OSU, Syracuse, and others.

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