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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 21, 2008 9:37 AM

A look ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta

A little earlier than anyone hoped, the Washington Huskies are left with little to do but look ahead to potentially better times ahead.

That was the focus of my story today, which also includes a player-by-player look at the roster for next season.

As the story notes, UW coach Lorenzo Romar is pretty optimistic about the future, noting the return of everyone on the roster except Ryan Appleby and Tim Morris and the addition of five players (if you include the redshirting Darnell Gant). The mix of experience and new talent, he thinks, will get UW back to where it was a few years ago.

"Next year is a year where I feel like if you want call it the rebuilding or whatever has now taken place,'' he said. "Next year is a year where we can get back in the direction of where we were a couple of years ago.''

As is almost always the case, there's a lot of stuff that didn't make it in the story, so I'll touch on some of that here:

--- Romar says he expects all of the incoming freshmen to be eligible. Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner are not eligible yet but Romar said "eventually they will be.''

--- Romar says he's confident the free throw shooting will be better next season if for only because most of the Huskies have proven to be better FT shooters at other points in their career. "It just had to be a mental thing,'' he said. "Obviously, all those guys will shoot a lot of free throws this spring and summer. But I'm going to base it off what they were before this year that they will get back to where they were. They will have a spring and a summer, get their mind refreshed, you move on. And (all three guards coming in) are very good foul shooters.''

--- Romar said he thought Jon Brockman's FT shooting might have been impacted this year by having to do so much, while Justin Dentmon might have struggled a little bit with having a new role off the bench. "With Jon, it could have been that he was asked to do so much this year in terms of his minutes and defending and rebounding and scoring and that may have affected him at the line this year,'' Romar said. "Next year he will have experience in that role.'' As for Dentmon's FT shooting, Romar said "this was the first year in JD's career here that his minutes were up and down and maybe that had something to do with it, that his role changed throughout the season.''

--- Here is Romar's take on the three incoming guards: "All three of them have high basketball IQs, all three of them can pass, shoot and handle thte ball. All three of them can finish. I think that we our best when we have great guard play. In basketball to be a success you've got to have great guard play and I think those guys can provide that. They don't have to come in and be saviors. They don't have to take that expectation and put it on their back. They can blend in with the veterans that we already have and just think that what they will bring will have a significant impact. So I think it will be the first time in three years that we will have experience and really good guard play across the board. So when I say I think we'll be better, my talk is not wishful thinking, I've got concrete reasons as to why.''

--- Romar said he expects everyone on the roster to be back and all the incoming players to be eligible, which means the Huskies could be one over the scholarship limit. However, he also said it will work out, though without elaborating. So obviously something is going to have to give somewhere (maybe one of the seniors gives up a scholarship for their final year or something).

--- UW still needs to add a couple of games to fill out the schedule and is looking for a big-name opponent to begin a home-and-home series. That would likely begin with UW playing on the road next season. UW will host Oklahoma State as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Challenge next year, and will also play in the CBE Classic that will feature two home games and then, if UW advances, two games in Kansas City. It will feature a field similar to the pre-season NIT this year, so that will likely give the Huskies a couple of games against top 100-type RPI teams as well. The rest of the schedule will be similar to this year's.

At some point later, we'll go through a more expanded player-by-player look at the roster.

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Posted by yayo

10:38 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Isaiah Thomas. The fact that this kid still hasn't qualified is beyond me. I can spell his name for him if he needs me to.

Posted by ted robinson

11:17 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Big-name opponent for a home-and-home?

G O N Z A G A !!!!!!!!

Posted by jumper

11:52 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Gonzaga will be well rested. Their season is done also.

Posted by Bob Condotta

12:15 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Almost positive it's not Gonzaga, which I should have pointed out. I'm told the two schools continue to talk about resuming the series down the road, but probably not next season.

Posted by JugHead

1:24 PM, Mar 21, 2008

12:25 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Starting 5 next year: Overton, Dentmon, Pondexter, Brockman, MBA...should be formidalbe. And nice depth on the bench and a nice class coming in. Good times ahead for Huskies. As a Coug fan, I welcome this. We share homestands and road trips and the better we both are the tougher it is going to be on our opponents. There is room for 3 good programs in this state, especially when you consider WSU, UW, and Gonzaga have all shown the ability to recruit outside the local region with success.

Posted by justin

1:34 PM, Mar 21, 2008

I admire Romar's optimism but, since we've seen his optimistic outlook fail to pan out on so many occasions, it makes me wonder whether he should be more critical.

After last season's disappointment, he talked about how this year we would have a veteran team featuring Tim Morris and Joel Smith, and how the Greece trip would give us a huge leg up on other schools, and how Venoy would change this team, and how all this would propel us back to the top half of the conference - in other words, the same tune he's singing today - more veteran players + more new players = success. We all know what happened.

Now it makes me nervous to hear him, in regards to free throws, simply assume that we'll get better next year because our bad shooters have been better shooters in the past. Past performance doesn't guarantee future success, which should be obvious after this year's free throws. I'd be more comfortable if he showed a real plan about how we're gonna get better, as opposed to just saying the circumstances will work themselves out.

Finally, I'd like to see him step up and answer hard questions. Bob, I'm very grateful for all your hard work and for your dedication to this blog - it's a huge asset to me and all the other fans. But I'd like to see you and other beat writers ask Lorenzo some hard questions: Should you doubt your own optimism based on how it hasn't panned out in the past? Why should fans believe you this time? Should you have an actual plan about how to fix free throws? Why wasn't your team been ready to play on so many occasions (and "I don't know" isn't an answer - he always says this but he's got to have some theories)? Do you miss Ken Bone? Should you hire a new assistant who's better at Xs & Os? Specifically, how will you do a better job, what steps will you take?

I remain a Romar supporter and have defended him here on many occasions. But after 2 disappointing years, I find his optimism a little hollow. I'd be more comfortable if I got the sense that he was actively working his tail off to fix our problems. Instead, he seems to be explaining why the situation will just sort of work itself out. Maybe it will (I hope so). Or maybe, a year from now, we'll realize that Romar's out of touch with reality. Time will tell.

Posted by DBM

1:38 PM, Mar 21, 2008

What's up with Isiah Thomas ? At this point he is still ineligible ? If he has a severe learning disability, they need to really hammer tutoring on him. When he isn't eating, sleeping or playing basketball, he needs to be studying. I know people will say " he already has tutors ". Well why is he still ineligible then ? If he is a terrible test taker, then flash card his butt the day before and of the test, to where he knows nothing but the right answers. I don't get this.

Posted by MT Husky

1:47 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Very well said Justin

Posted by ted robinson

2:22 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Bob: Any word on Artem's knee?

Posted by Ryan

2:25 PM, Mar 21, 2008

You could pay a new school coach, $200K a year and get the same results, a losing record and no NCAA tourney (2 years in a row), Last in FT% in Div 1, save the school some money, over $1M a year. That money could go to students for financial aid, that 25 kids a year getting a full ride. UW basketball fans get use the bottom of the PAC-10 until you change coaches, and give the money to people that could use it.

Posted by tj

2:39 PM, Mar 21, 2008

can Romar please just shut up for the year.......for the last two years he's said the same crap over and over........his same ol schtick is getting old.....just win some games....I iunderstand alot of you dork "I've been a Hoops" Dawg fans since 2004 really want to know what MBA had for breakfast or if John Brockman wears boxers or briefs but enough is enough!!

Posted by Bob Condotta

3:21 PM, Mar 21, 2008

No official word yet on Artem's knee --- there was a thought it might take a few days to get an official diagnosis. As soon as there is word I will pass it along.

On IT and his eligibility --- these things take lots of time for lots of players. Everyone expects that in the end he will get eligible.

Posted by grant

4:32 PM, Mar 21, 2008

People need to lay off IT. Venoy wasn't eligible until what, August or September? And B-Roy missed half of his freshman year. Let's wait and see if he gets in before we jump all over him.

I really hope Artem is ok, his defense and toughness was sorely missed against Valpo, and his offensive game has really come around. He CAN score on the low block. MBA should be better with a year of experience under his belt, and will probably replace Brockman as our primary low post scorer in two years. I hope the coaches let Q-pon do his thing more next year. If he gives us 15 ppg all of next year, we should be solid (although he needs to stop picking up stupid fouls).

I would like to see Gonzaga back on the schedule in place of on of our poor quality opponents (Idaho St.). But a major conference home and home would be big (especially if we can win that game). Any idea which teams are being considered Bob? Or which conference? The Big East has like 40 teams, could we play one of them?

I know the conference schedule is tough enough, but Arizona showed that playing a tough schedule can get you into the tourney ahead of teams in your conference with better records. We should figure that out and make our schedule tougher. The Big 12/Pac 10 challenge game (OK St.), Gonzaga, home and home with major or two (ACC, SEC, Big East, Big 10), one game against a decent west coat mid-major (WCC, WAC, Mountain West), early season tournament game or two (can't control opponents), and then fill in with the Idaho, Portland, and Eastern Washington type teams. We have to play into the system if we want to earn at large bids. Winning more games helps too, but every year a handful of teams get screwed by the committee. This can be avoided if we schedule better.

Posted by Seth t

5:45 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Ryan's post

2:25 PM, Mar 21, 2008

"You could pay a new school coach, $200K a year and get the same results, a losing record and no NCAA tourney (2 years in a row), Last in FT% in Div 1, save the school some money, over $1M a year. That money could go to students for financial aid, that 25 kids a year getting a full ride. UW basketball fans get use the bottom of the PAC-10 until you change coaches, and give the money to people that could use it."

Seriously giving a free hand out to somebody in need??? Your crazy!!! How bout winning some basketball games instead! I am so tired of people looking for free hand outs instead of earning it!!!

Posted by Scott

5:48 PM, Mar 21, 2008

I predict that Suggs and Thomas will press for an occaisional starting spot.

Posted by DONT FORGET

7:41 PM, Mar 21, 2008

EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE FORGETTING THAT WE LOST 2 OR 3 GAMES BY VERY SLIM MARGINS EACH OF THE LAST 2 YRS. IF THOSE HAD GONE THE OTHER WAY WE'D BE IN THE TOURNEY 6 STRAIGHT YEARS. Point being-- QUIT doubting romar, all we need is a little extra talent to push us over those humps, someone to nail an extra short or two. i think with all the upperclassman and incoming freshman we can get over the hump NEXT YEAR in regards to "those 2 close losses" in each of the last two seasons that ultimately cost us a tourney bid. We will win 2 or 3 of those games next year and be in the tourney, if we win a lot of them 4,5,6 we may be contending for the conference (if those wins are during the conference season). Obviously its all way off and just speculation, so lets just be excited for next year!

Posted by Bob Vance-Vance Refrigeration

8:54 PM, Mar 21, 2008

You seem to be forgetting that every team in the country loses 2 or 3 games by very slim margins every year. Sure, if you count every game you lost by less than 5 points as a win then you would be in the tournament, but so would about 200 other teams.

Posted by wayupwaydown

9:28 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Don't forget that Romar recruited this talent and other talent he recruited that may have helped the team left the prgram.

Also don't forget that those freshmen that are coming in are freshmen. The Huskies didn't exactly get great production from their freshmen this year either. Why will it be different next year? They have a solid class coing in, but no OJ Mayo or Kevin Love type of players.

They will have to win next year with basically the same players they lost with this year.

Posted by Tone

9:30 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Nice comeback by Villanova...note that they did it with two key areas where the Dawgs struggled this year: FT shooting (especially late in the game) and guard play.

Hopefully our young Dawgs were watching this game (or others) tonight. Lots to learn right now...

Posted by junkman

9:51 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Great comments, Justin...

I expected this team would have trouble if no one stepped up to be a "got to" guy to finish games. Seems like they tried to use Brockman too much and that is not a good role for him. QPon was my guess to step into that role but it didn't materialize. But from what he showed at the end of the year, I think he might be ready next season. What no one anticipated was the horrific free throw shooting - that was a killer. With what happened this year, I could see FT% being a factor in distribution of playing time next season.

As for a starting lineup next year, I'd guess VO, Suggs, QPon, Brock, and Artem. To me MBA is a still a couple years away from being a good quality center and he is still very rough around the edges - he does not have a good feel for the game yet. He should get lots of minutes, but AW is more solid at this point (assuming he is back from the knee injury). Hopefully Suggs is the player we have seen and read about - he could be a huge lift And look for VO to be much improved.

Posted by Ryans's_Hope

10:14 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Ryan, excellent post.

Condotta is part of the problem on this blog. He is doing a great job maintaining the blog but was criticized repeatedly on this blog for failing to ask Romar hard questions.

Compare the excellent critic on the Mariner;s blog by a different Times reporter and how he expresses personal; opinions on player and coaches performance.

Romar should accept blame for players he claims are sup[erb but either leave the program or do not develop as he wants. Remember it's Romar's poor coaching that Condotta has NEVER addressed.

Condotta is too company-man oriented and fails to address the UW coaching screwup or player deficiencies Condotta's bias has affected the blog's objectivity.

Posted by Bob Condotta

10:23 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Ryan --- What tougher questions would you like asked? Happy to ask them. As for not taking the coaches to task more, I've always said my role on here is to be more analytical and informational than opinionated. We have columnists who are paid to do that, and two of them (Bud Withers and Jerry Brewer) have each weighed in during the las two weeks with their thoughts on where they think UW is headed and what has gone wrong the past two years. But if there are some specific questions you think haven't been asked, please send them along and I'll ask them (within reason, of course).

Posted by bomberboy

10:42 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Bob, I think you are doing a solid job. Asking coaches obvious confrontational questions reveals and accomplishes nothing. I personally was disappointed but not shocked at how the Dawgs did. They were picked 8th or 9th and that is where they finished. At least they did steal a game or two. WSU, the team du jour, I thought was a big disappointment, for the second year in a row went winless against the PAC-10 top two. in two years against UCLA both years, Oregon last year and stanford this year, WSU went 0-9. We have better expectations for UW....but it is very revealing that the all PAC-10 first team had NO Sr or Jr players. That is the caliber of new players each year.

UW will be back in it next year, 5-6 and could sneak in. Please get over the stick it to the coach stuff...I thought UW played bette D this year than any of Romars previous teams. That they can build on.

Posted by Let's Blame Bob

11:11 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Bob is A REPORTER. Bob is not COLUMNIST. The Times pays Bob to REPORT the facts. The Times does NOT pay Bob to EDITORIALIZE.

Steve Kelley is a COLUMNIST, and NOT a REPORTER. The opposite of Bob's duties.

Bob reports the who, what, when, and where. It is not his job to address the why.

Bob does a great job with this blog. And even if there was a "problem" with the blog, it's the ever increasing amount of contributors who argue via ad hominem attacks and deluded subjectivity.

Such as yourself.

Posted by youbunchofasshole

8:48 AM, Mar 22, 2008

Husky fans are fair-weather and a bunch of bandwagon just like most sport fans in seattle. Don't you know your history. before Romar get here husky basketball was nothing. You all that criticize Romar need to a life because what he done to program should be praise. Give him more time to rebuild and reload. You all are just buch of spoil rat and because of that you don't deserve a winning program.

Posted by huskyPride

8:56 AM, Mar 22, 2008

Too much whinning and crying on the blog. We have a lot of stupid ducks and cougs get in this blog to stir up the pot which i find to be funny. They worry about the husky nation so much that they have to get on this blog to maken us mad.
True husky fans are never down on the team or make negative comment about them even when we have a bad year. only bunch of asshorse that wannabe husky would post stupid and ignorant comment that criticize the player and the coach.

Posted by HuskyPride

9:03 AM, Mar 22, 2008

we shouldn't allow fatass retard to sit behind the monitor and post stupid comment that have no vaild argument. I know it's a free country and you can say what you want but to have stupid people like George Bush posting comment about player and coach is not right.
Bob C---You need to control this blog better and not let any bogger ask you or tell you what to do. They are just buch off asshole and can't even think on the feet because they are too fat to stand up.

Posted by Trevor

10:05 AM, Mar 22, 2008

There is reason for hope for next year but not optimism, at least not yet.

I for one would like to see the UW run some offensive plays next year, show some movement and discipline. PLAY AS A TEAM. They are too often looking for saviors, for a spectacular player to step in and do the miraculous in the absence of a game plan or team chemistry.

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