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

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May 21, 2008 12:48 PM

Scouts Inc. ranks UW class No. 21

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scouts Inc. has revised its rating of college basketball's recruiting classes for 2008 to take into account the late signing period, and has UW slotted at No. 21

Author Antonio Williams writes that "Lorenzo Romar knows how to evaluate guards --- Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy are evidence of that fact. The fact that this class has three stellar backcourt players is a scary prospect for opposing coaches in the Pac-10. Capable scorers Elston Turner and Scott Suggs are the top two players in the group.''

Nitpickers will point out Romar didn't recruit Roy or Robinson, and it's interesting that he mentions Turner and not Isaiah Thomas, who may be the most immediate impact player of the bunch.

Other Pac-10 teams rated are UCLA (No. 1), Arizona (No. 9) and Oregon (No.15).

UPDATE --- Here are rankings from (not to be confused with Scouts Inc.) which also have UW at No. 21. So at least there's no doubt about what the experts think.

FORTIER-BROWN UPDATE --- Also, here's an update on the Brown University job from the Providence Journal indicating that a hire likely won't be made until the first week of June. UW assistant Paul Fortier is reported to be one of four finalists for that job.

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Posted by mikey

1:11 PM, May 21, 2008


Posted by Paul

2:38 PM, May 21, 2008

I'd imagine Arizona will be dropping in the rankings, several recruits are bailing. Sounds like things are a real mess down there.

Posted by Jim Basnight

2:59 PM, May 21, 2008

Rivals has Washington at #13, which I think is more accurate. Only time will tell.

Here's the link:

Posted by GB

3:37 PM, May 21, 2008

Is Isaiah on track to graduate and qualify academically for next year? Persistent local rumors say no, but they're only rumors. Wonder if anyone knows. Recent news reporting indicated Isaiah had turned a corner in the last six months or so and would clear these hurdles.

Posted by MT Husky

3:51 PM, May 21, 2008

Thanks for that link Jim, I lke how they broke that out. I noticed a few are a little outdated, it hadn't accounted for a couple transfers (like Negedu) - but I like how it showed the *'s for each player.

GB - I hate rumors like that! But I've learned from Meatball that rumors are meaningless and despite multitudes of them, everything is I'm sure we're fine, right Meatball?

Posted by Jim Basnight

4:12 PM, May 21, 2008

Rivals will have an updated team rankings based on those kind of changes in the near future. Isaiah is going to make it, barring a huge blunder like getting expelled or something of that nature. He has a qualifying test score and has raised his GPA enough to attain eligibility.

He just has to finish his term and continue performing as he has been at South Kent and he will be able to enter the UW, I believe for summer quarter.

I do know that he is looking very much forward to playing in open gym runs with his future team mates and former UW and Seattle based ball players, as well as the possibility of some recruits. You know, the guys that could be playing with him in the next few years.

Posted by GB

4:27 PM, May 21, 2008

Those are good reports on Isaiah. We're all looking forward to seeing him play, and he obviously made a serious commitment to put himself in position to do that when he left his buddies behind and went east for prep school. It's great to hear that is all working out, as planned.

Posted by josh

4:54 PM, May 21, 2008

I can't help but think Thomas is underrated for two reasons: One, he's been as solid a commit as there was for two years so there was not much of a need to evaluate; Two, he's being pre-judged by his size. I mean, the guy scores 30 points a game. And its not as if he has attended small schools and played against non-talents.

Posted by mattysimone

7:27 PM, May 21, 2008

good point josh...I think maybe his grades did take awhile....good for us though...more mature too! IM definitely looking forward to watching him at the college level

Posted by Royal

10:23 PM, May 21, 2008

"Author Antonio Williams writes that "Lorenzo Romar knows how to evaluate guards --- Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy are evidence of that fact. "
Author Antonio Williams needs to do his homework. As good as Coach Romar is he brought neither Robinson nor Roy to the U.W.

Posted by TuBob Shakur

5:26 AM, May 22, 2008

Bob and others,

It's flatly incorrect to say that Romar didn't recruit Brandon Roy. Coach Bender laid the groundwork with Brandon, which is presumably what you remember. But what you seem to be forgetting is that Brandon had not qualified when Bender was the coach, and he was a recruitable athlete when Bender was fired and Coach Romar was re-hired. Brandon needn't have come to UW after Bender was fired -- and given that the program was in total chaos and a total nightmare at that time, it was hardly a "foregone conclusion" that Brandon would come to UW. Romar re-recruited Brandon and ultimately closed the deal on him. And under the totality of circumstances that existed at the time, Romar deserves a TON of credit for that.

And by the way, there's a link to an interview of Brandon on Fox (?) in which he basically says exactly what I wrote. (I don't have time to Google for it, but it's out there.)

Posted by Nuss

9:14 AM, May 22, 2008

Nitpickers also will point out that Romar guard recruits Justin Dentmon, Adrian Oliver, Joel Smith, Quincy Pondexter and Phil Nelson didn't turn out to be any good.

Posted by MT Husky

9:38 AM, May 22, 2008

Nitpickers would be premature in their judgment.

QP (who is a forward, not a guard anyways) deserves more credit than he has received. His game hasn’t developed to the degree as expected or hoped for…but it has developed (albeit, a little slowly) and he’ll have a break-out year next season. Watch.

Smith is a bit of enigma as he has shown flashes throughout his career. Last year was a pretty discombobulated team/season and Smith never appeared to really know his role. But the past few games he looked good. He’ll finish strong for his senior year (and everyone seems to forget he led the guards with a 46% field goal % and led the team with 42% from the 3 point line…those are pretty good #’s – he also averaged 1 TO a game, the best among the guards).

Though Romar lost Oliver and Nelson, watch how both perform this coming season, they’ll both turn out to be good guards so nitpickers can’t say Romar recruited poor talent.

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:54 AM, May 22, 2008

TuBob --- You make a decent point on Roy and Romar. I'm well aware of that situation, having detailed it in this story here a few years ago.
However, as that story notes, Romar had never even met Roy when he talked him into staying --- point being, since Roy had already signed with UW, he was going to do whatever it took to get him to stay. There was no evaluation involved on Romar's part in that process --- this isn't a criticism of Romar, just pointing out that I think even Romar would agree his role was pretty limited in getting Brandon to UW. Now, once Roy was at UW, Romar and his staff deserve all the credit you want to give them for how he progressed. But Roy made his decision to go to UW largely because he wanted to stay home, and other than debating turning pro, he never really wavered on that. After that workout with Portland after his high school year, there was no debate about turning pro, so he headed to UW. My only point was you can't really give Romar a lot of credit for evaluating Nate and Brandon in high school since he wasn't here to do that at the time --- he'd admit that.

Posted by schmitty

12:43 PM, May 22, 2008

I like Romar and think he has done a good, not great, job recruiting. But I agree, this quote "Lorenzo Romar knows how to evaluate guards --- Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy are evidence of that fact. " Is just so off base. It's already been pointed out that he didn't evaluate Nate or Roy, and although we've had some decent guards since then, I wouldn't say Romar has found any "gems" at the guard spot.

I really hope he did find some gems with Thomas, Turner, and Suggs with this class.

Posted by Randy

1:39 PM, May 22, 2008

Ok, for every knock on Romar's "guard" evaluations you can add this: Didn't he recruit and sign Martell Webster? Oops he went pro. Didn't he recruit Jrue Holiday? Oops he's going to UCLA. Romar is hampered not by his ability to evaluate, but by his ability to get them to Washington, which is not entirely his fault.

One failure can start a landslide. What if Martell Webster had decided to come to UW and played along side Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman? Would that have made the Huskies good enough to get into the NCAA tournament. And then would they have had a better chance of attracting someone like Jrue Holiday? Woulda, coulda, shoulda!!! Well it didn't happen so now we're faced with rebuilding so that 5 star recruits start to show an interest in playing for Washington. Here's to hoping that starts next year.

Posted by TuBob Shakur

2:49 PM, May 22, 2008


Ok, sorry, I might've misunderstood your point. You're right that Brandon did not end up at Washington because Coach Romar had "discovered" him -- ala, say, the way that Romar later "discovered" Bobby Jones. Brandon was in Seattle, Coach Bender had definitely laid the groundwork with him, and Brandon had a verbal / nonbinding commitment to UW when Romar arrived. No argument there.

I thought you were suggesting that Coach Romar didn't deserve any credit for bringing Brandon into the program. Many people actually think that. And for the reasons that I mentioned in my previous post, I totally disagree with that opinion. Brandon could've gone elsewhere, and at the time, no one in his right mind would've blamed him.

Posted by MT Husky

3:01 PM, May 22, 2008

Randy, that is well presented.

You can also go back and cite some other top recruits that have had UW narrowed down as one of their final choices before going elsewhere in the past two years too…the type of 5 star recruits who never would have even considered UW pre-Romar days.

The program has had to go through a bigger re-building process in the past 2 years than any expected, for a myriad of different reasons; but this year they have the players to again compete like everyone has been wanting/expecting.

Success breeds success, they’ll get back on track in both the win column and landing the top recruits again with an upcoming successful season.

Posted by schmitty

3:48 PM, May 22, 2008

Randy and MT Husky - let me make it clear that I love the Huskies, like Romar, and am not knocking Romar in ANY way. I'm just saying that calling Romar a great evaluator of gaurds because of Nate and Roy is just way off base.

Randy, what you point out is that Romar is a good enough recruiter to get 5 star guys like Webster and Holiday to commit or almost commit to a program like UW. Not that he is a good evaluator of gaurds. It's not like he was the only coach that thought Webster and Holiday were worthy of a scholly.

So far, Romar hasn't proven to me that he is a great evaluator of talent. He has recruited really well at times, and solid every year here. But very few guys he has added have really lived up to their hype/expectations since Roy, Nate, Bobby, and I guess transfers like Simmons and JW. For me the only guy that has really lived up to expectations is Brockman. I'm not saying this is Romars fault, just that if he was a great evaluator of talent, some of the top guys he signed would have panned out a little better...not just the guards.

Again, I like that he always has a solid recruiting class and I just hope this one lives up to expectations and that the next one is able to land a few of the guys still interested (i.e. Avery).

Posted by MT Husky

4:10 PM, May 22, 2008

schmitty, point well taken and you are right, I cannot think of any 'gems' that Romar has found. So far his strength appears to be more able to recruit players already identified as good as opposed to finding players who surpass their expectations. argument could be made that Overton is the exception. Last season he exceeded what most recruits said he could do (he was only rated a 3* guard by Rivals) as a freshman and showed potential for greatness. Overton sees the floor incredibly well, is quick, plays intense defense, was passionate, competitive and was unquestionably the best passer on the team.

Posted by Bob Condotta

5:04 PM, May 22, 2008

TuBob --- Not trying to prove myself right or anything, but in the interest of accuracy, Brandon Roy had already signed an LOI when Romar took over, so he did have a binding commitment to UW at that time. As I wrote, Romar deserves credit for what happened from there, but Roy was already firmly in the fold when he took over.

Posted by Randy

7:13 AM, May 23, 2008

Fair enough guys, but I'm now picking up a feeling that this is more an issue of player development rather than evaluation. If a player who was great in high school aka. Adrian Oliver, doesn't have a fantastic season or carreer with you, was that a poor evaluation or a failure to develop the player?

You could line up the people that have come onto this blog and stated that Romar is a bad coach and a poor player developer. The question is was Brandon Roy a great job of player development or a great player who just happened to play for Romar. And also remember that B Roy did not have a great Freshman year like Bayless & Mayo. So there was no indication early on how good he would be. But by the time he was a senior, he was All American & PAC 10 POY & NBA ROY. Will Bayless, Mayo or Love make that much of a splash their 1st year in the NBA?

I guess what I'm getting at is that there is a very fine line between good recruitment and player developement. Until a coach has the chance to run a program for a long period (Lute Olson?) we may be premature in making judgements based on 1 player of group of players.

Posted by schmitty

11:53 AM, May 23, 2008

Yea, I agree Randy. I am not ready to say Romar is bad at developing players, but I am also not ready to say he is good at it either. It's a bit of a mixed bag. Guys like Roy, Conroy, Nate, Bobby and Brockman have developed very well under him. But guys like Dentmon, Wallace, Apples, Smith and QPon haven't seemed to progress as well as you'd like. The transfers like Perry, Oliver and Nelson could be bad development, bad fit, bad evaluation or just bad situations.

Let's just all hope that Suggs plays like Hardin his freshman year and Thomas plays like Tajun Porter his freshman year (not last year). Then we'd be set.

Posted by MT Husky

11:59 AM, May 23, 2008

My beef with the Romar detractors is simply I think there is too much conflicting and inconclusive evidence as to how good/bad of coach he is in nearly every category - recruiting, player development, talent evaluator, game coach (did I miss any?).

I really think the next 2 seasons will tell a lot though. I don't think anyone will disagree that a big issue (regardless of whose fault or the 'whys') the past 2 seasons has been the guard positions.

It is infathamable to me that the guard positions won't be improved this coming season...thus if Huskies are not a better team , then fingers being pointed at Romar may be more justified.

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