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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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May 25, 2008 11:12 AM

On the schedule

Posted by Bob Condotta

While some Pac-10 teams are beginning to release their schedules, the Huskies are still working on theirs, still trying to find two more games.

UW hoped to get a home-and-home with Georgia Tech beginning this year, but that has fallen through, as did a hoped-for road game at Fresno State. If those had worked out, UW's schedule would likely be done now.

Instead, UW is still trying to find a "big-name'' team to fill one of those slots, and more of a regional opponent for the other.

It won't be Gonzaga, as the two won't play next year. However, I'm told the two schools are continuing to talk about possible games in the future, the latest thought being that they would play an annual game at KeyArena --- I don't know if that would be in addition to the game GU plays there every year or in place of that.

Here's the non-conference schedule UW has put together in order of date (though I don't have exact dates):

at Portland
College Basketball Experience
UW will host first-round games from Nov. 16-19. If it wins those two games, it then advances to Kansas City where it would likely first play Kansas, and then either Florida or Syracuse. So this could be four games.
Pacific
Oklahoma State
Open Date
Portland State
Eastern Washington
Lehigh
Open Date
Morgan State

One of the open dates figures to be a regional opponent. UW is hoping the other will be a road game against a big-name.

If Ga. Tech and Fresno State had worked out, you can see that this would have been a pretty-balanced and representative schedule, and more than enough to answer any RPI worries. That should still be the case, but the trick continues to be finding the last two opponents.


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Posted by Alex

3:21 PM, May 25, 2008

Bob, the Huskies are really going to play at Portland? That seems a little odd to me.

Posted by seatownsports

9:33 PM, May 25, 2008

lehgih will highlight the return of jordan hamilton from the seattle prep panthers who will graduate this year

Posted by firemacnow

11:35 AM, May 26, 2008

Other than this College Basketball experience, so the non Pac-10 schedule looks like cupcake city!!! If we don't make the tourney this year with this schedule, everyone coming back and the recruiting class Ro has to be on the HOT SEAT!!!! 7 losses in a row to Wazzu is totally unacceptable, and what makes last season even worse is a first round loss in the CBI to Valpo, Ridiculous...

Posted by Martin

9:58 PM, May 26, 2008

I hope they get a decent "regional" opponent (Boise State/UNLV/BYU/St. Mary's?) as well as a big name that doesn't suck like LSU did last year.

I really hope the new AD gets it together and books Gonzaga every year. No more "he said, she said...blah, blah". Playing at Key Arena annually makes sense as it would be a home-home all the time and one cannot say it wouldn't be good for GU in Seattle.

I also hope WSU, GU and UW would work together and bring in three top tier teams for a game every year at the Key. They don't need to play each other, but USE THE momentum of the past 10 or so years (GU 1999+, UW 2005-07, WSU 2007-08) to everybody's advantage.

I would see those three play Memphis, Vandy and Tenn (?) at the Key on a Saturday in December!!!

Posted by John

2:03 AM, May 27, 2008

Yeah, exactly. There are tons of GU fans in Seattle. That would be a great new tradition.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

8:46 AM, May 27, 2008

Firemac now- Are you serious? The consistent cupcake city schedules are preciscely why the Huskies are on the outside looking in year after year. Assuming that the Huskies don't win the two necessary games in the Basketball Experience (no realistic reason to believe they will win with their track record) the only decent name on the docket is Oklahoma State who is 2nd tier themselves. Only the Huskies play in the Pac-10 will save them, and this Meatball thinks they will finish in their 7-10 customary spot. No hope until some recruits pan out.

On another note, I just finished watching some full game tapes of Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey; if Chase returns like I think he will there will be no stopping my Cats with these new additions to the likes of veterans Hill, Wise, and Horne. Blazing speed like the old days!

Posted by MT Husky

11:22 AM, May 27, 2008

4 Reasons why you may be speaking way too soon Meatball:

1. Buddinger is currently projected by Ford to go in the 1st round, Pick #21 but possibility of moving up several notches. Last year’s #21 pick is receiving more than $1.1 Million a year. Ummm...UA Soap Opera vs. millionaire? UA Soap Opera vs. millionaire? I have a pretty strong suspicion what a 21 year old kid is going to decide.

2. As a matter of fact...today Katz listed the notable players declining to participate in the Orlando pre-draft camp and how that is an indicator they now plan on entering the draft. Buddinger is on that list.

3. Jeff Withey sounds like a great kid Meatball…but any time a 7 footer is listed as lacking physical strength that is a big ‘uh-oh’.

4. Jennings looks dynamic and exciting, I’ll grant you that. But will he truly be a player who uses his skills to make everyone else around him better…or will he be a showboat and destroy team chemistry/morale?

Huskies will be fine next season, regardless of their schedule...are you really that confident about your Wildcats???

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

12:32 PM, May 27, 2008

MT Husky- If what you mean by "fine" is participating in the annual post season CBI tourney, then more power to you. Do yourself a favor and watch multiple Youtube clips of Jennings. I've fortunately recently received 3 Full Game footages of his Highschool and AAU Teams, but the clips also show you that he is a pass first point guard. The killer instinct is not rivaled, and the biggest key is that he is a proven winner. His offensive game is as explosive and complete as Allen Iverson, but yet he is more unselfish. I am in the camp that believe this kid will be more successful than Iverson when it is all said and done. Bayless recognized that it won't be his team to lead with Jennings on the court, and with an almost guaranteed Top 5 pick he has no reason to return. I see that the Sonics will likely get Jerryd, that should be beneficial to both of them.

I also have some game tape of Withey, and he looked plenty strong. At 7'0 and slender, in the UofA system he will rotate with Jordan Hill between the Center and PF spots, so I'm not worried at all how he will fare. Most highschool 7 footers are weak in comparison to college big men. Kevin Durant was considered weak.....

If Budinger is projected at 21 as Ford contends, I guarantee that he returns for his senior season. I can honestly and confidently say this MT Husky: If Chase Budinger, Brandon Jennings, Jordan Hill, Nic Wise, Jamelle Horne, and Jeff Withey are on a roster together next October, then I am in the belief that they will not only win the Pac-10 title, but they will return to the Final 4 where they belong.

FYI...from the beginning Chase's father Duncan has contended that Chase will not partake in the Orlando Pre-Draft camp and that he will likely only entertain individual team work outs, so no surprise Katz listed Budinger on that list.

Like I keep saying, be patient, the storm has already begun to settle in Tucson and once we are back dominating next year, all the fair weather fans will forget. You'll see....

Posted by MT Husky

12:56 PM, May 27, 2008

CBI nothing, we’re talkin’ NIT or bust Meatball.

No...what I mean by ‘fine’ is that Huskies have the players they missed last year to win the extra 5+ games to be in the NCAA tourney, don’t worry about that. I have one, and only one, concern about next year’s Huskies: That Romar will be able to find the right rotations where he’s got the right players on the court together and there isn’t discontent (poor chemistry) due to lack of PT for certain players.

I’m not about to predict anything regarding the 08-09 Wildcats…but I think there are a dozen or more major question marks with their program right now which you seem overly naively optimistic regarding.

Admittedly, a great point guard can make a good team great, so if the final score is truly more important than his own stats Jennings will be phenomenal for the Wildcats.

But that remains to be seen and either way, there are still so many question marks regarding the rest of the players on the Wildcat roster and the ongoing drama surrounding Olson I just read your comments and hear someone potentially setting himself up for a tremendous letdown.

This conversation is so meaningless because once again we return to, “we’ll see”. But at the same time I am as pathetic about Husky b-ball as you are with Wildcat b-ball so I’d prefer these circular/meaningless debates over nothing to get through to November tip-off.

Posted by Royal

2:03 PM, May 27, 2008

The Huskies just need to win. If they win consistently the rest will all fall into place.
.
On playing GU in Seattle, as a Huskie fan its only a good thing from my perspective if it benefits the Huskies.
.
I really like the idea of an interstate triple play that could be a very cool event. (As long as it benefits the Huskies the most)
It is not the Huskies job to make life better or easier for GU and certainly not WSU.
.
I think the plan to schedule Georgia Tech was a good one, with chances to potentially be seen by some recruits in the south. For instance the Tim Morris's and Shawn Kemp Jr's of the world. Again this type of thinking as in getting the games vs the east coast teams last year shows me that the thought process's of the powers that be seem to be right on target.
.
And my guess is that next years Huskies will have to deal with almost all of the same problems concerns and foibles as this years team and will be primarily dependent on the contributions of the kids who were here last year. 3 years ago it looked like last year was the year to count on or have high expectations. So I will temper my expectations.
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As the team tries to incorporate 5 frosh next year with the hyper competitive Pac-10 I suspect that they will not be able to make everyone happy. Unless they run and trap and substitute liberally. The Huskies could very well have too much similar talent to keep everyone happy.
.
Regardless it ought to be a fun season go Huskies!

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

2:06 PM, May 27, 2008

MT Husky- Yup, agreed.

Posted by firemacnow

3:53 PM, May 27, 2008

Hey Meatball, You really need to try and keep better tabs on YOUR team...1rst of all, Brandon Jennings hasn't even qualified academically yet.
2. Chas Is gone!! you think he really wants to go back to Zona as its constructed.
3. There all-american PF Eduwauna..or whatever, was just released from his scholorship.
4. Nick Wise is talking about transfering as well
5. Josh Pastner Zona's best recruiter, is on his way to Memphis, and rumor has it will be taking Abdul Gaddy with him
6. Along with U-dub you lost out on Peyton Siva...
So I don't see how you can see 08-09 as so promising!!!!

Posted by AZ Dog

6:04 PM, May 27, 2008

This is the National schedule they dropped Gonzaga to play?? Hey Lorenzo you forgot tghe Little Sisters of the Poor.......

AZ Dog

Posted by GU fan in AZ

7:19 PM, May 27, 2008

GU VS UW iat Key arena? I say this with respect. Not fair. Not a nuetral court even though there are tons of GU fans their. Travel time to Seattle in the alumni paid for jet is 1/2 hour or so I understand, but, still an away game. I like the back and forth games that were played for years. The rivaly is, or at least was heated. Nothing like heating that rivaly when playing at each others site. I just don't like the "nuetral" court idea. If thats the case, perhaps GU play at Key every other year and in between years the game is played in Spokane at the Spokane arena???
There are a ton of UW alum in Spokane.
Look at it from GU's perspective. What if GU said they would play UW each year but only on a nuetral site which is the Spokane arena?
Overall, this is a game that never should have gone away, especially with UW beafing up as much as they have with the new incoming classes.

Posted by Agree

10:58 PM, May 27, 2008

Agreed GU fan...not really fair when it's flipped like that. If anything, UW should play each year in SP to make a point of being the bigger, better, PAC ten team and being aboe to win on the road.

Posted by jed

11:10 AM, May 28, 2008

Royal,

I agree with a lot of your thoughts; especially those about scheduling.

I think for the UW to make a significant rise in the Pac-10 standings several of the incoming freshman or other new players, i.e. Gant or Holiday will have to provide big contributions and the team will have to totally buy into the defense, physical play, rebounding, running when able scheme. Liberal substitution is the Romar way at its best. I still remember an opposing coach in Romar's heyday saying the UW was a whole team of athletic small forwards who they send in in waves and were all over the court. We need more of that

Posted by UWWWYA

4:57 PM, May 28, 2008

I agree GU.

Posted by Royal

12:10 AM, May 29, 2008

Jed, I agree with you as well but the question is can we do that? I mean can the UW comfortably and liberally substitute considering how the coach wants them to play and the lead time it takes to train them in the UW schemes?
.
Especially considering the talent levels they have.
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For example when you look at the point guard play next year where can Coach comfortably go to for solid play in a clutch situation?
.
If you recall this year Dentmen was supposedly more comfortable as a shooting guard and not being relied upon as a play maker where as Overton was a sometimes play maker, who to be honest was not an offensive threat in league play.
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As much as I like them and their play neither of those guys has shown enough to be relied upon or to the point that we have at least a tie or an advantage at that position.
.
If you put both of them on the floor at once you not only become small but small and limited. And as much as I like Isiah Thomas having him on the floor with Dentman or Overton makes your team very very small and inexperienced.
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Ammaning our stud recruit last year took 1 full season to become a solid contributor.
.
Point being that if it takes 2-3 years to learn to play the "Husky way" then counting on large contributions from the incoming freshman doesn't seem to be a reasonable conclusion.
.
Which is all fine and dandy as far as I am concerned I. Because I am still 100% a Husky fan. (You hear that QP? I am with you 100% ) But it seems to me that the Huskies will have to answer the same questions that have been there for the team the last 2 seasons.
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Those being:
.
Team defense
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Transition offense/Husky style imposing their will on the other teams.
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Offensive play and execution in late game situations.
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Related to that consistent winning guard play
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And last but not least team free throw shooting.(My Huskies were in the running for the worst percentage in the Nation!?!)
.
In my opinion these things have to be answered before they as a team can proceed. And it just doesn't seem plausible or likely that a new recruit or even 2 or 5 incoming frosh are the real answers for these major team-wide concerns.
.
Now mind you I do not think the Huskies will suck next season,not at all its just that they have to do some real work to get to where they want to be.

Posted by MT Husky

8:43 AM, May 29, 2008

Royal,

You make several valid points, but I guess I’m more optimistic then you are.

First, regarding point guard play. You’re right that Overton wasn’t an offensive threat, I’m hoping that is an issue he’ll really work on during the off-season. But at the same time, at the end of the season I think he started realizing he can blow by most defenders when he drives to the basket.

Look for him to do that more often and more consistently this season which will create so many more opportunities because he is a terrific passer. All he needs to do is improve on his ‘finishing’ and I am very excited about him at PG.

Second, why would you want Dentmon on the court, ever? He is terrible defensively, if stats were tracked for points given up because of poor defense , Dentmon certainly averaged more than anyone on the team save Appleby. He also sees the floor very poorly (watch how many times he forces up shots when a teammate is wide open for a better shot) and makes poor decisions with the ball. I’m permanently excluding him from any of my projected successful rotations.

If it took every player 2 or 3 years to learn the ‘husky way’ as you put it, then Huskies won’t be much improved next season. But it shouldn’t take that long, and assuming it doesn’t here is the rotation for the coming season:

If Overton can elevate his game as outlined above (which is very realistic) he’ll be the clutch PG.

I’m hoping/trusting/believing MBA will also have figured things out for the coming year and I love the foursome of Overton, MBA, Brockman and QP on the floor. That right there is the rotation we need and should be in at crunch time. (and you accurately commented that it took a year but MBA did become a solid contributor…and working out with the British team this summer will only help that much more).

Shooting guard then can be IT, Suggs or Joel Smith. If any one of those three can be solid then now that’s a very good 5-man rotation, if 2 of them can be solid (if not great) then that’s a pretty dynamic 6 man rotation.

Other subs coming in can be dependent on who has the ‘hot hand’ or taking advantage of mismatches, such as: Holiday, Gant (look at his stats his Sr. year of high school, he’s athletic, can leap out of the gym, a good shot and sees the floor well - he could really end up being more of a contributor than anyone is accounting for), Wallace, etc.

It will only take a slight improvement in their games by a couple returning players for Huskies to really improve and one or two of the freshmen to come in as advertised. If those 2 happen and Romar puts the right guys on the floor then Huskies are Tourney Bound.

One side-note…QP is a conundrum, but he is too gifted to not begin to recognize what he is capable of on the floor. There is every reason to believe he’ll break out this coming season. Again, Huskies were not that far away from being really good last season…improved play by only 3 players (QP, Overton and MBA for example) and you’ll see a big difference in the win column.

The above is perhaps optimistic, but it is also realistic and reasonable, if not probable. The rotation of Overton/MBA/Brockman/QP and IT-Suggs-Smith will play good team defense, good guard play and will execute well in late game situations - thus answering all of your questions other than FT shooting…which since every player on the team had their worst season of their career will also be improved.

I don’t disagree with you per se (there are quite a few ‘ifs’)….I just think my optimism regarding Huskies next season is easily justified.

Posted by pattymc

11:35 AM, May 29, 2008

I'd love to see Romar go small and press more to push the pace and try to keep the tempo guys like Overton can be successful. QPon looked great last year when he matched up against the second big like Bobby Jones used to (our best lineups were basically our 3 most skilled players, plus Jones and Rollins/Brockman). Also, Brockman won't have as many double teams to mismanage, and our weaknesses in running slow down sets will be less exposed. We should have the athleticism to do it this year...

Posted by jed

9:24 PM, May 29, 2008

I am somewhat optimistic regarding next year.

I was not down on Hawes when he was here as he contributed a lot. The biggest problem with that team was virtually no perimeter defense with opposing players getting into the lane at will; Hawes and Brock had to shift over to try and stop their penetration repeatedly. On offense the perimeter guys were very inexperienced and ineffective. The offense primarily involved passing the ball inside to Hawes or Brockman. The team was not mentally or physically tough.

They showed a huge amount of improvement last year will Romar rightfully preaching defense. Last year still lacked offensive talent on the perimeter especially with no one to step up at the end of games but the team really played with grit, tenacity and mental toughness. Look at the wins against UA, and UCLA and the double OT performance against WSU on the road, plus the last road game against Stanford. In the Pac-10 Tourney they could have folded several times against Cal and it easily could have been a 20 pt blowout but they didn't panic and kept it close to the very end.

My concerns for next year are several. I am hoping Artem returns as he provides a lot on defense with rebounding and toughness. Ask the Lopez brothers and Love who were the toughest guys they played against ( Love commented specifically after the season about Brock and Artem). MBA has more upside especially on offense but I'm not sure he will be at Artem's level defensively. My suspicion is that Bresheers will give valuable inside defensive minutes.

I like QP's work ethic and he is ready to excel. Having better perimeter mates especially a point guard who can direct the game flow would help a lot. VO was not an offensive threat but he has a very high upside; he can go around anyone on the perimeter and despite being short is an asset on defense. I think it will take longer before he learns to finish at the hoop like Nate but he will learn to kick back out to open guys on the perimeter. We need a lot more reliable fire power from the outside. Outside shooting was a weakness last year. That's where I think IT, Suggs and possibly Turner will help. I am not very enthusiastic about Dentmon and Smith not because they aren't giving everything they have but we need more talent. They have already been here for several years. To Dentmon's credit often at the end of games no one wanted to step up with the game on the line and he would then try to carry the team on his back. He often was not successful.

It will be interesting to see what Gant brings. Play Holiday; he will find ways to help you win.

Posted by MT Husky

10:17 AM, May 30, 2008

Jed those are good additional comments.

I want to clarify that I don’t include Wallace in any starting projections because I’m skeptical as to when he’ll be able to be back at 100% and with the belief MBA’s continued development and athleticism will earn him the starting role and Wallace used for appropriate match-ups.

Regarding Dentmon, you are right he does give 100%, which I love. I wish every player brought the desire and effort he brings…IF he can learn to play smarter defensively and can learn to hit the open guy offensively rather than forcing up a shot…then that is different. Unfortunately though his decision making hasn’t equaled his effort and that has hurt the Huskies too often.

With Smith, keep in mind he shot over 40% from beyond the arc last season and is a terrific slasher. My suspicion is he came out tentative last season due to his return from injury and then never really found his role on the team. But this season if he can do what he does best (nail the open 3 and slash to the hoop) he’ll be a great asset.

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