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

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June 11, 2008 9:42 AM

Pondexter note from FOX

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports wrote a little while ago on his blog that he planned to post an item on every Division-I team in the country this off-season

Yesterday, he got around to writing about UW, with a brief note reporting that Lorenzo Romar says he thinks Quincy Pondexter is poised for a breakout year next season and that Pondexter "has been great'' in spring workouts.

Goodman notes that Romar holds that belief despite the fact that Pondexter's scoring and shooting numbers each dropped last year from his freshman season, which is true --- scoring from 10.7 to 9.9. and shooting from .498 to .452.

However, the scoring went up last season when considering only Pac-10 games --- from 8.4 as a freshman to 9.8 last season.

And what I think Romar finds more relevant statistically is Pondexter's output the last eight games of the season when he averaged 13.25 points per game, scoring nine or more in every contest (double figures in six of them). Pondexter also shot 40-75 in that stretch and averaged 6.75 rebounds (compared to 4.8 for the season). All of those games were against Pac-10 teams or Valparaiso, which the coaches think give the numbers even further validity.

ON NBA OFFICIATING --- I see a few of you used the comments section to muse on the big NBA news of yesterday --- Tim Donaghy's claims of tainted officiating in past playoff games. I've always resisted being a conspiracy theorist. But as a longtime Sonics follower (I attended my first game in 1970) who has sadly witnessed the disgraceful manner in which David Stern has handled the situation here (blatantly lying and spinning the evidence to make it fit his wishes) I am now willing to believe anything Donaghy or anyone else says about the league. I'll admit I couldn't help thinking that the NBA needed the Lakers to win last night when all those whistles kept going against the Celtics early on. That's the bed Stern has made with many of us up here.


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Posted by MT Husky

10:57 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Huskies are only a few “Ifs” away from being propelled into the upper half of the Pac-10 next season. QPon having a break-out season is one of those “ifs”.

He is one of the best athletes in the Pac-10 and has the ability and potential to be a dominating offensive presence…which then defenses would be unable to focus so much on Brockman, allowing him to play his more natural role and dominate that much more…it would also open up the perimeter for someone like Joel Smith (who is an excellent 3 point threat despite his other criticisms) or even other open jump shots from others (for another one of QP’s strength is he has excellent court vision ).

Hard to not get excited at this prospect. Sometimes teams lose a player that until he’s gone they didn’t realize how much he made everyone else that much better (Brandon Roy). But then sometimes teams only need that one player to step up and suddenly a ‘mediocre’ team suddenly becomes ‘great’. QP just might be that guy.

Posted by Stern - the a$$ end of the vessel

11:00 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Totally agree on Stern/The NBA. He and the league totally lack credibility at this point.
On Q-pon - and I hope I'm wrong - I just don't think he has that innate basketball IQ that makes a good player great. I do think he is physically gifted. Again, I hope I'm wrong. If he could bust out that would be a nice front court with him and Brockman complementing each other nicely.

Posted by KeiferNandez

11:01 AM, Jun 11, 2008

I seem to remember Romar making similar comments about Pondexter last year as well.

Unless he can suddenly beat people off the dribble, I expect more of the same. He generally needs someone to get him the ball while cutting through the lane, or he needs wide open looks.

Until Quincy can get to the rim on his own with ball in hand, I don't foresee a "breakout" anytime soon.

Posted by MT Husky

11:31 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Kiefer, would you say that QPon lacks the physical ability to beat people off the dribble and get to the rim with the ball in his hand?

I don’t think he is lacking those physical gifts. There have been too many flashes where’s he’s exhibited that ability.

So then why hasn’t he done it consistently? It would have to be a mental/confidence issue.

But the latter half of the season he showed more and more the recognition that most of the guys on the floor couldn’t stop him.

I don’t recall which game it was, but in one of the Pac-10 games in the latter half of the season he suddenly took the ball up over someone for a dunk. As I recall he missed the dunk, got fouled and hit the ground hard…but none-the-less it was one of those instances where not only did you see that explosive ability….you could also see in his body language, “wait a minute…no one out here can stop that.”

If QP did lack the physical gifts to do those things I wouldn’t have the optimism I do…and you are right, Romar did make similar comments a year ago…and prior to QPon’s freshmen season I still remember BRoy making comments after scrimmaging with the Huskies how much QPon impressed him…but that only tells me they are all seeing these things in practice and scrimmages, QPon CAN do those things…he just hasn’t figured out how to bring it to the game…yet.

I just don’t think there isn’t any good reason to think this coming season we won’t finally see the QPon Romar and BRoy saw 2 years ago.

Posted by htc

12:02 PM, Jun 11, 2008

KeiferNandez hit on a key point -- QPon and the rest of the Huskies of 07/08 just couldn't create their own scoring opportunities. QPon can't take guys off the dribble because he can only go one way -- defenders always overplay him to force him to try to go to his left. That is why I am so excited about Isaiah Thomas. He will make all of these guys better. He has the ability to consistently penetrate and score or pass. Venoy (and to a lesser extent Dentmon) could usually get by his man off the dribble but then it usually leads to an out of control turnover. IT could make HUGE difference this year.

Posted by Husky19

12:35 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Fire Stern, Fire Stern.

I think this guy should step down. There are way too many incidents of impropriety or implied impropriety during his tenure that his credibility is shot.

He is a man, like many in top positions, that has succumb to the pressures put on by rich influential people and media markets.

Lakers are a top draw and as controversial as Kobe is (you either love him or hate him) he draws crowds. If Boston swept the series and won, it would be bad for the NBA with a huge loss in ticket sales etc...

I think Stern is a joke and a puppet.

Posted by mattysimone

12:39 PM, Jun 11, 2008

no stern is the puppet master along with all the other owners.....he is the nba! on fox they were talking about why KG wasnt going inside...because stern is playin this series like he is on xbox live! it will go 7 and and I Hate to say but the lakers will win...I hope im wrong

QP will blow up this year.......I see lots of nasty lobs from VO and IT

Posted by Husky19

12:44 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Q-Pon will be a stud next yea.

What people most over look is his unbeleiveable ability to pass the ball. He just doesn't do it enough to be recognized.

Toward the end of last season, you could really sense his confidence growing and that can be validated by the increase in scoring average and rebounds. In the last few games he took a few dunk up over people and it was awesome!

His outside shooting is ok but he can definitely take people off the dribble and create his own shot. Appleby couldn't but Q-Pon can. Once he realizes his role on the team is to be the floor leader he will flourish. You can teach and coach and teach but until that kid makes that changes inside of him, nothing matters. I think Quincy will finally turn that corner (internally) and really take over.

At 6'6" or 6'7" he creates all kinds of mismatches. Remember his high school teammates were the Lopez twins so in high school he never had to take that floor general role. It took him a few years but he'll get there!

Posted by Husky19

12:55 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Plus with a influx of talented scorers (FINALLY!) I think Q-Pon and Brockman will be freed up a bit.

Appleby could shoot but he was not a good scorer. IT and Suggs are good scorers and this will be apparent once they hit the floor.

Venoy is not a great shooter but is a great defensive PG, Joel Smith is not a great scorer but a good role player, Dentmon is one of the better scorers on the team but is not a true PG but too small for SG, Holiday is a young Bobby Jones tough but average shooter.

You see, other then Brockman, UW did not have any true scorers. Romar and Co would have loved to have Q-Pon step up last year and be that guy (he does have all the ability) but he wasn't mentally ready.

This year I believe he will be ready. Then you throw in IT (unbelieveable scorer) and Suggs (a young B Roy) and all of a sudden this team looks pretty good.

UW was not far last year from being a great team but there was not that consistent scoring ability from anyone other then brockman. Now we potentially have 3 great scorers other than Brockman.

Venoy will not need to be counted on the score so when he does it will be a bonus. MBA is also coming along and will add a post presence along with Breashers (who I think will be a beast like Brockman). Wolfinger will be a match up center against bigger slower guys but he is needed and Gant will be a wild card. Turner will add depth until it's his turn starting his So year.

Posted by G ANDREINI

1:08 PM, Jun 11, 2008

GOOD FOR YOU ON YOUR CANDID AND TRUTHFULL REMARKS REGARDING THE NBA.

ITS OBVIOUS TO MOST THAT THE LEAGUE IS ABOUT SHOW BUSINESS, USING A SPORTS PLATFORM. WHAT SURPRISES ME IS THAT MANY KNOW IT, BUT DON'T CARE. (JUST PASS THE BEER!)

Posted by mattysimone

1:36 PM, Jun 11, 2008

19 your very rite!!! but dont forget one of those will be gone or have to come up with money for school......if usc can do it will cant we? haha JK I think were gonna go back to the old style....and that didnt include a big man when we went to the 16s...burley....but not big..........and oh so true about the finals.....but that could be said about the economy too....nobody cares because there is nothing we can do about it but sit back drink a beer and eat some popcorn. ewwww the price of corn has skyrocketed though.....

Posted by wayupwaydown

1:51 PM, Jun 11, 2008

The thing I have noticed the most about QP is his hands. I think they are terrible. He gets stripped of the ball a lot and he is not a great ball handler.

Until he gets better at protecting the ball and dribbling, he won't have the impact he should. I think he is out of control a lot, and mostly it is because he can't hold onto the ball.

Just my humble obsevation and opinion.

Posted by 206er

2:32 PM, Jun 11, 2008

i'm not sure q pon will have an all pac 10 year, but i'd look for good progress. he needs to be relied upon for offense. i think he can get by defenders off the dribble. i'd like to see him showcase his one on one game more this year. should be fun to watch. anything less then 13 or 14 pts./game is a disapointment to me.

about stern, i sure hope this materializes. if we cna enforce the supes lease, and stern has a bunch of scandals on his hands, a change in leadership would be nice. one that won't abandon seattle.

go dawgs! go supes!

Posted by junkman

3:17 PM, Jun 11, 2008

NBA fixing of games by refs should be no surprise - and Sonics' fans have gotten a real clear picture of what Stern is capable of. I watched that 2002 Kings-Lakers game and could not believe my eyes. But it wasn't any more egregious than the 1993 Sonics-Suns game 7 which was an obvious effort to have the popular Charles Barkley advance with the Suns. According to Lester Munson of ESPN this could lead to a full-fledged investigation of the NBA which would be great. Slimeball Stern is soon going to be on really shaky ground. Everyone was talking about why the home team won the first 20 something playoff games this year - it wasn't the home court as much as the one-sided refereeing which was obvious.

As for QPon, I just don't see him as a dominating player because of his inability to dribble or pass - he palms the ball everytime he dribbles and unfortunately the Pac10 has been cracking down on that. Still he appears to be improving and should be a big contributor to the team next year offensively and defensively.

Posted by Menelaus

4:37 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Bob - Do you recall Game 2 of the 1996 NBA Finals when Michael Jordan was given a technical foul early in the game and then upon getting called with another foul he got right up in the referee's face and argued the call? From my memory, that moment SCREAMED for a 2nd T (and Jordan's ejection) but it never came and Jordan was allowed to badger the official right there on national TV.

I don't think a "conspiracy" is necessarily the word for it, but clearly the NBA lacks credibility for presenting an honest game. Fouls (called or not) are completely arbitrary at times, and star players are undoubtedly given star treatment. This Donaghy thing may not go back that far ('96), but would ANY of us be surprised if some other official came out from that very game?

Posted by jed

4:43 PM, Jun 11, 2008

QP clearly has the physical ability of go around people, get into the lane and to the rim. B. Roy's comments about QP after scrimmaging against him were specifically lauding his ability to penetrate and drive. He said QP would be exceptional.

QP has tried to improve his defense and all around team play but has seemed hesitant on offense and uncertain. Too much delay with too much thinking instead of confidently playing your offensive game.
Toward the end of the season he was more relaxed and played with less inhibitions; in part I think because he knew we were under manned and he had no choice (e.g. the Cal game with no Brockman and the Valpo game). I specifically remember him scoring repeatedly in the Valpo game and at one point driving the lane from the wing and choosing to shoot a two foot jumper in front of the rim which would have probably allowed us to win. He missed the shot. The commentator specifically said in the future he will learn to take that shot right to the rim and dunk it; i.e. the commentator had no doubt this guy had the physical ability to do it.

QP will be great before this is over but he has a ways to go. Really it took B. Roy four years and he was a real tear in HS.

I am loathe to lay the season exclusively on the shoulders of any one or two players. Multiple players are going to have to improve. Perimeter play especially on offense was poor last year yet they played some very gritty tough games getting some wins that WSU with one of its best teams in 110 years couldn't accomplish. They did this will defense, rebounding, team effort and heart. I could not have been more proud of them than in the Cal game in the Pac-10 tourney; it was a loss but without Brockman the whole team played their heart out really trying to win and move on. Several times the game was on the verge of getting out of hand(i.e. blow out) but they did not panic and kept coming back in a position to win even at the very end.

You hate to expect too much from true freshmen. I was pleased with Hawes play but while talented Oliver and Nelson were not ready to play at a high level in this league. Having said that I believe IT will score; especially from the outside. He has had two years playing in an elite prep league and dominating there.

Suggs, Holiday, ?Gant will help. VO has all the skills as does Brock and MBA. Breeshers will probably be a significant contributor at times on defense and rebounding.

Posted by Old Timer

6:15 PM, Jun 11, 2008

To Menelaus - yes it does go back that far - I started watching the NBA in he 60's, and game fixing (ala WWE) was rampant then. They needed a villian to draw interest, so Boston was selected. I vividly recall one final, where Boston was behind by 1 with ten seconds to go, and they missed their shot; the Lakers rebounded and Tom Egan had a breakaway up court; John Havilicek and Sam Jones tackled him from behind. Egan hit the floor, the ball went out of bounds, so the ref gave it to Boston; Sanders hit a jumper from 40 ft to win.
While in the NY area, I heard a talk radio host interview the head ref - he said he held "training" during the off-season - "Isn't it hard to get them together?" "No, 80% of the refs are from New England, anyway." And then he admitted that the refs are told to consider the game situation, especially late, when making a call.
Then there was the 90's - the Lakers-Suns final game (92? 93?), I saw the refs at tip-off and knew the Suns would win. The redheaded ref had the Lakers losing over 90% of the games he called over several years. I finally wrote a letter to Jerry West pointing that out, and that ref was never seen again.
Now, I caught part of the Detroit-Boston game 6 - when I tuned in, Detroit was up by 10 with about 8 minutes to go, and one ref took over with 3 bogus calls in a row, so I turned it off knowing thefinal result.
In game 2 of the current series, Boston got 39 FT to LA's 11. I didn't see any of game 3, but I can imagine the refs were told to make the series go 7 games.
Donaghy fits right into that culture - but I believe I saw it 45 years ago as well.
PS - Stern didn't start it.

Posted by MT Husky

6:46 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Jed,

I agree with your comments 100%. Well said.

And for the record, I personally wasn't pinning Husky's hopes on QPon (one player), I consider him one of the many "ifs" that if occur then Huskies will have greater success..

There are a multitude of players on the Huskies who if they can improve their game even a little or in one specific area (like VO learning to finish)...or if any of the freshmen (or more than one) meet or exceed their hype...then Huskies will be very good.

However, of all the Huskies I think QPon has the most natural physical skills and even if he is the only one who elevates his game the Huskies will still be a much improved team.

Posted by Formerly Guest

9:37 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Jed,

I agree that Brandon Roy improved over his 4 years, but could have been a dominant centerpiece from the midpoint of his sophomore year on.

He was deferring to Nate and Conroy, to keep the team balanced and for chemistry.

Pondexter has been a productive player, who will hopefully blossom into a star playmaker within the next 1-2 years. But I think it is unfair to him and unrealistic to hope he turns out like Brandon, and to expect his career to have the same trajectory year to year.

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:52 PM, Jun 11, 2008

One added thought on Pondexter --- They did a lot more to post him up at the end of the season and he seemed to have a lot more success in that role. I would expect more of that next season. Obviously, he gives up some height at times inside. But he also was a tough matchup the other way. If you remember, he had some great moments in both Cal games late essentially playing the four, as he did in the game at WSU (when he fouled out pretty early but played well while in the game).

As for the NBA officiating stuff, I don't remember that sequence in Game Two of 1996. But to me, that people like Menalaus are bringing up plays like that is the whole point of the problem the NBA has right now. Just about anything that seemed suspicious at the time (such as the 93 finals) seems even more suspicious now. Given my disgust with Stern over the Sonics' situation, I have no sympathy.

Jed --- I think you make a good point that the season can't be laid at the feet of just a couple of players. And next year, UW should again have the kind of depth that it won't have to be.


Posted by MT Husky

6:34 AM, Jun 12, 2008

With his athleticism, court awareness and ability to hit the jumper it seems to me QP would be the most effectively used by running the ball through him in the high post.

Posted by Stern is a crook

7:25 AM, Jun 12, 2008

Hey, could be true. I will never forget the NBA record of fouls called in the Sonics vs Phoenix (including Barkley) play off game.

Posted by seuimdawgbob

7:41 AM, Jun 12, 2008

I think Qpon will have a very good year, I don't compare him with Broy. With the other new kids and lots back UW will place 3 or 4 in Pac.

I don't care about Stern. I don't care about the NBA refs. I don't care about the NBA games. I don't care about the NBA.

Win Huskies!

Posted by Scott

7:56 AM, Jun 12, 2008

Qpon needs an uptempo game to be successful. I think he'll get that this year. He's best in the open court. Having success in the open court should result in more confidence in the half court game.

From another web site...
June 5, 1993: Suns-Sonics Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in Phoenix. In the series' first six games, Phoenix shot 15 more free throws than Seattle, a testament to the Suns' scrambling, clawing style of play.

Game 7 was a lot different:
The Suns attempted 64 free throws in the game, making 57 (still an NBA playoff record). Seattle shot 36 free throws -- only 10 more than Phoenix
had in the third quarter alone.

Posted by Cougfan

6:40 AM, Jun 13, 2008

Jed, I guess that makes the huskies a better team than WSU last year because they beat a couple of teams the COugs did not. Way to throw that in. What's important is the COugs won both games and made it to the Sweet 16. I guess the Cougs squeaked out a couple of games that the uw couldn't, eh?

Posted by jed

10:57 AM, Jun 13, 2008

Cougfan,

Sorry for the cheap shot at WSU. WSU had a good team and except against UW I always root for them. The point I was making was that with very marginal talent on the perimeter the UW gave WSU and a number of other really good teams ( Pitt, Stanford, UA, UCLA) all they could handle. They did this will defense, effort, team play, grit, rebounding and heart. If they play like that this year with the necessary upgrade in perimeter talent, better outside shooting (a real weakness last year), a few playmakers at the end of games and hit some FTs the sky is the limit.

Posted by Cougfan

11:51 AM, Jun 13, 2008

Jed: Not a problem. I just found it annoying when I read it.

Posted by MT Husky

12:00 PM, Jun 13, 2008

And Cougfan, when I read the comment I took it as a compliment to WSU and an indictment to the status of the UW program that it's considered an accomplisment to pick up a win against a team WSU lost to. I guess I read it that way because that is how I viewed it...if UW beat a team that WSU didn't then the gap that has existed between the two teams the past few years is diminished.

Cougfan, you've been awfully silent but what do you think of the WSU recruiting class? What's your projection for Coug success next season?

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