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

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July 14, 2008 10:24 AM

Monday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- Billy Packer is out as the lead analyst at CBS, and in this story it is said that he will "pursue other projects in basketball.'' Maybe one of those could be discovering that there is something called the Pac-10 Conference. Okay, maybe a cheap shot on the way out for Packer, who probably won't be real relevant nationally anymore. But I think if you look up "East coast bias'' in the dictionary, you'll see his picture.

--- Andy Katz in his Insider column today writes that UCLA's game at UW Jan. 24 looms as one of the two biggest to watch on UCLA's schedule for the 2008-09 season. "The Huskies seem to be the sleeper team in the Pac-10,'' Katz writes, "with the return of Jon Brockman in the post and the anticipation that Quincy Pondexter can have a breakout season.'' One quibble is that Katz writes UCLA's game at UW "could turn out to be a difficult game again.'' Hard to imagine how the trip to Seattle could be much more difficult for UCLA than it has been the last four years, all wins by the Huskies.

--- This is a few days old, but the Louisville Courier-Journal has this story on all the rising high school talent in Seattle and how the University of Louisville hopes to get as much of it as it can. The story includes some good updates on the recruiting processes of some of those players.

--- The New York Daily News has this look at whether the recent decision by Brandon Jennings to spend a year in Europe will become a trend. It includes a quote from Lorenzo Romar saying that he figured some player would try this eventually.

--- While Katz says UW may be a sleeper in the Pac-10, this writer from says he thinks defensive problems will doom the Huskies to another bottom-tier finish. He says UW "ranked last or near last in the Pac-10 in numerous defensive categories.'' Technically true, especially if you look at stats for the entire season (UW improved in most of its defensive stats when taking into account only Pac-10 games) But at the risk of nitpicking, I'd say that's a little too simplistic. UW hasn't been the greatest defensive team the last few years and it was a big problem early last season. But in what just about anyone would say is the most relevant defensive category --- field goal percentage defense --- UW was actually fourth in Pac-10 play at 44.1 percent. Looming as just as big --- if not bigger --- problems last year were free throw shooting and three-point shooting (the Huskies were ninth ahead of only the offensively woeful Beavers). UW coaches are confident each of those will improve this season with the influx of the three new guards and maturity in other players. The author does have a point about shot-blocking, though that's another area UW was better during Pac-10 play than the entire season, ranking eighth in the conference at 2.11 per game, ahead of Cal and Oregon and not really that far behind WSU (2.67), generally regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the nation, making you wonder how crucial that really is.

--- Demar DeRozan, whom some say could be the first pick in the NBA Draft next year, has apparently gotten a passing SAT score, making him eligible to play at USC.

All for now.

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Posted by Trevor

12:12 PM, Jul 14, 2008

The Huskies haven't shown that they can run plays on offense either. For years they have shown very little motion off the ball, and generally look for saviors (Roy, Hawes, Brockman) to bail them out as the shot clock runs down. Chaos ball sometimes works because of raw talent, but it indicates coaching issues as much if not more than the defensive struggles. I was shocked to see ValPo look more together on fundamentals than the UW, despite the great talent disparity. Bone is missed.

Posted by 206er

3:55 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I think this is the most telented husky team in a while though. from a talent standpoint i don't think there are many teams in the pac 10 who have significantly better pieces than the huskies. ucla and asu and maybe usc, but other than that i think the dawgs stack up pretty well. in terms of shot blocking, i hope mba gets more minutes and makes a difference in that dept. he's got a 7'3" wingspan and in his second year should be more confident.

Posted by marc

7:07 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Rubio will be the 1st pick in the NBA Draft 2009

Posted by marc

7:18 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Looks like Will Conroy is playing the Cavs now after a short stint with New Jersey in Orlando! Also, Bobby Jones was 2 for 5 from 3 point range yesterday. Also of note, undrafted CJ Giles played yesterday in Vegas NBA Summer League.

Posted by bp

7:42 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I couldn't agree with Trevor more. The sad truth is that Romar is a great recruiter but a very poor XO coach. He *says* all the right things but the team on the court never reflect his words. 1 season here and there, I could understand but pretty much every season since the Roy, et al left is like that. UW has talent, they just don't seem to have a clue about what they *want* to do on the court. Chaos is fine, but with the old Arkansas teams (the masters of chaos), everyone knew exactly what the goal was and what their roles were. I don't see that with UW. I see a team completely unsure of their identity. The Sweet 16 teams had a unifying identity. Romar didn't create it, those players did. That was a unique and special event, but it isn't sustainable and we are seeing that now. Every good program has an identity. A stamp where you know what they want to do and they do it so well, you simply can't stop it. I haven't seen that the past few years. Not winning is a failure by the coaching staff to communicate and teach. It is a failure of the staff to get the players to buy-in, as they say. That isn't on the players, that is on the coaches. It is the single hardest thing to do as a coach but at the level we are taking (Pac-10 DI) it is not an option. You must possess it. Your team will show it if you do. Right now UW as a team, tells me Romar doesn't have it. At least right now with this program.

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