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

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July 17, 2008 12:04 PM

A mid-summer's review

Posted by Bob Condotta

As mentioned a few days ago, I watched the Huskies during one of their informal workouts on Monday.

I don't think it was one of their better days --- a little sloppy at times --- and I always caution against reading too much into one of these. That said, here are a few thoughts and observations:

--- As mentioned Monday, Joe Wolfinger, Artem Wallace and Tryeese Breshers remain out with injuries, so just 10 players played. One was Jon Brockman, coming back from ankle surgery and nowhere near 100 percent yet.

--- I'd heard reports that Matthew Bryan-Amaning looks like a much better player, and what I saw bore that out. He was really aggressive in the post, admittedly working against a less-than-100-percent Brockman, and also showed a lot of overall skills not always evident last season. He ended one game --- they typically play to 10 --- by dribbling up court and then pulling up and making a three-pointer (not something you would see often, if ever, in a game, but indicative of why the coaches rave about his potential).

I talked with him for a little while afterward and he said he feels stronger than last season, having added 5-6 pounds over the off-season and said he weighs "235-240 pounds with no shoes on.'' He added that "I feel a lot stronger and I'm able to do stuff easier now,'' he said. "I've just been in the weight room a lot.''

He also said a season working against Brockman has helped his post moves. "One thing people don't understand about Jon is how fast he is,'' Bryan-Amaning said. He also said he's been working on his jumper and thinks that will become more of a weapon for him next season. "It's a lot more consistent,'' he said.

MBA will be leaving next week to play for Great Britain's U-20 team in the European Championships, and then will return to England for more workouts and tryouts with that team, which is beginning preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London. He could be gone until the end of September.

--- I wrote about Isaiah Thomas' potential impact today (see post below) and the addition of Thomas, Scott Suggs and Elston Turner definitely changes the complexion of the team's offense. There's no question the team will run more now. "You have to have athletes to run up and down the floor and we've definitely added some high-level athletes,'' Brockman said.

--- Turner has impressed teammates with his shot-making ability. "He can really shoot it,'' said guard Justin Dentmon. At one point, Turner curled off a screen about 22-feet away, caught, popped and swished, looking downright Appleby-esque. But I was also impressed with his mid-range game. He hit several runners, maybe 8-10 feet away or so, and seems to have a more-developed all-around game than maybe his reputation as a shooter would indicate. He also seems an able defender.

--- Suggs, listed at 6-6, 190, does look like he could use a little more bulk. Thomas, who is Suggs' roommate this summer, said "the only thing he's missing is strength and that will come.'' Dentmon said Suggs is "real athletic'' while Bryan-Amaning said Suggs is "real smooth'' and that "he can get out and shoot it, too.''

--- Dentmon frankly might have been the most productive player on the floor the day I watched, making a bevy of long-range jumpers and all kinds of plays on defense. He once just ripped the ball right out of Thomas' hands. I asked Dentmon if he's motivated by the influx of new guards, which could obviously threaten his playing time. "It's definitely a personal challenge,'' he said. "That's why I'm trying to push myself and just work hard.'' Dentmon said he's not really any bigger than he was a year ago but thinks he's in even better shape. "I'm just trying to really push these guys and get them on the same page,'' he said. "It would be horrible not to make it to the tournament for a third straight time.''

--- Venoy Overton is working on his offensive game this summer and I saw some glimpses of that, though on this day, there were a few extra players there (Phil Nelson, etc., as alluded to earlier) and he simply wasn't on the floor a lot while I was watching. But it sounds as if Thomas and Overton are beginning to form a good relationship on and off the floor and Thomas said he thinks the two could play together well even if their size might seem a defensive disadvantage. "I think we can play together a lot,'' Thomas said. "Will (Conroy) and Nate (Robinson) were small guards but they were getting after it and being fast. Me and him having that swagger we have, it will be hard for a lot of teams to stop us.''

--- Quincy Pondexter is wearing a beard ("just something different for the summer,'' he said, adding he had a "Rick Ross-Kimbo Slice thing going on.'') Pondexter appears to be working on his perimeter game --- he spent a fair share of time bringing the ball up the court --- and he had some nice moves in transition. Frankly, Pondexter always looks good in these kinds of things, but we all know the real test for him will come on the floor next season.

--- Darnell Gant definitely adds a long and athletic presence out there and he runs the floor well. He may still need some more bulk (he's listed at 6-8, 210) to really make a consistent impact down low.

--- Justin Holiday wasn't super noticeable on the day I watched but part of that might have been my interest in watching the new guards. I'll try to focus more on him next time.

All for now.

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Posted by old dawg

12:39 PM, Jul 17, 2008

I'm looking forward to the dawgs being able to flood the court with athletic players again. Each time Romar changes up the players on the court, it changes the dynamics, and opposing players running an oxygen deficit have a tough time making adjustments.

At least it sounds good when you pencil it out.

I'll tell you flat out what this summer's reports impress me with...that these players exhibit hard work and much different that the reports of Nelson, Oliver and so on leaving the program. That alone makes the prospect of the coming season something to savor. We don't have to win 'em all, I just want a team that knows what they want to do and how to do it, has fun and wants the fans to have fun as well. And return us to the days where wins over ranked teams aren't upsets.

Posted by Appleby, 4 More Years!

12:46 PM, Jul 17, 2008

Are these workouts open to the public at all?

Posted by Mike D

12:49 PM, Jul 17, 2008

Did Thomas throw any dunks down?

Posted by MT Husky

1:43 PM, Jul 17, 2008

Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap (me standing and applauding)

Well done Bob. THANK YOU! (except…where are the video clips?)

Loved reading all of it. My suspicion with Holiday is he will be one of those players that never really stands out, but when all is said is done he has quietly contributed toward a ‘W’ with his defense, a few points here, an assist there, etc. I don’t know…just reading about his play in high school and then the little we saw of him last year that was the impression I get.

Bob, you do raise a couple questions though for your next visit:

- Regarding QPon, you’re right, we do hear this every summer with him…but did you see ANY difference between this summer and past summers? More confidence? Etc. Obviously hoping for something to think/hope he’ll finally break out in regular season.

- Still very anxious to hear more about Gant. I realize you can’t really speculate, but to the degree you can I’m curious if his game showed potential to be much of a contributor next year or more of a bench guy. Did he stand out in any way?

- And finally, I personally don’t think I can tire of hearing your observations of the guards. Loved the info on Turner and would be curious to hear more about Suggs and where he most excelled. I like the idea of IT and Overton together on the court, despite their size that does seem like a pretty exciting duo.

Posted by old timer

2:30 PM, Jul 17, 2008

I kind of fellt like the Huskies needed better point guard play at times last season so looking forward to seeing some new help at that position. Seemed like the offense bogged down at times, other than Brockman.

Posted by brian

2:41 PM, Jul 17, 2008

Thomas seems very cocky to me. He does realize this is the pac ten doesn't he? It will not be as easy to emulate B-Roy and Nate Rob as Thomas thinks it will.

Also, he doesn't understand that most of the pac ten plays a slower tempo and will slow down the game, which was not the case a few years ago.

Posted by shane/olympia

3:36 PM, Jul 17, 2008


so pumped for the basketball season!

also brian you want that swagger in your players he is not scared to do big things and brings a confidence and swagger this team has lacked since roy and nate!

romar has his athletes now along with the guards to run the show! that offense will be worth the price of admission!

Posted by Dawgma

3:58 PM, Jul 17, 2008

Thanks Bob. These are the reports that I enjoy more than anything else on your blog.

Posted by txter

9:21 PM, Jul 17, 2008

This is in reply to brian. It seems that everyone wants or wanted maybe needed a point guard for this team. Apparently you disagree on what the team has. I.T. has game, he knows this, he has confidence that's great maybe that's what you see as being cocky. So, the way i see it is, if he is an up tempo player, so be it. He has guys that can run with him and it seems this team needs abit of hussle an flow. Maybe this will be what brings this team in to contension in the Pac-10. If the Pac 10 is slower then maybe if the UW is faster they just mite push the tempo to thier advantage..... AND maybe WIN more than they did last year???? Just a thought.

Posted by LA Husky

9:39 PM, Jul 17, 2008


Posted by Scott

10:02 AM, Jul 18, 2008

It's all about uptempo just like it was last year. When the game was uptempo, they did well. When it was a walk up the court game, not so good.

QPon is best in transition. Not many big men keep up with Brockman up and down the court? The problem last year was that Overton was the only guy who appeared to be comfortable pushing the ball on the dribble. Add IT to the mix and now we have two.

I think uptempo ball is contagiious too. Once they see success, they will all understand how important it is.

I expect everyone to benefit from it. Hopefully Dentmon, Suggs and Turner will also be capable of pushing it up court, and MBA will be able to keep up for some nice transition dunks.

Defense is a big question mark. It's tough to run after made baskets. They need some stops. This team is nowhere close to being the defensive team that Nate, BRoy, Jones and Conroy were. I don't think they have to potential to be anywhere close to that good on D. They were special.

About IT... so excited. He seems similar to Nate in quickness and hops. He doesn't appear to be as strong, and this will probably hurt him defensively against big guards. Nate was just ridicules in his defensive ability on bigger players. On the other hand, Nate's handles weren't great in college. IT appears to be a much better shooter and has that ball on a yo-yo.

Posted by Sittingdawg

2:32 PM, Jul 19, 2008

Bob, is anyone working on a story about Bryan-Amaning playing for his national team? I don't read the paper every day, so maybe one has already been written, but I haven't seen one. Have you asked him about it? Thanks

Posted by Don

3:12 PM, Jul 19, 2008

I too enjoyed your report. I agree about Q. He's, to me a typical playground kid, he'll do well when the oponent isn't playing strong D but when that changes all of a sudden Q is lost. I really don't expect much out of him this year.

My question is during these pick up games is there any leadership being shown by Brockman ,or anyone else for that matter, in terms of teaching terminology to the new guys or stressing defense?

Seems to me that without that leadership it's a real lost opportunity.

Posted by AJ

6:23 PM, Jul 19, 2008

Iam as well super excited about the up coming season, but I have 2 problems with this years team. There's no shoot blocker on this team, I'm a little up set that Romar didn't sign C.J. Giles when he had the chance, now all he's doing is averaging a double double in the summer league. this team needs another athletic big man. witch brings me to my next point. You had better pray to GOD the BMA doesn't get hurt while playing for his national team. that's a huge risk Romar is taking and he's playing with fire, and whats the rule about playing with fire? That's right your going to get burned.

Posted by Scott

9:42 AM, Jul 20, 2008

Not getting CJ Giles and letting MBA play international ball are concerns? These are both positives in my mind.

Posted by AJ

3:25 PM, Jul 20, 2008

and that's why your an idiot, I'm sure having a 6-7 center and a 6-8 210 backup center is just fine for you. oh and lets not forget Joe W who is rarely healthy and has no business play d 1 ball.

Posted by G

5:44 PM, Jul 20, 2008

CJ GILES has an attitude problem and needs to grow up. just like you AJ. theres a reason UW shyed away from the stewart twins. they all cause trouble and drama. i'm also glad we didnt get cj giles. he has no character. he didnt play child support and apparently got in trouble for domestic violence. hes not even that good, give me a break. we dont need a big tall center (although it does help). it is not required to win a championship..

Posted by Scott

8:13 PM, Jul 20, 2008

Looks like Aaron Dotson was just offered a scholy. So I guess it’s the first of 5 guards to say yes that will ge to play for the Dawgs.

Abdul Gaddy
Michael Snaer
Avery Bradley
Anthony Marshall
Aaron Dotson

AJ: I do agree that we could use another good big man, but it's not a necessity and CJ is not the answer. Watching him go to the UW bench after subbing out of the game was the capper. That dude just does not have his act together.

Posted by DarwinoverCrutch

11:14 AM, Jul 22, 2008

Have you been living in a cave for the last few years? Coma? I'll go out of my way to get you updated on current CJ Giles events/news so you don't embarrass yourself anymore here. CJ Giles has been banned from playing b-ball at two different programs for various serious offenses.......and his overall talent wasn't good enough for each program to put up with his mental issues. Mental issues + Average talent = Non Scholarshiped Summer Practice Stud?

So as you can see it would be idiotic to call someone else an idiot for saying the Huskies are MUCH better off without CJ Giles and his mental cancer. And, no surprise,I see you've things backwards with Bryan-Amaning, because it's MUCH more important for Amaning to hone his skills in the off-season against European competition than to baby him to protect our the expense of Amaning's development.

Hope this helps....because I care.

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