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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 31, 2008 11:38 PM

Back at it

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just a quick note that after taking some time away last week, the blog will be back in action this week.

Here's more of an explainer from the football blog.

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May 30, 2008 10:50 PM

Gaddy rethinks Arizona commitment, names UW a possibility

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

That's the word from Scout.com, which caught up with Abdul Gaddy, the top-rated basketball recruit in the state. Gaddy said the shakeup in Arizona's coaching staff has caused him to rethink his commitment to the Wildcats.

"I'm going to look at my options," he told the Web site. "Arizona is still my front-runner."

Gaddy, a junior at Bellarmine Prep and a first-team all-state player last year, named Washington, Oregon and USC as places he's considering, along with Memphis, Texas, Kansas and Gonzaga.

Gaddy said that he and teammate Avery Bradley, also rated at Rivals.com as one of the top 20 recruits in the country, plan to play at the same program.

For those with Scout.com subscription, you can read the story here.

The Tuscon Citizen has also summed the story up.

UPDATE: Here's the Tacoma News Tribune's story today on Gaddy.

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May 27, 2008 5:54 PM

Brockman had surgery Friday

Posted by Bob Payne

Bob Condotta is on vacation this week, so blog posts will be spotty until he's back. The following was written by The Times' Scott Hanson for tomorrow's paper:

Washington basketball star Jon Brockman, on pace to become the school's all-time leading rebounder, underwent surgery Friday to remove bone spurs from his left ankle, Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar announced today.

Romar said Brockman should be running again in about four weeks, and he should be fine for the start of fall workouts.

Brockman, the Huskies' leading scorer (17.8) and rebounder (11.6) last season, injured his left ankle during double overtime in Washington's loss to Washington State in the regular-season finale. The injury forced the junior to miss Washington's first-round loss to California in the Pac-10 tournament, the first game Brockman had missed in his UW career.

Brockman returned for the College Basketball Invitational, scoring 22 points in Washington's first-round loss to Valparaiso.

The injury, however, continued to nag him in offseason workouts and the decision was made to have surgery.

"[The] injury never got to where it was 100 percent," Romar said. "He continued to try to play on it and tried to work on it. It just nagged him a little bit, not enough to keep him out, but it just wasn't getting better."
Romar said the surgery went well.

"It was not unlike something that happened with Brandon Roy going into Brandon's junior year I think," Romar said. "He had offseason surgery and he came back and he was fine.

"Jon already feels much better because he doesn't have that pain anymore. So he's going to be fine and we got it out of the way."

Brockman enters his senior season with 892 career rebounds, seventh on UW's all-time list. Doug Smart (1957-59) is the career-leader with 1,051. Brockman, with 1,299 career-points (18th on UW’s career list), will likely join Smart as the only Huskies to surpass 1,000 in points and rebounds.

"Jon's got a chance to be an All-American next year and we've got a chance to be a very good basketball team," Romar said. "He’s looking forward to that, so he'll be ready to go."

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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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May 24, 2008 8:17 PM

A little from Rip The Cut

Posted by Bob Condotta

Though it was a beautiful day in Seattle, I couldn't resist and headed indoors for a while to watch a little of the Rip The Cut Tournament today at Cleveland High School.

Besides, it may be the last time any of us around here will be able to see that many NBA players on the floor at once.

As happens in these tournaments, the rosters were ever-fluctuating and there was one big name I didn't know would be there who was --- Spencer Hawes.

Hawes played for the Home Team, which also included Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford and Will Conroy (former Eastern Washington guard Alvin Snow was the other starter). Hard to believe that team won't win this thing, though they struggled for a while in the game I watched against a team that included no one I recognized before pulling away late (they led by 10 points with two minutes left before I had to leave and to be honest, the NBA guys looked like they were usually trying only about as hard as they needed to).

I talked with Conroy a little before the game and he said he's headed soon to a workout with Indiana having just gotten back from a workout in Orlando for multiple NBA teams. That's on top of the workout he just had with the Sonics.

Conroy said he has several offers to play on NBA summer league teams and is mulling over which one to accept.

"I'm just trying to find the best opportunity to make a team,'' he said.

He played last year in Italy but said this year he plans to stay in the States.

"It was an experience,'' he said. "And the money was good so I took it. But now I'm back trying to live my dream.''

Also spoke with Hawes for a little while. He's back in town for the summer, planning to attend summer school at UW as he said he intends to get his degree. He's got three years to go, he said, "so I'm just going to try to chip away at it.'' He said he doesn't know what he will major in, though he chuckled slightly when I suggested financial management (well, I thought it was kinda funny).

He said he weighs 240 pounds, and he ran the court well and had a couple nice passes --- taking lobs from Roy and Conroy had to elicit a little "what might have been'' from UW fans in attendance if maybe nature had either hurried up or slowed down just a little bit.

One of the early games featured a team that included former UW basketball player Jamie Booker and football player Anthony Kelley. Booker led a late rally to help his team win.

Booker was a fan favorite of the mid-90s Bob Bender teams with the bad timing to graduate the year before the team went to the Sweet 16. He's now 32 and after taking a year-and-a-half off to work locally managing a Bally's in Lynwood, he said he intends to again play overseas this season. He has played in Korea, Japan, Italy, England and Australia in his career.

"I've been all over the world,'' he said. "It's been good.''

If something overseas doesn't work out, however, he said he has approached UW coach Lorenzo Romar about attempting to work with Husky basketball team in hopes of beginning a second career.

"I'd like to get in something,'' he said. "Be the video man or something. I can't play basketball forever, right?''

Nate Robinson was also in attendance but didn't play, instead appearing to act as a coach for the team he helped organize. Word was Robinson was asked by the Knicks not to take part in such tournaments this summer.

Doug Wrenn was also supposed to be there, but I didn't see him and Tre Simmons is still playing in Israel and wasn't there.

The biggest name of all to play today might have been former Sonic Shawn Kemp.

Kemp played on a team alongside former Husky Eldridge Recasner, though he didn't show up until early in the second half. His team was trailing when he arrived but pulled ahead, then after blowing a late lead, won in overtime.

Kemp looked in decent shape though he didn't quite exhibit the Reign Man leaping ability of old. He had one nice coast-to-coast drive that included a between-the-legs dribble. But when he got the hoop, he laid the ball in rather than going for the dunk. I didn't talk to Kemp ---- he got mobbed quickly as the game ended by fans and autograph seekers --- but I think other reporters did so you may see something about him somewhere in the next few days.

The tournament continues through Monday --- the title game is at 3 p.m. I won't be able to attend any more sessions, but if anyone else goes and wants to post what happened, feel free to do so here.


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May 23, 2008 7:31 PM

More on Rip The Cut tourney

Posted by Bob Condotta

For those in the Seattle area, this weekend presents a great chance to see a lot of former Huskies, as well as some other big-name basketball players, in action at the annual "Rip The Cut'' tournament at Cleveland High.

I gave the details of it the other day.

For those of you who asked for a schedule, I don't have a way to link it.

However, I will again pass along the games involving the most notable players.

A team led by Nate Robinson and featuring some other Rainier Beach players, is called N8's Block and plays its first game at 11 a.m. Saturday If it wins, it will play against at 2:30 p.m. If it loses, it will play again at 4:30 p.m.

A team led by Eldridge Recasner and also reportedly featuring Shawn Kemp and C.J. Giles is called Old School and plays its first game at 11 a.m. Saturday (though not against Robinson's team as there are two courts going on at once). It has the same schedule --- win an advance to 2:30 p.m., lose and play at 4:30 p.m.

A team featuring Brandon Roy and Will Conroy is called Home Team and plays at noon Saturday. That team is in the same bracket as the Recasner team so of each wins its opener, the two will play each other at 2:30 p.m. If they both lose they would play at 4:30 p.m.

A team featuring former Oregon star Aaron Brooks is called VIP and plays at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Games Sunday begin at 10 a.m.

The championship game is at 3 p.m. Monday.

Cost is $8 per day.

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May 23, 2008 3:53 PM

Turner confirms eligibility

Posted by Bob Condotta

Had a chance to talk with Elston Turner Jr., a little while ago and he confirmed the reports of his eligibility, saying he found out on Thursday he had achieved a passing SAT score.

Turner said he got "around a 970,'' quite a bit above the 820 needed, on what was his second attempt at the test.

"I wasn't that nervous,'' he said. "I felt prepared for it. I was pretty confident.''

So that now means all four of UW's incoming freshmen have passing test scores and provided they complete their high school (or prep school, in the case of Isaiah Thomas) degrees, will be eligible to play at UW next season.

Turner said he will graduate from Elkins High in Missouri City, Texas in two weeks. He then plans to train for about a month in Sacramento --- where he attended high school before moving last summer (actually, Roseville) --- working out with the Kings, the team for which his father, Elston Turner, was an assistant coach. He said he then plans to come to UW on July 6 to begin the summer bridge program for freshmen.

"I'm ready,'' Turner said. "I've been ready for a while.''

Turner said he's been "doing a lot of lifting weights'' and playing pickup games to get ready for college. He said he weighs about 205 pounds --- he's listed at 6-4.

"I'm just trying to get a lot quicker because it's going to be a faster pace in college,'' he said. "I've got to get ready for that.''

Once at UW, he will also begin building relationships with his new teammates, including fellow incoming freshmen guards Thomas and Scott Suggs. Turner said he has never played with either but has played against both.

"I think it's going to work well,'' he said. "I like the way both of them play so I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun.''

The Huskies will look to Turner to add scoring and outside shooting, especially in his formative years at UW.

"That's what the coaches told me they want me to do is score,'' he said. "That's what I'll try to help them do.''

Turner, who had offers from the likes of Arizona State, Marquette and Tennessee, averaged a team-high 16 points a game for an Elkins High squad that was rated among the top 20 in the nation, finishing 31-3.

Turner committed to UW in Sept. 2006, or before he had played his junior season of high school, and said he never wavered on becoming a Husky, saying "I love coach (Lorenzo) Romar. He's a good coach and a good person.''

And he thinks the four-man freshmen class can begin to lead UW back to the post-season.

"We're trying to get them back to the NCAA Tournament,'' he said. "That's one of my goals.''


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May 23, 2008 9:43 AM

Friday notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes for a rainy Friday morning. ....

--- As is being reported elsewhere (mainly, by Softy over at KJR-AM), I have also heard that Elston Turner Jr., has apparently crossed a final hurdle in becoming eligible for next season, but I was trying to get an official on-the-record confirmation and more clear details before passing it along. Since it's out there, I'll say that I heard yesterday that he was going to be eligible, something UW coach Lorenzo Romar has insisted all along.

Romar has said all along he expected all four freshmen to make it, and it now sounds like they all have. That obviously leaves the question of fitting 14 players into 13 available scholarships. I wish I could tell you how they are going to do that, but at the moment, I don't know for sure. I know some of you would like to hear the speculation of how they may get it done, but I don't really feel comfortable doing that on a public forum such as this. Trust me, when I have more certainty on how they may get it done, I'll pass that along.

--- Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News reports that Josh Shipp will return for his senior season at UCLA. He was one of four Bruins to put his name in for the NBA Draft. Sounds as if the Bruins might end up losing just two players --- Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Add J'mison Morgan and the rest of that recruiting class, and the Bruins suddenly loom as a Final Four favorite yet again.

--- Brooks Hatch of the Corvallis Gazette-Times has a lot of notes from a talk by new Beavers coach Craig Robinson on Thursday. Included is the news that the Beavers have signed a transfer from Indiana (though Hatch writes he doesn't know if that's simply the state or the school) and that North Carolina transfer Alex Stepheson is looking at Oregon State.

All for now.

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May 22, 2008 5:01 PM

A couple of quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- Elston Turner, the father of UW signee Elston Turner Jr., is interviewing to become the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns. Turner Jr., by the way, is expected to be eligible at UW for next fall though I think he hasn't officially crossed all bridges just yet.

--- UW assistant Paul Fortier has yet to interview for the head coaching job at Brown but is expected the first week of June. The search is expected to conclude by June 4.

--- Center J'mison Morgan, who originally signed with LSU before asking out of his LOI, is expected to announce tomorrow that he will sign with UCLA, which as said earlier, will make the Bruins that much more of a favorite in the conference.

--- I linked our college basketball notebook earlier today without mentioning the lead item --- that the WCC is considering going to a Thursday-Saturday schedule which could put a lot of their games on TV opposite the Pac-10 on FSN. You wonder if that's good or bad for the WCC? Were they better off having their own night on Monday when there was little other choice for college basketball fans? Or will they actually pull some viewers away from the Pac-10? Everytime TV talk comes up some fans grouse that the Pac-10 doesn't have a greater presence on ESPN. But it hasn't seemed to hurt UCLA from being a consistent Final Four team, or the rise of WSU in recent years, etc. It might be nice, but I have yet to hear a player say he didn't commit to a Pac-10 school because it's not on ESPN more.

--- Cal has released its schedule for next season, showing it will visit UW on Jan. 10 and host the Huskies on Feb. 5. UW is still waiting to complete a couple of non-conference games before releasing its schedule.

All for now.

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May 22, 2008 10:00 AM

Great chance to see ex-Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to highlight a small note in our college basketball notebook today about the "Rip The Cut'' basketball tournament taking place Saturday-Monday at Cleveland High School in Seattle.

Many es-huskies are scheduled to play in this tournament, including Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Will Conroy, Tre Simmons, Eldridge Recasner and Doug Wrenn, as well as other players with local ties such as Aaron Brooks, Jamal Crawford and C.J. Giles, and a few high schoolers such as Tony Wroten Jr. Also heard Shawn Kemp may play. (Current college players can't participate due to NCAA rules).

The tournament is a memorial for a former Garfield High player named Rahsaan Phillips (here's a story detailing the history of the tournament) and has emerged as one of the top off-season events for local players. The teams usually split down high school lines, so you can see Robinson and some of his Rainier Beach High teammates go against Roy and the Garfield guys, etc.

It's a double-elimination tournament, so after the first day you have to keep tabs to know who is playing when. There are also two games going on at once, so where is a lot of activity.

I'm told that a team headed up by Brooks will play at 9 a.m. Saturday, teams headed up by Robinson and Recasner will play at 11 a.m., and a team headed up by Roy and Conroy at noon.

Admission is $8 per day.

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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 Scout.com (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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May 20, 2008 4:16 PM

A couple quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports follows the Andy Katz report from Monday, saying that UW assistant Paul Fortier is one of four finalists for the head coaching job at Brown though he lists a couple of different names among the other three. Among the names Goodman includes that Katz didn't is Ohio University head coach Tim O'Shea, coach of the team that beat Brown in the first round of the CBI in March.

--- He also reports that Emmanuel Negedu, now free of Arizona, is looking at Indiana, Tennessee, Memphis and Georgia Tech.

--- Not to just make this all about Goodman stories, but he also had this interesting piece today on the academic issues facing Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings.

--- Arizona, however, picked up a player as guard Kyle Fogg said he will sign with the Wildcats. He will be eligible to play next season and adds some depth to a backcout that remains pretty uncertain.

All for now.

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May 20, 2008 10:49 AM

Feeling a draft?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight and I just can't make myself care about it.

From a professional standpoint, this is the first time since 2004 the Huskies don't have any projected first-round picks --- Nate Robinson in 2005, Brandon Roy in 2006 and Spencer Hawes last year in case you'd forgotten --- so I don't have to pay strict attention for any of those reasons.

And from a personal standpoint, I just can't get worked up over how it may impact the Sonics with all the uncertainty there even though the first pro game I ever saw was a Seattle-San Francisco Warriors game at the Coliseum in 1970 and I fell asleep a lot of nights of my youth listening to Bob Blackburn interview guys like Dick Snyder or Fred Brown or Lee Winfield on the post-game show.

But the lottery means the draft is coming, a draft that as we've noted here before could be historic for the Pac-10. The conference has never had more than five players taken in the first round --- last happening in 1995 when Damon Stoudamire, Ed O'Bannon, Brent Barry, George Zidek (really, George Zidek?) and Mario Bennett were taken. The only other year it happened is 1979.

But if draft projections are to be believed, as many as eight Pac-10 players could go in the first round this year.

The mock draft by NBADraft.net lists O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Robin Lopez, Russell Westbrook and Davon Jefferson all as first-rounders. HoopsHype.com lists all but Jefferson as first-rounders.

Of those players, Budinger seems the only one anyone really thinks could return to college, though the buzz seems to be that the chances of him staying in the draft are getting stronger by the day.

The Pac-10 player most on the fence now is Cal's Ryan Anderson, who had sometimes been listed in first-round projections by NBADraft.net earlier this year. But they've now moved him to their 2009 projection, indicating they think he's staying for another year --- you'll note UW's Jon Brockman is the last pick of their 2009 projection, 60th overall behind even Gonzaga's Micah Downs, which seems a little surprising.

As for Anderson, however, he says he has yet to make his decision, telling Cal beat writer Jeff Faraudo recently he plans to go through the whole pre-draft process and then make up his mind shortly before the June 16 deadline.

NEGEDU RELEASED --- Arizona has released recruit Emmanuel Negedu from his letter-of-intent.

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May 19, 2008 9:48 PM

Fortier candidate at Brown?

Posted by Bob Condotta

ESPN's Andy Katz reports on his Insider blog today that Washington assistant Paul Fortier is among the candidates to become the new head coach at Brown.

That's the job that was held by Craig Robinson before he became the head coach at Oregon State last month.

Fortier has an in because he spent two years as an assistant at Ivy League rival Cornell from 2003-2005 before coming to UW, helping lay the ground work for a program that last season went undefeated in league play.

Katz says others expected to be on the list of candidates include Illinois assistant Jay Price, Brown assistant Jesse Agel and Williams College head coach Dave Paulson.

Fortier is a former UW player (1982-86) who has spent the last three years as an assistant with the Huskies, his duties including working with the big men.

Fortier replaced Ken Bone, who is the last UW assistant to leave, becoming the head coach at Portland State after the 2004-05 season.

Katz says interviews are expected to begin this week.

Brown went 19-10 this year, losing in the first round of the CBI to Ohio.

CASTO ELIGIBLE --- In some breaking Pac-10 news, Scout.com is reporting that DeAngelo Casto of Ferris High has achieved a qualifying score on his ACT and should be eligible to play for Washington State next season.

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May 19, 2008 10:00 AM

Pac-10 news

Posted by Bob Condotta

This is the time of year there starts to really not be a lot going on in college basketball, but we will continue here to try to pass along what we find that may be of interest.

Two things today:

--- First is this story out of Arizona where incoming Wildcat recruit Emmanuel Negedu has asked out of his letter-of-intent and says he won't play for UA next season. Scouts Inc. rated him the No. 13 power forward in the country this year. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports says Arizona is likely to put up a fight to keep Negedu.

--- Next is this from the LA Times updating the possible renovations of Pauley Pavilion. As you read it, those of you who have never been to Pauley may get a sense of what many people often say privately --- that for all of its history, Pauley really isn't the greatest place in the world to see a basketball game. In fact, in terms of sightlines and general amenities, it may be the worst in the Pac-10 (at least you are close to the action everywhere at Gill). But that's obviously going to change in the next few years.

All for now.


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May 16, 2008 8:07 PM

Conroy works out for Sonics

Posted by Bob Condotta

Percy Allen of our staff reports on the Sonics blog that former Husky Will Conroy was among the 19 players who worked out for the team during a two-day mini-camp that concluded today.

The Sonics, however, didn't make Conroy available to the media for the obvious reason that the last thing they want is any feel-good news in Seattle media about the team.

As for Avery Bradley, it sounds as if his stock is really starting to rise (here's a good ESPN wrapup of the Cactus Classic event last weekend that lauds his play) and that figures to make it more difficult. We'll see. Certainly, looks as if he's one of the key gets now in that class.

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May 16, 2008 1:41 PM

More on Siva

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's our story on Peyton Siva's commitment today to Louisville.

You'll see that Siva said he simply wanted to leave town to attend college, which has been the rumblings from early on. He also said Terrence Williams helped make his decision to go to Louisville a lot easier, telling him that Louisville felt like a second home and that he's had a great experience there so far. Williams is a graduate of Rainier Beach High and also played for Seattle's Rotary Select team, as does Siva.

Also, as noted earlier, the recent news that Isaiah Thomas would become eligible probably helped push the process a bit --- might have been tricky fitting those two into the same backcourt.

The key in-state player to watch in this class now may be Avery Bradley, the 6-2 off-guard from Bellarmine Prep whose style would likely make him a better fit with Thomas and Venoy Overton.

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May 16, 2008 11:26 AM

Siva to Louisville

Posted by Bob Condotta

What had long been rumored became fact today as Franklin High grad Peyton Siva committed to Louisville.

Franklin coach Jason Kerr confirmed Siva's commitment to the Times this morning.

"Obviously, we're excited for him,'' Kerr said. "I think he's pretty pleased to be able to put the whole recruiting process to bed.''

Siva earlier confirmed his commitment to the Louisville Courier-Journal and Scout.com.

Siva-to-Louisville has been the conventional wisdom for quite a while, so while the obvious question will be how this impacts UW's recruiting, I think most around the Husky program have suspected for some time this was where this was headed so I assume they've been planning accordingly.

Here's a list from Scout.com at the rest of the players reported to be targets of the Huskies. Siva is the first of the bunch to make his decision and that could start a domino effect now with others beginning to commit, as well.

Another thing to keep in mind is that news broke earlier this month that Isaiah Thomas now figures to be eligible, meaning the Huskies appear pretty set in the backcourt for the next few years with Venoy Overton, Justin Holiday, Scott Suggs and Elston Turner Jr., also there. That fivesome could be together as UW's backcourt for the next three years.

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May 16, 2008 10:42 AM

Interesting take on Brandon Roy

Posted by Bob Condotta

RealGM.com, one of the better NBA sites out there, is in the process of breaking down the season for each team.

Its analysis of Portland includes an interesting take on how Brandon Roy was able to markedly improve his game this year, with the observation that he tended to be at his best when the game was on the line.

UW fans saw that well during his Husky career and it may the aspect of his game the Huskies have had the toughest time replacing since then.

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May 14, 2008 9:28 PM

Cougs lose Abercrombie, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few Pac-10 notes to pass along:

--- First, WSU announced today that redshirt freshman guard Thomas Abercrombie has decided to transfer and return to his native New Zealand. The Cougars had high hopes for Abercrombie when he arrived two years ago, but as Vince Grippi of the Spokesman-Review explains, he never seemed to really fit (note is after the football item). Wonder know if this means that Taylor Rochestie won't have to give up his much-celebrated scholarship, after all.

--- Looks like UCLA is set to add center J'Mison Morgan which will only make the Bruins that much more of a favorite in the Pac-10 heading into next season.

--- As might be expected, O.J. Mayo denied all today when interviewed by the LA Times. The Times also had this story today saying USC could lose DeMar DeRozan if the Mayo business leads to real trouble.

--- Buried in the bottom of this Portland State item is a note that former Arizona State guard Christian Polk has transferred to UTEP.

--- The Tucson Citizen reports Arizona guard Nic Wise remains "50-50'' on staying with the Wildcats or transferring.

All for now.

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May 14, 2008 11:59 AM

Beaver instigator leaving team

Posted by Bob Condotta

I completely missed this a week or two ago when it broke, but apparently Sean Carter, one of the Oregon State players at the center of the trash-talking incident with the Huskies last season, has left the team.

Here's the initial report from the Corvallis Gazette-Times as well as an update from the Oregonian's Beaver Blog saying that new coach Craig Robinson hopes Carter stays.

If Carter leaves, that would clean house of the two OSU players who were the loudest talkers that day --- Marcel Jones was a senior and is already gone.

The Oregonian blog also hints that there could be some further departures, indicating that it's going to be another really long year for OSU's hoops team --- so much so that even Barack Obama might find them a hopeless cause.


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May 13, 2008 9:59 AM

More on Mayo

Posted by Bob Condotta

As you might imagine, lots of second-day stories out there on the burgeoning O.J. Mayo mess at USC (and if you couldn't see that this day would eventually come you are as delusional as Paula Abdul).

Anyway, here are some of the better ones I found:

--- First is this commentary from our own Jerry Brewer who says USC should have known but didn't want to know, which in my opinion is a common trait of most college sports scandals.

--- Here's a straight news story from the Orange County Register that makes it clear that having a job in the USC compliance office these days is probably as much fun as being John McLaren.

--- Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports makes the good point that this is an issue larger than just USC. And think about it. Would you have not been excited a year ago if O.J. Mayo was coming to your school?

--- Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News wonders if Mayo was worth the trouble. I think the answer is easy --- no. USC could easily have been a first-round NCAA disappointment without him.

--- Finally, the LA Times has a good look at the last player who Rodney Guillory got his hooks into --- and it didn't turn out well for Fresno State, a precedent that might want to worry USC fans.


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May 12, 2008 9:52 AM

Cactus Classic roundup

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Cactus Classic AAU Tournament played this weekend in Tucson, and it featured many of the top high school players from the West Coast.

Here are a few stories emanating from the tournament:

--- Abdul Gaddy, a guard from Bellarmine Prep who has committed to Arizona, led the tournament with 36 assists and appeared to reaffirm his commitment to the Wildcats/ according to the Tucson Citizen.

--- However, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that Gaddy seemed to hedge when talking about his future, saying "if I come'' at one point during his interview.

--- The Arizona Daily Star has this blog report on the tournament, including a note that Gaddy's teammate, Avery Bradley, says he's "still open.'' Scout.com reports Bradley now has an offer from UCLA, as well as most of the rest of the Pac-10, but still includes Washington as a school he is seriously considering.

--- The Louisville Courier-Journal has this update on Franklin High's Peyton Siva as he says that "I still like Louisville'' and that Louisville "has a good shot to get me'' but that it's still "pretty much even.'' But he also says he's recently been getting interest from Tennessee and Kentucky, as well. And he also told the Arizona Daily Star that he likes the thought of playing with Gaddy in college and that "if Arizona fits me, I'll come to Arizona.'' UW remains in the mix, he says, but that sounds like an increasingly longer shot. Still sounds like Louisville, long the rumored final destination, is the favorite.

--- The Citizen also has this on the academics of incoming UA guard Brandon Jennings. Story makes it hard to tell where he really stands.

--- Here are the final stats. Bradley was the second-leading scorer, Siva fifth and Gaddy eighth.

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May 11, 2008 10:46 AM

ESPN airs allegations against USC

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's not a happy Mother's Day at USC where the school appears embroiled in another controversy, this one in basketball involving O.J. Mayo.

Here's the report from ESPN as well as an overview from the USC blog at the LA Times.

A quick reading makes this sound as if it's got a lot of similarities to the Reggie Bush deal involving the USC football program.

As I have written often on the football blog, I think the Pac-10 deserves the benefit of the doubt until we see what they do with the Bush situation. I get a lot of e-mails charging a double-standard compared to what happened with UW in the early '90s.

But I think until we can read the completed investigation that we can't criticize it. Once they announce what they have found and are doing with it, then we can judge.

What I also always point out is that it is different people in charge now, different people doing the investigating, and a completely different tenor about penalizing programs. I doubt anyone will get hit as hard as UW, Alabama, Miami and others did in the '90s --- there's too much money at stake now.

And now USC and the Pac-10 has to deal with this Mayo situation, as well.

But just think --- if Trojans have to forfeit all games Mayo played in last year, the Huskies might just finish with a winning record after all.

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May 9, 2008 2:24 PM

Pac-10 meetings update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Like the rest of the Pac-10's coaches, UW's Lorenzo Romar spent part of this week at the conference's annual end-of-season coaches meetings.

Some thought going in the big topic might be the officiating after a year that featured a few shaky moments in that regard.

But Romar said the majority of coaches seemed happy enough with the status quo.

"I thought there would be a lot, but there wasn't a whole lot of discussion about it,'' Romar said Friday. "There's been a lot more discussion in past years than there was this time.'' Ultimately, there was nothing recommended by the coaches to the conference about officiating issues.

The recommendations the coaches did make involved the increased restrictions on the April recruiting period and the All-Conference team.

Romar said Pac-10 coaches want the conference to fight to retain the ability to go out and evaluate players at AAU and club-team tournaments on weekends.

"You can go to high schools, but you can't go to events on weekends and coaches wanted to get that back,'' Romar said. "Coaches felt that it is very cost effective --- when you have that many teams at once you can get a lot done.''

The NCAA is attempting to limit the amount of time players are away from school in April.

Romar also said the coaches recommended that the conference change the current All-Conference Team format of a five-man first team, five-man second team and five-man third team to a 10-man first team and a five-man second team.

The current format was new this year, in place of the old 10-man team, intended to recognize more players. But coaches felt there were some players who were relegated to second-team recognition by the fact that the first team was now just five players, notably UW's Jon Brockman.

"Jon should have been a first-team guy, no doubt about it,'' Romar said.

The conference will consider that proposal later.

There was also a little bit of talk about fan behavior after a few notable incidents last year, but Romar said nothing of substance was proposed for action.

WALLACE PROGRESSING: Romar also said that center Artem Wallace, continuing to recover from off-season knee surgery, is doing well. "He's starting to walk and ride a bike so he's making progress,'' Romar said.

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May 8, 2008 12:39 PM

Interesting Arizona, UCLA news

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lute Olson's return has far from stabilized matters at Arizona.

Instead, it seems to have only made things more chaotic, as Gary Parrish of Sportsline.com details. Along with the soap opera surrounding Olson's divorce proceedings, matters are just as messy on-court. Parrish says Chase Budinger is almost certain to be gone and that star recruit Brandon Jennings has some serious academic hurdles to leap to become eligible --- losing those two would almost certainly make Arizona a bottom-tier team heading into the season for the first time in 25 years.

And Arizona's coaching staff is also in upheaval as rising star assistant Josh Pastner appears headed to a similar position at Memphis.

Olson earlier jettisoned assistant Miles Simon, one of the stars of the 1997 NCAA title team, with Simon saying later he was given no explanation.

There's some thought that if Pastner goes to Memphis, he may take highly-touted recruit Abdul Gaddy of Bellarmine Prep with him --- Gaddy is rumored to be waffling on his commitment due in part to all the uncertainty in Tucson.

Gaddy is scheduled to take his official visit to Arizona this weekend but Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen wonders how that will go if there's no assistant there to ferry him around.

--- UCLA, meanwhile, could be the next destination for 6-10, 275-pound center J'Mison Morgan, who has signed with LSU but now wants out of that LOI after the firing of John Brady and hiring of former Stanford coach Trent Johnson. Here's another take on that story. UCLA already is welcoming in a four-man recruiting class considered by many the best in the nation.

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May 7, 2008 9:28 AM

Last word on APR

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a more detailed wrapup of the APR stuff on the football blog.

On this one, I wanted to pass along this LA Times story detailing USC's situation pointing out that the Trojans have already taken the penalty, though nobody seemed to know it at the time.

Here is our story today on UW's passing grade in the APR.

Someone asked on the football blog whether "all the recent transfers'' will hurt the scores of the UW men's and women's team. As pointed out there, the UW hoops team had only one transfer this academic year --- Adrian Oliver. The others (Phil Nelson, Harvey Perry) occurred during the 2006-07 academic year so they have already been accounted for as far as I can tell.

As the story points out, however, the four transfers this year for the women's team are likely to hurt its score down the road. However, the good news for the women is that it has such a high score at the moment --- 998 --- that it can likely survive the hit without sustaining any penalties as long as the rest of it doesn't drop too much. Remember, this is always a rolling four-year score.

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May 6, 2008 4:09 PM

More on the APR

Posted by Bob Condotta

John Morris, Washington's senior associate athletic director for compliance, conducted a conference call with reporters today to discuss today's APR report and clarified a few questions people have raised here today.

One is how the penalties are enforced. Morris said schools that are hit with a loss of scholarships "have to take the penalty at the earliest opportunity within the next two years. If you already have committed scholarships to people for the next year, they don't make you take any of those back. But in the very next year you better not be signing as many people.''

Morris also confirmed that teams are not penalized for players leaving early for the pros as long as they are in good academic standing at the time of their departure. Teams are penalized for athletes who leave for other reasons, however, such as simply transferring to a different school.

Morris said he was pleased with Washington's overall performance with none of its sports being penalized and the major sports such as football and men's basketball each "trending upward'' in recent seasons.

UW's football team had an APR of 885 in 2005 but this year is at 948 while the men's basketball team has gone from 871 to 943.

"All in all, we feel pretty good about it,'' Morris said.

MORE ON USC: Here's a good explainer of USC's situation from the LA Times. This clarifies that USC has already taken its penalty, something of which I wasn't aware.

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May 6, 2008 10:11 AM

APR numbers out, Huskies fine

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NCAA this morning released the official APR (Academic Progress Rate) numbers for the 2006-07 season and the Washington men's basketball team recorded a score of 943, safely above the Division-I average and any risk of incurring penalties.

Here's Washington's full report.

The only Pac-10 men's basketball program hit with a penalty is USC, which will be limited to 11 scholarships next year due to an APR of 863. (Here's the page explaining USC's penalty). (Should make clear the NCAA limit is 13 scholarships, so this would mean USC will have two fewer scholarships next season).

Here's a list of the Pac-10 APR scores in order:

Oregon 975
UCLA 968
Stanford 954
Washington 943
Cal 942
Oregon State 935
Arizona 933
Washington State 905
Arizona State 905
USC 863

A score of 925 is the NCAA's goal, which is says equates to a graduation rate of 60 percent. Anything below 925 can be subject to penalties, which are also based on whether students are in good academic standing when they leave (a particular issue in men's basketball with so many departing early for the pros).

Of other in-state schools, Gonzaga recorded a 965 and Eastern Washington 898 but without being penalized.

The Division-I average for men's basketball is 928.

Here's a good explainer of the latest APR numbers from the NCAA.

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May 5, 2008 3:56 PM

More on Isaiah Thomas

Posted by Bob Condotta

A reader passed along a good suggestion --- that now that Isaiah Thomas has passed his ACT and appears all but certain to become a Husky, it may be a good time to again look at him as a player.

So I'll provide a few links to stories we've written on him through the years that should help with your understanding of what Thomas may contribute to the Huskies:

--- Here's a good feature on Thomas written before the 2006 State Tournament, which turned out to be his last high school action in this state. At 5-9, Thomas has long drawn comparisons to Nate Robinson, and definitely will continue to now that he will follow in his footsteps in also becoming a Husky.

--- Here's a blog item on Thomas from last fall in which he discusses his relationship with current UW point guard Venoy Overton, among other things.

--- Here's the story from the day after Thomas committed to UW in 2006.

--- Here's the story from last fall when Thomas signed with UW including quotes from UW coach Lorenzo Romar on the entire class.

--- And finally, here's a story on Thomas shortly after he arrived at South Kent School, detailing the growing popularity of prep schools.


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May 5, 2008 9:48 AM

Huskies could face national champs

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW's 2008-09 schedule remains unfinished as the Huskies look to secure two more games.

However, what has come into focus is UW's opposition in the pre-season CBE Classic. UW is one of 16 teams set for the tournament, and one of four that will serve as a regional host for the first two rounds.

The others, I've learned, are Kansas, Syracuse and Florida.

And the Huskies and Jayhawks are set to be on the same side of the bracket meaning that if UW wins its two home games and advances to the semifinals it would face Kansas, the defending NCAA champs. The semifinals and finals will be held in Kansas City and tournament organizers are probably hoping for a Kansas-Florida final to pit the two teams that have won the last three NCAA titles, something the Huskies will try to spoil.

Kansas figures to drop a bit next season (here's one early rating from Jeff Goodman seeding the Jayhawks at No. 20) but obviously in any incarnation will be a stiff test for a new-look Husky team.

UW would then get either Florida or Syracuse in the its next game giving the Huskies two contests against top-flight competition by the end of November. The Huskies will also host Oklahoma State and are looking for one more game against a BCS-type school to play on the road.

As for advancing to the semis, this tournament has historically been set up to make it pretty easy for the four host schools.

Here's a look at the history of the CBE Classic and you can see, for instance, that UCLA last year played CS-San Bernardino and Youngstown State in the first two rounds to advance to the semis. UW will likely get opponents of similar ilk for its two home games.

Since the CBE Classic began in 2001, the only team that hosted a regional that didn't advance to the semis was Stanford in 2006 when it was beaten by Air Force.

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May 4, 2008 9:39 AM

Isaiah Thomas gets passing score

Posted by Bob Condotta

Husky fans can now begin making firm plans for the beginning of the Isaiah Thomas era next season as the guard from South Kent Prep School by way of Curtis High in Tacoma found out Friday he has gotten a qualifying score on the ACT.

That means as long as he finishes up his classes well and graduates as scheduled on June 1 he will be fully qualified to play for the Huskies next fall.

"It's a big relief to get it off my shoulders,'' Thomas said.

Thomas said he found out Friday when he checked on-line. He had been planning to take the SAT again this weekend if needed.

"But I didn't want to take it again,'' he said. "I was checking all the time to get my score as soon as possible and when I saw it the first person I called was (UW coach Lorenzo Romar) and then (assistant) coach (Cameron) Dollar and then my parents.''

Their reaction, as you might expect, was "very happy,'' Thomas said. "They said just finish the school year off strong and then you are in there.''

Getting the score is the culmination of a roughly two-year academic journey for Thomas. He originally committed to play at UW in the spring of 2006, shortly after the end of his junior season at Curtis High. He was expected to sign with UW in the fall of 2006. But when it became apparent he had some academic issues, he talked with UW coaches who helped facilitate a move to South Kent Prep School, where he could get his grades in order. That, however, meant he'd have to stay two years and delay enrolling at UW one year.

"It has worked out tremendously,'' he said.

He finally signed an official letter with UW last November and now needs only to graduate from South Kent to become fully eligible.

Once he does that, he said he plans to return to Seattle and enroll in the summer bridge program at UW and work out with the Huskies.

"I'll be coming home for good,'' he said.

Now with the passing score in hand, he said he can begin looking forward to becoming a Husky.

"I think I'll fit in real good,'' he said. "The style of play, the up-and-down system, fits my game tremendously well. We're going to get the Washington progam back on its feet, back to where it was when Nate (Robinson) and Brandon (Roy) and all of them were there.''

Three of UW's four incoming recruits are now known to be qualified, the others being Tyreese Breshers and Scott Suggs.

The Huskies are basing much of their hopes for improvement on this year's 16-17 record on improvement in the backcourt, notably the addition of Suggs, Thomas and Elston Turner Jr., all members of a class Scout.com ranked as the 15th best in the nation.

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May 2, 2008 10:04 AM

Re-assessing the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta

So now that we at least know who is interested in leaving early, if not all who for sure will leave early, time to update our pre-pre-pre-season Pac-10 power ratings.

1, UCLA --- Despite what could be some fairly significant losses, still the team to beat, thanks in part to one somewhat surprising decision to stay by PG Darren Collison. My guess is Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ultimately stay, and that combined with Collison, and a top-rated recruiting class, makes the Bruins the class of the Pac-10.

2, Arizona State --- Still No. 2 , and as I wrote last month, everybody's back, and that should be a big advantage next season in a conference that doesn't figure to be as deep or strong as it was this year. James Harden should take the next step to stardom, Jeff Pendergraph could be the best defensive player in the conference, and the rest of the cast should be able to provide a little better support.

3, USC --- Finally some certainty here as we know for sure that O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson are gone but that Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett will be back, as well as a stellar recruiting class led by swingman Demar DeRozan, who may be an even better fit than was Mayo.

4, Cal --- As I wrote a month ago, taking a hunch here that the addition of Mike Montgomery may also compel Ryan Anderson to return. If so, Bears could take a pretty big leap as they seemed to almost play better this year without DeVon Hardin, indicating they won't miss him all that much. Return-to-health of Theo Robertson will help, and Montgomery should add a defensive emphasis missing this year.

5, Arizona --- Little change here. This remains a really hard team to assess until we know for sure if Chase Budinger stays. Budinger remains rated as a high first-round pick but it probably depends a lot on how the tryout camps go. If he leaves, Arizona will drop in this ranking. If not, a trio of Budinger, Jordan Hill and Brandon Jennings will make the Wildcats more than capable of a top five finish. And don't forget that the Wildcats are also bringing in two quality freshmen big men in center Jeff Withey and forward Emmanuel Negedu.

6, Washington --- No change from last month. Return of just about everyone plus the addition of three guards that should solidify the backcourt will make the Huskies again a contender for an NCAA Tournament berth. If one or more of the young big guys makes a big leap in production (or an immediate impact in the case of the freshmen) Huskies could climb higher (especially if the team figures out a way to make free throws again).

7, Washington State --- Cougars added DeAngelo Casto since our last rankings, but it's uncertain how much he'll add next year. Otherwise, Cougars lose a lot, but they aren't going to fall off the edge of the earth, either, bringing in a solid recruiting class and possibly getting some big help from guys who sat out this season such as Fabian Boeke and Abe Lodwick. But it figures to take some time to adjust to life with Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver.

8, Oregon --- Ducks could finish a whole lot higher than this if a fabulous recruiting class pays immediate dividends. And since our last ratings, Ducks added point guard Garrett Sim seeming to solidify their backcourt. But the Ducks lose a lot of production and experience and the M.O. at Oregon under Ernie Kent has been that even the best of classes take a year or two to mature.

9, Stanford --- Cardinal now has a coach, but it has lost its top recruit in big man Miles Plumlee and with the loss of the Lopez Twins, this seems like a team headed for a big fall.

10, Oregon State --- The Beavers will be a lot more interesting to watch next season with Craig Robinson at the helm. But more than three or four wins in conference play seems hard to fathom.


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May 1, 2008 11:39 AM

Official early entry list released

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports has what he says is the official list of early entries to the NBA Draft --- it is supposed to be released today, though I have yet to see it on NBA.com.

Here's Goodman's report of the list and there are no surprises among the Pac-10 entries --- there had been rumors floating of at least one possible Pac-10 entry that had yet to be made public.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford recently wrote this piece on who made good decisions and who didn't.

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May 1, 2008 8:50 AM

GU loses basketball recruit to ASU football

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting story out of Phoenix today where ASU's latest football recruit is quarterback Brock Osweiler of Kalispell, Mont. --- who committed to play basketball two years ago at Gonzaga.

Here's a story the Times wrote in June, 2006, on Osweiler committing to Gonzaga and another from Feb. 2007 using Osweiler as the focus to ask the question if some commitments are coming too early. Sounds like maybe this one did.

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Recent entries

May 31, 08 - 11:38 PM
Back at it

May 30, 08 - 10:50 PM
Gaddy rethinks Arizona commitment, names UW a possibility

May 27, 08 - 05:54 PM
Brockman had surgery Friday

May 25, 08 - 11:12 AM
On the schedule

May 24, 08 - 08:17 PM
A little from Rip The Cut

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