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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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June 29, 2008 10:29 AM

Draft recap

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's a couple of days old, but here's a good draft recap from the Pac-10 office.

Of most interest is the list of players drafted by conference showing the Pac-10 with 12 and the Big 12 next with nine.


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June 28, 2008 7:17 PM

Rumor control

Posted by Bob Condotta

While the departure of Joel Smith seems to settle the roster issue for next season, rumors persist that more changes could be afoot.

The rumblings I've heard is that it is of a possible addition, and not a subtraction, but without getting any clearer confirmation, I don't yet feel it responsible to pass along details. Indications are that the rest of the current Huskies for next year are set on returning.

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June 27, 2008 8:12 PM

Joel Smith redux

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well that was straight out of P.R. 101 to announce potentially negative news on a Friday at 5 p.m.

That's what the Huskies did today with the statement that Joel Smith won't be returning for his fifth year of eligibility (though the release is artfully worded enough that it never really states Smith won't be back, that's what the ultimate message is). That solves the long-debated scholarship issue for the Huskies, who are now down to the NCAA limit of 13 for the 2008-09 season.

The Huskies had 10 possible returning players from last year's team and signed four players to letters-of-intent last November. Ever since, fans wondered where the extra scholarship would come from. I think all along UW coaches figured something would happen --- someone would transfer, declare for the NBA or not get eligible. Instead, everybody got eligible and decided to return, leaving the Huskies one over. Something had to give, and Smith seemed the obvious answer to the quandary.

So obvious that I asked Smith a few weeks ago, during a chance encounter at Hec Ed, about his plans for next year. He insisted he was going to come back, echoing what he had said earlier in the season, one reason I resisted speculating more about it on here --- he was adamant that he'd be back.

Indications are that Smith wanted still to return and that this wasn't his decision. But the fact that he was getting his degree made this the easiest possible way for the Huskies to get under the limit.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today that the decision was arrived at only recently after a meeting with Smith.

"We just sat down and talked through some things and this is how it turned out,'' Romar said.

At its essence, this isn't a whole lot different than the Suddenly Senior deal with the football team a few years ago. Smith got his four years and a degree and in the cutthroat world of big-time college basketball, these kinds of things sometimes happen. Romar has to do what he thinks is best for the long-term future of the team --- his job depends on it.

Remember that Smith redshirted the 2006-07 season after suffering a foot injury, otherwise he would have already been gone and this wouldn't have been an issue. It's likely the possibility of this happening was discussed then.

Also worth remembering is that the last scholarship for the Class of 2008 went to Scott Suggs, recently given the Mr. Show-Me Basketball award as the top player in the state of Missouri. When the Huskies decided to offer Suggs, they surely figured a scholarship would come open somewhere, and they didn't want to risk losing Suggs, who is likely to come in and play a big role next season.

As for Smith, he is likely to continue his career somewhere next season at a lower-division school, possibly near his home of Lompoc, Calif., where there are no shortage of opportunities.

Wherever he goes, he will surely play more than he seemed destined to next year with the Huskies, who suddenly have a glut of players in the backcourt. Smith averaged 4.1 points in 15.2 minutes per game last season, never seeming to make quite the impact that was hoped after the redshirt season. Interestingly, two of his best games were the final two, including a nine-point effort in the CBI game against Valparaiso. He was on the court when the game ended, slamming the ball hard to the ground as the final horn sounded.

He will be best remembered, though, for his first two years with the Huskies, each of which ended in the Sweet 16. Smith played 18 minutes in the memorable loss to UConn, forced into extended duty due to foul trouble, then eventually fouling out himself.

He seemed like a rising star as a true freshman in 2003-04, shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 40 percent on three-pointers, averaging a career-best 4.6 points per game, and often punctuated blowouts with high-flying slams.

"He had some exciting moments, that's for sure,'' Romar said today.

But he struggled when opponents paid more attention to him the following season, and he never seemed to have the same explosiveness last year after sitting out a season, something he admitted on a few occasions.

Those of us in the media will long remember Smith's cheerful disposition, usually accompanied by a wide smile and hearty handshake, and always being accommodating, win or lose. I couldn't reach him today so I don't know his reaction, though I'm sure this isn't the way he intended for his Husky career to end. But ultimately I would imagine he'll remember the degree and the Sweet 16s and consider it all a success, as he should.

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June 27, 2008 5:10 PM

Joel Smith won't return

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have solved their scholarship problem for next season. Joel Smith, a senior guard, won't return to the team.

Smith will earn his degree in American Ethnic Studies in three weeks, according to the school.

Smith redshirted two seasons ago, and is eligible to play one more season. He could transfer to a non-Division I school and play another season.

"We are extremely proud of Joel and the effort he put into completing his undergraduate education in four years," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said in a release from the team.

"He worked diligently, had a great deal of commitment to academics during his four years and I am confident that he will be successful in whatever he decides to do."

Smith averaged 4.4 points in 83 games over three seasons.

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June 27, 2008 2:15 PM

A few updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few items to pass along on a day when I really should be outside (though with the wonders of wireless internet, if you don't tell the boss, maybe I am):

--- First, word is that Artem Wallace is walking around pretty good these days, helping to officiate games this week during the Lorenzo Romar basketball camps for kids in grades 4-8 over at Bellevue Community College. He appears to be on track for a return in November, which would give him some time to get reacclimated to live action before Pac-10 games begin in January.

--- Speaking of Pac-10 play, the Huskies will indeed open the season in Pullman against WSU on Jan. 3. The Huskies will conclude conference play against the Cougars in Seattle on March 7. The full schedule should be released in a week or so once the Huskies finalize one more non-conference game. But I can report that the Huskies will have a favorable Pac-10 schedule early with four of the first seven conference games at home --- Cal and Stanford will visit on the weekend of Jan. 8-10; the Huskies will then go to Oregon and Oregon State Jan. 15-17, then return home to host USC and UCLA the weekend of Jan. 22-24. The Huskies will then have four straight on the road, a stretch that figures to loom critical, going to Arizona and Arizona State the weekend of Jan. 29-31, then to Cal and Stanford Feb. 5-7. Then UW will finish with five of seven at home --- visits from the Oregon schools Feb. 12-14, a trip UCLA and USC Feb. 19-21, home to Arizona State and Arizona the weekend of Feb. 26-28, and then the finale at home against the Cougars.

--- Center Matthew Bryan-Amaning was officially named to the British Basketball Federation U-20 team earlier this month. The team will play in the European Championships in Romania in August. UW coaches encourage players to take part in any international tournaments as they can be valuable experience for young players. The tournament will end in plenty of time for Bryan-Amaning to get back to Seattle and prepare for the beginning of practice on Oct. 15. Here's an earlier post with more details and links.

All for now.


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June 26, 2008 11:07 PM

Record draft for Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

As expected, it turned out to be a record NBA draft day for the Pac-10 as seven conference players were selected in the first round, breaking the previous high of five in 1995 and 1979.

Here's a list courtesy of ESPN.com.

The Pac-10 had by far the most of any conference. Of the other BCS conferences, the Big 12 had four, the Big East and Big 10 three each, the SEC two and the ACC one.

Also a record was the 12 total players selected, breaking the mark of 11 in 2001, the most since the NBA cut the draft to two rounds in 1989 (the all-time record is 18 in 1981 in what was then a 10-round draft --- only four players selected in the first two rounds, however).

JENNINGS' RESULTS NOT IN? --- Also of note tonight is the news out of Arizona that the test results for incoming Wildcats guard Brandon Jennings are not yet in. That's according to the Tucson Citizen and it refutes an earlier report from the East Valley Tribune that Jennings had failed to qualify. Sounds as if the jury is still out on this one.

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June 26, 2008 3:57 PM

Interesting Derrick Rose-Justin Dentmon link

Posted by Bob Condotta

So you just never know what you might find when you start searching around the Interwebs, do you?

Today revealed this story on how Derrick Rose's probable selection tonight as the first pick in the NBA Draft will provide further proof of the strength of Chicago high school basketball.

Buried deep in the story is an anecdote of how Rose's coach at Simeon High School had a policy of not playing freshmen on the varsity, which the author surmises might have cost the team a state title when it lost to Cardondale in the 2004 Class AA finals in part because the team "did not have a bigger guard to defend against Justin Dentmon.'' Yep, the same Justin Dentmon.

Dentmon ended up leading Carbondale to a third-place finish at the state tournament, performances that proved pivotal in the decision of UW coaches to eventually offer him a scholarship. Husky assistant Jim Shaw, then coaching at Oklahoma, was at the tournament as Dentmon emerged as the leading scorer among all players with 78 points in three games, 24 more than anyone else, including current Clippers guard Shaun Livingston. Dentmon, originally headed to Illinois State, instead ended up attending prep school for a year after problems with his SAT, where he reopened his recruitment and ended up signing with the Huskies.


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June 26, 2008 8:51 AM

Draft day arrives

Posted by Bob Condotta

What figures to be an historic NBA draft for the Pac-10 is finally at hand.

As I detailed last month, the Pac-10 has had as many as five players taken in the first round just twice --- 1995 and 1979.

But many mock drafts have five Pac-10 players being picked in the lottery, and as many as eight in the first round, further validating the strength of the conference last season.

Our NBA writer, Percy Allen, wrote about that topic today in a story that includes a few quotes from UW coach Lorenzo Romar. The link also includes a chart breaking down all of the prospective Pac-10 draftees.

Also today is this blog entry by our columnist, Jerry Brewer, debating various topics of today's draft with Michael Lee of the Washington Post.


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June 25, 2008 9:43 PM

Could Jennings move shake up Pac-10?

Posted by Bob Condotta

One reader asked me why I hadn't posted anything on here yet about Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings saying he may bypass college to play in Europe.

Part of the reason was simply that some of you beat me to it in the comments section and I figured it was covered there. But another is that I don't think it will happen, especially if he actually gets a passing test score.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, here's a good compilation of stories on the Jennings situation from the Arizona Daily Star.

Obviously, if Jennings really decides not to attend Arizona it will be a big blow to the Wildcats, who seemed to have survived an off-season of turmoil pretty well when Chase Budinger and Nic Wise decided to return. Certainly, you wonder if Budinger's decision might have been different had he known there was a chance Jennings might not be there next year.

But I guess I just can't see where this would really help Jennings. He might make some money, but the possibility of getting exposed doesn't seem worth the risk, and he'd build up a lot more name value going to Arizona and maybe leading a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News lays out even more reasons this could be much ado about nothing, especially if Jennings gets the needed test score.

It's understandable why some UW fans are hoping Jennings does decide to head to Europe, however. Arizona looms as a team next season that could be really good but also has very little margin for error. Losing Jennings might be enough to ultimately allow UW to slide on by the Wildcats.

And it's not as if Jennings hasn't already made one move that proved beneficial to UW. It was his original commitment to USC in 2007 that helped convince Venoy Overton that he might be better off staying home and playing for the Huskies instead of trying to find playing time in a crowded Trojan backcourt. After Overton decommitted from USC and cast his lot with UW, Jennings then changed his mind and ended up signing with Arizona.

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June 25, 2008 11:16 AM

Appleby impressing at EuroExposure tournament

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a little bit last week about Ryan Appleby's pursuit of a pro job, either here or abroad.

So far so good as Appleby turned in an impressive performance this week in a tryout for French scouts in Columbus, Ohio called ACMT EuroExposure. According to EuroBasket.com, Appleby scored 28 points in two games on the second day of the tryout and showed "showed a awesome talent.'' The report concluded that Appleby is a "great shooter, defender and playmaker, he could be a consistent point guard in France soon.''

Appleby also recently had tryouts with the Sonics and Blazers and it sounds as if he's playing his way into having some good options for next season.


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June 24, 2008 8:20 PM

Conroy signs with Nets summer league team

Posted by Bob Condotta

Will Conroy's efforts to make it back to the NBA will take him through New Jersey as the former Husky has signed to play for the Nets summer league team.

Conroy worked out for a number of teams, including the Sonics and Pacers, before deciding on the Nets.

Conroy spent most of last year in the Italian League, returning late in the year and playing in the NBA D-League for a little while. He had a productive stint in that league, averaging 17.4 points per game and shooting 41.4 percent on three-pointers, showing continued improvement in that area.

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June 24, 2008 1:40 PM

Brandon Roy interview

Posted by Bob Condotta

He's best known for his basketball, but Brandon Roy showed a good ability to pinch-hit recently when he was called on to serve as the featured counselor at Paul Pierce's Skill Academy camp last week in Los Angeles. Seems Pierce was too busy celebrating his recent NBA title to attend.

Anyway, SlamOnline.com caught up with Roy at the camp for this Q-and-A in which he says he never really expected to have this much NBA success right out of the gate.

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June 23, 2008 12:09 PM

Monday news and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the headline says. ...

--- The 10 veteran Huskies are said to all be back in town, attending summer school and helping out with the Lorenzo Romar Basketball Camp over at Bellevue Community College. Yes, all 10, from what I'm told. The four incoming freshmen are not due in until the week of July 7 when they will begin a summer bridge program, although Isaiah Thomas, the only one of the four that is from this area, is back in town and has been working out at UW.

--- Freshman forward Tyreese Breshers may be a little limited when he arrives as he is still recovering from a stress fracture in his tibia that apparently bothered him throughout his senior season at Price High in Los Angeles. The injury, however, is not thought to be season-threatening.

--- Jon Brockman is said to be making good progress in recovering from the ankle surgery he had last month and could be fully cleared in a couple of weeks.

--- The Huskies are still attempting to finalize a deal for one more non-conference game, so until then, their schedule remains incomplete.

--- Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News has this post-early-entry draft deadline look at the Pac-10 next season and projects the Huskies sixth but with lots of opportunity to move up.

All for now.

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June 22, 2008 11:52 AM

Previewing the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

With rosters for next season now pretty much set, Scout.com his this look at the Pac-10 season.

The author is pretty optimistic about UW writing that "expectations in Seattle will be sky high this year and the results will probably follow.''

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June 19, 2008 3:51 PM

Gottlieb high on Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

Could the Huskies finish as high as second in the Pac-10 next season?

Doug Gottlieb of ESPN thinks so, including the Huskies in his list of teams that shouldn't be overlooked next season.

Gottlieb concludes by writing "look for UW to compete with Arizona for the No. 2 spot (behind UCLA) in the Pac-10.''

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June 19, 2008 2:18 PM

Appleby update

Posted by Bob Condotta

So I'd heard rumors that Ryan Appleby's usually rail-thin body was now up to 185 pounds and just had to find out if they were true.

Turns out they're not.

"In fact, his trainer says he'll be up to 190 by the weekend,'' Ryan's father, Mike Appleby, told me recently.

The weight gain is part of a concerted effort by Ryan Appleby, who left UW having made the most three-pointers of any Husky in school history, to secure a professional career either here or abroad.

Appleby has signed with the Wasserman Media Group, whose basketball clients include Brandon Roy and Spencer Hawes.

He's spent a lot of mornings recently working out in Seattle with Roy, trying to add weight to a frame that dipped as low as 162 pounds last season.

Mike Appleby said that's an attempt to answer one of the biggest questions pro scouts have had about Ryan --- whether he'd have the bulk to make it through a lengthy season.

Appleby is on a lifting and eating program designed to add weight and is also helped by not being in the middle of a college season. The family doesn't want to come off as critical of the UW program in any way, but Mike said Washington's daily regimen of lots of running --- designed to get the players in shape for the run-and-gun style the Huskies prefer --- made it hard for Ryan to keep weight on. He usually began seasons at around 180 but would drop weight as the season progressed. Right now, he's in a different training regiment, so the weight is coming back, and for the moment, staying on.

So it's a more filled-out Appleby now handling a filled-up dance card of pro auditions.

Appleby was expected to work out in Columbus, Ohio this week for some scouts from one of the top leagues in France. He's also scheduled to go to Italy for a week-long invitational tournament pitting European players and American players, scouts on hand to watch it all.

He also was scheduled for workouts with Atlanta, Portland and the Sonics of the NBA hoping to land on a summer league team. Once the draft is over, he'll have to sort through the offers and make the choice that confronts all American free agents --- whether to try the NBA D-League or other United States minor leagues --- which offer less money but the chance to stay closer to home --- or head to Europe, where the money is greater.

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June 18, 2008 8:14 PM

Simmons signs for two more years in Israel

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky Tre Simmons is headed to Israel for another two years, according to this story today from EuroLeague.net.

As the story details, Simmons has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, generally regarded as one of the top teams in Europe. That's the same team Simmons helped beat earlier this year when he was playing for Hapoel Holon. Simmons scored 18 points as Hapoel Holon beat Maccabi Tel Aviv for the Israeli League title, a performance that evidently impressed the right people.

Simmons has spent the last season-and-a-half in Israel, and obviously is enjoying it despite the fact that his season last year was interrupted briefly after a scary incident when a fan threw a large firecracker on the court near the end of a game. He returned home to regroup for a few days after that incident and I caught up with him to talk with him about that after a win over Eastern Washington.

CONROY TRYING OUT IN SAN ANTONIO --- Another former Husky, Will Conroy, has set his sights on making it back to the NBA. Conroy has spent the past two days working out for the San Antonio Spurs. Conroy said last month he has several offers for summer league teams but is trying to decide which one will give him the best avenue back to the league.

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June 18, 2008 2:28 PM

Lunardi has Huskies on bubble, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of new rankings out there now that the deadline to pull out of the NBA Draft has passed and people have a clearer idea what teams will look like this season. Here are a few of the more interesting links I've found.

--- First is the latest Bracketology from ESPN's Joe Lunardi, which includes four Pac-10 teams --- UCLA, USC, Arizona and Arizona State --- but not the Huskies. UW, apparently, is fifth in the conference in Lunardi's view as he has the Huskies as one of his "Last Four Out'' teams that are on the bubble.

--- Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen breaks down the Pac-10 race and writes of the Huskies that they "could be ready for a return to the top half of the league even if the Huskies aren't anyone's idea of a primo contender.'' That's better than being a punching bag like Primo Carnera.

--- Jon Wilner sees long seasons ahead for Cal and Stanford in the wake of their losses, though he thinks the Bears will be the better of the two with a chance to get to 15-17 wins and sixth or seventh place (basically what I think now, as well).

--- FoxSports has an updated national top 25 with the Huskies listed as one of 15 additional teams to watch.

--- Andy Katz of ESPN also has a new top 25 but with no mention of UW.

All for now.

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June 17, 2008 10:37 PM

Garcia's coach speaks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Charles Garcia figures to go down as one of the most unknown of the players to have committed to UW since Lorenzo Romar took over as coach before the 2002-03 season.

So I thought it would be a good idea to talk with his coach at Riverside Community College, John Smith, to get a better feel for what kind of player the Huskies are getting in 2009. Garcia, who will be a sophomore at RCC this year, said on Sunday he will sign with UW in November and become a Husky for the 2009-10 season. Garcia committed after taking an unofficial visit to UW last weekend.

"He's a great fit for coach Romar and his style,'' Smith said. "He's a mismatch for a lot of bigs and he's a mismatch for a lot of wings because of his length and athleticism.''

Smith said Garcia "is a legitimate 6-10'' and now weighs about 220 pounds.

That's a far cry from where he was a few years ago, Smith said.

Garcia played at about 6-6 and well under 200 pounds as a senior at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles in 2006, Smith said, one reason he flew well under the recruiting radar. He was more of a perimeter player then, skills he has kept while adding inches and bulk.

"Nobody knew he was going to grow three or four more inches and continue to be that kind of a player,'' Smith said.

Smith said he thinks Garcia had some interest from Nevada of what could be considered major schools, but that that was about it, which Smith said "just shows you how much he has grown and matured.''

"He was 6-5, 6-6 when he was in high school and graduated when he was just 17 years old,'' said Smith, who is going into his fifth year at Riverside and in a previous stop coached former USC Trojan Jerry DuPree, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA. "He (Garcia) is by far the most skilled player I've had at this level,'' Smith said.

With few other offers out of high school, however, Garcia decided to attend Sacramento State, spending one semester there as a full-time student, Smith said.

But Smith said Garcia struggled with being away from home for the first time and didn't make it academically at Sac State.

"He was young,'' Smith said. "He comes from a two-parent home with great parents. He's the youngest in the family so he always had support. But being 17 and away from home for the first time, sometimes you don't understand time management, and that kind of caught up with him. So yes, he struggled a little in the class room there. But he's passed 35 units with us, so he's capable of doing it.''

After leaving Sac State, he ended up at Riverside. The semester at Sacramento State, however, means Garcia will have just two years to play two seasons when he arrives at UW.

But Smith said he has little doubt Garcia will be able to make an immediate impact for the Huskies.

"He's a gym rat,'' Smith said. "He's one of our hardest workers in practice. By the time he gets to Washington he'll be ready. He'll be beyond ready, I believe.''

Smith said the perimeter skills Garcia honed in his days as a smaller player continue to serve him well now that he's grown.

"For us last year, he played the four and the five,'' Smith said. "Next year he'll be playing the three and sometimes the four because he's just a mismatch on the blocks. But he's probably our best ballhandler, so we'll play him out on the wing a lot, as well.''

Smith also said that Garcia "has range out to the pro three-point line'' though the Huskies will likely want him playing more on the inside than hanging out that far.

He should be better positioned to do that when he gets to UW, Smith said, saying Garcia weighed about 195 pounds when he arrived at Riverside before the 2007-08 season but has added about 25 pounds since then.

"He has worked his tail off,'' Smith said. "He does yoga, Pilates and lifts weights. He's doing a great job of getting his mind and his body where it needs to be. He can definitely put on more weight, and he will --- he's still only 19.''

That youth, and Garcia's recent growth spurt, are added reasons Smith said the Huskies made the right move in locking Garcia up early.

"He was all-state last year as a freshman and we were 25-8'' Smith said. "And I expect bigger and better things next year, so I think coach Romar did a great job recruiting him. It's a great steal for them because I was starting to get calls from Memphis, Kentucky, Nebraska. San Diego State did a hell of a job of getting in there early and trying to recruit him. But I guess he just felt really comfortable with coach Romar when he went on his unofficial visit up there.''

One concern for UW fans might be that Garcia shot just 54 percent from the free throw line last season (though cynics would say that means he'll fit right in with the current group).

Smith said he's confident Garcia will get better at the line this season at Riverside.

"It has nothing to do with his mechanics,'' Smith said. "It just has to do with his focus and maturity. He's going to be fine there.''

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June 17, 2008 3:06 PM

Huskies-Cougs to again open Pac-10 play

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington and Washington State opened and closed Pac-10 play against each other last season, and it looks as if they will do so again this year.

Neither school has released its official schedule for the 2008-09 season, but other schools have, and the process of elimination indicates that the Cougars and Huskies will play the first and last weeks of the Pac-10 season.

Cal recently released its schedule, showing that the Bay Area schools will host the Arizona schools for the first weekend of conference play (Jan. 2-4) and play at those schools on the last weekend (March 5-7). Oregon also just released its schedule showing that the Oregon schools will host the LA schools the first weekend and play at those schools the last weekend. That means UW and WSU have to play each other on those two weekends.

Given that UW opened the 2007-08 conference season hosting the Cougars, then finished it playing at WSU, I'm thinking a switch could be in order this year with the Huskies opening this conference season in Pullman (either Jan. 3, a Saturday, or Jan. 4, I would imagine) and closing it with the Cougars at home.

Cal's schedule shows that it will play at Washington on Jan. 10, meaning Stanford will be coming to Seattle on Jan. 8, and that it will host the Huskies on Feb. 5 (meaning UW would go to Stanford on Feb. 7). Oregon's schedule shows it will host UW on Jan. 15 (meaning UW likely at OSU on Jan. 17) and visiting the Huskies on Feb. 14 (meaning UW plays at Oregon State on Feb. 12).

The Pac-10 tournament is March 11-14 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

UW is still in talks to add one more non-conference game before it announces its complete schedule.

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June 16, 2008 7:40 PM

Re-assessing the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta

So now that we know for sure who is staying and who is going, time to rate the teams again based on their outlook heading into the 2008-09 season.

1, UCLA --- Despite big losses, could have been a lot worse for the Bruins, who retain Darren Collison and Josh Shipp but lose Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Russell Westbrook. They also recently added to their already best-in-the-nation recruiting class with center J'Mison Morgan. The clear team to beat in the Pac-10 next season and again a contender for the Final Four. SI.com referred to UCLA as one of the winners of the off-season after tallying up all of their moves.

2, Arizona State --- The decisions of James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to not even think about the NBA gave ASU one of the calmest off-seasons of any team in the conference. The big question may be whether an ASU team that hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2003 can handle all the hype.

3, Arizona --- So after all the dust settled, Arizona will return three of its top four scorers from last season in Chase Budinger, Nic Wise --- who each debated leaving school for different reasons --- and Jordan Hill, who combined to score 39 points a game in 2008. Then add in uber-recruit guard Brandon Jennings and through all the seeming turmoil, the Wildcats look to again be a team that won't be deep, but should have the frontline talent to contend if UCLA slips at all.

4, USC --- The biggest personnel issue left to be resolved in the conference is the eligibility of USC incoming freshman Demar Derozan, a 6-7 forward considered one of the top recruits in the country. His latest test score was a big improvement, however, and speculation is that he will likely make it in. USC also returns three starters in Dwight Lewis, Daniel Hackett and Taj Gibson and should still be an NCAA tourney team despite the loss of O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson.

5, Washington --- Since our last rankings, all of UW's eligibility issues among its freshmen have been resolved, so the Huskies move up a few spots as the addition of the three guards combined with the return of Jon Brockman for his senior season makes Washington a team that has legitimate NCAA tourney aspirations.

6, Cal --- The Bears slip a few spots with the loss of Ryan Anderson. Still, count me as one who thinks the addition of Mike Montgomery will mean a lot to this team. And don't forget that the Bears should return the services of forward Theo Robertson, who missed last season due to injury after starting every game in 2007. That means Cal essentially returns three starters in Robertson, swingman Patrick Christopher and point guard Jerome Randle.

7, Washington State --- The big question in Pullman is whether one of the best recruiting classes in school history can make up for the loss of three seniors who comprised most of what was undoubtedly one of the most important classes in school history. No way the Cougars don't slide a bit, but the foundation seems solid enough to prevent a fullscale retreat, as well.

8, Oregon --- In similar boat as Cougars, losing three senior starters but also welcoming a much-hyped recruiting class. Ducks got a late addition for next year in point guard Garrett Sim of Portland who got out of his LOI to Cal after the firing of Ben Braun, giving them six incoming freshmen, all who could contribute to some degree next year. Ernie Kent's track record, however, is that it usually takes him a year or two to break in large groups of new players. Given the rumblings surrounding Kent, there may be no more interesting team to watch in the conference next year than Oregon.

9, Stanford --- A long fall for the Cardinal. But the loss of the Lopez Twins as well as the strange change in in coaches seems to auger for a tough season in Palo Alto next year.

10, Oregon State --- New coach Craig Robinson seems to be making a lot of good moves so far. And some of the talent here (Omari Johnson, Lathen Wallace, the Tarvers) is intriguing. But hard to see how they climb out of the cellar next year.


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June 16, 2008 1:21 PM

Cal's Anderson, UCLA's Mbah a Moute stay in draft, Budinger stays in school (UPDATED)

Posted by Bob Condotta

Cal's hopes for next season suffered a pretty significant blow today as Ryan Anderson has apparently decided to stay in the NBA Draft, according to ESPN.com. And here's the release from Cal.

Anderson averaged 21.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last year for the Bears, who will have a new coach in former Stanford head man Mike Montgomery.

UCLA also lost a player as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said he will stay in the draft as well.

Budinger is a surprise given all the reports that he appeared to be on his way out. Obviously a big boost for Arizona and one that keeps the Wildcats among the top tier of Pac-10 teams (after UCLA) heading into the season with Cal now slipping back to the pack.

GARCIA IS A 2009 RECRUIT --- To make clear for those who asked, Charles Garcia will come in for the 2009-10 season. He will play this season as a sophomore at Riverside and then come in for 2009. UW does not plan on adding any more players for the 2008-09 season other than possibly walk-ons.

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June 16, 2008 11:55 AM

Pac-10/Big 12 Series announced

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports has this note in his blog today on the announcement of the dates for the Pac-10/Big 12 series.

According to this report, UW will host Oklahoma State on Dec. 4, a Thursday night. This will be a rematch of UW's blasting at OSU last Dec. 1, a 96-71 Husky defeat.

UW's schedule is still not completed as the Huskies are looking for one more game.

Goodman also has this note wrapping up some recent recruiting news, calling UW commit Charles Garcia "one of the top junior college players in the nation.''

Also, the deadline for underclassmen to pull out of the draft is 2 p.m. I'll pass that along when I see anything on Pac-10 players and also present an updated Pac-10 power poll based on those decisions.

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June 16, 2008 11:38 AM

Rose City Showcase roundup

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of you asked for some info on the Rose City Showcase in Portland over the weekend.

I wasn't able to attend, but here are some links.

Team Rebook, with players largely from back East, beat Seattle-based Friends of Hoop in the title game 82-74 despite what sounded like a good game from Aaron Dotson of Rainier Beach.

Seattle Rotary was beaten handily in the third-place game, but played that game without three of its top players, including Peyton Siva.

The Oregonian's high school sports blog had comprehensive coverage of the event.

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June 15, 2008 8:25 PM

More thoughts on Charles Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

I know the first thought of most of you reading today about the news of the commitment of Charles Garcia Jr. to the Huskies is --- who?

I couldn't find Garcia on the lists of players the Huskies were recruiting on any of the major recruiting services and there's very little out there about him on the web. There's a few mentions of Garcia throughout this link. And here are his season stats along with a photo.

But as was the case with the recent commitment of guard C.J. Wilcox, I think UW coaches think they grabbed a real up-and-comer in Garcia.

Garcia, listed at 6-9-and-a-half and 220 pounds, attended Dorsey High in Los Angeles where he was a first-team All-City Pick in 2006 ahead of the likes of future Husky teammate Darnell Gant and Chace Stanback, who spent a year at UCLA before transferring.

Academic problems, however, scared off some recruiters and Garcia initially headed to Sacramento State, saying then-assistant Dwayne Canada stood by him strong throughout the process. He grayshirted there in 2006-07 but couldn't get the academic issues resolved and decided then to go the junior college route.

He played last season at Riverside, where his stock rose throughout the season as he led his team to a 25-8 record and was named a first-team All-State selection.

"I became a lot more aggressive as a player,'' said Garcia, who will have two years to play two at UW.

While Garcia apparently escaped heavy notice from recruiting analysts, he said he had serious interest from San Diego State and USC and also was considering visits to Tennessee and Nebraska. He said he won't take those visits now, saying he wanted to get the recruiting process out of the way.

After seeing him play a few times last season, Husky coaches apparently targeted Garcia early as a possible fit for their recruiting needs in the Class of 2009. With Jon Brockman and Artem Wallace graduating after this season, the Huskies will need some big men, and wanted a JC player to help out immediately.

Garcia said he was looking forward to a different environment for his college days than Los Angeles, so he was receptive to leaving the area, though he had no real ties to UW.

"But I'd seen them play on TV a lot,'' he said. "And you can't beat being in the Pac-10.''

Garcia described himself as a versatile big man, saying "I can play the three or the four and I can defend anywhere from the one to the the five.''

Among his favorite players are Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett and he apparently emulates their style in being a long, athletic player who can handle a number of different tasks.

"I'm an all-around type of player and I know that's what coach (Lorenzo) Romar wants,'' he said.

Garcia visited this weekend with most players gone for their summer vacation and he said he doesn't really know too many of the Huskies well other than Gant.

"I really like coach Romar and I was feeling really comfortable about it,'' he said.

UW will apparently have four scholarships to offer for the Class of 2009 and now have two filled --- Garcia and Wilcox.

It seems likely they will take another perimeter player and another big man, each probably to come from the high school ranks.

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June 15, 2008 6:49 PM

A little more on Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an unedited version of a story for the on-line and print editions about the commitment of Charles Garica Jr. I'll have some more analysis later.

One of the goals for the Washington men's basketball coaching staff this year was to find some big players who could immediately fill the void that will be left by the graduation of all-conference forward Jon Brockman after the 2008-09 season.

The Huskies took a big step in that direction this weekend by securing a commitment from Charles Garcia Jr., a 6-9-and-a-half, 220-pound forward from Riverside (Calif.) Community College.

Garcia committed to UW coaches after visiting the campus this weekend.

Garcia said he was intrigued by the opportunity that will be created by Brockman's departure and liked what he saw of Seattle. "It's real mellow up here,'' he said.

Garcia averaged roughly 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks last year as a freshman at Riverside. He will play there again this year, then join the Huskies in 2009.

Garcia is something of a sleeper in recruiting circles. He's a graduate of Dorsey High in Los Angeles where he played often against current Husky forward Darnell Gant of Crenshaw. He briefly attended Sacramento State University but didn't play there before leaving after running into some academic issues. But his stock rose dramatically after his season at Riverside when he led the team to a 25-8 record and he was named as a first-team all-state player in a state known for strong junior college basketball.

He said he also was considering visiting USC, San Diego State, Nebraska and Tennessee but decided to cancel all his trips after the visit to UW this weekend.

"I just didn't want to deal with the whole recruiting process,'' he said. "I wanted to get it out of the way.''

The Huskies earlier received a commitment from guard C.J. Wilcox of Pleasant Grove, Utah. The Huskies are expected to have four available scholarships for that class.

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June 15, 2008 4:38 PM

Huskies get another 2009 commitment

Posted by Bob Payne

This was just called in from Bob Condotta, who was away from his computer:

The Washington Huskies have received their second commitment for the recruiting class of 2009, this one from a 6-9 1/2, 220-pound junior college forward from Los Angeles.

Charles Garcia Jr. said today as he was getting ready to fly back home after taking a visit to UW over the weekend that he would sign with the Huskies.

Garcia averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as a freshman at Riverside Community College last season. He will play at Riverside as a sophomore this year, and then join the Huskies in the fall of 2009.

Husky coaches were looking for a junior-college big man to help fill the void that will be created by the graduation after this season of Jon Brockman.

The Huskies earlier received a commitment from guard C.J. Wilcox of Pleasant Grove, Utah. The Huskies are expected to have four available scholarships for that class.

I'll have more later including some quotes from Garcia.

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June 15, 2008 11:44 AM

Draft decisions looming, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of links to throw your way today in anticipation of Monday's deadline for underclassmen to pull themselves out of the draft.

--- Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen wrote today that there's no doubt about it now --- Chase Budinger will stay in the draft, a decision that he says will leave Arizona with a small forward rotation of Zane Johnson and Jamelle Horne. Budinger's departure will likely mean this Arizona team will have its lowest expectations going into a season since maybe Lute Olson's second year in Tucson.

--- If Budinger really does leave, he'll do so despite a hard sell from Olson to stay.

--- Cal's Ryan Anderson and UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are the other two Pac-10 players still undecided, though I couldn't find anything new about either of them. Sportsline.com's Gary Parrish says Anderson should probably stay in the draft but that Mbah a Moute should say in school.

--- The Boston Globe reports that the stock of UCLA's Russell Westbrook is rising so quickly he could go No. 4 to the team David Stern is allowing to be stolen from Seattle.

--- And in non-draft news, here's a profile from the Oregonian of 6-8 forward Mike Moser of Grant High in Portland who is quickly rising up the list of college recruiters. He reports that he just got an offer from Arizona and he already lists an offer from Washington.

All for now.


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June 14, 2008 1:16 PM

Bodog.com lists UW ninth in Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

While Lorenzo Romar and other UW coaches are optimistic of a turnaround for the Huskies next season, the folks at Bodog.com aren't buying it just yet.

In Bodog's latest futures bets listing odds to win the NCAA Tournament next season, the Huskies have the highest odds of any Pac-10 team other than Oregon State --- or essentially placing them ninth in the conference.

Here are the Pac-10 odds:
UCLA 10-1
USC 30-1
Arizona State 40-1
Arizona 45-1
Stanford 80-1
Washington State 80-1
Cal 100-1
Oregon 100-1
Washington 150-1
Oregon State 500-1

North Carolina is the favorite at 9-2.

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June 13, 2008 2:27 PM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links to send you into a (hopefully) sunny Seattle weekend:

--- The soon-to-be-twice-a-month Sporting News has this notebook with an item on the bottom on Husky commit C.J. Wilcox writing that Wilcox's meteoric rise proves that there "still is such a thing as a sleeper'' in recruiting.

--- One place where high school players cease being sleepers is the annual Rose City Showcase, which will be held this weekend in Portland. Many of the top players in the country will be there, including (reportedly) Avery Bradley, Abdul Gaddy and Peyton Siva. The Portland Oregonian also reports that among the players expected are Shawn Kemp Jr., who still has the Huskies listed among his college options, and Mike Moser of Grant High, also thought to be a top target of the Huskies. Moser is a 6-8 forward. Here's a look at some of the teams expected to be there. I'll try to pass along anything interesting I see coming out of the tournament (unfortunately I can't be there this year but it's an event I will try to get to one of these years).

--- Steve Rivera of the Tucson Citizen has this story saying that Chase Budinger is likely gone to the NBA. The deadline to pull out is Monday.

--- Cal's Ryan Anderson has the same decision to make, and tells the San Jose Mercury News he's as uncertain as ever about what he's going to do.

--- Speaking of Arizona, the Citizen also has this pretty frank Q-and-A with Lute Olson that seems to be drawing a lot of attention down there.

--- Jon Wilner has this review of the hiring of Johnny Dawkins at Stanford.

All for now.

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June 12, 2008 12:07 PM

NBA "fixing games'' interlude

Posted by Bob Condotta

We won't often delve away from UW and Pac-10 basketball here.

But since a few of you have asked about Game 7 of the 1993 Suns-Sonics series in light of the recent comments by Tim Donaghy, here are a few items I thought I'd pass along.

--- First, here is the Seattle Times game story on that contest, when the Suns hit 57-64 free throws to advance to the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls (and set up a Jordan-Barkley matchup). Interesting quote from then-Seattle center Michael Cage that "this was the first time the game was called this tight all series.''

--- Then-Sonic Eddie Johnson also questioned the officiating that day.

--- Here's a story from the Boston Globe a few years ago that included that game in a story titled "When fouls just don't add up'' about games that seemed to not pass the smell test when it came to officiating. Also on that list is one of the games Donaghy has singled out from the 2002 Kings-Lakers series.

As I wrote the other day, David Stern's lies and fabrications about the Sonics' arena situation leaves me much more open to believe the worst about the league now than I used to. And the fact that every seemingly questionable game always went in favor of the team that would most benefit the league to have advance only makes it seem worse.

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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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June 10, 2008 1:15 PM

Pac-10 draft update

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NBA Draft is 16 days away, and it continues to look as it if will be a record-setting year for the Pac-10.

The latest mock drafts from some of the more reputable sources in that area all have at least six Pac-10 players going in the first round, with two listing eight.

Here are the mock drafts in question:

--- First, ESPN's Chad Ford;

--- HoopsHype.com;

--- and NBADraft.net.

Two of the agree that Pac-10 players will be picked 3-4-5 in the first round --- O.J. Mayo third, Jerryd Bayless fourth to Seattle, and Kevin Love fifth. HoopsHype.com lists Brook Lopez third, and then Bayless, Love and Mayo.

HoopsHype also lists Robin Lopez, Chase Budinger, Russell Westbrook and DeVon Hardin going in the first round, while NBADraft.net lists all of that group but Hardin, but also throws in Ryan Anderson, while Ford lists
the Lopez twins plus Westbrook.

As I detailed last month, the Pac-10 has never had more than five first-round picks, happening most recently in 1995.

NBADraft.net also predicts that 12 Pac-10 players will be taken overall, which would be another record since the draft shrunk to two rounds in 1989. The record since then is 11 in 2001, a year when only two were taken in the first round but nine in the second.

With most reports I've seen indicating Budinger will stay in the draft, the most intrigue involving a Pac-10 player revolves around Anderson. If he stays, Cal has to be considered a legit contender to finish in the top four of the conference next year. Without him, not so much.

Andy Katz of ESPN.com writes in his blog today (available only through the Insider package) that Anderson is "still on the fence'' and likely won't make his decision until right before the deadline to pull out, which is Monday.

UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute also remains undecided.

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June 9, 2008 12:05 PM

Garbage redux

Posted by Bob Condotta

So that was kind of a fun college basketball discussion for June, which was the whole point.

And as I expected, "not garbage'' beat "garbage'' by an Obama-over-Kucinich-type margin.

Having read through it all, have to say I, too, agree with the "not garbage'' contingent. Not because I'm being a homer or anything, but just that I think you still have to take a big-picture view of where the Huskies are right now.

Sure, they have been disappointing underachievers the last two seasons. Still, they haven't hit the depths of the Sonics, Mariners or Husky football --- each of whom are coming off, or are in the midst of, some of their worst seasons ever (particularly the Mariners and UW football, since I think we can all agree the Sonics' situation is so odd as to be impossible to judge through mere wins and losses).

And not only has the Husky basketball team not sunk to those same levels, but it also appears better positioned to get back on track in 2008-09 --- if it doesn't, then this argument will have a decidedly different tone a year from now from both you and me. (And yes, I am saying I think the hoops squad has a better chance to get back to where it wants to be this year than does the UW football team. But maybe that should be a separate discussion for another day --- it is still June and I have a lot of blog posts left to fill until the fall rolls around).

There's no doubt 08-09 looms as the pivotal year for Lorenzo Romar. Many coaches stumble for a year or two while trying to rebuild/reload, especially those that lose players the caliber of Brandon Roy (who I still think few realized just how good he was while he was a Husky). But three struggling years in a row, with a roster that now appears to have the requisite ingredients for success on paper (added experience with Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter; added depth at the spot it's most needed with the three incoming guards) and serious questions would have to be asked and answered.

What we know at the moment is that Romar is already the fourth-winningest coach at UW in just six years; that he has provided the school with some of the greatest moments in its basketball history; and that there are reasons to believe him when he says the good times will return this year.

To respond to one comment I saw:

--- One poster blamed the "local media'' for over-hyping the recruiting of late, specifically the Spencer Hawes-led Class of 2006. I'll admit to some culpability there while pointing out it wasn't just us --- Scout.com rated it No. 6 in the nation; Rivals.com rated all four players as four- or five-star recruits; HoopScoop.com also ranked it No. 6. I could go on-and-on. And when UW was ranked No. 8 early in that season, that was the national AP poll, not anything locally. If anything, I actually think it was the national buzz over these recruits that helped feed the local media excitement. Few of us locally had really seen any of these guys other than Hawes before they got here. I think the thought was that we all knew how good Hawes was, and if the national guys are right about the others, this really will be a hellacious class. To be fair, we still don't know for sure that all those rankings are necessarily wrong. I think Hawes is going to turn out to be a really productive NBA player; I think "bust'' is too strong for Pondexter's first two years, and caution that he still has two years left; and Oliver and Nelson could each become Players of the Year in their new conferences. That said, no doubt the class is a huge disappointment for what it ended up contributing to UW.

Anyway, I get the sense that most of you agree in general on this topic --- the program is in much better shape than it was in the dark days of Russo, Nance and Bender, but the last two years have been disappointing and improvement is necessary this season to show that those were merely aberrations. I think that's exactly where I stand, as well.


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June 8, 2008 3:12 PM

Fortier staying put as Agel gets Brown job

Posted by Bob Condotta

Paul Fortier will remain as an assistant at Washington after Jesse Agel was named as the new head coach at Brown this weekend.

Fortier, a UW assistant the past three years, was reportedly one of three finalists for the job and had an official interview at the school recently.

Unless one of the assistants gets involved in another job, this figures to mean the UW staff will remain intact for for the fourth straight year. Cameron Dollar was a finalist for the head coaching job at Sacramento State earlier this year but didn't get it. Jim Shaw is UW's other assistant.

Dollar has been at UW for the entire Lorenzo Romar era; Shaw joined four years ago, in time for the first of the two straight trips to the Sweet 16; Fortier, also a former Husky player, came on a year later, replacing Ken Bone, who left for Portland State.

As for the discussion in the "garbage'' post, I'll try to summarize some of my thoughts a little later.

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June 6, 2008 2:42 PM

Are Huskies "garbage'' right now?

Posted by Bob Condotta

With this being the time of year when college basketball news can be hard to find, thought I would throw out a question to all of you based on something I heard while driving to Bellingham today (to see Jake Locker play baseball tonight).

Dick Fain on KJR-AM conducted an interesting discussion centering on the fact that of the major teams in town right now, only the Seahawks are winning. So he asked callers their opinion of which will be the next to break through.

In setting up the discussion, Fain said that the Mariners, Sonics, UW football and UW basketball are all "garbage'' right now --- his description, not mine. Pretty hard to argue the first three given the recent records.

But is the Husky basketball program really "garbage'' at the moment?

I realize by throwing that question out there I'm setting it up on a tee for every Duck, Zag, Cougar, etc., fan to chime in that Romar is a terrible coach to whom UW is unfortunately tethered for eight more years, every current Husky player with the possible exception of Brockman sucks, and all of UW's recruits are overrated. So there, let's let that stand for what all the Ducks, Cougars, Zags, Wildcats, etc. think.

What I'm looking for is what the devoted Husky fan thinks, especially those with long-term views.

Is the program, despite the acknowledged disappointments of the past two years, really "garbage'' right now?

I covered games when Andy Russo and Lynn Nance and Bob Bender were coaches, and there were seasons when going 7-11 in what might have been the best conference in the nation, beating Arizona and UCLA, and bringing in a recruiting class ranked among the top 20-30 in the nation, one that on paper appears to answer the team's biggest weaknesses, would be reasons for dancing in the streets. All following a string of four straight seasons of 19 wins or more, three of them capped by NCAA tourney appearances.

Do the heightened expectations based on the success of the first few years of the Romar era, coupled with the fact that the facilities at UW can no longer be viewed as second-rate, mean that Washington's current status is now "garbage?''

I'm curious to know what you think.


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June 6, 2008 10:00 AM

Oregon arena runs into stumbling block

Posted by Bob Condotta

Oregon's proposed new basketball arena has run into a little bit of a delay thanks to a land-use ruling released this week.

The Oregonian reports that the school remains committed to the project, which could now be delayed by up to a year.

That's fine with me, though not for the reasons it may be fine with many of you, who I realize have little sympathy for any bad news that comes Oregon's way. I simply love the atmosphere at Mac Court and any more opportunities to experience that are more than welcome from this corner.

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June 5, 2008 4:55 PM

A few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- UW assistant Paul Fortier is still in the running for the vacancy at Brown. The job has been open for a couple months now, ever since Craig Robinson left to take over at Oregon State. Fortier recently had an interview with Brown officials. A decision is likely in the next week or so.

--- Interesting note on Scott Wolf's blog that former USC forward Davon Jefferson's NBA stock is falling like a rock and that he may not get drafted. Jefferson already signed with an agent and can't return to school.

--- UCLA's Russell Westbrook has signed with an agent and won't be able to return to school, according to the LA Daily News. That means UCLA is sure to lose both Westbrook and Kevin Love, but appears likely to retain Josh Shipp, with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute apparently wanting to stay in but still undecided.

--- The LA Daily News also reports that Love was in Seattle today working out for the Sonics. For his sake, hopefully that went better than his last visit to Seattle, a 3-8 performance in a Bruins loss.

--- Kentucky transfer Derek Jasper, a high school summer league teammate of UW's Quincy Pondexter, is said to be considering UCLA and USC, among others, for his next stop.

All for now.

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June 5, 2008 9:11 AM

Thomas graduates, returns home

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note that Isaiah Thomas has completed all of his course work at South Kent School and went through graduation ceremonies over the weekend, which appears to have been the last thing he needed to do to become eligible to play at UW next season.

He is now back in Seattle and working out at UW.

BUDINGER GONE? --- Also this morning is one Andy Katz story UW fans might actually want to read, his Insider Blog today headlined "Budinger unlikely to return to Cats.''

Katz writes that "the assumption'' throughout the NBA and college basketball is that Budinger won't return next season. He also includes a few quotes from his father, Duncan, that Budinger is "100 percent'' committed at the moment to the NBA Draft.


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June 4, 2008 1:11 PM

Gaddy says decision coming by August-September

Posted by Bob Condotta

Bellarmine Prep guard Abdul Gaddy was just on with Dave Mahler on KJR-AM and said that he has Washington among his top 10 schools and that he hopes to make a decision by the beginning of school next fall, likely August or September.

Gaddy recently said he is no longer committed to Arizona and is again considering all of his options.

Despite recent stories that he and Bellarmine teammate Avery Bradley might want to be a "package deal,'' he told Mahler that is not the case.

"It's not really like a package deal,'' he said. "In the end, I'll do what's best for me and he'll do what's best for him. If we end up playing together, that's a bonus.''

As for UW, Gaddy said the Huskies are in his top 10 list of schools, but that all 10 of those schools are even.

He didn't mention what all 10 schools are, and Scout.com lists only eight --- Arizona, Kansas, Gonzaga, Memphis, Oregon, Washington, Texas and USC.

He said staying at home would be nice to make it easier to play in front of family and friends but that "it's not really a big factor for me when choosing a college.''

Pressed further about UW, he said "every situation is pretty similar'' and that he has talked to coach Lorenzo Romar "multiple times.'' He said he's aware of Romar's history of developing players such as Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson and that he "really has no problems'' with anything about UW, it's simply that he wants to continue to consider all of his options.

Asked about the fact that UW suddenly has a number of guards on the roster for future seasons, he said "that does play a factor'' but that it wouldn't necessarily dissuade him from attending Washington because "I feel I could come in and be a starter'' wherever he goes.

So to summarize, he really didn't say anything to rule out UW, or make one think that the Huskies have any better of a shot at getting him than the other 10 schools on his list.

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June 4, 2008 12:31 PM

Former UW signee looking at Kentucky, Memphis

Posted by Bob Condotta

Remember Roburt Sallie? He signed with Washington in 2005 as part of the recruiting class that also included Martell Webster and Jon Brockman before failing to get qualified academically.

He later appeared headed to Nebraska before that also failed to happen in a rather strange turn of academic-related events.

Now back on the open market, he's being referred to as maybe the top player who is immediately available, and is reported to be looking at Kentucky and Memphis.

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June 4, 2008 9:44 AM

Even more on Wilcox

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a good story on the newest Husky, C.J. Wilcox, from his hometown newspaper, the Provo Daily Herald.

I'm not sure, however, about the phrase that Wilcox is one of three guards UW plans to sign in November. The author may be confused with the fact that UW signed three guards last November.

Two interesting notes in the story:

--- Wilcox indicates he would be open to redshirting his first year, which would further remove him from the three guards who arrive this year.

--- He can touch 11-6 from a flat-footed start.

The story also reiterates a lot else I've heard and seen that Wilcox is regarded as a late-bloomer (he turns 18 in December) who may turn out to be a lot better than he is ranked at the moment.

I got a note yesterday with a similar theme from Dave Hammer, Wilcox's coach with the Salt Lake Metro AAU team, who wrote that "We have chosen to have him attend only a few tournaments and have him focus on player development instead of random tournament attendance. As a result, he is a better player but not as well known on the national circuit. Salt Lake Metro has been around since 1995 and has produced more than 60 D-1 players. C J is one of the top players the program has produced.''

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June 3, 2008 3:21 PM

Breaking down the roster

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the addition Monday of swingman C.J. Wilcox to the fold for the 2009-10 season, time to look again at how UW's roster shapes up.

08-09 roster

SENIORS
G - Justin Dentmon
F - Jon Brockman
C - Artem Wallace
G - Joel Smith

JUNIORS
C - Joe Wolfinger
F - Quincy Pondexter

SOPHOMORES
F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
G - Justin Holiday
G - Venoy Overton

FRESHMEN
F - Darnell Gant
G - Isaiah Thomas
G - Elston Turner
G - Scott Suggs
F - Tyreese Breshers

Comment: That obviously is 14 players, so something is going to have to give as UW coach Lorenzo Romar said again last week that the Huskies will be down to just 13 scholarships when the school year starts. With all of the newcomers claiming they will be academically eligible, and everybody else expected to return, that seems to leave the best guess that someone moves off scholarship for the year, but nothing has been said publicly. Since UW will have to get to 13 scholarships for the year, assuming the rest stays the same, the Huskies should have three scholarships available for the 2009-10 season.

09-10 roster

SENIORS
C - Joe Wolfinger
F - Quincy Pondexter

JUNIORS
F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
G - Justin Holiday
G - Venoy Overton

SOPHOMORES
F - Darnell Gant
G - Isaiah Thomas
G - Elston Turner
G - Scott Suggs
F - Tyreese Breshers

FRESHMEN
G - C.J. Wilcox

Comment: That's 11 committed scholarships for the 2009-10 season, though that's assuming everything stays status quo, which rarely happens these days in college basketball. So as stated above, that means at least two more scholarships to give. The roster breaks down to four big players and seven perimeter players (counting Pondexter among the latter, where he usually plays), so the emphasis would seem to be on getting at least one more big player with the scholarships that are left --- Romar said at the end of last season he wanted to sign a big player or two for this class. But one thing we've learned the last few years is that the Huskies will always try to squeeze in as many players as possible, so it wouldn't be a surprise if they took four players for this class and worked it out later.

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June 3, 2008 2:27 PM

More on Wilcox

Posted by Bob Condotta

WHOOPS --- Guess this went on the football blog earlier so here it is in its rightful place.

A few stories to pass along this morning on newest Husky C.J. Wilcox:

--- First is our story.

--- There is also this from the Deseret News.

--- This is older, but here's a note on Wilcox as being one of the top players at the Kingwood Classic in Houston in April the tournament at which his stock began to rise.

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June 2, 2008 8:57 PM

A few more thoughts on Wilcox

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes and quotes on today's news regarding the commitment of C.J. Wilcox:

--- I know the first thought for many of you upon reading about this today is to think that this kills any chance at UW getting either or both of Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley of Bellarmine Prep. I'm told the Huskies are still recruiting them. But the Huskies also have to make plans in case those players don't end up at UW --- both still list lots of other schools and one person told me it's a longshot that both would end up with the Huskies. While Wilcox is a little under-the-radar, for all we know, he ends up being the better player down the road. Just because a recruit isn't local often means fans aren't as excited. But from what I can gather, the UW coaches consider Wilcox a real sleeper. He has a GPA in the 3.5 range so he's already good to go there, and I've also heard raves about his attitude and how he will fit in there, as well. Plus, he's touted as a deadly outside shooter, something a team can never have too much of.

--- One of you asked about his height, variously reported as 6-4 to 6-6. His father told me today that he's legitimately about 6-5-and-a-half but that he's still growing and could add another inch. That obviously could push him into being a player who could defend as a forward, adding a lot of versatility. His father said he thinks his son is a little bit of a late-bloomer physically, saying "I think his strength is now starting to catch up with his skill. Every year he keeps getting better and better.''

--- While his father attended BYU, he said the family is not LDS so there is no possibility of a mission that would delay or interrupt his career.

--- The Huskies got on Wilcox a few months ago after seeing him play in an AAU tournament in Houston. "That's where (UW assistant) coach (Jim) Shaw saw him and he was very intrigued by him and began following C.J. around just to see if is was for real,'' said Wilcox's father, Craig. "Then he got in touch with him and started the recruiting process.

--- The Huskies have added Montana to the schedule for next year but still need one more game to make it complete. That should happen in the next two weeks or so. They are still looking for something of a national opponent to play what would probably be a road game.

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June 2, 2008 4:23 PM

More on Wilcox

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just got off the phone a little while ago with Craig Wilcox, the father of guard C.J. Wilcox of Pleasant Grove, Utah, who confirmed that his son is committing to play for the Huskies.

C.J. Wilcox had narrowed his choices to Utah and UW and spent the weekend mulling it over before deciding on the Huskies. He had taken an unofficial visit to UW in May after which he narrowed his choices to Utah and Washington.

"We liked the University of Washington but at the same time we were very, very intrigued by Utah,'' Craig Wilcox said. "Basically, we felt like both of those schools would be great options, and we just sat on it for a couple of weeks and allowed C.J. to basically go through the process on his own.

"As a family this weekend we just sat down and I tried to gauge how committed he was trying to convince him to take more visits and talk positively about Utah and their coaching staff. But he still felt very confident in his decision, so with that being the case, I just said if you are that confident, let's just make it official.''

Wilcox also had offers from Florida State and Miami and Cal was also trying to get in the mix.

But UW coaches began recruiting Wilcox hard a few months ago after seeing him at an AAU tournament in Houston, becoming intrigued by his long-range shooting ability in a 6-5 frame.

That was a rare AAU tournament for Wilcox, who hasn't played in too many such events with his father preferring that he spend more time in private workouts. Craig Wilcox said he thinks that's one reason his son his rated higher by recruiting services.

"He's not highly ranked, but there are plenty of coaches who say 'he has to be in the top 40,''' he said. "I heard that from coaches at the University of Miami and Florida State and they all were just intrigued that we were not on the AAU circuit but just at home getting better.''

Craig Wilcox, who was a guard at BYU from 1993-95, said he simply felt his son would improve more spending the majority of his time working out privately rather than playing in AAU tournaments.

He said his son has shot 20,000 to 30,000 shots from March to August every year since eighth grade honing the shooting ability that is the strength of his game.

Wilcox is UW's first commit for the class of 2009 and will join what suddenly looks like a pretty loaded backcourt for the Huskies with Isaiah Thomas, Scott Suggs and Elston Turner Jr., all coming in this season.

Craig Wilcox said other coaches "talked about that'' but that his son feels he will fit in just fine.

"He has a specialty and I just felt like that specialty can be (used) anywhere,'' he said. "When you are about 6-5-and-a-half and can shoot the three the way he can shoot it, you can play almost anywhere and be a fit, no matter who is out on the court.''

Wilcox also has a cumulative GPA of around 3.5, his father said, and should have no issues becoming eligible.

I'll have more later.

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June 2, 2008 3:05 PM

Huskies get first 2009 commit

Posted by Bob Condotta

Two Salt Lake City newspapers are reporting that Washington has gotten a commitment from C.J. Wilcox, a 6-5 guard from Pleasant Grove, Utah. I have also confirmed this through an independent source.

Here's a report from the Deseret News and another from The Salt Lake Tribune.

And here is his prospect bio from Scout.com, which lists him as a two-star recruit.

Reports I have gotten are that Wilcox is a "very, very good shooter,'' and "long and fast'' and also a good student who won't have any of those kinds of issues.

Wilcox becomes the first member of UW's Class of 2009, when the Huskies could have up to four scholarships to fill. Indications I have gotten are that UW would still have room for Avery Bradley and Abdul Gaddy should either or both decide on the Huskies.

I'll have more on this a little later.

UPDATE --- Here's a video of Wilcox from YouTube.

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June 2, 2008 9:26 AM

Catching up

Posted by Bob Condotta

Spending part of my morning here trying to catch up on happenings around the Pac-10 after my week off.

Here's some of what I found:

--- Andy Katz of ESPN.com is reporting that Oregon State is adding Providence transfer guard Dwain Williams. He'll have two years of eligibility left but won't be able to play until the 2009-10 season.

--- Looks like the Abdul Gaddy story was well-covered on here. But just in case, wanted to pass along this link to the take on it from the Spokesman-Review, indicating this could be a battle between UW and Gonzaga for the services of the two Bellarmine Prep players.

--- Brian Dohn reports that Alabama may still make a run at J'Mison Morgan but that the center is still expected to end up at UCLA.

--- John Canzano of the Oregonian looks at the draft prospects for Oregon's senior class and in the process says that Malik Hairston was a "huge disappointment'' during his career in Eugene.

--- The Arizona Daily Star says Chase Budinger is still expected to be a first-round pick, which would seem to increase the odds that he'll be gone from Tucson next year.

--- Arizona got some good news last week when point guard Nic Wise decided to stay, an announcement that came the day after Gaddy said he's decommitting. Coincidence?

--- Jon Wilner has this breakdown of Ryan Anderson's NBA chances and says he thinks it's "60-40'' that Anderson will stay in the draft and leave Berkeley.

All for now.


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June 1, 2008 9:05 PM

Tre's team wins title

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, the team in Israel that former Husky Tre Simmons is playing for, Hapoel Holon, recently won the Israeli League title, upsetting perennial power Maccabi. Here are the details.

Simmons was expected to play in the Rip The Cut tournament last week but was unable to after Hapoel Holon advanced to the finals.

Here's a story that mentions Simmons scoring 18 points during a regular season game in May.

There are some pretty good players in this league, such as former Pitt star Vonteego Cummings, former USC star David Bluthenthal and former Arizona and Georgia Tech star Will Bynum. Bluthenthal had one of the better games I've ever witnessed in person against the Huskies in 2001 when he hit 10-13 shots in a rout of the Huskies.

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