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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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July 30, 2008 11:28 AM

Watch HS stars in action

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, Times reporter Tom Wyrwich found highlights of the Northwest Panthers-Seattle Rotary game played earlier this month and posted them on his blog.

This is the same game I wrote about here.

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July 28, 2008 9:39 PM

Updates on ex-Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

I know these are making the rounds already, but in case you missed them, here are a couple of quick updates on some ex-Huskies:

--- First, Bobby Jones was traded today from Denver to the New York Knicks as part of a four-person deal. But it sounds as if he's likely to be waived, so he may never actually wear a Knicks uniform or become a pro teammate of Nate Robinson's. Instead, sounds as if he may again be on the search for a new home.

--- Second, here's a note that Brandon Roy is becoming an avid cyclist, and another on his recent engagement to his longtime girlfriend.

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July 27, 2008 9:54 AM

Bradley-Gaddy package deal unlikely?

Posted by Bob Condotta

That seemed to be the theme of the stories coming out of the Las Vegas tournaments this week.

Several articles stated that Bellermine Prep stars Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley now view it unlikely they will play together in college.

Here's a good look at their situation from The Sporting News as well as this take on Gaddy from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Splitting the two up would seem to increase the odds that UW might be able to land one of them because as we've detailed, the Huskies have just two slots left for that class at the moment and seem committed to taking another big man with one of them (or giving one to transfer Chace Stanback, whose future doesn't seem likely to include UW but who has yet to officially decide anything one way or the other).

There's also a note in this subscription-only story on Scout.com that Lorenzo Romar was the lone head coach in Vegas watching both Bradley and Gaddy on Friday. To quote exactly, the author writes in a note at the bottom of the story that "hard to fathom, but Lorenzo Romar was the lone head coach there for Gaddy and Bradley. John Calipari was traveling and arrived later in the game. Other head coaches were down in Orlando.'' The story also states that Gaddy intends to narrow his list of schools to five after this tournament.


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July 24, 2008 9:04 PM

Interesting look at Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an interesting off-season look at the Pac-10 from CollegeHoops.net rating whether the programs are rising or falling

The author ultimately concludes that UW is declining slowly but has a chance to reverse that trend quickly, which seems a fair way of looking at it.

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July 23, 2008 10:10 PM

A little more summer review

Posted by Bob Condotta

As noted elsewhere, I haven't made it out to UW for any of the practice runs this week, and with football and some other duties starting up (hydros, anyone?) my opportunities to do so may be limited for a little while.

But I know those reports are a popular item, so fortunately I corresponded with one person who has seen a few more than I have recently and that person supplied some insight I was given the okay to share with all of you.

So here goes:

--- One of the most interesting things of late is a change in how the team conducts its games. They usually play to 10 or whatever. Now, they are playing to nine, and the team that reaches it first has to hit two free throws to seal it. Miss, and that team goes back to eight and the game is live. This is obviously an attempt at addressing the free throw issue of last year. Am told Venoy Overton clinched a game today by making a bucket, and then two free throws.

--- Speaking of Overton, he's made no secret that improving his outside shoot is a priority this off-season. Sounds as if it's paying off a little bit as his shot is said to be a little more consistent than last season.

--- As noted previously, the biggest revelation in the game of Isaiah Thomas has been his ability to pass. Am told he was on the same side as Jon Brockman today and that it was a combo that worked well on the run, and that he also threw down a "big-time'' dunk on another break.

--- In the eyes of this observer, the freshman besides Thomas who appears readiest to contribute is Elston Turner, who is showing a quick release on his outside shot and playing good defense.

--- Brockman is apparently quickly moving past the ankle injury and surgery.

--- Justin Holiday and Darnell Gant have impressed with their athleticism of late (read, some nice dunks), Holiday also flashing a bit of defense.

--- Bobby Jones apparently stopped by today but didn't play. However, another ex-Husky, Jamaal Williams, did step in for a while.

--- Matthew Bryan-Amaning said goodbye to his teammates today as he is now off to England to play for the national U-20 team there. He could be gone for two months or so but will be back in time for the start of school and the season.

All for now.

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July 23, 2008 1:15 PM

Recruiting notes, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and answers to pass along. ...

--- First, this is another big recruiting week for college coaches --- I know UW has the full allowed complement of three out on the road right now. Head coach Lorenzo Romar is in Las Vegas, where there are three big tournaments being held at once. Rivals.com has a nice breakdown of each tournament, with links to tournament home pages and other info.

Jeff Goodman of Fox has this wrapup of the first day, including calling UW target Avery Bradley "the best perimeter defender in the country. Rivals also has this review of the first day.

I'll try to keep tabs on any UW-related developments from the tournaments and pass them on here.

--- MT Husky wanted to know if I plan on passing along any more practice reports or stories on the freshmen. Yes, I plan to do a few more this off-season. But there's a lot of off-season, so I don't want to do everything all at once. Most of the basketball players will be enrolled in the next quarter of summer school --- many are also working at the team's camps next month --- so most will be around.

--- One who won't is Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who is leaving this week for England to play for the national U-20 team there. One reader wanted to know if I'd written anything about it. I wrote a little about it here and also in other blog pieces and I'll try to pass along what I can from his games with the team. I talked with MBA about it for a while but this is one of those stories in which there will be a lot more to tell once he starts playing --- right now, what he mostly knows is that he's excited to get a chance. I will add that I don't understand any criticism of Romar for letting him play. I don't see how the injury risk is any greater playing in this than in the two-hour pickup games he'd have at UW every day. Guess you could argue there is a little risk of getting worn down. But MBA is at a stage where he is just beginning to really develop his game and it would seem to be that this kind of high-level experience could only be a positive for the Huskies. More to the point, it would be insane to expect a college coach to deny a player like Bryan-Amaning a chance to represent his country in an Olympics staged in his native city.

--- Here's a Pac-10 note, as former Cougar Derrick Low is apparently headed to Australia.

All for now.

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July 22, 2008 12:44 PM

CBI to continue

Posted by Bob Condotta

Not that the Washington Huskies hope again be invited to the CBI --- and I have a feeling they might not pursue it this time around if left with only that as an option --- but I was talking with an official at the Gazelle Group today who said that the College Basketball Invitational will definitely take place again this spring.

"Absolutely,'' said Dan Loney, who is the spokesman for the Gazelle Group.

"It was a great success and all the schools in it really liked the format,'' Loney said.

The CBI was a 16-team tournament made up teams passed over by the NCAA and NIT tournaments, and included a best-of-three final.

Loney said that the format would likely be unchanged this year. "To this point, that's what we're planning,'' he said.

UW was among the 16 teams invited to the inaugural CBI last March, losing at home in the first round to Valparaiso.

My main purpose for calling Loney was to clarify that the Huskies will play in the semi-finals and finals of the pre-season College Basketball Experience Classic in Kansas City this November --- the Gazelle Group also sponsors the CBE. UW will host two games in the opening rounds of the tournament but will advance to the final two rounds in Kansas City no matter what. There, UW will apparently play Kansas in the first game on Nov. 24 and then either Florida or Syracuse on Nov. 25.

That's obviously a little different format than your typical tournament, where a team would have to keep winning to advance.

Loney said having the four host teams advance to the semi-finals and finals "has been the history of this tournament the last couple of years'' since before he got involved with putting it together. "There's no real specific reason for it,'' he said. "That's exactly the way the tournament has been run.''

Some might wonder if the reason might be to secure more TV and ticket money, as guaranteeing some big-name matchups in the final rounds obviously would seem to make it an easier sell.

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July 21, 2008 10:15 AM

UW hoops program rated 124th by ESPN since 1985

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting new series debuting today on ESPN.com, rating college basketball programs since 1984-85, when the tournament expanded to its current 64 teams.

And there appears to be little subjectivity about it. Instead, ESPN.com developed a points system, and is unveiling the top 50 teams, in groups of 10, based on the totals.

ESPN.com also has this list of teams 51-300 in the ratings, with the Huskies at 124.

That leaves UW sixth among Pac-10 teams --- here's the list of Pac-10 teams unveiled so far. UW is ahead of USC (132), ASU (181), WSU (237) and Oregon State (241).

Obviously, UW has been a mix of good and bad during that time --- three Sweet 16s (the cutoff date just misses the Sweet 16 appearance in 1984) but also the eight straight losing seasons from 1988-1995, then four more from 2000-2003.

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July 19, 2008 11:32 AM

Touching obit on local Pac-10 official

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, wanted to pass along this obituary in our paper today on Tim Gabutero, who for years was an official in the Pac-10 and other conferences before falling ill last December.

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July 18, 2008 4:57 PM

Ernie Kent hanging around

Posted by Bob Condotta

Might seem hard to believe given the rumors that seem to perpetually swirl around him, but Oregon's Ernie Kent is now the second-longest-tenured coach in the Pac-10, trailing only Lute Olson.

And Kent, entering his 12th year at Oregon, doesn't look to be going anywhere anytime soon as he agreed to a new contract today with the Ducks, taking him through the 2012-13 season and increasing his buyout a little bit.

Here are details from the Eugene Register-Guard and from the Oregonian.

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July 17, 2008 12:04 PM

A mid-summer's review

Posted by Bob Condotta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All for now.

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July 17, 2008 8:56 AM

Isaiah Thomas update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Part of what I got out of my visit to UW the other day was an interview with Isaiah Thomas. The result is this story on his transition to life as a Husky.

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July 16, 2008 12:12 PM

Romar on KJR

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was interviewed on KJR-AM in Seattle this morning and said, among other things, that the 13 scholarship players on the roster will "absolutely'' be on the team this season.

Host Dave Mahler asked Romar about rumors concerning the roster and Romar said that "as far as our roster is concerned, we can't talk about any potential recruits, but at this point you never know what's going to happen with the roster. But we don't have any scholarships to scholarship anyone else.'' Asked if that meant the 13 players on the roster will be the 13 there this season, Romar said "absolutely, absolutely.''

Romar also said that unlike Arizona coach Lute Olson, he would still pursue "one-and-done'' players, saying that "if he's going to play for you while he's there, I don't turn him down.''

Romar was also asked about the potential impacts on the program of the departure of the Sonics and said there would be some benefit to getting all of the attention during basketball season. "You won't have to share the coverage,'' he said. "If things are going well for us, there could really be a big buzz about the Husky program.''

Asked if there was any downside to recruiting to a city without an NBA team, Romar said "I just think it's an adjustment'' and that there are lots of successful college programs in cities without NBA teams. "I still think it's a fine sell,'' he said.

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July 16, 2008 9:28 AM

ESPN lauds Huskies, Seattle hoops scene

Posted by Bob Condotta

Two good articles this morning on ESPN.com to draw to your attention:

--- First is this piece by former Seattle PI columnist Ted Miller on the continually fruitful high school and AAU basketball scene in "the 206.'' The story includes several quotes from UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

--- Miller's ESPN colleague Andy Katz leads off his Insider blog today with an item on UW, asking "Is Washington ready to challenge in the Pac-10?'' Katz quotes UCLA coach Ben Howland as saying that the Huskies "should be taken seriously as a player in the Pac-10 this season.'' There are a couple of more quotes from Romar, making the point that the team's experience should be a plus this season, as should the added depth in the backcourt with the addition of the three freshmen.

"It's the first time in three years we'll have the experience,'' Romar says in the article, something he has repeated in other venues, as well.

Romar also says that he expects Quincy Pondexter to have a breakout season, pointing in this story to the last four games of the Pac-10 season, including the 19-point game at Stanford and the 23-pointer against Cal.

Katz also says that Jon Brockman should compete with Arizona State's James Harden, UCLA's Darren Collison, Arizona's Chase Budinger and maybe USC's Taj Gibson for Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.

And he says that while UCLA and Arizona State have to be considered the two favorites in the Pac-10 that UW should be slotted in the next group with Arizona and USC.

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July 15, 2008 10:56 AM

Chace Stanback's mom hits jackpot UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well it's out in the open now that Chace Stanback's mom will be willing to help pay for her son to attend a year of school while redshirting if the school he chooses doesn't have a scholarship for him.

According to publicists for LiveTheFastTrack.com, she won a $25,000 jackpot last week and said she plans to use the money to help pay for his college expenses next year, if needed. Her name is Sarah Quick and she's pictured here as "last month's first-place winner.''

Stanback is transferring from UCLA and recently took an unofficial visit to UW. It had been viewed unlikely he would come to UW since the Huskies don't have a scholarship available for him this year, though there had been rumblings that he, through his family, would be willing to pay his own way for a year, if needed, if the school he really wanted to attend had no other option.

The release sent out by spokesman Paul Yoffe states that "his mom Sarah Quick just won $25,000 by playing an online game and plans to use the money to help Chase with college tuition during the one year he has to sit out.''

Stanback is the cousin of former UW quarterback Isaiah Stanback and also considered UW during his initial recruiting process, once listing the Huskies in his top five. He is also thought to be considering UNLV, NC State and possibly another ACC school or two --- he has family in the North Carolina area.

It had been thought he would have a decision by the middle of this month.

A 6-8 swingman, he played sparingly at UCLA last season before transferring hoping for a better fit for his skills.

UPDATE --- Since first posting this I have spoken on the phone with Sarah Quick, who confirmed her winnings and that she plans to use it for her son's tuition. "It's just a blessing,'' she said.

Quick said her son is continuing to look at a half-dozen or so schools, including Washington, and that none of them have scholarships available. "All of the schools so far we would have to pay the first year and are offering scholarships after the first year,'' she said.

Quick said her son "had a real great visit at Washington'' but doesn't know if the Huskies are in any better position than any of the others. Other schools she mentioned were NC State and Georgia Tech --- he is in North Carolina checking out some schools right now while also visiting family. She also said he plans to visit UNLV. She said any decision could still be a month or so away.

"School doesn't start until September so we have some time,'' she said. "

Quick was also offered a Mercedes as a prize instead of the money, but said she went for the money to help pay for the tuition.

"The money just came at the right time, thank God,'' she said.

SCHEDULE OUT --- The school also just released its official schedule, which looks the same as the one presented here a few days ago. Here's the link. The only addition is a pre-season game against Western Washington on Nov. 6.

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July 15, 2008 9:52 AM

More on Brockman

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's my story today on Jon Brockman getting back on the court after having ankle surgery in May.

Brockman said that the ankle is still pretty swollen, though not as much as it was prior to the surgery, so he is still in the healing process. But he said he has been given assurances that he can't make it worse by returning to play now.

"I'm at the point now where if I roll it again, then new (bone) spurs could form over (the old ones) but they basically just shaved off the spurs (that were hurting him before) so it's not like there's a crack in the bone that I could refracture or anything like that,'' he said.

Brockman is wearing a brace on the ankle, which he said he has sprained numerous times. In fact, he said the injury against WSU basically just enflamed all the previous injuries he had suffered, finally making it necessary for a surgical repair.

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July 14, 2008 11:20 PM

AAU tourney at BCC

Posted by Bob Condotta

If you are in the Seattle area and have some free time tomorrow you'll have one last chance to check out the Northwest Premier AAU Tournament being held at Bellevue Community College. The tournament features many of the top teams in the Northwest and simply checking to see how many college coaches you can spot is worth the price of admission.

I went tonight and saw one of the highlight games of the tournament --- the Seattle Rotary team featuring Peyton Siva, Garfield High sophomore-to-be Tony Wroten and Kentwood junior center Josh Smith against the Panthers, featuring Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley.

Rotary won 90-72 in a score that's pretty indicative of how the game went --- Rotary busted out to a big, early lead and was never really headed.

The Panthers made a run to start the second half to get within single-digits, but Rotary quickly regained command with a Siva drive for a behind-the-back layin and then a Wroten drive and pass to Smith for a thunderous dunk.

Siva took a hard shot to the head diving for a ball late in the game and was down for a few minutes but got up under his own power and seemed fine afterward.

I didn't keep stats and none were provided but all five had moments that surely impressed the coaches there. One observer told me that Wroten has impressed with his understanding of the game and ability to pass the ball, Bradley with his scoring, and Smith with his uncommon physicalness and hands.

There were a lot of coaches there, including Lorenzo Romar, Mark Few and Rick Barnes of Texas --- Few and Barnes spent much of the game sitting next to each other chatting. UCLA's Ben Howland was there earlier in the tournament --- it began Saturday --- and a Bruins assistant was there tonight. UCLA is said to be really high on Smith, and conventional wisdom is Smith may be reciprocating those feelings as many feel that's where he'll end up.

One person told me that no one's really sure about Gaddy and Bradley, who each mention a number of schools as ones they are still interested in, and have said they would consider a package deal, but also that they might go their own way. Gaddy lists 14 schools and Bradley 13. Scout.com lists UW as a school of medium interest for both.

Among other coaches there were Portland State's Ken Bone and assistant Curtis Allen, a former Husky player, as well as former UW player Grant Leep, now at Eastern Washington, and assistants for WSU, Cal and any other number of schools.

Also there was former NBA great John Stockton, helping coach his son's team, a mix of players from Spokane and Walla Walla. That team pulled one of the upsets of the tournament when it beat the Panthers and Bradley and Gaddy in an early round.

The tournament concludes tomorrow with the title game at 3, although Rotary will apparently play in a semi-final game around 11:30 a.m. or so.

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July 14, 2008 7:11 PM

Brockman back, more from open gym

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from watching Washington's workout today, which was highlighted by the return of forward Jon Brockman.

It was his first action since surgery on Memorial Day to fix the ankle injury he suffered in the regular season finale at Washington State. I talked with Jon for a while and I'll have a story on that in tomorrow's paper and on-line a little later. Cliff's notes version is that he's glad to be back and thinks the ankle should be fine now.

I also will have a more detailed report later in this space on my impressions of today's run, the first time I've had a chance to watch some of the newcomers. I'll try to have that up by sometime tomorrow at the latest.

For now, I will pass along a few quick notes:

--- Tyreese Breshers continues to sit on the sidelines as he says he is out two months with a shin fracture that he suffered last year at Price High in Los Angeles. In fact, Breshers said he suffered the injury before the season but never told anyone until afterward, not wanting to put in danger his senior year of basketball. He said the two-month diagnosis came once he arrived at UW last week. He said a doctor in LA had told him he could keep playing but Breshers said the persistent pain led him to believe something was wrong. He's hoping rest will cure the injury but admitted there's a chance he may have to redshirt. "I'm not sure,'' he said. "Me and the coaches haven't talked about it. I'm just keeping the hopes up.'' Breshers said he weighs 254 pounds, down from 264 during his high school season, and has been staying in shape riding a stationary bike while the team plays.

--- Among those playing today was former Husky Phil Nelson, who left after last season to transfer to Portland State, where he will be a sophomore this year. Nelson is in town helping coach an AAU team from Portland at the tournament over at Bellevue Community College and decided to take in a run with his former teammates. "We're still family,'' Nelson said. Nelson has recovered from a torn ligament, fracture and bone spur in his foot that likely would have caused him to miss last season even if he hadn't been forced to sit out for transferring --- he said the injury didn't happen while at UW and was more of an over-use type of thing. He said he's looking forward to this season at PSU, which will include a return to UW for a game in December, saying his role on the team "will be similar to high school'' --- he played at McNary High in Oregon.

--- Artem Wallace is still out recovering from knee surgery and Joe Wolfinger is sitting out games right now to rest his oft-injured foot but everyone else was present.

All for now.

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July 14, 2008 10:24 AM

Monday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

All for now.

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July 12, 2008 8:01 PM

Schedule completed

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's basketball schedule for the 2008-09 season is now complete, and as noted here the other day, the final addition isn't a sexy one. Unable to finalize deals with some bigger-name teams, such as Georgia Tech --- which apparently backed out --- UW filled its final opening with Texas Southern, a home game on Dec. 7.

So that means the non-conference schedule looks like this:

Nov. 15 --- at Portland
Nov 17 --- CBE Classic at home
Nov. 19 --- CBE Classic at home
Nov. 24 --- vs. Kansas in CBE Classic in Kansas City
Nov. 26 --- vs. Syracuse or Florida in CBE Classic
Nov. 29 --- Pacific
Dec. 4 --- Oklahoma State in Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Classic
Dec. 7 --- Texas Southern
Dec. 14 --- Portland State
Dec. 20 --- Eastern Washington
Dec. 23 --- Lehigh
Dec. 28 --- Montana
Dec. 30 --- Morgan State

The Pac-10 schedule looks like this:

Jan. 3 --- at Washington State
Jan. 8 --- Stanford
Jan. 10 --- Cal
Jan. 15 --- at Oregon
Jan. 17 --- at Oregon State
Jan. 22 --- USC
Jan. 24 --- UCLA
Jan. 29 --- at Arizona
Jan. 31 --- at Arizona State
Feb. 5 --- at Cal
Feb. 7 --- at Stanford
Feb. 12 --- Oregon State
Feb. 14 --- Oregon
Feb. 19 --- at UCLA
Feb. 21 --- at USC
Feb. 26 --- Arizona State
Feb. 28 --- Arizona
March 8 --- Washington State
March 11-14 --- Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles

As noted the other day, UW is guaranteed to play Kansas in the CBE regardless of what happens in the first two games in that tournament as the tournament format has been changed automatically sending the four host schools to the semi-finals.

Including the Pac-10 tournament, the Huskies are guaranteed 31 games.

Now that the schedule is completed, season-ticket holders should begin getting renewal notices soon, one reason the school couldn't wait much longer to fill that last opening.


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July 10, 2008 10:13 PM

A couple more notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes to pass along:

--- First, hope you'll read the updated post below on Chace Stanback. I had personal commitments much of the afternoon and early tonight that kept me away from the computer and the initial post was just something I slapped together real fast. Indications are that it's pretty unlikely he'll come to UW due largely to the fact that he would have to walk-on for a season before getting a ride. As I mentioned in the updated post, he took his trip to UW knowing that was the situation, indicating he was pretty interested anyway. But he's also visited several other schools, including NC State (his family originally hails from North Carolina) so he has some other options likely involving scholarship offers. UW is at the full 13 for next season --- a level it reached after the decision that Joel Smith would not return for his fifth season --- and that isn't expected to change now.

--- As mentioned previously, UW's schedule will be completed in the next few days. Indications are that the lone remaining game to be filled won't be against a really big name opponent, as had been hoped for, as the Huskies had trouble landing some of the opponents they targeted earlier, notably Georgia Tech and Fresno State. The latter was sought after so it could be a homecoming for Quincy Pondexter.

--- All of the freshmen are now in town and I plan to get to a workout soon (a couple personal things prevented that happening this week). One of them, Tyreese Breshers, is still sitting out with a shin injury that dates back to last season, but UW coaches have said it isn't something that should impact his ability to play this season.

--- Jon Brockman isn't playing right now, either, while continuing to recover from off-season ankle surgery. However, I'm told he should be able to start playing soon, maybe next week.

--- Artem Wallace continues to recover well and is on target for a mid-November return.

All for now.

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July 10, 2008 5:07 PM

Chace Stanback considers transfer to UW UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

Chace Stanback, a freshman basketball player who decided not to return to UCLA, has visited Washington and is considering joining the Huskies.

Stanback, a 6-foot-8 guard/forward, played sparingly in 25 games last season for the Bruins. He averaged 1.0 points and 0.7 rebounds, in 144 total minutes. He shot 40 percent (19 for 47) from the field, including a 33-percent mark from three-point range (7 for 21).

Stanback recently visited the UW campus, according to Harvey Kitani, his coach at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.

"I know he took a visit there two weeks ago or so," Kitani told the Los Angeles Daily News.

Kitani said Stanback has visited North Carolina State, and plans to visit UNLV. Stanback is originally from North Carolina.

Stanback is a cousin of Isaiah Stanback, the former Washington quarterback. Chace Stanback won two state titles at Fairfax and was named California Division I player of the year in 2007.

The Huskies have the limit of 13 players on scholarship for next season. Stanback will have to redshirt wherever he transfers, but would count against the scholarship limit.

One option would be to walk on and pay his own way but it's uncertain if he would be willing to do so. IOne source said Stanback knew that would likely have to be his option at UW for a year and would have to weigh that against getting full rides immediately at other schools. He's also thought to be considering a few other ACC schools and will likely make a decision in a week or two.

Because of the scholarship situation, UW's chances of landing Stanback probably aren't super great. But he is interested in part because of a long and solid relationship with UW coach Lorenzo Romar, who recruited him hard out of high school.

Sources said Stanback worked out with the Huskies a few weeks ago when he was in town. He's known for having a good offensive game but didn't fit in with the defensive-oriented Bruins. He is thought to be interested in transferring to a school where his offensive game would have a better chance to flourish.

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July 10, 2008 11:07 AM

Thursday notes, links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- I talked to a spokesman with The Gazelle Group, the company that is sponsoring the CBE Classic, who confirmed that UW will automatically advance to the semi-finals in Kansas City. The Huskies are one of 16 teams in that tournament this November, hosting an opening round group of four. In previous years, teams needed to win their two opening round games to advance to the semi-finals. But that format is being changed this year with the four host teams automatically advancing to the semi-finals in Kansas City. That means UW is assured of playing Kansas in the semi-finals in Kansas City, then will play either Florida or Syracuse in the second game.

--- Former Husky Will Conroy got the start at point guard for the Nets in their summer league game Wednesday and helped lead the team to a 95-81 win over the Oklahoma City Lying Cheating Stealing Lying Fabricating Liars --- maybe the only time I've ever smiled at the result of a summer league game. Conroy had eight points and seven assists in just under 26 minutes.

--- Gonzaga's Austin Daye hurt his knee at the LeBron James camp earlier this week but it doesn't sound too serious.

--- Lots of stories out there today speculating on the potential long-term ramifications of Brandon Jennings' decision to ditch college for Europe, including this from the LA Times; these comments from John Wooden and Ben Howland from an LA Times blog; and this column from Tucson from Anthony Gimino who says if high school players want to play in the NBA, the NBA should let them. (Maybe those high school players should just say they are "men possessed'' to stay in college. Then the NBA will let them turn pro immediately).

--- Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports says on his blog not to expect a lot of defections. And while I really like Goodman's blog, I can't help but chuckle at times how the site's filter for "bad words'' works. Apparently, the first name of a certain religious figure who also founded his own college that lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to the Cougars two years ago is too much (it's a little further down).

--- Someone asked me to provide details on an AAU Tournament at Mt. Rainier High this weekend. But I can't find any, even looking at the organization's local web site. If anybody else has any to pass along, that would be great.

--- Finally, and speaking once more of the Sonics, the Times published a special section on the team's history today which included these memories from those of us who work or have worked at the paper, mine included.

All for now.


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July 9, 2008 7:04 PM

More on Kemp Jr.

Posted by Bob Condotta

SI.com has a pretty extensive article today on Shawn Kemp Jr., who is apparently having a good showing at the Reebok All-American camp this week.

The article lists Washington as having "strong interest'' in Kemp and also does a nice job of detailing his background and ties to the Seattle area. Word is that UW coach Lorenzo Romar is heading up the recruitment of Kemp --- that may be where Romar is this week as I know the Husky coaches are on the road.

As detailed on here earlier, however, UW appears to have just two scholarships, at most, left for the Class of 2009 after taking earlier commitments from Charles Garcia Jr., and C.J. Wilcox. UW is thought likely to take one more wing player and one more big man to fill out the class.

According to Scout.com, UW has offers out to five players other than Kemp. Scout does not list Kemp as having an offer from the Huskies.

But Kemp would obviously be a very intriguing prospect, and very attention-getting, and help keep alive in Seattle the name of one of the greatest Sonics ever at a time when the city is mourning the loss of that team.

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July 8, 2008 10:55 PM

Jennings officially jilts Arizona

Posted by Bob Condotta

May have to revise the Arizona entry in the way-too-early Pac-10 power poll for next year after the news tonight that star recruit Brandon Jennings has officially decided to play next season in Europe rather than for the Wildcats.

I'll admit I'm surprised about this one. I didn't think he would really do this, and I'm still not sure I really get it (unless he doesn't think he's going to get eligible or really doesn't want to go to school for a year). It still seems to me like he'd be better off playing here for a year and upping his draft stock that way than heading to Europe, where his weaknesses could be exposed greatly against more veteran players. Seems like the potential long-term risk to the pocket book wouldn't be worth the short-term gain.

The Arizona message boards, as might be expected, are already full of conjecture about what the team will look like next year without Jennings.

I know the die-hard fans of the Huskies and other Pac-10 schools will rejoice a bit at this --- this is a big blow for an Arizona team that figured to have some stellar front-line talent but not a lot of depth. Arizona again looks more middle-of-the-pack than contender in the Pac-10.

But if this turns out to be a good move for Jennings, this could have some potentially negative long-term implications for college basketball, which I think has benefited quite a bit the past two years from the new rule essentially requiring players to spend a year in college before turning pro. Certainly, the conference was a lot more interesting last year with Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo, each players who almost surely would have gone straight to the NBA otherwise.

It'll certainly be an interesting move to watch.

UPDATE --- After posting this I read this assessment from Jeff Goodman at FoxSports, who says this will be an interesting test case but that he doesn't expect that a huge amount of players would try this. We'll see.

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July 8, 2008 3:50 PM

More summer league updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's yet another former Husky on an NBA summer league roster --- Anthony Washington, who played two years at UW before transferring to Portland State. Washington is listed on the summer league roster for the Miami Heat though he has yet to play in the team's first two games and isn't listed in the box scores (I'll try to check on why or whether his initial inclusion on the roster is no longer valid).

The Heat today played the New Jersey Nets and Will Conroy, which would have been a matchup of not only former Huskies but also former Garfield High standouts.

Instead, Conroy was alone in representing UW and Garfield in that game, dishing out six assists and scoring five points in more than 22 minutes of playing time as the Heat won 90-81. His numbers might have been better had he not sadly temporarily caught the disease of the 2008 Huskies and sank just one of seven free throws. But it's worth noting Conroy was always a good free throw shooter at UW, hitting 73 percent in his career and 76 percent as a senior.

I didn't see the game, but I'm told by someone who did that Conroy was put in the game to help try to slow down Mario Chalmers and did a good job during his time on the court, and that many of his assists came on feeds to Ryan Anderson and Brook Lopez . Defense and play-making figure to be Conroy's avenue back to the NBA and he apparently has shown well in both areas so far during summer league play. His six assists today were four more than anyone else on the team and projects out to 13 over 48 minutes.

Seth Kolloen over at Sports Northwest magazine has a good breakdown of all players with area ties who are on summer league rosters.

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July 7, 2008 10:07 PM

Summer League updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

As I feared I would, I missed one ex-Husky in yesterday's post detailing who is playing where in the summer leagues --- Bobby Jones.

Jones, who set an NBA record by playing for five different teams last season, is on the summer league roster of the team with which he ended the year --- the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets begin play Saturday in Las Vegas.

--- Also, Will Conroy had three points and four assists in 14:29 of action in the summer league opener today for the New Jersey Nets (here's the box score). The Nets beat Orlando 86-74.

BRANDON JENNINGS UPDATE --- A few of you have asked for the latest on Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings, who is still waiting on a test score and also has pondered the idea of playing next year in Europe no matter his academic situation. Pete Thamel of the New York Times, attending the LeBron James Skills Academy, writes that "I haven't talked to one coach today who thinks (Jennings) will attend Arizona.''

All for now.


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July 6, 2008 11:37 PM

Summer leagues begin today

Posted by Bob Condotta

NBA summer leagues begin today and at least two ex-Huskies will take part --- Spencer Hawes with the Kings and Will Conroy with the Nets.

Here is the schedule and roster for the Nets, where Conroy hopes to make enough of an impression to earn another shot in the NBA. Interesting to note two of the young players Conroy will be dishing to during summer league are Ryan Anderson of Cal and Brook Lopez of Stanford. The Nets begin play today.

Hawes, who has been attending summer school at UW as he has said he plans to eventally complete his degree, will begin play with the Kings on Saturday.

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July 4, 2008 1:02 PM

Tentative UW schedule released

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are still waiting to finalize a contract for one more non-conference game before releasing their 2008-09 schedule. That could happen early next week.

In the meantime, here's a tentative schedule with dates for the rest of the games from the Pac-10 pre-season prospectus.

As you can see, the season will begin Nov. 15 at Portland, the same day the football team will host UCLA at Husky Stadium (I would imagine there will be a non-counting pre-season game or two of some sort in the run-up to the Portland game, as well).

The biggest non-conference home attraction is a visit from Oklahoma State on Thursday, Dec. 4. The one game UW is still looking to finalize will apparently be a road game against a Top 25-type non-conference team with a promise that that team will visit UW for the 2009-10 season. I would imagine it will slide somewhere into that period from Dec. 4-14 that currently has no games.

Another highlight of the home schedule is a Dec. 14 game against Portland State, which will not only be the return of former UW assistant Ken Bone but also former Husky player Phil Nelson, who will be a sophomore for the Vikings this season.

As mentioned previously, the Huskies are slated to play Kansas in the semi-finals of the CBE Classic in Kansas City and either Syracuse or Florida in their second game there. The opponents for the first two rounds of that tournament at UW have yet to be named.

The Pac-10 schedule --- and we all know how important being at home or on the road has been to the Huskies the last few years ---- can be viewed as either good or bad for UW, depending on how quickly the young guys mature. UW will open with four of its first seven conference games at home. But then comes a four-game road swing to Arizona and Bay Area schools, meaning UW will also have just four of its first 11 conference games at home. If the Huskies can navigate that okay the back part of the schedule is favorable with five of the last seven at home.

The Huskies don't currently have any Pac-10 games scheduled for days other than Thursday for Saturday (the one listed as Sunday on the schedule is a typo as that should be Saturday, Feb. 7 --- that's how the Stanford schedule reads it, anyway).

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July 2, 2008 5:23 PM

Will Sonics move help Huskies?

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you haven't heard, the Sonics are gone.

That leaves the Huskies as the highest-level men's basketball attraction in the city of Seattle and the question before you today is whether there is any positive in that for UW.

You won't hear anyone at the school say that, certainly not publicly anyway, though I know some there think it could help. "There is some advantage to being the only game in town,'' one person close to the program told me once.

I kind of have the belief that just about anything can be perceived to be good for a program if things are going well, and just about anything can be perceived as bad if things aren't going well. In other words, if the coaches recruit the right players and coach them well, I'm not sure it matters much if there is an NBA team here or not. The Huskies went to their lone Final Four in 1953 back before Seattle was a pro town in any way, and have alternately had some of their best and worst seasons since the arrival of the Sonics in 1967.

The most notable impact could be some added media attention on the team, which often played second fiddle on night when the Sonics also were in action. I'm not sure how much it will help ticket sales as most around UW generally think the audiences for the Huskies and the pro teams are pretty different --- and that UW's crowds are impacted most by winning, just like anyone else's.

But in the short term, there could be a bump as fans who need a fix for their Basketball Jones won't have a lot of other options (although don't forget that Seattle University is now going Division-I and certainly the timing for that move looks pretty fortuitous now).

But I'm curious to know what you think.

Mostly, I just feel sad that the first pro team I ever really followed is now just memories. Even if they bring another team here and call it the Sonics, it won't be the same --- I think there's some value in the whole six degrees of separation thing, that you can trace Kevin Durant back to Bob Rule.

I'm glad, however, I took the whole family to the last home game against Dallas in April. We'd never done that before mostly because I have two young boys and it just hadn't seemed time yet. They really enjoyed it and wanted to go back to games next year, a chance they won't have now. They've already asked me who's to blame and I just told them what I really feel ---- everybody involved. They all blew it --- Stern, Schultz, Bennett, Gregoire, Nickels. Anything they say today rings hallow to me.

It does, however, point out the one big advantage to selling your athletic fandom soul to a college team --- for better or worse, they aren't ever going to pack up and move to another city.

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July 1, 2008 9:07 AM

Is O.J. Mayo the next Brandon Roy?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well, that's not exactly what Gregg Doyel of Sportsline.com is saying in this column.

But he does compare the two to make a point that he thinks Mayo will be the best player to come out of this draft, as Roy is becoming the best player out of the draft of 2006. While admitting that their games are quite different, both players, Doyel says, have the ability to get better as the game around them gets better, so he thinks Mayo will make the same quick transition to the NBA that Roy did.

Obviously, time will provide the best evidence.

In quickly reviewing their stats for their final seasons of college, I was actually a little surprised they turned out to be so similar. Here are Roy's, and here are Mayo's --- Roy averaged 20.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while Mayo aveaged 20.7, 4.5 and 3.3. The biggest difference might have been turnovers (75 for Roy, 117 for Mayo) which could be argued was in part due to experience --- Mayo played just one year of college ball while that was year four for Roy.


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Recent entries

Jul 30, 08 - 11:28 AM
Watch HS stars in action

Jul 28, 08 - 09:39 PM
Updates on ex-Huskies

Jul 27, 08 - 09:54 AM
Bradley-Gaddy package deal unlikely?

Jul 24, 08 - 09:04 PM
Interesting look at Pac-10

Jul 23, 08 - 10:10 PM
A little more summer review

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