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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

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

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February 28, 2005

Emotional farewell for seniors

Posted by at 10:36 AM

If you were anywhere but Bank of America Arena on Saturday afternoon, shame on you. What you missed was a perfect example of all that is wonderful in college basketball. You missed two of Americaís top teams playing an extremely entertaining basketball game that wasnít decided until late in the second half. You missed a handful of the best players on in college basketball leaving everything they had on the court in a critical late-season conference game. Most importantly, you missed one of the greatest crowds giving its greatest performance of the season.

There were so many reasons that Saturday was an incredible day at Hec Ed for the Huskies, I canít even get into all of them. Besides the fact that UW handled its business against Arizona and proved that it belongs in the top 10, a few other things happened.

Seniors Tre Simmons, Hakeem Rollins and Will Conroy played their last game in front of the home crowd, and none of them disappointed. Tre Simmons hit his first three 3-point shots en route to a 24-point game. Rollins made arguably the two biggest hustle plays of the game, beating Channing Frye to a rebound and kicking out to Nate Robinson for a back-breaking three and then tipping in a missed three on the next trip down. Conroy had nine points and four assists, making him the all time UW single-season record holder for assists.

One of the great moments in Husky basketball history came with four seconds to go in the game, when Lorenzo Romar took Conroy out of the game so he could get his love from the crowd. Before he came out, Conroy went right to midcourt, pounded on the W, and then pointed to the sky to show his appreciation for his school. If anybody who watched that happen live said they didnít get chills, they are a LIAR. In as long as I remember, the Huskies have not had a senior who the crowd loved so much and who gave so much back to his program. Iíve been at the last five senior days, and there has never been a greater ovation or appreciation for a single player.

In four years at Washington, Will Conroy went from being a walk-on who could score to being the most prolific true point guard this school has ever had. Not a bad transformation for a guy who couldnít even get a scholarship to start out.

Before I get too excited, we have to realize that there are still two more games to go, and they are must-win for the Huskies. Arizona only has one more game left, and it is against Arizona State. The Huskies have to go down to the Bay Area and play two tough teams in Cal and Stanford. Both of them have had down years, but that doesnít make the trip any easier. One loss and the Huskies are stuck with a two seed in the Pac-10 tournament.

But hey, like Iíve said all year long. Iím still not worried.

P.S. Big thanks for an amazing four years to Will Conroy, and to Hakeem Rollins and Tre Simmons whose careers were entirely too brief. The three of you have helped lay the foundation of Husky basketball for years to come.