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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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October 15, 2005

Midnight overratedness

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:30 AM

I'm about to write about Oregon again - the second entry so far in this blog to mention the Ducks - which I realize isn’t a favorite topic of the readers of this site.

But being in Eugene for the football game Saturday, I decided to stop by Oregon's Midnight Madness Friday night to see if the Huskies are missing out by not having one.

They’re not.

It was fun for about five minutes watching a bunch of guys dunk, but as the NBA Slam Dunk Contest has shown, there are only so many ways to slam. If LeBron James can barely make that interesting, college kids don’t really have a chance.

Much of the event was contrived to fit in with the ESPNU broadcast, such as a segment daring fans to come have their hair cut like Dickie V. Other than friends of the participants, everyone seemed pretty bored.

And I wouldn’t fret much about Oregon getting “all that exposure.’’ An Oregon guy I know said, “I think 47 people get that channel.’’

If Lorenzo Romar thinks taking his team away for a three-day retreat is better than hosting a Midnight Madness, I wouldn't argue.

The Ducks finished with a 20-minute scrimmage that was the most interesting part of the night, even if there was less defense played than in an NBA All-Star Game.

Just looking at these guys run around leads to the thought that this could be a scary team.

Most of you know about the returning Ducks - point guard Aaron Brooks, forward Malik Hairston, shooting guard Bryce Taylor. All looked a little more assured, especially Hairston, who hit three three-pointers during the scrimmage, having apparently worked on his long-range shooting in the offseason.

Then there’s Ivan Johnson, the 6-foot-8, 255-pound power forward who just showed up on campus and is eligible to play this season. He was ticketed to go to Cincinnati but changed his mind after Bob Huggins was fired as coach and he looks like he could have a big impact on this team. He also looked like a fan favorite already, showing a little personality during the dunk contest.

But there’s no doubt all that talent also has put the pressure on Oregon coach Ernie Kent. One local columnist wrote Friday that this could be the make-or-break season for him. This should be an NCAA tournament team.

I don’t think any differently after getting a cursory look at the Ducks myself.


Walking around Eugene Friday night I saw an unmistakable sight heading my way - former Washington forward Thalo Green, a key member of the Bob Bender teams that made two NCAA appearances in the late 1990s.

Green said he was in town to watch the UW football team play the Ducks, taking a three-month break from playing professionally in Australia.

Yes, his hair still looked long and he said he was having a great time in Australia.