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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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November 30, 2005

How big is it?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:34 PM

A few more odds and ends as we get ready for this BIGGEST GAME EVER!

OK, so it's not that big. But considering UW's season to date, I sense that everyone is very anxious for Sunday's game against Gonzaga.

One aspect worth speculation is how UW's three freshmen will play. Guard Justin Dentmon and forward Jon Brockman will obviously be counted on heavily.

But I wouldn't be surprised if this is also a game where the Huskies have to call on Artem Wallace to battle GU's size inside.

Wallace has been predictably up-and-down so far, doing nothing to quell the notion that he has a bright future, but also encountering the usual freshman struggles.

He's averaging 4.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game. The rebound average, obviously, translates to about nine per game on a 40-minute basis, which is quite good. And he's made 8 of 13 field goals, a 61.5 percent average. But he also has 9 fouls and 9 turnovers.

Romar said "the game will dictate" whether Wallace will have to play more. He then talked of how the “light went on" for Dentmon during the Air Force game and he suddenly figured out how to play at this level.

"I think it's just a matter of time before the light goes on for Artem," Romar said.

That led to the inevitable question - when did the light go on for Brockman?

"When the doctor spanked his behind," Romar joked.

More eBay

I referenced UW-GU tickets on eBay in the story for the paper Wednesday.

That's not the only Husky hoops-related item for sale on that Web site, however.

Also up for bid is a trip with the UW men's basketball team to Los Angeles for the Wooden Classic game against

New Mexico Dec. 10. And it's for a good cause as the proceeds benefit hurricane victims through the All Coaches Care foundation.

The auction is due to close sometime today (Nov. 30) so check their quickly if you are interested.

Full Nelson

UW assistant Jim Shaw traveled to Oregon on Tuesday night to watch Husky recruit Phil Nelson play. I'd link to the story about the game, but I couldn't find anything that said much. All I could find was a short paragraph that said Nelson's McNary team lost to Barlow in overtime, 72-65 and that Nelson had 19 points.

Checking on Quincy

Here's a short story on the season opener for another UW recruit, Quicny Pondexter of San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno. Sounds like he's off to a good start as well. Story

More on PSU

I figure most Husky fans will take in the GU-Portland State game tonight to scout the Zags and see how Ken Bone is doing in his first year with the Vikings.

Here's a good story on PSU's progress so far from Wednesday's Oregonian. Story

November 29, 2005

Perry update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:28 PM

We'll have more on this later, but here's a quick note to update the status of UW guard Harvey Perry from a news conference coach Lorenzo Romar held today.

Romar said Perry has been diagnosed with a small stress fracture in his lower back that will require him to rest for another two weeks - he has already sat out for two weeks, making a total of a month without doing anything.
He will then begin a rehab program that could take up to eight weeks.

Romar said that during that process it will be decided whether he will play this season. Romar said if Perry comes back and early into the rehab process and it is determined he can play, then Perry could see action this season.

But Romar said nothing is being ruled out, including the possibility that Perry may have to redshirt this season.

"It's very difficult to say what's going to happen at this point,'' Romar said.

Romar said that based on the tests, it is thought that the four weeks of rest and the rehab program should be enough to recover from the injury and that surgery shouldn't be necessary.

November 28, 2005

Catching up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:48 PM

Sorry for the break, but figured the Thanksgiving holiday was a good time to take a few days off before we get into the heart of basketball season.

I was hoping to write something here today detailing where Washington stands among the highest-scoring teams in the country to date.

But the NCAA has yet to update its Web site with any stats for this season, making it hard to definitively say where the Huskies rank. I figure that the Huskies probably are right at the top, however, with their 98.5 points per game scoring average, just one of many impressive numbers for UW right now.

UW has outscored its six foes by an average of 33 points per game, is hitting 52.9 percent of its shots to 39.6 for its opponents; hitting 42-105 three pointers (40 percent) to 28-95 (29.5) for opponents; outrebounding opponents 40-30; outassisting them 139-81; outstealing them 72-41; and outblocking them 35-17.

The caveat, obviously, is that the best of the six opponents is Air Force.

And all of which raises the huge question of just how good the Huskies are.

Luckily, we won't have to wait that long now to find that out with the Gonzaga game now just six days away.

Asked about the high-scoring numbers after the blowout of Loyola-Marymount on Friday, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said there's no question that the Huskies will have a tougher time tallying points at the same rate now that the schedule gets harder.

"A lot of (UW's points) comes off our defense," Romar said. "If it was just our offense, maybe we'd get shut down a little bit. But our defense is generating a lot of points. When we play against some teams that maybe are superior athletically or physically may be better or just as good, obviously we won't force as many turnovers as we have."

Zag alert

While the Huskies have all week to prepare for Gonzaga -- and will likely take another day off along the way to rest -- the Bulldogs have a game on Wednesday against Portland State.

That's the team now coached by Ken Bone, an assistant at UW the last three years, which figures to mean that Washington's coaching staff will be able to get a great scouting report from PSU's coaching staff, which also includes former Husky guard Curtis Allen.

Not that there are really any secrets between UW and Gonzaga, but any little edge can't hurt.

PSU is 2-3 and one of its best players is Anthony Washington, the former Garfield High star who spent two years at UW before transferring. He has had foul trouble in several games but is still averaging 12.6 points and 5.0 rebounds and shooting a team-high 51.6 percent from the field.

Perry update

The team was off all weekend and there was no media availability Monday. But there could be more definitive word coming on the status of Harvey Perry Tuesday. It seems likely he will be out for a while with a back injury. He says he wants to play if he can return later in the year, even if for only a month or so, but a redshirt season seems a high probability as well.

November 23, 2005

Odds and ends

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:08 PM

Some odds and ends heading into UW's game with Loyola-Marymount on Friday afternoon:

The Lions won't be picked by anyone to beat the Huskies, but UW players aren't likely to take this game lightly.

The veterans remember last year's game in Los Angeles, a 100-93 Huskies victory that was about as tight as the score indicates. It was tied 46-46 at halftime, and the Huskies had to hit six three-pointers in the second half to pull away.

Brandon Roy was injured at the time and didn't make the trip, but remembers watching the game on TV.

'They were scrappy and caught us on a day we were pretty down, and we didn't play very much defense," Roy said.

Guard Brandon Worthy, who scored 18 points to lead LMU, is back, as is center Matthew Knight, who had 11 points and seven rebounds against UW a year ago.

Wondering what the Huskies will do on Turkey Day?

The team will practice in the morning. Then, players are invited to Lorenzo Romar's house if they don't have somewhere else to go.

Many do. Bobby Jones said he planned to have dinner with Mike Jensen's family. Joel Smith said his uncle is in town, and he might also go to a teammate's house.

'We always make sure they have somewhere to go," Romar said.

Romar was asked if he worried about players having a big meal and then having to play the next day.

'You guys bring up stuff I never even think about," he said with a laugh.

Speaking of Smith, he might have had UW's highlight reel play of the season with his soaring dunk over an Idaho defender in the second half.

The play occurred on a two-on-one break, and Smith leaped from at least five feet away from the right side of the key. Smith said he had decided to dunk once he got the pass and that he could tell that the defender 'didn't really know what to do."

"Once he committed, I had already committed what I was going to do so I just took off. He tried to take the charge and he didn't get it. Once he came up in front of me, I just jumped as far as I can. I've jumped that far before so it's not like I was scared to do it or something. I didn't really think about it. I just did it."

Romar confirmed what seemed obvious watching the Idaho game he has begun to shorten the rotation just a bit. The team's starters all played 11 minutes or more in the first half, with Roy playing 17 and Justin Dentmon 14. Smith, Ryan Appleby, Artem Wallace and Hans Gasser were the reserves who played in the first half with Brandon Burmeister not seeing action until the second half.

'I think we are settling on a rotation," Romar said. 'You look at the rotation in the first half and we weren't as liberal with our subs. When we got up 30, we became a little more liberal. But in the first half, our rotations were a little tighter than they have been."

Two-hour vandalizing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:11 AM

Odds and ends after UW's 90-67 win Tuesday over Idaho:

• I'm sure everyone at the game realized that Idaho had played Gonzaga tough on Friday and wondered what it meant that the Huskies blew the Vandals out. I wrote about that a little bit for the story that appears online and in the newspaper.

But the Huskies didn't think it meant all that much.

As they pointed out, UW plays a frantic style that can make teams look bad. The Huskies got ahead and Idaho never could do anything.

When Idaho played Gonzaga, it was GU's opener, the Bulldogs were probably looking ahead to their trip to Maui, and they simply didn't shoot well.

"Idaho played a zone against them and their guys just weren't knocking down shots," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said of the Idaho-GU game. "Idaho capitalized on that and gained confidence as they continued to play hard."

Gonzaga didn't hit any three-pointers in the first half and just 4 of 19 for the game. Gonzaga won't normally shoot that bad, and turn those numbers around just a bit and that game might have been a rout as well.

• It looked like the Huskies did a little thinning of the rotation Tuesday as just nine players saw action in the first half. Brandon Burmeister, who has seen regular action, didn't play until the second half with Joel Smith and Ryan Appleby getting all the time as reserve guards in the first half.

Hans Gasser remains in the rotation and played well again with eight points and two nice assists in 20 minutes. He has been forced to play largely because Mike Jensen remains out. But he's playing so well that it will be hard for him to not get time even when Jensen returns.

• Idaho guard Tanoris Shepard admitted what seemed obvious afterward. "We just didn't come ready to play," he said.

Too bad, as I liked what I saw of Shepard when I watched the Gonzaga game. Shepard seems like a real classy young man. He's already received a general studies degree from Idaho and is working on his master's in communication.

• Interesting night for the Pac-10 Northwest teams as all four saw action. Most intriguing may be Oregon's 84-62 blowout of Pacific, the team the Huskies beat in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.

But Pacific isn't nearly the same team it was a year ago, having lost seven key players, notably center Guillaume Yango, who scored 17 against UW. Pacific lost its exhibition opener to Seattle University 72-71 on Nov. 5.

Still, the Ducks look like they are off to a nice start. Noticed that Aaron Brooks scored just three points. But he also had six assists and only two turnovers in 26 minutes, which Oregon coach Ernie Kent might consider more important.

November 21, 2005

Pac-10 off to slow start

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:23 PM

Somebody wrote in the pages of The Seattle Times about two weeks ago - OK, I guess it was me - that the Pac-10 would be much improved this season because the teams in the middle and the bottom of the pack were getting better.

It's really early, but so far, that prediction is looking about as good as my pick that the UW football team would go 6-5 this season - I bought into the theory that Tyrone Willingham would have the same first-year impact here that he did at Stanford and Notre Dame.

On the hardwood, the Pac-10 is off to a pretty bad start.


Oregon State loses 90-62 at Tennessee Tech, a game in which the Beavers were two-point favorites.

Stanford loses 79-63 at home to UC-Irvine. Sure, Matt Haryasz didn't play. But UC-Irvine? At home?

USC loses to Cal State-Northridge, a Big West team, at home, for the first time in its history.

Cal loses to Eastern Michigan.

So far, all that's saving the Pac-10 is Washington and UCLA - Washington State and Oregon each have wins against vastly inferior teams as well - with Arizona attempting to further uphold its honor tonight against Kansas. Arizona State has yet to play.

Of the four defeats, I actually find the OSU loss the most surprising as a look at the box score doesn't reveal any real reason for the loss, such as a key player missing. I'm among those who've thought OSU could turn a corner to real respectability this season. But OSU's problem a year ago was that it couldn't win on the road, and that loss shows that it's still an issue.

Odds and ends

The Huskies are back in the Top 25 at No. 25 in the AP Poll. But don't expect a celebration from coach Lorenzo Romar. Other than saying that, "It's great for the perception of the program," he realizes it doesn't mean a whole lot right now.

Still nothing new on Harvey Perry. He won't play Tuesday night against Idaho and is scheduled for one more test on his back Friday. Romar said after that it will be determined if Perry will play this season or redshirt.

No matter what happens with Perry, Romar said Joe Wolfinger will redshirt this season. Obviously, the two play different positions so it's not as if Wolfinger would be needed to play for Perry.

Mike Jensen is still on track to return in mid- to late-December.

November 20, 2005

Tough night

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:11 AM

Here are a few odds and ends from the 99-82 win over American.

• Coach Lorenzo Romar wasn't a happy camper after this win, feeling that the defensive effort wasn't there most of the night, particularly in the first half when American forged a 41-41 tie and shot 46.7 percent.

"We are a better defensive team than we showed," Romar said.

Brandon Roy accepted much of the blame, saying that he and Bobby Jones, the team's co-captains, didn't do a good enough job getting the younger players ready to play.

"This one's our fault," Roy said.

Still, the Huskies were able to put the hammer down when needed in the second half to turn it into a comfortable win. Roy led the way, scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half.

Roy said he gave the team a little talk at halftime reminding them of how California and Stanford have lost in upsets the last two games and that the Huskies didn't want to follow suit.

• Roy left the game briefly holding his hand, but it was nothing to worry about. He said he hit his funny bone and his whole elbow locked up for a little while.

• Artem Wallace started the second half in place of Jamaal Williams. Asked why, Romar said that Wallace was "rebounding the ball and busting his tail on the defensive end so we inserted him in there."

Wallace had seven rebounds and a blocked shot along with one point in 16 minutes.

• Romar continues to be impressed by point guard Justin Dentmon, who had eight points, two assists and two steals in 27 minutes.

"He did a good job running our ball club," Romar said.

Dentmon, however, has been hit hard by screens a couple of times in recent games, including one again tonight, and Romar said that's something the team has to do better.

• Harvey Perry sat out again with his back injury, and there is still no definitive word on what is wrong.

• One of the best signs for the Huskies was the play of Ryan Appleby, who was held to one point against Air Force but had 14 and hit 3 of 8 three-pointers against American.

"We need his perimeter shooting and in two of four games he has been outstanding at it," Romar said.

November 19, 2005

Young Husky guard makes point

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:05 AM

For our main preview of the game against American tonight, check our newspaper or our main web site, but here are a few leftover items:

One of the revelations to me of the Air Force game was the play of freshman point guard Justin Dentmon in the second half. Dentmon had two points and four turnovers in the first half as Washington trailed 46-40 at halftime.
But in the second half, Dentmon had 10 points, two assists and just one turnover in 18 minutes.

"He had to step up and make big plays in the second half and when we made our run, he made some big plays," said coach Lorenzo Romar. "All freshmen have growing pains. But I haven't sensed that he's had a whole lot of growing pains. He's done a pretty good job."

Dentmon is leading the team in assists with five per game, while also scoring 8.3 points and grabbing 3.7 rebounds. He also has just seven turnovers in 75 minutes, a better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio that is more than acceptable for any guard and especially a true freshman.

Obviously, the tests will get a lot tougher, but it's hard to argue with what he's done so far.

What I thought was one of his more telling plays was a rebound in traffic in the second half when the Huskies made their run. Romar likes guards who rebound, and Dentmon appears to fit the prototype despie standing just 5 feet 11 much the way Nate Robinson did.

Asked to explain why he was so much better in the second half, Dentmon said it was largely the result of some pep talks from Romar and older players.

"They said to come out and show who wanted it the most," Dentmon said. "I wanted to show them that I wanted it the most. I wanted to show them the Dawg in me."


The American game will feature a reunion of a pair of teammates from Kingco schools - Washington's Hans Gasser and American's Garrison Carr of Issaquah and Washington's Brandon Burmiester and America's Brayden Billbe of American.

"That was definitely a heated rivalry when we played Issaquah," Burmeister said recently.

Then, referring to the fact that Carr is generously listed at 5-11, Burmeister said with a laugh, "I remember Garrison Carr guarding me, running around at my ankles basically."


- American is coached by Jeff Jones, who was the coach at Virginia for eight years before resigning nder pressure in 1998. He is in his sixth season at American and is 75-71.

- American is a member of the Patriot League, which was the subject of the John Feinstein book, The Last Amateurs. To me, that label is a little of a misnomer - it's still D-I basketball, and the real Last Amateurs would be Division II or III or NAIA.

- American has never been to the NCAA tournament.

- American has also never beaten a Pac-10 team, going 0-1 against California, 0-2 against UCLA and 0-3 against Stanford.

November 18, 2005

SI gives Huskies props

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:20 PM

OK, for everyone concerned that Washington hasn't received its just due from the national media so far, here's one outlet putting the Huskies in their top 20 - Sports Illustrated.

Even if it's right at No. 20.

Here's the SI writeup on the Huskies which also appears in this week's magazine.

That issue also includes a list of the schools with the five softest schedules - with the Huskies making that ranking as well. You can't argue that one a whole lot as UW's schedule is unquestionably set up to produce a lot of early wins, such as Saturday's game against American which will be interesting mostly because AU has two local players on its team - guard Garrison Carr of Issaquah and forward Brayden Billbe of Mercer Island.

UW had hoped to get a game with North Carolina this year as well, but that fell through when Marvin Williams turned pro. Otherwise, the Huskies didn't mind having a favorable schedule this year knowing they had a young team on hand.

November 17, 2005

Odds and ends

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:37 PM

No word yet on Perry: While there are been lots of rumors about the injury status of freshman guard Harvey Perry, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said before practice today that test results on Perry's ailing back are still pending. Until those tests come in, no decisions will be made as to whether Perry will redshirt or play. Romar said Perry will be sidelined "until we find out what's wrong." Perry said he has had back trouble for about two years and it recently began flaring up again. He played in UW's exhibition game but sat out the three games in the BCA Classic.

Tre back in town: Romar interrupted his session with the media to greet former Husky Tre Simmons, who is back in town after spending a few weeks with a team in Paris in the French pro leagues. Romar said Simmons has returned to Seattle to have his knee checked out and that if no problems are found, he will likely return to Paris to play.

Lineup the same: Romar said the lineup for Saturday's game against American will remain the same as it has all season, with Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones and Justin Dentmon in the backcourt and Jon Brockman and Jamaal Williams up front.

Brockman hitting the boards: Brockman is averaging 9.3 rebounds. It's obviously really early, but if he keeps that up all season, it would be the best since Todd MacCulloch averaged 11.9 in as a senior in 1999. No Husky has averaged more than 7.6 (David Dixon in 2002) since then.

Slick Watts redux: One of the gifts players received for taking part in the BCA Classic were white headbands. When Romar opened the door to the meeting room before practice, every player had his on. Romar's response, according to a team spokesman? "Just like bald heads, those look good on some guys, and not so good on others."

A look around the league: One thing I'll try to do more of here is alert readers to interesting stories about other Pac-10 schools. Here are two good season previews of USC and Oregon State.


November 16, 2005

Points of emphasis

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:01 AM

Here are a few left over notes and observations after the Air Force game.

• How about those rebounding totals? UW outboarded Air Force, 39-17. That's one of the biggest points of emphasis for UW coaches — the starters for the exhibition game were the five best rebounders at their position. Those five have ended up as the same five starters for the season, not much of a coincidence. You really saw the value Jon Brockman is going to have. You also saw Brandon Roy's amazing versatility. Despite spending a good part of the night bringing the ball up the court, he had 10 rebounds. Roy led or was the co-leader for UW in points (27), rebounds (10), steals (four) and blocks (three) and had just two turnovers in 35 minutes.

• The game went a long way toward showing that the Huskies will be able to impose their will and run on just about anyone. Air Force is one of the most deliberate teams around yet UW scored 85 points. That's 12 more points than Air Force ever allowed last year when Iowa beat the Falcons 73-63.

• You may have heard some rumors about Harvey Perry and whether he is going to have to redshirt due to his back injury. For now, nothing is decided, according to Perry and Romar. Perry said he's had a troublesome back for about two years and it recently flared up again. They have had X-rays and MRIs taken to determine what the problem is. But as of last night, none of those tests had come back so Perry still doesn't know anything. He may find out more today.

• Artem Wallace didn't play but it was simply because coaches felt Air Force's style didn't lend itself to Artem's just yet.

• Brockman says he'd like to play without the mask, he said there's one little blind spot in it, but that he doesn't want to risk getting hit in the same spot and missing a month. He said he'll probably wear it another three weeks.

• You saw a little thinning of the rotation tonight as UW played just eight players in the second half, and only seven saw more than five minutes in the second half.

• Looked at Air Force schedule and concluded the Falcons will probably win their next eight games, meaning a lot of people could be writing in late December about a 10-1 Falcon team whose only loss was to UW. Their next game against a big-time opponent is Dec. 28 against Georgia Tech.

November 15, 2005

After the game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:03 AM

Here are a few leftover notes and observations after Washington's 87-54 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay at the BCA Monday night.

You may be wondering why Joe Wolfinger - who the team plans to redshirt this year - is suiting up. Since it's a "redshirt by choice" situation and not a forced redshirt - a transfer situation where a player is ineligible for a year - Wolfinger can play if needed. He almost certainly won't, but coaches plan to suit him up for home games so he can get used to the pre-game experience. And then he would be available in an emergency. He may also travel. Ryan Appleby couldn't suit up or transfer when he sat out last year because he was a transfer.

• They are using new experimental rules for this tournament - a 3-point line that is a foot longer and a lane that is two feet wider - but I honestly haven't noticed any difference. Guys who can hit threes are still hitting threes, and the lane doesn't seem to have impacted anything. Maybe tonight, when we see the Huskies play a team that can actually give it some trouble, will be more telling.

• Two games - especially against this level of competition - doesn't mean a whole lot. But so far, the Huskies are answering the questions about their 3-point shooting. UW hit 8-17 Monday night and is 14-36 in the two games.

• All we really know about the Huskies so far is that they can get up to play inferior competition. Coach Lorenzo Romar has really emphasized playing all 40 minutes of the game, no matter the situation, and so far, this team has responded, obliterating all three teams it has played, including the exhibition against Simon Fraser.

• Not sure what to make of the attendance. Given the apparent popularity of this team, I figured there would be more than the 3,217 who were there Monday. Maybe the 6 p.m. start was a factor. Maybe Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are bad days for such a tournament. Whatever, anyone who is really a fan should come out tonight even if the championship matchup isn't the one that everyone was hoping for.

• Speaking of Air Force, they seemed to be the crowd favorite of the few hundred or so who stuck around. But the Huskies wanted to play Miami in hopes of getting an early win against a school from a big-time conference that would boost UW's RPI. As good as Air Force may be, a win over the Falcons won't look the same on paper.

November 12, 2005

Lute's loot

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:33 PM

Stuck in Arizona with the football team leaves me no choice but to hear a lot about the Wildcats' basketball team. And leave it to coach Lute Olson to find a way to keep his team in the headlines even when the football team is eliciting as much excitement as it has in years.

The papers and talk radio down here are buzzing with the news of Arizona's latest recruiting coup - junior guard Jerryd Bayless. Read the story about his commitment from the Tucson Citizen.

One of the interesting aspects of it is that Bayless won't start playing at Arizona until Lute Olson is 73 years old, showing that his advancing age isn't hurting him in recruiting.

Another interesting feature of the Tucson paper this morning is a chart showing how all of Arizona's players in the NBA fared last night. There are an even 10 of them, evidence of just how dominant Arizona has been through the years.

As for the Huskies, one day and counting.

November 11, 2005

Starters set

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:03 PM

The opener for the Washington men's basketball team is still two days away, but Husky coach Lorenzo Romar on Friday revealed the team's starting lineup.

And it's the same one that began the team's exhibition game against Simon Fraser last week - Jon Brockman and Jamaal Williams up front with Bobby Jones, Brandon Roy and Justin Dentmon in the backcourt.

The most static position has been point guard, where Dentmon has been competing with Ryan Appleby.

But don't read too much into the fact that Dentmon is starting ahead of Appleby. Mostly, it's a matter of figuring out how best to use the team's personnel.

But Romar liked the look the team got in the Simon Fraser game with Appleby coming off the bench - he scored 20 points in that game.

Put Appleby in the starting lineup and points off the bench - particularly from the perimeter - might be harder to come by.

Romar has said that the lineup could change often early in the season.

But from here, I don't see any of the positions other than Dentmon-Appleby ever really varying too much until Mike Jensen comes back in mid-to-late December.

November 10, 2005

Raising Arizona

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:07 PM

Here's an interesting story from a Tucson newspaper about how Arizona is trying to get its students more involved as spectators at its basketball games. As one who has been to Arizona a few times for hoops games, I can confirm that while the crowd is loud and boisterous, it's always felt almost like an NBA game because the students seem so non-existent.

This may indeed be bad news for visiting teams to Tucson. But as one who believes that college sports should first and foremost be for the college students, I kind of like this move.

November 9, 2005

All in

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:50 PM

Not that there was any doubt, but the Huskies today received the signed letters-of-intent from all four of the basketball players who had committed with UW earlier this fall.

The class is led by Seattle Prep center Spencer Hawes, who on Sunday was named as the No. 1 player on the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West list of the top 15 recruits on the West Coast.

Each of UW's other recruits were also on the list - swingmen Quincy Pondexter of Fresno, Calif., (No. 5 on the Best in the West poll), and Phil Nelson of McNary, Ore. (12); and guard Adrian Oliver of Modesto, Calif. (No. 13).

UW's official news release announcing the signing calls it "arguably the best in school history."

As Rick Neuheisel would say "the proof is in the pudding." Meaning, we'll all know whether that's true a few years from now.

Still, the class is another huge step in the right direction for the hoops team, which keeps the good news rolling at the same rate as bad news greets the football team.

But UW coach Lorenzo Romar isn't shying away from the hype.

Romar said he wouldn't say it's the best class he's ever been around - which includes the 1994 UCLA class that included Charles O'Bannon, Toby Bailey and J.R. Henderson - "but I'm not sure there have been any that were better."

Also, guard Ryan Appleby was expected to miss practice today with a sprained ankle suffered Tuesday though it's not considered serious.

November 8, 2005

Wolfinger to redshirt

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:46 PM

I'll have more on this in our paper and on our Web site later, but just a short note to report that Lorenzo Romar announced today that Joe Wolfinger will redshirt this season.

Romar said he made the decision Monday after consulting with Wolfinger, a 7-footer who weighs 240 pounds and has a nice outside touch but needs to get bigger and stronger and develop an inside game.
Romar said Wolfinger will work on his strength with the year off.

Romar said another factor is that it will be hard for Wolfinger to get regular playing time this season with the Huskies fairly loaded in the front court, especially once Mike Jensen returns from injury. Jensen is on track to return in late December, if not a little ahead of schedule.

Also, the team practiced at the Sonics facility with the women's basketball team and volleyball team using the courts at UW. The teams rotate courts with the volleyball team getting priority right now because it is in the thick of its season.

November 7, 2005

Some leftovers

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:02 PM

Passing on a few notes in the wake of the opener against Simon Fraser:

• UW coaches expected Simon Fraser to present a stiffer test, but the team's two best players didn't play, one apparently for religious reasons because the game was on a Sunday.

• Wednesday shapes up as a big day for the Huskies as that is the first day recruits can sign letters of intent. The Huskies are expecting four, including that of Seattle Prep's Spencer Hawes. But while the news of the commitment of the four recruits has been known for some time, after Wednesday they can officially be considered Huskies and coaches and players can talk about them. The others who will sign are guard Adrian Oliver and swingman Quincy Pondexter of California and swingman Phil Nelson of Oregon.

• It's looking more and more like Joe Wolfinger will redshirt this season. He played just 10 minutes against Simon Fraser without scoring, though that's not really the most relevant issue here. What is is that UW coaches might have a hard time finding Wolfinger the court time that would make it worth it for him to play this season. Mike Jensen's recovery is apparently going as well as hoped and he could even be back a little sooner than planned. With Jensen back, the Huskies will have a bevy of front-court players with Jamaal Williams, Jon Brockman and Artem Wallace also set for major playing time this year.

• If Wolfinger does redshirt, it will mean that Hans Gasser could be called on for some meaningful minutes this year, especially while Jensen is out.

New photos

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:11 AM

Here's a special media bonus for the blog: extra pictures from Sunday night's exhibition victory over Simon Fraser. We get to see some of the new players in action for the first time. All photos were shot by Dustin Snipes of The Seattle Times.

The Huskies' Jon Brockman gets his first two points off a fast break dunk three minutes into the game. Brockman finished the game with 18 points.

Guard Justin Dentmon defends Simon Fraser's Raj Mander.

The Huskies' Harvey Perry goes up for a rebound against Simon Fraser's Scott Hyde in the first half.

Jamaal Williams gets fouled from behind by a Simon Fraser player in the first half. Williams finished with 24 points in the game.

Guard Ryan Appleby calls the offense as the Huskies move down the court.

November 6, 2005

Notes from the win over Simon Fraser

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:58 PM

We'll have a full report on Washington's 114-48 win over Simon Fraser in Sunday's exhibition game in our paper
Monday and on-line sometime after midnight.

Until then, here are a few other notes and observations on the game.

- Before you get too excited by the score, Simon Fraser really wasn't very good, nothing at all like an Athletes in Action-type team would have been. And not close to a team like Seattle Pacific. But the Huskies can't play teams like AIA anymore because of NCAA rules forbidding such games due to concerns over shoe companies sponsoring traveling teams.

- Still, the 20 points and 6-for-10 three-point shooting of Ryan Appleby was impressive against any opponent. "He did a tremendous job," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

"It is very evident that that he can shoot the basketball and has a quick release."

- Play of the night? My nominee would be the lob pass from Appleby that Joel Smith went up high for and dunked late in the first half. With Nate gone, Smith may be this team's most exciting dunker. It was the type of play veteran teams make. But Appleby pointed out that he and Smith were on the same side in practice almost every day last season while Appleby was sitting out and Smith was a reserve.

- If Appleby looked taller than the 6-foot-1 the roster lists him as, it's because he is. He said he recently measured at 6-3 3/4.

- The game will be forgotten a few days from now, but Jon Brockman said it was a big deal because it was his first college game. "I was really nervous," he said. "I get nervous before every game, but this one was a little more nerve-wracking."

- Brockman wore a mask to protect a broken nose he suffered in practice a couple of weeks ago. He said either Artem Wallace or Joe Wolfinger hit him after coming down with a rebound.

- Simon Fraser coach Scott Clark had this scouting report on the Huskies: "They were a pretty solid team last year, and I think they'll be pretty solid again. Losing Nate Robinson is a big hole to fill, but they may be a little bit better in the post than they were last year. If they stay healthy, I think they'll make a run at things."

- Asked for areas that need improvement, Romar mentioned a couple of subtle things ... "keeping the ball in front of them on defense and improving spacing on the floor on offense."

- Was that Mike Jensen on the UW bench or Eminem? Anyone who saw Jensen and his white jump suit knows
what I'm talking about.

- That was Spencer Hawes sitting behind the basket on the visitors' side about two rows back at the start of the game.

- The Huskies need to work on their pregame chest bump. Brandon Roy and Jamaal Williams just about hit the ground before hitting each other.

- Were they kidding when they announced there were a "limited" number of tickets available for the Apple Cup. I would think that right now, the only thing more available would be Paris Hilton.

What to watch for tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:02 AM

Yeah, basketball season starts tonight.

And right now, Washington is officially a basketball school for all the right reasons - the basketball team is really good - and all the wrong reasons - the football team isn't.

So even though it's just an exhibition game, simply playing any hoops game right now is reason enough to get excited.

I wrote a preview of the game for the paper today. But here are a few other things to watch tonight:

- Brandon Roy as a point guard. This isn't really that big of a deal. As Lorenzo Romar points out all the time, the ball has always gone through Brandon's hands a lot. Still, Brandon admits this is a new role for him, so seeing how he adjusts to it - especially bringing the ball up the court - will be interesting.

- Bobby Jones as a guard/small forward - He's been out of position the last few years as a power forward. But he also didn't have the shot that he has now. That means this may be the perfect time for him to finally play the position that his size dictates is his best.

- Jamaal Williams - He proudly proclaims that he now can hit shots consistently out to 17 feet. It'll be fun to see him try to make good.

- Justin Dentmon - Sounds like he'll be the main guy bringing the ball up the court other than Roy, and it'll be interesting to see how he does.

- Ryan Appleby - He'll get looks at point guard as well but sounds like he's becoming more of an outside shooting threat than anything else.

- Artem Wallace - By all accounts, he's had a great camp. I saw him do the dunking exhibition one day and came away suitably impressed.

- Joe Wolfinger - If he plays really well, Romar may decide he has to play this year instead of redshirting.

- Jon Brockman - We've heard about him for years. But finally seeing him in a Husky uniform will take on a special meaning.

- Harvey Perry - Coaches say he's as good a perimeter defender as the team has. We start finding out tonight.

- Joel Smith - He almost feels like the forgotten man in the excitement over the seniors and the freshmen. But he looks a lot more mature and should contribute a lot more.

We'll have more after the game.

November 3, 2005

Media day revisited

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:34 PM

One thing that's always fun about conference media days is seeing the players interact with each other.

College athletes compete like heck on the field or court, but they also realize that they are all in the same boat and usually get along quite well once introduced.

And Washington guard Brandon Roy, a Garfield High School grad, needed no introduction to one of the other five players who was here - Oregon's Aaron Brooks, a Franklin High grad.

Also in attendance were Oregon State's Nick DeWitz, Stanford's Dan Grunfeld and UCLA's Jordan Farmar.
Most ate together at a table and talked during the lunch portion of the schedule.

"It's been pretty fun," Roy said. "I got in kind of late last night (his flight didn't arrive until after midnight) and I didn't get much sleep. But it's exciting seeing all the Pac-10 players. There's still a lot of time before we play, so everybody is relaxed and cool. Nobody's mad at each other yet."

Along with doing interviewers with whatever reporters show up here, the players and coaches also do a number of interviews for Fox Sports, the prime broadcaster of conference games during the season. A lot of those interviews you see pop up on games during the season? Many of them are done here.


- Roy and DeWitz found out that they had something in common - playing with Jamaal Williams.

Even though DeWitz grew up in Arizona and played high-school ball in Chandler, he played for an AAU team in Compton, Calif., called the Compton Magic. One of his teammates was Williams, who played his high-school ball in Corona, Calif.

"We played together at least two years," DeWitz said.

DeWitz said that even then, Williams had a reputation for shooting at will.

"He's the black hole," DeWitz said. "But he gets it done. His shooting percentage is pretty high, so you can't say anything about it to him."

- Romar always is a hit at these gatherings. Not only is he as good at handling the media as anyone, but he also has a lot of friends in the LA media due to his days as an assistant at UCLA and a head coach at Pepperdine. He spent part of the lunch hour talking about playground heroes from his days as a youth in Compton.

He was one of the last two coaches to leave.

- Injuries were one of the recurrent themes from many of the coaches. UCLA's Ben Howland said he hasn't had one practice yet where every scholarship player was available and has often had just seven scholarship players available and nine overall.

But most of UCLA's walking wounded should be back when Pac-10 season rolls around. Also bit hard by the injury bug has been Cal, though again, none of the new ailments are major.

Staying healthy for Cal, however, has been forward Leon Powe, who missed last year with a knee injury.

Cal coach Ben Braun said "no one has worked harder in his rehab than Leon" and that there are no restrictions right now on Powe. He was the Pac-10 freshman of the year in the 2003-04 season, averaging 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds. And if he's truly healthy and better than he was before, as Braun said, then Cal will be a team to watch for this season.

Look for more notes in The Times tomorrow as well as more here in this space as well in coming days.

Media poll is released

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:01 AM

Wow. I didn't think I'd be this prescient.

The official Pac-10 media poll released today looks almost exactly like the one I turned in and presented here yesterday. It reads:
1, Arizona
2, Stanford
4, Washington
5, Cal
6, Oregon
7, Oregon State
8, USC
9, Washington State
10, Arizona State

The only difference in those results and my picks is at the bottom, where I had WSU eighth and USC ninth. Showing either, apparently, that great minds think alike -- or the complete opposite.

The media has gotten this thing right more often than not through the years, correctly picking the winner 11 of the past 16 years. On the other hand, we've gotten it right just two of the past five, missing barely on Arizona in 2003-04 (third) and in 2000-01 (second) and whiffing badly on UCLA in 2001-02, when the Bruins finished sixth.

Arizona received 23 of the 34 first-place votes, with Stanford getting nine and UCLA two.

We'll have more from media day later.

November 2, 2005

Ballot box closing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:06 AM

Pac-10 media day is Thursday in Los Angeles and we will have a full report, both with some notes here and in The Seattle Times on Friday.

The highlight of the day is typically the unveiling of the preseason poll, voted on by media who cover the conference and we'll make it available here as quickly as we can.

The poll doesn't mean anything tangibly, obviously, but serves as a good conversation piece now and for the rest of the season as we find out whether the media knew anything.

The media's an easy target, but wasn't far off a year ago, picking Arizona to win it and Washington to finish second. That is exactly what happened at the top.

Here's the poll I submitted last week with a brief comment on each pick.

1, Arizona - OK, they lost Salim and Frye. Still, there's a lot of talent here, a lot of new talent coming in, and Lute's still roaming the sideline.

2, Stanford - In Grunfeld, Hernandez and Haryasz, the Cardinal may have three All-Pac-10 players. It's hard to lose when you have that.

3, UCLA - I'm a little iffy on this one, but I like the young talent the Bruins have and I think Ben Howland is a heck of a coach.

4, Washington - This could come back to bite me. But I think the Huskies may take a little while to jell and lose a few games early that they won't lose later. Adding to my defense: Coach Lorenzo Romar says he has no problem with his team being picked here.

5, Cal - If Leon Powe picks up where he left off and some of the new guys mature fast, this could be too low.

6, Oregon - Another pick that could be too low. If all those young guys finally put it together, this could be a real dangerous team.

7, Oregon State - I really like what Jay John is doing, but it's just hard to pick them any higher.

8, Washington State - Ditto the Beavers comment. Plus, Dick Bennett says he thinks his rebuilding process needs one more year to really take hold.

9, USC - But Tim Floyd is a crafty coach and it wouldn't surprise me if all the new guys he's brought in don't move the Trojans up quickly.

10, Arizona State - This may be the safest pick on the board. With Ike Diogu gone, there just seems little reason to think the Sun Devils will be real competitive this year.

November 1, 2005

Media Day musings

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:00 PM

The Huskies held their annual media day for local reporters today and we'll have a full report in Wednesday's paper. But here are a few tidbits for now.

• Lorenzo Romar says he has no trouble with where his team is ranked -- or rather, not ranked -- in national polls. UW was 28th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll released last week, behind three Pac-10 teams that were ranked -- Arizona, Stanford and UCLA. "I have no problem with that," he said. "The No. 1 seed is over. This is a whole different group. If we would have been in the top 15, that would have been a surprise to me."

• Romar said he thinks UW's schedule, which features 10 of its 11 non-conference games at home, is appropriate for this year's team considering its youth. "It would have been really rough to have the same schedule that last year's team had this year," he said. "Early on, I think it's good to have a lot of home games."

• Asked about the rotation, Romar said he could go 10 deep. That would theoretically include all of the team's freshmen, though there still seems a chance that Joe Wolfinger could redshirt.

• Forward Zach Johnson had another knee surgery last week, the fourth of his career. This was on his left knee to repair a second ACL injury to that knee. Johnson said he hopes to rehab this season and come back next year.

• Mike Jensen is out of his sling and can take a few shots though he won't likely be cleared to begin any real work for another couple of weeks. He is on track to return in late December, likely for a game Dec. 23 against Lehigh.

• There are fewer than 700 season tickets available. But that doesn't include the three games UW will play in the Black Coaches Association Classic at Hec Ed on Nov. 13-15. School officials said there are "plenty of tickets available for that."

• School officials also said that the school will soon announce some changes to its TV package for this season that will result in some changes in game times. That should happen by the end of the week.