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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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May 30, 2006

Morris, and other notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:47 PM

In case you missed it, the Tim-Morris-to-UW move is a done deal. Here's our story from today's paper.

One thing that didn't make it in the story is that Morris will apparently attend North Seattle Community College beginning next month for two quarters to earn his AA degree and then enroll at UW in the winter quarter.

He wouldn't be eligible to play this year, anyway, due to NCAA transfer rules.

Pac-10 rules were relaxed two years ago allowing for players to transfer within the conference while sitting out only one year, the same as the NCAA rule. Previously, players transferring within the conference had to sit out two years, which made such moves essentially non-existent.

But Morris said despite the change in the rules, he plans to go to North Seattle before enrolling at UW.

Taking Morris apparently won't impact any of UW's future recruiting plans. While Morris may end up on scholarship, he is coming to UW prepared to pay his own way — meaning, be a walk-on — if need be.

• The recruit to watch now is Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-8 forward who is a native of Surrey, England and is currently attending South Kent (Ct.) School where he will be a senior next year.

He will visit UW this weekend along with his high school coach. If he commits, he would be the second member of the Class of 2007 along with Curtis High's Isaiah Thomas. UW would have at least one more scholarship for that class.

• Talked with Joel Bell, the agent for Bobby Jones, a few days ago.

He said Jones has had four workouts — Utah, the Lakers, Golden State and Sacramento.

He was supposed to have a workout with the Knicks last week but canceled it after falling a little under the weather. That would have been an interesting workout as that was the day Larry Brown showed up to run the show, which was a big deal in the New York media as rumors were swirling that Brown was on his way out and his presence assured that he hadn't been fired yet. But Brown wouldn't talk to the media and it was left to the guys who worked out to talk about Brown being there.

Bell said Jones will reschedule a workout with the Knicks after he takes part in the pre-draft camp in Orlando, Fla., June 6-10.

Bell wouldn't say if Jones has other workouts planned this week — such things tend to be planned fairly last-minute as it is.

But he said he thinks Jones has only helped his case in the workouts he has had to date.

"He's surprising people with his ability to shoot the ball,'' Bell said. "And he always interviews great. There's definitely a place for him in the NBA.''

• Saw one person posted that it seems as if all the seniors have left school already and aren't taking their classes seriously. I'll defend them by pointing out that Mike Jensen and Jamaal Williams have already earned their degrees and Jones is on track to graduate next month.

The only one not on track to graduate is Brandon Roy, and he's about to be the fourth pick in the NBA Draft and assured $12 million or so, so I think he'll be just fine.

May 26, 2006

Morris to UW?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:48 AM

Interesting twist in Washington's recruiting today with the news that Tim Morris, who played the past two seasons at Stanford, is considering transferring to UW.

Morris is on campus as we speak meeting with UW coach Lorenzo Romar — the two have a long relationship as they are second cousins.

It's likely Morris will make a decision by early next week.

If he transfers to a Division I-A school such as UW, Morris has just one year of eligibility left for the 2007-08 season.

That, obviously, is a year when the Huskies are also targeting a number of current high school juniors to bring in on scholarship.

But as far as I know, taking Morris wouldn't necessarily get in the way of those plans because he might come to UW as a walk-on or as a partial scholarship player.

He transferred from Stanford last month saying he wanted more playing time — he averaged five points and 3.1 rebounds for the Cardinal last season.

Here's a look at Morris' career from ESPN, and another from CNNSI.

Here also is a story from the Stanford student newspaper about Morris' departure.

May 25, 2006

Oklahoma penalties come down

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:49 PM

The NCAA just announced its findings and penalties regarding its investigation into recruiting violations committed at Oklahoma while Kelvin Sampson was head coach.

This figures to be big news today as the new penalty against Sampson, now the coach at Indiana, seems pretty significant — he can't make phone calls or recruit off-campus for a year.

And Washington is a bit player in this as current Huskies assistant Jim Shaw worked at Oklahoma from 2000 to 2004 before coming to UW.

He testified before the committee last month and is identified as "Assistant Coach B'' in the full 30-page report.

But the news is good for Shaw as the committee decided against penalizing him further, noting that Washington enacted some penalties of its own on Shaw after learning of the Oklahoma investigation.

Here's a story we wrote about that last month.

The committee also noted that the number of impermissible phone calls Shaw made declined drastically his final two years at Oklahoma compared to his first two, when he testified that he lacked the job security to challenge how things were being done.

Here's the full report, with the penalty stuff pertaining to UW on pages 19 and 20 (section N).

As our story reported last month and as the NCAA report notes, UW has already served all of these penalties, so there is nothing new for UW fans to worry about. And Shaw, I'm sure, is glad to have this now behind him.

May 24, 2006

News and notes redux

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:43 PM

A lot of you have had questions about scheduling, so here's an update:

Here are the nonconference teams that are set to play Washington next season — home games against Louisiana State, Sacramento State, Portland State (coached by former UW assistant Ken Bone with former Husky Curtis Allen an assistant), Idaho, Weber State and Eastern Washington. Also, the season-opening tournament that we wrote about here last week which has one team set — Pepperdine.

UW will also play at Gonzaga.

The Huskies were to play Montana at home, but that game has fallen through.

So that leaves the Huskies still searching for two more opponents for their home tournament Nov. 12-14, plus one nonconference home game to take the place of Montana, and one road game against a marquee nonconference opponent.

The latest rumored foe for that last game is Missouri. One UW source confirmed that the Huskies are talking with the Tigers about a home-and-home that would start with Washington playing at Missouri next year — probably during the Pac-10 Conference season during one of the weeks that UW plays Washington State and has just one game for the week. Missouri would here the following season.

Missouri was down this year and its best player, Thomas Gardner, declared for the NBA. But their new coach is Mike Anderson, who coached UAB to a tournament win against UW two years ago, which means Mizzou probably won't be down long.

That game is not set in stone. Washington hopes to finish all of this soon, however, possibly even later this week or next week.

One problem facing UW in putting together its schedule is that a lot of other schools, particularly traditional basketball powers, can pay much larger guarantees than Washington. Then there's the travel involved.

"It takes two to really want to do it," one person told me. "We got close to making deals with two ACC teams [one of which was Georgia Tech] but when it comes down to it, they've really got to want to come out here."

• I'm sure you're all aware that Leon Powe is definitely leaving California. In my eyes, that puts Washington among the top three teams in the Pac-10 heading into next season along with UCLA and Arizona. But each of those schools also has players considering making the NBA jump. I've been told it's likely that UCLA's Jordan Farmar and Arizona's Mustafa Shakur will turn pro, as well.

To me, Shakur leaving Arizona would be almost as big a hit as UCLA losing Farmer, and I don't think the Wildcats can replace what he gives them as well as UCLA could replace Farmar.

If Shakur and Farmar each go, I'd still make UCLA the favorite heading into next season. And I'd still probably put Arizona just slightly ahead of Washington.

Remember, the Wildcats still return a lot, with Marcus Williams, Ivan Radenovic, Kirk Walters, Jawann McClellan, etc.

• Now that the lottery is over, the NBA mock drafts are out in earnest.

Here's one that has Brandon Roy going No. 3 to Charlotte.

It's nice to hear, but a word of caution: none of the top players has done any individual workouts with teams yet. It all should become more clear where everyone stands once those workouts are conducted.

I'd also caution that I'd believe anything Richard Nixon said in 1974 more than I believe anything NBA general managers say the month before the draft. They all try to do as much as possible not to give away what they are really thinking.

That said, there are some interesting possibilities for Roy. I think Portland would be a great fit with Nate McMillan coaching there and Martell Webster already on the roster.

And what about Atlanta at No. 5? He could be reunited with Hawks assistant Bob Bender, the coach he signed to play with at Washington, as well as Bremerton native Marvin Williams and former Pac-10 rival Salim Stoudamire? Looks like it's going to turn out real well for Brandon no matter where he goes.

• Will Conroy will attend a mini-camp with the San Antonio Spurs this summer, and Tre Simmons will attend a similar camp with the Phoenix Suns. I'll try to post some more in-depth stuff on what Conroy and Simmons are doing in the coming days.

May 22, 2006

Tracking the big guys

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:55 PM

One blog reader asked for an update on how Washington's big guys have been progressing in offseason workouts, specifically Artem Wallace and Joe Wolfinger.

So we went to the best source to find out, UW assistant coach Paul Fortier, who has the primary responsibility for working with the big men.

Coaches can work with the players for limited periods in small groups while school is still in session, and Fortier said the obvious, that the main emphasis is to "work on weak areas."

Of Wolfinger, the 7-foot freshman who redshirted this year, Fortier said, "Everybody knows he shoots the ball pretty well for a big guy."

So the Huskies are instead working with him primarily on inside moves, specifically "back to the basket type of things."

Along with that is a continual effort to get stronger to handle the rigors of playing in the Pac-10.

As for Wallace, the 6-8 forward who saw limited time this year as a true freshman, Fortier said the emphasis is on "rebounding and just going at it and raising that intensity level rebounding-wise, offensively and defensively, as well as working on back-to-the-basket things as well as a lot of shooting from 15 to 17 feet."

The coaches drill the players on various moves and then encourage them to try them out when the team gets together on its own for informal full-court games. Those typically happen in the afternoons after the workouts with the coaches.

"It's easy to just go to your strong points all the time, so we want them to concentrate on doing the things that are a little bit uncomfortable right now," Fortier said. "Even if you did a weak move here or there, continue to try to work on it to get stronger next time."

That might be something to keep in mind if you stumble into one of these pick-up games someday and see that "so-and-so" got his shot blocked or looked bad. Maybe he's working on something, kind of like major-league pitchers in spring training.

Fortier said the coaches also emphasize working on counter moves. Most players have go-to moves that can work for a while. But in the Pac-10, where every team plays the other twice during the regular season, moves may not work the second time around once opponents have developed scouting reports.

"It's just making them aware of [developing] a counter move and working on those more so it's not just that an opponent knows that 'OK, I know he's going to do this every time,"' Fortier said.

Fortier also spends some of his time working with Jon Brockman and said Brockman's main areas of emphasis this offseason are shooting and refining his inside moves.

"He's got a very quick first step so there's a lot of working on stuff with that," he said.

The workouts can continue until school ends, then can pick up again on Sept. 15.

All of the players are expected to stay on campus for summer school, however, and will continue working on their own.

Here and there

• We mentioned Phil Nelson's track exploits here last week. Here's a link to the results from his district meet over the weekend.

As you can see, he won the high jump at 6-8, which would have placed him fourth in the Pac-10. Not bad for someone who had never tried the event competitively before this year.

• Some of you have asked whether the team is done recruiting for the 2006-07 season. Everything I hear is that they are and that there are no plans at the moment to add to the roster for next season.

May 18, 2006

More odds and ends

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:11 PM

• Here's an interesting blog from the Oregonian concerning Brandon Roy, with an item from analyst Chad Ford saying that Roy's agent is refusing workout request from all but the teams that will have the top five picks in the draft. That order won't be set until the lottery on Tuesday.

I talked with Roy last week and he said he wouldn't set his workout schedule until after the lottery.

• And here's report on Bobby Jones' workout with the Utah Jazz.

Interesting that he was joined in his workout by UConn's Rashad Anderson, who hit the shot that forced the Sweet 16 game into overtime. That was probably worth some playful banter between the two.

• Talked with Lorenzo Romar for a few minutes the other day while doing a story on his participation in some new commercials that will be debuting shortly. Here's that story in case you missed it.

Several readers have asked how coaching the U-18 national team will impact Romar's ability to recruit this summer in both good ways — he will obviously have access to some of the most highly-rated players available for the classes of 2007 and 2008 (there are a couple juniors trying out for the team, Romar said); and bad ways — will spending much of June working with the national team distract him from recruiting this summer?

As to the first question, Romar said he's not sure if it's completely a positive getting a chance to work so closely with some recruitable players.

"Some people say you can really blow it," Romar said. "That the kid will think 'boy, I don't want to play for him.' So it can go either way.

"But I can't look at it as a recruiting opportunity. I have to look at it as a chance to represent our country with some of the best players at that age in the world. You can't take away from that. You would cheat the opportunity if you looked at it otherwise."

And Romar pointed out what we pointed out here a few days ago — that there will be a lot of other coaches there, as well, with Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt and DePaul's Jerry Wainright serving as assistants, and the likes of Bruce Weber of Illinois helping out as a court coach during the trials when the team will be selected. Romar said Weber was asked to be an assistant for the entire session but couldn't, due to a few other commitments.

As for the time away from his UW duties, the trials will end before the July recruiting period gets going so it shouldn't be much of a distraction.

• Romar also said Jamaal Williams is in Los Angeles working out and is hoping to get an invitation to an NBA camp as a free agent. Most consider it unlikely Williams will be drafted. Romar said if that doesn't work out, Williams will head overseas. Williams has already finished his degree at UW.

Here's a story that won't make Husky fans too happy.

It reports that Brad Underwood, the junior college coach of Blake Young — the guard the Huskies brought in for a visit last month and thought would be an immediate impact player next season — has been hired at Kansas State. Young, you may recall, signed with Kansas State. Husky fans will surely think the worst. As the story points out, however, Underwood is a KSU grad who played there, and he and Huggins have known each other a while.

• Trying to project how prognosticators will rate the Pac-10 next season is fairly futile — though admittedly a fun way to pass the time — until we know exactly how the rosters will stack up. And that won't happen until next month when underclassmen have to fully declare for the draft or decide to return to school.

That said, here's an update on the four Pac-10 players still considering the NBA:

- Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo.

- Leon Powe.

- Mustafa Shakur.

The Shakur story is the third item in that report. And while many may think losing a player who has been at best erratic, and at worst, a fairly big disappointment considering the hype that accompanied his arrival in Tuscon, I still think his loss would be a big blow for Arizona. He'd be a senior next year, and that kind of experience is hard to replace.

May 16, 2006

Odds and ends

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:53 AM

Clearing out the notebook on a Tuesday morning:

• In case you didn't see it, here's the latest on the schedule for next year.

The only downside is that this tournament likely won't feature any big-name teams. As the story indicates, Pepperdine and Illinois State are two possible foes and any others are likely to be of a similar nature.

Aside from this tournament, the Huskies will also host LSU and play at Gonzaga and are still attempting to line up a marquee team for a road game during the conference season. The Huskies have also signed a deal to play Montana next year at home.

• One blog reader asked a question about Jamelle McMillan, the son of Nate McMillan. Lo and behold, a couple of days later the Seattle Times' Steve Kelley wrote a column about McMillan that includes his thoughts on possible colleges.

As the story indicates, UW's not in the picture right now.

• One blog reader asked whether Bobby Jones has an agent, pointing out that one of the draft sites didn't list an agent for Jones. Jones does have an agent, Joel Bell, based out of Washington D.C. Bell is a veteran agent who has handled Voshon Lenard, Steve Blake and Vonteego Cummings, among others.

Jones continues to work out regularly at UW with Tom Newell while taking classes to finish his degree — he should be done in June. Newell told me this week that Jones is going to "open a lot of people's eyes" with his improved ability to shoot from the outside and ballhandling — the two things Jones has been concentrating on during pre-draft workouts. Jones is headed out of town later this week to conduct interviews with a few NBA teams.

• Phil Nelson should learn the results of his most recent SAT by next week. But word is he's likely to be eligible anyway if his current high school academic work stays on track.

Speaking of track, Nelson turned out for the McNary High track and field team for the first time and has been turning in some impressive performances. He has been participating in the high jump, triple jump, 200 and 400 and has qualified for the district meet in the first three events, consistently winning both jump events in dual meets. He recently won one meet with a 6-4 high jump and a 39-10 triple jump.

As one person said of Nelson's exploits "that's a freak athlete to never run track in your life and be able to do that."

• Here's a story about Adrian Oliver's exploits in an All-Star game over the weekend. Just additional fuel to the thought that Oliver will be a big-time contributor for the Huskies next season.

• Reports about the possible interest in UW by Kyle Singler, the highly touted forward from South Medford, Ore., have been all over the place. But here's a report in the Medford Mail Tribune on Tuesday that indicates that while UW may not be at the top of Singler's list, he is still considering the Huskies. Enough so that he will be taking an unofficial visit to UW on June 14.

Also interesting to note is that Singler will be trying out for the national U-18 team that will be coached by Lorenzo Romar.

One blog reader asked recently whether coaching that team will help UW's recruiting much. Remember that most of the players involved are freshmen-to-be who have already signed with a college. But there will be a few high school players involved such as Singler, so Romar certainly will have access to them. But I don't think recruiting is the main purpose of coaching such teams and there are other college coaches helping out with the team as well, notably Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt.

• Here's a story that notes some of the other coaches who will be involved with the U-18 team, as well.

Keep the e-mails coming. It's a great way to know what direction to take the blog during the off-season.

May 11, 2006

Never too early to look ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:31 PM

I know this is kind of old news — and not really news at that. But ESPN's Bracketology last week had UW projected as a No. 2 seed next season, playing in Spokane.

I figured I'd use that as a way to jump into a brief discussion of next season and whether expectations for the Huskies are going to be too high.

As this Bracketology shows, expectations are going to be about as high a they have ever been for UW.

And I know that's a concern of the coaches, who don't want to temper expectations because they think this will be a really good team, but are realistic enough to realize that with so many young players there will be some inevitable bumps in the road.

One person told me that the whole key to next year will be getting major contributions from at least three of the incoming freshmen. Not a news flash there, either, but still interesting to ponder.

The mostly likely candidates to do that, obviously, are center Spencer Hawes, forward Quincy Pondexter and guard Adrian Oliver. Conventional wisdom is that Phil Nelson is a little further away from making an immediate impact than the other three incoming frosh.

I think there's little doubt that Hawes is the real deal, though again, to expect 20 and 10 right out of the box is probably a little unrealistic. But eventually, I think big numbers will be there.

Bigger unknowns, especially among those of us who live in this area and haven't seen them play, are Pondexter and Oliver.

But in talking with a few people who have seen them play, a few general themes about each player have emerged.
So here's a little scouting report on each:

Pondexter — He's a 6-foot-7, 220-pound small forward who is known for his slashing ability but has a ways to go still to develop a consistent outside shot. Sounds a little like Brandon Roy early in his career.

But one person told me to expect something more along the lines of how Bobby Jones played early in his career — good defense and rebounding as a given — though with a better offensive game than Jones had as a freshman.

Jones averaged 5.4 points as a freshman, but scored nine or more points in five of UW's last 10 games that year, as he became a starter late in the season.

One person told me comparisons to Roy probably won't ever be really accurate because Pondexter likely won't be as good a ballhandler on the perimeter as Roy. Not that that's a huge criticism, as there are few players around who are as tall as Roy (6-6) and handle the ball as well.

Oliver — He's a 6-foot-3, 180-pound combo guard from Modesto, Calif. But the emphasis seems increasingly on the "combo'' part of that description as Oliver put up some big scoring numbers in high school and in all-star games recently. One person told me Oliver could be reasonably expected to score more next season than did Justin Dentmon. Dentmon averaged 8.1 points this year, but had some big games — 17 against Gonzaga, 16 against UCLA, etc.

Oliver could easily end up teaming with Dentmon in UW's backcourt with Pondexter at the three, Jon Brockman at the four and Hawes at the five.

But that's three freshmen and two sophomores and talented as they may be, some growing pains would be expected. Still, if it all works out as everyone at UW hopes — and as people seem to think is reasonable to expect — that No. 2 seed in Spokane may not be that far-fetched.

• Here's an interesting story from the Salt Lake Tribune that says Brandon Roy could be Utah's "dream pick,'' but that the Jazz don't expect him to escape the top five of the draft.

• Here's another mock draft that has Roy going with the No. 5 pick.

May 8, 2006

Brandon Roy preparing for NBA Draft

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:52 PM

A few times each summer, when there isn't much going on with the UW football or basketball teams, they ask me to help cover the Mariners.

But the Huskies seem to follow me around even there.

I showed up Friday night at Safeco Field only to learn that Brandon Roy would be throwing out the first pitch.
That left me no choice but to track him down and see what he's up to.

So after he tossed what appeared to be a strike to Rene Rivera, I cornered Brandon for a few minutes — he was with his father, Tony, and planned to watch the rest of the game.

He had flown into Seattle earlier in the day from Los Angeles, where he is currently spending his weekdays preparing for the NBA draft, working out with other players who have also signed with agent Arn Tellem. That group includes Duke's J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams and Stanford's Matt Haryasz.

Roy said a typical day includes a workout from 9-11 a.m., followed by weight lifting and then lunch and some down time. Then they return to the court for another workout from 6-8 p.m.

Roy plans to keep up that schedule, working out in LA during the week and returning home to Seattle for the weekends, until the NBA Draft Lottery on May 23. Then, once the draft order is clear, he will begin having individual workouts with teams.

"It's a chance to play against a lot of players I've competed against and heard a lot about, so it's fun,'' Roy said of his trips to LA. "But it's good work and it's all business. We are all trying to get to the NBA, so it's worth it.''

There's no doubt that Roy will get to the NBA, the only questions are which team will take him and with which pick in the lottery.

Roy is generally pegged at somewhere between 5-8 in most mock drafts, such as this one.

He might wish, however, that Oregonian columnist John Canzano was running a team. Canzano wrote in his blog last week that he would pick Roy first if he were an NBA general manager.

Roy said that "right now, every team in the top 10 is very high on me, so that's pretty cool. At this stage, that's really good. But I'm trying not to worry about what teams are saying and just keep working hard and keep playing hard and know that if I do that, everything will take care of itself, just like it has done my whole career.''

Roy said he's not feeling any nerves — yet.

"It's still too far away for that,'' he said. "I will be nervous [come draft time] but everybody is saying really good things and being really positive. Maybe if people were like 'we really don't know,' then I would. But people are saying 'we really like Brandon Roy and we hope he's available when we are picking.' When you hear stuff like that, you're not as nervous. It's exciting more than anything.''

Roy isn't the only Husky preparing for the future. Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen are in town and work out most days at UW with Tom Newell, a longtime NBA assistant coach and scout and noted teacher of the game. Newell, some of you may remember, actually was head coach of the Sonics for one game in 1989 on an interim basis.

May 5, 2006

No rules changes coming

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:46 PM

Here's an interesting release from the NCAA today indicating that there will be no major rules changes in college basketball next season.

In my view, that's just fine. If you remember, they experimented with some of those changes, including the longer 3-point line, when the Huskies hosted the BCA Classic in November and I don't think it made any real difference. So leave it where it is. The college game isn't supposed to be the NBA.

Also interesting to note is the stuff at the bottom where it talks about the points of emphasis for officials next season.

Officials will again be on the lookout for palming, which seemed to be called against Justin Dentmon about once a game last season. Maybe that's something he can clean up during the offseason.

A new point of emphasis that I'm all for is making sure that players truly have possession of the ball before calling time out. I've never liked the whole deal where players are flying out of bounds while trying to catch the ball with one hand and calling time with the other and being granted the time out.

• Several readers said the link to the story from the Oregonian the other day didn't work. So try this one instead.

The story talks about the recruitment of several players from Oregon, and mentions that Kyle Singler has been visited recently by UW coach Lorenzo Romar. The story also references 6-10 forward Clint Chapman of Canby and notes Washington as one of his several schools of interest.

May 4, 2006

Pac-10 and Fox renew TV hoops deal

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:40 PM

This may not be popular news with many readers of this board, but the Pac-10 announced today it has renewed its deal with Fox for men's college basketball games.

Here are some of the particulars from the official press release from Fox:

LOS ANGELES — The Pac-10 Conference and FSN have reached an agreement that renews the sports network's position as the Conference's exclusive national basketball television partner through the 2011-2012 season. The announcement was made today by Pac-10 Conference Commissioner Tom Hansen and Bob Thompson, President, Fox Sports Networks.

The renewal provides FSN the exclusive national cable, broadcast and new media rights for men's regular season basketball, plus four women's games, the men's and women's Conference basketball tournaments, and provides FSN with the exclusive right to sell sponsorships on behalf of the Conference and in connection with the Pac-10 postseason basketball tournaments. In the new media realm, FSN has rights to distribute games live and delayed, during an exclusive 30-day window, including exclusive game replays via video-on-demand, wireless and/or Internet platforms.

In addition to the rights provided FSN and its related new media platforms, the deal gives Fox College Sports (FCS) the right to carry all games and events FSN televises, and gives the national college sports network access to the Pac-10's extensive library of archived basketball events.

"We're extremely pleased that Pac-10 Conference basketball will remain a fixture on FSN well into the next decade," said Thompson. "The conference is important to us and continues to play a vital role in both our national and regional programming, creating a solid core of quality product for FSN, FCS and all of our affiliated regional sports networks, especially, FSN Arizona, FSN Bay Area, FSN Northwest, FSN Prime Ticket and FSN West in Los Angeles.

"The Pac-10 is very pleased to extend for six years its unique relationship with Fox Sports Net, with emphasis on media rights to the Conference's regular-season men's basketball games, media and sponsorship rights to its men's and women's basketball tournaments and marketing the Pac-10 brand for the Conference," said Hansen. "This agreement expands and extends our relationship with FSN, and we expect both parties to continue to benefit from our association. The Conference will certainly benefit from FSN's strong presence in the Pac-10's respective marketplaces."

Each year, FSN has exclusive rights to 56 regular season men's basketball games, to be distributed via one or more national over-the-air networks and on FSN, with national or regional coverage. The package also includes exclusive national cable rights to four regular-season women's games annually, and the weekly magazine show, Runnin' with the Pac.

FSN also has exclusive rights to all nine games of the men's Conference tournament. The renewed package also includes the Pac-10 women's tournament.

"The growth of the Pac-10 tournament has been strong and steady since the Conference brought it back in 2002," added Thompson. "We look forward to its future, and working with the Pac-10 to realize every bit of its potential."

"FSN has been instrumental in the success of the Pac-10 men's tournament and we anticipate that success will continue under our new agreement," stated Hansen.

Some comments:

First, this isn't a surprise. Hansen said at the Pac-10 tournament in March this was the way this was headed.

Second, this is sure to inspire a lot of gnashing of teeth by those who want the conference to have a bigger presence on ESPN. That includes many of the conference's coaches, who don't like the fact that the Pac-10 doesn't have a deal with ESPN. Lorenzo Romar diplomatically stays out of the fray on this publicly, but Arizona's Lute Olson, for one, used about five minutes of a postgame press conference at the Pac-10 tournament two years ago to rip the TV deal and the fact that the conference isn't on ESPN.

But this is one case where I think the conference gets more criticism than it deserves.

Because the reality is that ESPN doesn't really want the Pac-10 for basketball.

Even UW athletic director Todd Turner, who has questioned a lot of what the conference has historically done in other areas, admits that ESPN isn't a huge alternative when it comes to basketball. Turner told me in March that ESPN didn't present the Pac-10 "with a lot of options'' during negotiations.

ESPN would rather have the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, etc. — all conferences in time zones more amenable to getting big ratings, and conferences that have much more devoted fan bases overall.

All I've ever heard that ESPN has really offered the Pac-10 is 9 p.m. West Coast time slots for weeknight games. And while I've heard that negotiations have never even gotten far enough to really discuss money, word is that the Fox deal overall is for a lot more than ESPN would likely be willing to offer.

Those who rip Hansen for his inability to get the Pac-10 on ESPN for hoops forget that it takes two to tango. Sure, ESPN could put the Pac-10 on midnight EST on Monday nights. But would that be worth throwing away all that Fox has done for the conference, which includes the reinstating of the Pac-10 tournament in 2002, which would not have happened without Fox's involvement?

The last thing ESPN wants to do is televise every game of the Pac-10 tournament — the way Fox does — when it also has the ACC, Big East and Big Ten tournaments going on.

I'm also not sure how much not being on ESPN really hurts the Pac-10.

UCLA reached the title game this year, Arizona and Stanford have been perennial powers, able to recruit nationally, for years, and Oregon and now Washington have had major success in recent seasons.

The reality now is that Fox and the Pac-10 are married for at least another six seasons, so it's time to find something new to gripe about

• Interesting to note that the release says nothing about the future locales of the Pac-10 tournament. The Pac-10 has asked Fox to at least consider venues other than the Staples Center, and while odds are the tournament remains in Los Angeles, it is at least being discussed moving it around.

May 3, 2006

We're back

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:26 AM

And we come with a few notes to keep the off-season interesting (we hope).

• In case you missed it, the NCAA last week formally adopted a few scheduling changes. Read this for the details.

What it means for the Huskies is that they are in the process of trying to line up a tournament, similar in form to year's BCA Classic, to open the season at home.

If it happens, expect one or two NCAA tournament-caliber teams but likely no real big names, and probably a few smaller-conference schools to fill out the lineup.

If the Huskies can't line up a tournament, they will likely play at least two additional home games before the Pac-10 games begin. Again, however, it's unlikely the opponents will be real big-name foes.

Either way, it means more home games this season. And it means the Huskies will almost certainly be in a marquee tournament in Hawaii (or maybe the preseason NIT) in 2007.

The Huskies are also close to finalizing an agreement to host Montana early in the year, as well, and that's not a game to scoff at. Montana has made the NCAA tournament the past two years, advancing to the second round this season, and will be a tough test for a Washington team that will be trying to blend a lot of new faces.

Washington also continues to try to line up a road game against a big-name team during one of the two weeks during the conference season when it plays Washington State (and thus plays only one game during that week).

• Phil Nelson, the only incoming freshman who has yet to get fully eligible, will retake his SAT on Saturday. It sounds as if he's really close to qualifying, anyway, but that some improvement on this test score will solidify it.

• This was the only story I could find on this game — and only one paragraph is available to those who don't have a Rivals subscription — but Adrian Oliver was voted an MVP of the Slam N Jam Basketball Showcase at Albany (Calif.) High School last weekend. I keep hearing that Oliver will contribute an awful lot next year and news like this seems to confirm that feeling.

• Here's a recruiting update from the Oregonian that mentions a rising prospect from that state who is being recruited by Washington.