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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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September 30, 2006

Wolfinger out

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:29 AM

The Washington Huskies have suffered another hit to their lineup with the news late this week that center Joe Wolfinger has a stress fracture in his foot and could miss the entire season.

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said Saturday that Wolfinger has his foot in a cast right now and that "he'll miss the majority of the season if not all of the season.''

Romar said the initial injury occurred about two weeks ago. "He felt a twinge and tried to go on it and he gave it some rest and it didn't get any better,'' Romar said. "Then they did further tests and that's what they came up with it.''

Wolfinger redshirted last season to add some weight and bulk.

Romar again called Wolfinger "the hardest worker on the team'' and said Wolfinger was sure to have a significant role this season.

"We were counting on him,'' Romar said. "With Wolf, the sky is the limit once he starts playing games. There's no telling what he could end up doing.''

Wolfinger figured to compete with senior Hans Gasser for playing time up front. But Gasser also remains bothered by a separated shoulder suffered in August.

Also still sidelined is guard Joel Smith, who also has a stress fracture in his right foot, which the left-hander plants to jump.

Smith said earlier this week it may still be a month or so before he can return. He was walking on crutches this week and estimated that it could still be two or three weeks before he can walk without crutches. He said it would be two weeks until he could return. That means Smith might not be back until the beginning of November.

Smith said he recently had surgery to put a small screw through a bone in his foot.

"It could have led to something a lot worse [without surgery],'' he said. "But I'll come back quickly, I believe. I'll be ready [for the season].''

September 29, 2006

More on Turner

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:32 PM

As often happens in the newspaper business, I had more stuff than could get in the paper today about the commitment of Elston Turner, Jr.

In particular, I had talked with his coach at Roseville, Greg Granucci, who had this to say about Turner, who is rated as the No. 79 player nationally for the Class of 2008 by Rivals.com and among the top 20 shooting guards.

"He's got a high basketball IQ being around the game so long and he's a highly skilled kid who can put the ball on the floor and post-up and lead a break and finish a break and rebound,'' Granucci said of Turner, who averaged 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists last year for Roseville High. "He just does a lot of things really well and he's a real coachable kid.''

Sounds a little like -- dare I say it -- Brandon Roy in style and attitude and approach to the game.

Granucci said that Turner had seriously considered Tennessee, where his father is from, but also had wanted to stay on the West Coast. He was being pursued by most of the Pac-10.

"I think he wanted to put it behind him so he can just concentrate on finishing up his high school basketball career and getting on with it,'' Granucci said.


September 28, 2006

Yet another new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:58 AM

There have been rumors and stories about this on other Web sites and we have been able to confirm through our own sources here that the Huskies have given an offer and have received a commitment from Elston Turner Jr., a 6-foot-5, 210-pound swingman from Roseville, Calif.

Turner is a junior in high school and will be a member of UW's Class of 2008. He is the first scholarship player in that class.

He was recently listed as the No. 79 player in the nation in the class of 2008 and 18th among shooting guards by Rivals.com, which also reported that he was being recruited by most of the schools in the Pac-10.

There is a strong connection here between UW coach Lorenzo Romar and
Turner's father, Elston. The two played in the NBA at the same time, though never on the same team, in the early 1980s.

The elder Turner was also a 6-5 guard who averaged 4.7 points in playing in the NBA from 1981-89.

He was most recently an assistant with the Sacramento Kings. Interestingly, the elder Turner was named one of the nicest players in NBA history in this recent Foxsports.com story.

I'll refer you to my scholarship tracker that I posted here a few days ago if you want to figure out how this may all unfold in 2008. But UW should have some scholarships available for that class with Joel Smith and Ryan Applelby being seniors next year.

This is the earliest commitment of a UW player I can remember. Anyone else out there remember the Huskies getting a player before he even started his junior season of high school?

September 27, 2006

Runnin' with the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:51 PM

Got to see a little of the pickup game this afternoon and here are a few quick observations:

--- It was very physical with often what seemed to be two or three fouls committed before anyone bothered calling one. Not at all how they will likely be able to play in the Pac-10 but definitely the kind of thing that should be toughening them up.

--- Quincy Pondexter's defense is impressive. He guarded the point guard a few times and made life miserable for that person -- Tim Morris in the one instance I remember best.

--- Artem Wallace had a couple of nice plays including an up-and-under lay-in that had teammates yelling "style points.'' He also apparently again ran the fastest mile when the team did its conditioning test recently at 5:08.

---The play of the day was a fast break led by Jon Brockman where he then threw behind-the-back to Ryan Appleby who then flipped it to Pondexter for the easy lay-in.

--- I continue to be really impressed by Adrian Oliver and won't be surprised if he ends up as the other starting guard.

--- Hans Gasser sat out to rest his shoulder.

--- Everyone was there except Joe Wolfinger who likely had a class commitment as school started today, and Joel Smith, who is sidelined with his foot injury.

--- Justin Dentmon continues to look more confident offensively, especially shooting from the perimeter.

--- Talked to Spencer Hawes briefly and he seemed most interested in talking about the Husky football team. He noted the presence that Jake Locker had during the school's all-athlete welcoming barbecue Tuesday night and said he expects big things immediately from Locker.

September 26, 2006

Conroy to Charlotte

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:54 AM

In case you missed it, I'll pass along the news our NBA reporter had in today's Seattle Times that Will Conroy has signed with the Charlotte Bobcats.

And yes, that means he will be a teammate of Adam Morrison's.

Conroy had been talking with the Chicago Bulls. But word is that the Bulls were a little concerned about Conroy's surgery in July to repair a nagging stress fracture in his leg.

And as Percy Allen reports, Conory may have a real chance of making the Charlotte roster.

The Bobcats have Raymond Felton, Brevin Knight, Kevin Burleson, Morrison and Matt Carroll at guards. Only Felton, Knight and Morrison are locks and Morrison also swings to the 3-spot. Burleson, another Seattle native, and Carroll apparently don't have guaranteed deals.

Conroy might have had a tougher time making Chicago's roster.

The Bulls are loaded in the backcourt with Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon, Ben Gordon, Adrian Griffin and Thabo Sefolosha, who all have guaranteed contracts and are locks to make the team.

September 25, 2006

Holiday talks about commitment

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:59 PM

Though Justin Holiday had plans to make all five of his allowable recruiting trips, he said he always favored the Washington Huskies.

"I just wanted to visit there to make sure,'' he said.

So that's what he did, taking an official visit to UW this weekend. And he said he loved the trip so much -- including the UW football team's win over UCLA that he called "fun'' -- that he saw no reason to take his planned trips to Arizona State, USC and Texas Tech. He also visited SMU the weekend before coming to UW.

"I won't be taking anymore trips now,'' said Holiday, a 6-6 forward from Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood, Calif.

"I like how it looks up there,'' he said. "The school's real nice. And I like the team. I like the way they play. I like Coach Romar. I like everything. Everything just fit.''

Asked what he likes about how UW plays, Holiday said, "It's uptempo. They get everything in motion. They get it spread out so at anytime, anybody could take someone to the basket. I like how they run, and their pressure defense.''

Holiday said he can play anywhere in the backcourt.

"I can bring the ball up, though I won't be playing the one (point guard),'' he said. "But I can play anything from the wing positions to bringing the ball up.''

Holiday said he averaged roughly 20 points and 10 rebounds a game last season.

It's already intriguing to think that the Huskies may get a package deal out of this. Holiday's younger brother, Jrue, is a junior this year and regarded as one of the top five players available for the Class of 2008. Jrue Holiday is a 6-3 shooting guard.

But Justin Holiday said it's not necessarily so that one Holiday means another is coming.

"He's considering it, but I don't know where he's going to go,'' he said. "I have no clue where he's going and he has no clue. We like playing together, but he might go somewhere himself.''

September 24, 2006

A new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:56 PM

We have been able to independently confirm that the Huskies do have a new player in the ranks -- Justin Holiday, a small forward from North Hollywood, Calif.

Here's a scouting profile of Holiday.

He's the third member of the class of 2007 along with Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Yes, that theoretically gives UW 14 scholarships for the 2007-08 season, but as we discussed here recently, the coaches say they won't give out a scholarship without knowing they will have one available.

To add to the intrigue, word is the Huskies are still recruiting Darnell Gant and will take him if he commits.

As for Holiday, his commitment could have far-reaching implications. His younger brother, Jrue Holiday, is considered one of the top recruits in the Class of 2008 and is considering UW.

September 22, 2006

TV games set

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:34 PM

UW officials announced today that 10 Husky games will be on national television -- nine on Fox and one on ESPN.

Here's the official release from gohuskies.com.

My initial immediate reaction was wondering where the Gonzaga game is on this list. I'm told that game won't be national but will likely be televised on FSN-Northwest.

But it sure seems like somebody is missing the boat to not put that game on nationally.

As the release indicates, many other games are also likely to be on FSN-NW as part of the school's new agreement with that network.

As the release also states, at least three other games could be picked for national broadcasts. The dates when those games could be picked for national broadcasts are Feb. 22 (when UW plays at Oregon State), March 1 (when UW hosts USC) and March 3 (when UW hosts UCLA).

FSN has the option to pick up the OSU and USC games.

The UW-UCLA season finale, meanwhile, will almost certainly be picked up by CBS or ABC. If CBS were to pick it up, it would likely start at 11 a.m. ABC could also pick it up for a 12:30 p.m. start. If those two pass, FSN will almost certainly pick it up.

The networks will make decisions on those games in mid-February.

September 21, 2006

Counting them up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:03 AM

I think we've all known for a year or so that Zach Johnson would never play a minute for UW. But now that it's official that he's moving off a basketball scholarship, there's a little more clarity to the roster.

So let's take a look at where it stands for the next few years:

2006-07 roster

Scholarship players

SENIORS
F -- Hans Gasser

JUNIORS
G -- Joel Smith
G -- Ryan Appleby

SOPHOMORES
G -- Justin Dentmon
F -- Jon Brockman
F -- Artem Wallace

FRESHMEN
G -- Harvey Perry
C -- Joe Wolfinger
C -- Spencer Hawes
F -- Quincy Pondexter
F -- Phil Nelson
G -- Adrian Oliver

REDSHIRTING
G -- Tim Morris

WALK-ON
G Brandon Burmeister (senior)

SCHOLARSHIP TOTAL -- 13.

Comment: That is the exact limit and nothing figures to change now.

07-08 roster

SENIORS
Joel Smith
Ryan Appleby
Tim Morris

JUNIORS
Justin Dentmon
Jon Brockman
Artem Wallace

SOPHOMORES
Harvey Perry
Joe Wolfinger
Spencer Hawes
Quincy Pondexter
Phil Nelson
Adrian Oliver

FRESHMEN
G - Isaiah Thomas
F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning

TOTAL 14.

Comment: Morris has apparently agreed that he will be a walk-on if needed, so that drops the count to the allowable 13 assuming all the rest remains the same.

However, as just about anyone reading this board is aware, the Huskies are still actively recruiting for this class and seem certain to take at least one more player, which would again put the Huskies over the limit.

I talked with Lorenzo Romar for a while the other day for this story that ran in Thursday's Seattle Times that includes all you need to know about Midnight Madness and the team's current injury situation, most of which has been touched on here before, as well.

When I asked him about his scholarship situation he said what he always says -- "We never sign unless we know we are going to have a scholarship.''

So if the Huskies do sign another player for the class of 2007-08, it's because the coaches know -- or are assuming -- something is going to happen.

Most likely, it's that Hawes is leaving after this season for the NBA. I'm sure there are other possibilities as well. But while everyone can hope Hawes loves it so much here that he decides to stick around for another year or two, the lure of the NBA will be hard to turn down if he is indeed a top-5 pick, as everyone figures he will be.


September 20, 2006

More on Singler

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:27 AM

Here's another story with more detail on Kyle Singler saying he won't be considering UW any longer.

This story is from the Oregonian and quotes his father.

But if you're a believer that you can't lose what you never had, I wouldn't get too worked up about this. I don't think many close to the situation ever thought there was a real great chance that Singler would end up at UW.

September 18, 2006

Smith sidelined, madness coming

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:25 PM

Joel Smith's chances of earning a starting spot at guard for the Huskies this season may have taken a bit of a hit.

UW coaches said today that Smith will be out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. If he makes it back on the short side of that, he will be back in time for the beginning of practice on Oct. 13.

Otherwise, he could miss the first week or two of practice. Smith will be battling the likes of Adrian Oliver, Ryan Appleby and Harvey Perry for a starting spot in the backcourt alongside returning point guard Justin Dentmon.

Speaking of the beginning of practice, UW is close to officially announcing that a Midnight Madness type event will be held on Oct. 13, as we've reported here before.

The event will follow a volleyball game featuring UW and WSU that night. It will include both the men's and women's teams and likely include a dunk contest, shooting contest and, possibly, a scrimmage.

UW officials hope to get FSN to televise it live, as well. There will also be live web coverage on gohuskies.com.


September 16, 2006

UW off Singler list?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:25 PM

That's what it says in the Arizona Daily Star, anyway, that Kyle Singler is no longer considering UW.

As I've said here a few times before, the word I got was that UW was never among Singler's favorites and that at the end of the day he was ending up at Duke or Arizona.

September 14, 2006

Conroy, Harrick and other notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:07 PM

Fellow Times staff Michael Ko filled in for me today at UW and happened to notice some interesting faces hanging out at Hec Ed.

So we're combining to give you one big blog entry here.

First, Ko saw Will Conroy playing with the rest of the current Huskies for their daily pick-up game.

Conroy said his leg is about 95 percent after having had surgery this summer and that he leaves Sunday for a one-week tryout with the Chicago Bulls. He said the Bulls had pursued him last year before he signed a deal with the Spurs.

Also there was former UCLA coach Jim Harrick -- the man who got Lorenzo Romar into college coaching by offering him an assistant's job. Harrick, now coach of the Bakersfield (Calif.) entry in the NBA Developmental League, said he was in town for a brief summer vacation to visit Romar.

Asked his thoughts on the Huskies, he said they were "one-two, talent-wise'' in the Pac-10 this year, meaning they are among the top two teams in terms of talent.

He said Quincy Pondexter "changes the level of athleticism on the team. Takes it to another level'' and was impressed by the shooting of transfer Tim Morris. He also praised the team's depth, saying "there's a lot of guys. It's a deep team.''

In a humorous moment, Harrick noticed another player -- Jamal Crawford -- who he apparently didn't recognize at first. Told it was Crawford, Harrick said "I'm thinking 'Romar never told me about this guy.'''

Many of those players will be participating this weekend at the Pro-Am League finals at Rainier Beach High School.

The playoffs begin Saturday at Rainier Beach and are a great chance to see a lot of these guys up close.

Cost is only $2 and game times are 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Expected to participate are Conroy, Brandon Roy, Crawford, Nate Robinson and Martell Webster and incoming UW players Spencer Hawes, Adrian Oliver and Pondexter. Current UW players cannot play due to NCAA rules -- since school hasn't started yet, the freshmen aren't yet considered current players.

Hawes, Oliver and Pondexter are all expected to play in a game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. If they win, they will play again Sunday.

Proceeds benefit the Rainier Beach track team.

Unfortuntately, those games run at the same time as the UW football game Saturday so I won't be able to go. But I'd love to hear reports from anyone who can. Games continue Sunday and next weekend.

Also, it's a big recruiting weekend for UW with 6-8 power forward Darnell Gant of Los Angeles taking his official recruiting visit. Word is it's down to UW, Oregon and Kentucky for his services. Also in this weekend is Isaiah Thomas of Curtis, who has already committed.


September 12, 2006

Everyone's back - almost

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:26 PM

Took a few minutes away from football duties today to watch the basketball team work out.

Almost everyone is back in town and working -- the only ones missing Tuesday were Artem Wallace, who is still out of town, and Hans Gasser, who I think is still recovering from a separated shoulder suffered earlier this summer.

Everyone else was there and playing, along with one guest -- Stanford guard Mitch Johnson, a good friend of several of the players and apparently still out on summer break.

Didn't have as much time to watch this time as before, but long enough to make a few observations:

Harvey Perry appeared to be going just fine. Word is he has really improved on his outside shot and I saw him nail one three-pointer.

I continue to be impressed with Adrian Oliver, who always seems to be in the middle of everything.

Ryan Appleby has been spending a lot of time this offseason working on driving to the basket and other inside moves and he seems much more aggressive working inside. But he also hit a couple of his trademark treys.

The more I watch Joe Wolfinger, the more I think he's really going to help this year. He definitely takes up space inside -- he's obviously bigger than he was a year ago -- and seems much more assertive inside.

I completely forgot to mention Brandon Burmeister last time for no reason other than being negligent. He was definitely out there this time -- he hit at least one trey during the time I was watching.

Zach Johnson also wasn't there and as I've written here before, I don't expect him back as a player, though nothing is official. What happens with his scholarship and all I don't know yet.


September 8, 2006

Preseason hype begins

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:40 PM

So I'm walking through the Denver airport on my way to Oklahoma for the football game Saturday and I see it -- the first college basketball magazine of the year on the shelves.

That's always a great day, even if in this case it wasn't the one that I actually do a little writing for (I help do some stuff for Lindy's).

Instead, the one I found was Athlon's. There's more than a little mention of the Huskies here, so I thought I'd break it down.

Athlon's picks the Huskies third in the Pac-10 behind UCLA and Arizona. After Washington it's Oregon, USC, California, Stanford, Oregon State, ASU and WSU.

"Spencer Hawes-led recruiting class keeps Washington in the upper division,''
the magazine states.

It also rates UW's incoming recruiting class No. 1 in the Pac-10 and puts Hawes on its All-Pac-10 team, Justin Dentmon on its all Pac-10 third team and names Hawes as the conference Newcomer of the Year.

Their All-Pac-10 team is Hawes, Arron Afflalo and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (both of UCLA), Malik Hairston (Oregon) and Marcus Williams (Arizona).

Their second team is Jawann McClellan (Arizona), Jeff Pendergraph (ASU), Mustafa Shakur (Arizona), Ayinde Ubaka (Cal) and Nick Young (USC).

The third team is Dentmon, Aaron Brooks (Oregon), Alfred Aboya (UCLA), Chase Budinger (Arizona), and Sasa Cuic (Oregon State).

I'd probably switch Dentmon and Ubaka now that Ubaka doesn't have Leon Powe to bail him out inside and I'm not so sure Jon Brockman won't deserve to be on that list by the end of the season, though I understand why he's not there now.

I think I'd also go with Nick Young ahead of Hairston.

They also name Aboya as the Most Underrated Player in the Conference and Mbah a Moute as tthe Best Defensive Player.

In their NCAA Tournament preview section, they list UW as a "two and out,'' meaning they project the Huskies to win one game in the tournament and lose the second.

They have Arizona and UCLA each reaching the Elite Eight.

There's also a little profile of Hawes in their 10 Things to Watch section, and they name Hawes as an honorable mention All-American and the seventh-best big man at being able to play "Inside-Out.''

A couple other fun notes:
-- Ernie Kent is on their list of coaches on the hot seat, the only Pac-10 coach so mentioned. (Dan Monson is also on the list).
-- While lauding Hairston in a few spots, they also include him on their national list of players who need to "Put up or Shut Up'' -- again, the only Pac-10 player mentioned.
-- Lorrenzo Wade (remember him?) is on their list of top transfers. Wade is the swingman from Louisville who said he was transferring to UW a year ago before deciding instead to head to San Diego State. The only Pac-10 player on the list is another Duck -- guard Churchill Odia, who will be eligible this year after leaving Xavier. (Micah Downs is also on the list).
-- They have Oregon making it to the NCAA Tournament as a "one and done'' with USC and Cal in the NIT.

We'll break down Lindy's picks later.


September 7, 2006

Midnight Madness coming - sort of

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:57 AM

Those of you who have been clamoring for the Huskies to hold a Midnight Madness event to kick off men's basketball practice will get your wish this season.

But we say "sort of'' because it won't actually be at midnight.

Details are still being finalized, but the early plan is for both the men's and women's teams to kick off their practices this season with a Midnight Madness type event on the night of Friday, Oct. 13, following the women's volleyball game against Washington State.

The basketball portion of the event will begin 30-45 minutes after the volleyball game, which could be in the 9:30-10 p.m. range depending on how long the volleyball game lasts.

That will make for a big weekend of Huskies sports as the football team plays Oregon State at home the next day.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar has been lukewarm about a Midnight Madness event because he likes to take the team away for a few days to kick off practice and the team has not had such an event since he took over as coach - the last Midnight Madness type event was in 1998.

Last year, the team went to The Evergreen State College in Olympia to begin practice.

This one apparently came together late, in large part because of the expected interest in the team this season, particularly the incoming freshmen class led by Spencer Hawes.

It's unclear whether the team will still go away for a day or so afterward.

Such practices can often get a program national TV exposure on ESPN and elsewhere. It's uncertain yet, however, if the Huskies will get any TV for this one as all details are still being finalized.

September 5, 2006

Brockman bulks up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:19 PM

No, I haven't forgotten about Huskies hoops.

It's just that with football season getting started, and basketball in kind of a hiatus, there hasn't been much to write about here.

In fact, many of the UW players are still out of town for a few more days. Most will begin coming back this week and all will be back by next week as the team can begin some official workouts with coaches on Sept. 15.

But I did run into Jon Brockman today and asked him if he had gotten any bigger over the summer. He looked as if he had a little more of a presence the times I watched him play this summer, something others have commented on as well.

"No, but I'm stronger,'' he said.

Brockman says he weighs 255 pounds, about the same as a year ago, and where he said he'd like to stay. Adding too much weight might cause him to lose some quickness, he said.

"That's a pretty good weight for me,'' he said.

But he said he has "changed'' some of his weight, having concentrated on weight lifting during an offseason for the first time in his life.

"I had never really done any real weight lifting through a summer before,'' he said.

This summer, the entire team had regular workouts and as Brockman said "since I live here, I was here all the time.''

Brockman said he feels as if he's added muscle, "but I haven't lost any quickness.''

He's also simply become a much more assertive player on the court, having been elected as a team captain.

Brockman said the players that are in town would be getting together this week for some informal games.

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