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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, 2006

What might have been

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:43 AM

In case you haven't seen this, Dan Monson is apparently going to resign as coach at Minnesota today.

As a lot of you may recall, Monson was set to be named UW's new coach in 2002 before he apparently pulled himself out of the running. Having covered that coaching change, I know that the job could have been his if he had wanted it.

When it didn't work out with Monson, Barbara Hedges quickly turned to Lorenzo Romar and Romar was hired a few hours later. Hedges turned to Monson after earlier talks with Mark Few and Quin Snyder didn't get anywhere.

Now, both Snyder and Monson are out of their jobs and the Huskies are rolling with Romar.

Smith ready for January

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:24 AM

Want to make sure you saw our coverage of the win over Idaho.

First, here's the game story that focused Quincy Pondexter.

Second, here's the notebook that focused on guard Joel Smith, who made it clear when I talked with him before the game that he wants to play this season, no matter how long he is out. He thinks he'll be back by early January for the heart of Pac-10 play. He said he doesn't want to sit out this year, even if he misses half the season, because he simply wants to play for this team this season.

"I can't see myself waiting,'' he said.

There's also a note in there referencing the recent Rivals.com story about Isaiah Thomas, who will apparently spend two years in prep school, which makes him a potential member of the class of 2008 rather than 2007.

Lastly, here's a look at the season to date for Southern Utah, the team the Huskies will host Monday. As you can tell, Southern Utah has been pretty competitive so far, beating Utah and defeating Idaho with about the same ease as did the Huskies.

November 29, 2006

Idaho aftermath

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:37 PM

Sorry for the late post here, but this was a night to get out of there fast with the snow falling as the game ended. Credit to those who managed to get there tonight.

As for the game, it was another one that indicates this team still has a ways to go.

But Lorenzo Romar seemed to have few real complaints, other than some slight consternation over some offensive impatience in the first half when UW was 14-42 shooting.

Romar said he knew Idaho would slow the game down and that "when that happens maybe you aren't going to get a whole lot of highlights. I was surprised that we were able to score 87 points.''

He had lots of praise for Quincy Pondexter and his career-high 25 points, said he liked the new starting lineup with Adrian Oliver, and also liked the bench play of Hans Gasser, Ryan Appleby and Brandon Burmeister. He also mentioned the play of Phil Nelson, who looked his most assertive to date with four rebounds, two assists and five points in 13 minutes, though he did hit just 2-7 shots.

As for the ongoing Spencer Hawes debate, it's worth noting he only played 22 minutes --- as some on here have mentioned, the Huskies are really passing around the playing time right now. I'm reminded a little of the chatter a year ago when Brandon Roy wasn't putting up big numbers early when he wasn't needed to play big minutes. I think we'll really know more about where Hawes is after the Gonzaga and LSU games when he will be expected to play 30-plus minutes and produce for all of them.

Idaho coach George Pfeifer was asked to compare the Huskies and Gonzaga --- Idaho lost to GU 76-51 Sunday. He laughed and said his team wasn't really a suitable "test animal.'' But then he said what seems obvious --- that Gonzaga is more experienced while the Huskies "might be a bit quicker. They are completely different teams. They each have different strengths that make them difficult to compare.''


Sluggish first half

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:55 PM

The Huskies once again aren't doing a great job of showing they deserve their high ranking. Idaho scored only one basket in the last 9:15 of the first half and yet the Huskies still haven't put them away due to a ragged offensive showing.

The Huskies lead 38-29 at halftime but have bit just 14-42 shots and 5-16 from the 3-point line. Idaho stayed in it early by hitting its first four three-pointers but then went on a cold streak that allowed UW to pull away a little.

But this is three straight games in which UW has struggled early against subpar competition.

Tipoff nearing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:56 PM

It's about six minutes before tipoff and the combination of an unattractive opponent and even more unattractive driving conditions are apparently keeping a lot of people away.

There can't be 4,000 people here right now, so the Huskies will have to provide their own energy tonight.

For those who have asked about the TV coverage tonight, I don't have any better answers than what I have already provided. Hopefully you all can find it.

As always, post your comments about the game, or the TV situation, here and we'll try to address them when we can.

Conroy, Jones update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:52 AM

Thanks to a couple of readers for sending along the news on Bobby Jones and Will Conroy.

First, Jones has been assigned to the Fort Worth Flyers of the National Basketball Developmental League . He had played only five minutes in four games for the 76ers, including a brief appearance in a win here in Seattle, so going to the D-League means at least he will get some playing time.

If he stays there long, he'll likely have some games against Conroy, who is back with the Tulsa 66ers after being cut by Charlotte during training camp.

Here's a link to Tulsa's schedule, which also includes links to results of the team's first two games, showing that Conroy has been putting up some solid numbers, with 15 points and 10 assists in his most recent game. And as the schedule shows, Tulsa and Fort Worth will play Dec. 15 and Dec. 16.


November 28, 2006

Previewing Idaho

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:55 PM

The Huskies are making a lineup change for tomorrow night's game, going with Adrian Oliver in place of Ryan Appleby at off-guard.

Not that it should matter much. Idaho is 1-4 this year and was 4-25 last season and is in definite rebuilding mode.

Here's a look at the Vandals:

First, here's Idaho's season to date:

11/10 NORTH DAKOTA STATE L 76-91
11/16 at South Dakota State W 74-66
11/19 MONTANA STATE L 72-65
11/22 at Southern Utah L 50-67
11/26 at No. 23 Gonzaga L 51-76

Second, here's Idaho's projected starting lineup for Wednesday:

F Clyde Johnson 6-7 Jr. 7.4
F Michael Crowell 6-7 Jr. 5.2
C Desmond Nwoke 6-8 Sr. 7.0
G Keoni Watson 5-10 Sr. 17.0
G Mario Mackey 5-10 Jr. 11.0

And here's a quote from first-year coach George Pfeifer about facing UW:

"This week doesn't get any easier because we are going to play the Huskies.
They offer tremendous match up problems for us with Brockman and Spencer
Hawes. Those are two could-be first team all-Pac-10 interior players. There is a
size issue there and they are really good. There are tons of challenges all over
the place. We have answer the bell as far as their pressure is concerned, we
need to take care of the basketball because they have a tendency to create
havoc in the full court, and we need to get back on defense, which has been a
challenge for us. We need to make sure to limit their transition opportunities.
We also need to take good shots and collectively help one another defensively
to try to hinder them for getting the ball places they want to get the ball."

Here, also, was his response when asked about playing teams such as UW and Gonzaga:

"It doesn't do us any good to play these types of teams. Right now I'm not
certain we are ready for this type of hail storm. It's not that we are afraid of it, but
you're asking if I like it and that's a no. But that's what we are going to do so
we have to accept that, knuckle down, and play the best basketball we are
capable of playing.''

Spencer Hawes, meanwhile, admits he's looking forward to getting into the meat of the schedule.

"It's difficult to watch all these games early because you're like 'man, that looks like so much fun out there,''' Hawes said of catching contests such as GU's win over North Carolina on TV. "But we've just got to be patient. We've got two more games until Gonzaga. We're not looking past anybody but you are definitely kind of getting ready for that one.''

And here's some of what Lorenzo Romar said Tuesday:

On Adrian Oliver moving into the starting lineup now: "Defensively he was not where you needed him to be early on. He turned the ball over too many times, he was thinking too much. Now he's playing not only relaxed but playing with a level of assertiveness you like to see.''

As for what it means for Appleby, he said: "It's not so much Ryan, it's more what Adrian may bring to the table. We'll see what happens in the upcoming games
It's more a sense of what we feel he is starting to bring to this team here. If he can defend at a high level that gives us aother defender. We have been looking for a couple of defender.''

On Idaho: "They are extremely quick. They are real athletic and very quick to the ball.''

On UCLA rated No. 1 this week: "They are playing very good basketball. The way they defend is something that is not going to go away on any given night. It's great for our conference.''

Hawes had a good quote about UCLA being No. 1 and Pitt being No. 2, each teams the Huskies will play this season: "Looks like our strength of schedule just got boosted up a little bit.''

November 27, 2006

Oliver into starting lineup

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:33 PM

Lorenzo Romar announced before practice today that Adrian Oliver will start at guard in place of Ryan Appleby on Wednesday when the Huskies host Idaho at Edmundson Pavilion.

"It's partly a reward and partly chemistry-wise,'' Romar said. "He's been coming for a while in some areas. He gets to the foul line, which means he's aggressive. He rebounds on both ends of the floor. He is a guard that has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. He can knock down the three. He does a lot. The big thing with Adrian is that he has go to out and compete at a high level every minute that he's out there on the floor. If he's doing that he brings a lot to the table.''

Oliver did that Friday night in leading the Huskies to a 90-83 win over Eastern Washington as he scored a career-high 14 points and had nine rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes. He also took over primary duties for guarding Rodney Stuckey in the second half as UW rallied for the win.

Appleby started the first five games but has struggled a little bit the past two games, scoring a combined nine points against Sacramento State and Eastern. He returns now to his role of a year ago, coming off the bench.

"You can still consider Ryan a starter, he's just not getting his name called,'' Romar said.

The Huskies now have the starting lineup many envisioned at the start of the season with three members of the acclaimed freshmen class --- Spencer Hawes, Quincy Pondexter and Oliver --- alongside sophomores Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon.


Polls out

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:31 AM

It's Monday, so the new college basketball polls are out. UW is 13th in the AP poll, up three spots from last week.

First, here's the complete AP poll for this week with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 26, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

Record Pts Pvs
1. UCLA (36) 4-0 1,727 5
2. Pittsburgh (18) 6-0 1,666 3
3. Ohio St. (15) 6-0 1,649 4
4. Florida (3) 6-1 1,576 1
5. Kansas 5-1 1,490 10
6. Alabama 5-0 1,404 8
7. North Carolina 4-1 1,389 2
8. Marquette 6-0 1,240 13
9. Texas A&M 5-0 1,213 11
10. LSU 2-1 985 6
11. Duke 5-1 946 9
12. Wisconsin 5-1 807 7
13. Washington 5-0 731 16
14. Memphis 3-1 685 12
15. Syracuse 6-0 662 17
16. Arizona 3-1 652 5
17. Wichita St. 4-0 635 24
18. Georgetown 3-1 628 14
19. Butler 7-0 572 --
20. Connecticut 5-0 516 18
21. Georgia Tech 5-1 511 19
22. Gonzaga 6-1 421 --
23. Maryland 7-0 376 25
24. Nevada 5-0 349 21
25. Virginia 4-0 91 --

Others receiving votes: Texas 89, Xavier 54, Oklahoma St. 43, Michigan St. 42, Kentucky 37, Missouri St. 37, Arkansas 33, Illinois 33, San Diego St. 22, S. Illinois 21, Creighton 15, Tennessee 11, Air Force 8, Florida St. 5, George Washington 4, Michigan 4, West Virginia 4, Bradley 3, Louisville 3, Old Dominion 3, Massachusetts 2, New Mexico 2, Holy Cross 1, Oregon 1, Villanova 1, Wake Forest 1.

Here's my ballot for this week as I am the voter for the state of Washington this year:

1, Ohio State
2, UCLA
3, Pittsburgh
4, Alabama
5, Kansas
6, Florida
7, Marquette
8, LSU
9, North Carolina
10, Arizona
11, Georgetown
12, Texas A&M
13, Duke
14, Washington
15, Memphis
16, Butler
17, Wisconsin
18, Nevada
19, Maryland
20, Michigan State
21, Syracuse
22, Texas
23, Wichita State
24, Gonzaga
25, Oregon

I moved Washington down a spot this week and admittedly maybe should have moved the likes of Maryland and Butler ahead of the Huskies given what those teams have done. But I have each of those teams higher than the general poll. You'll notice I am again the only pollster with Oregon on the ballot this week --- the Ducks had four votes last week, meaning at least one other person voted for them a week ago.

At the top, I'm sticking with Ohio State, which I had No. 2 last week. I've had Ohio State that high in part due to looking ahead at how good the Buckeyes should be once Greg Oden gets into the lineup --- he could return any day now. We'll know a lot more this week as Ohio State plays at North Carolina Wednesday. That game will provide a lot of clarity to the top as I will admit UCLA has done more so far than Ohio State, which has yet to play anybody of note.

November 25, 2006

Thomas makes South Kent debut

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:15 PM

Isaiah Thomas, the former Curtis High star who headed to South Kent (Ct.) School for this season with an eye on becoming a Husky next year, is off to a solid start for his new team.

He had 15 points and eight assists in his first game Friday and 19 points and seven assists Saturday.

You can find a link to the team's web site here. Click on the scores of the games for more information.

For more background on Thomas' situation, here's our story from a couple of weeks ago.

November 24, 2006

Yo Adrian!!!

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:20 PM

Somebody had to say it after Adrian Oliver (with a lot of help from Justin Dentmon) bailed out the Huskies here tonight against Eastern Washington.

As a lot of people have commented, some up-and-down performances like this are to be expected with a team as young as UW's, especially when the opponent has a player as good as Rodney Stuckey on its roster.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar, in particular, didn't seem overly concerned, saying he wasn't really worried even when Eastern took a 12-point lead late in the first half.

"I just felt like offensively we would start to do a little better job,'' Romar said. "I thought in the second half we started to take care of the basketball a lot better and started to relax. Overall, I wasn't concerned. It was just 'when is it going to happen? When are we going to get it together?' At the end of the first half, there it was.''

Oliver provided the spark with a half-court shot (more on that in the game story in tomorrow's paper) and by taking primary duty for guarding Stuckey in the second half and holding him to 10 points after the break --- Stuckey had 21 at halftime.

Stuckey said his foul trouble was the only difference (he picked up his third foul at about 16 minutes and fourth at just under six minutes) and he might have been right. But Oliver helped draw those fouls, so he deserves some credit for that.

Here are some added notes:

--- The news on Joel Smith was worse after the game than had been reported before hand. Romar said Smith is likely out 4-7 weeks with what appears to be a reinjury of the same stress fracture he had surgery on a few months ago. But even though that means Smith could be out half the season, Romar said definitively that "he will not redshirt.''

--- Oliver started in place of Ryan Appleby to start the second half and Romar said afterward Oliver could move into the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against Idaho. "We'll see,'' he said.

--- Justin Holiday and his younger brother, Jrue, were in attendance for the game. Justin signed with UW earlier this month and Jrue could be one of the top recruits in the nation next year. Justin said they flew up today to take in a game before their season starts next week, and were flying back Saturday. It was the first time either of them had seen a game here. Justin had nothing but good things to say about it all and you can read some of that in tomorrow's paper. (I didn't have a chance to talk with Jrue).

--- Eastern lost to Gonzaga 90-75 to open its season and Stuckey was asked the difference between UW and the Zags afterward. "I think UW comes out and gives a little more pressure on the ball and stuff like that,'' he said. "GU is going to be tough. They handed it to us, but I think we were ready and we were prepared to play this game. GU was the first game of the year and we weren't clicking with each other year.''

Huskies survive

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:07 PM

The Huskies are 5-0 after beating Eastern Washington 90-83 but this was another game indicating UW has some maturing to do before it hits the heart of its schedule.

Fortunately for the Huskies, Adrian Oliver showed up in a big way to help slow down Rodney Stuckey in the second half --- after making the shot of the game to end the first half.

We'll have more later.
.

Stuckey shines, but UW rallies

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:52 PM

It was the Rodney Stuckey show for most of the first half as the sensational sophomore for Eastern Washington scored 21 points, hitting 7-12 shots.

He had EWU ahead 47-35 with 3:19 left in the first half.

But the Huskies scored the last 11 points of the first half, including a 3-pointer by Adrian Oliver from about midcourt as time ran out.

Oliver and Quincy Pondexter have done almost all the defending on Stuckey.

Stuckey has 10 points when defended by Pondexter, but that includes two pull-up three-pointers that are almost unguardable. He has scored five on Oliver, four in transition and two when defended by Ryan Appleby.

Smith still out

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:27 PM

It's about a half hour before tipoff here for the Huskies-Eastern game and as the teams warm up, Joel Smith is again out of uniform, and could be out up to a month.

Smith had been expected to play tonight for the first time this season after having surgery for a foot stress fracture.

But he suffered an injury to the same foot in practice this week and he is back on the sideline.

Smith was hurt when another player fell on him.

So Washington's crowded rotation remains right where it has been, for now.

We'll try to update the blog with more as the game goes on and afterward.

November 22, 2006

Giles turning pro?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:41 PM

Interesting note buried at the bottom of this story on the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association that they are expecting former Rainier Beach High star C.J. Giles to join their team this week.

If so, that means Giles' college career is over.

Giles was booted off the team at Kansas earlier this month after being ticketed for a misdemeanor battery charge, just the latest in a series of problems that included reportedly being behind in child-support payments. Here's a story that details his previous issues.

Not sure how it works that he can immediately join the CBA. Hopefully there will be more coming out of Yakima soon on all of this.

November 21, 2006

Smith back Friday

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:44 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar met the media before Tuesday's practice and said he anticipates that Joel Smith will be able to make his season debut Friday against Eastern Washington.

"He will be available, I'm pretty sure, unless they tell us something different in the next 2-3 days,'' Romar said.

Romar said Smith "did a little bit last week with us in practice.''

Smith has wanted to play for a week or so, but Romar said "To be sure, to be safe, they've held him out which is why I think he should be available to play (Friday).''

Smith will add to a UW rotation that is already 10-deep. Romar said he anticipates the rotation continuing to be jumbled for a while, though he said at some point it will take on a little more definition.

Romar said he feels it's important that his players have clearly defined roles, though when that will come this season with so many new players is uncertain.

On Romar's new contract

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM

There's been a lot of chatter on here about Lorenzo Romar's contract so I thought I'd make some quick comments.

It hasn't been officially signed and released yet so we don't know the exact details. But UW is a public school and required to make such information available, so it will become public in time.

Romar signed an eight-year deal two years ago at roughly $1 million annually, and the thought is this new one is for 10 years at a little bit more than that, but nothing has been finalized.

Here is a story we published about Romar's contract last month.

November 20, 2006

This week's ballot

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:24 PM

Here's my ballot for the AP poll this week.

A little change with losses by teams such as Kansas and Georgetown. But I'm one of those who doesn't put much stock in one pre-season loss. Two or three, then yes. So I didn't move either down a whole lot.

And I notice I'm not alone anymore on Oregon as the Ducks got four votes this week.

1, Florida
2, Ohio State
3, North Carolina
4, Pittsburgh
5, LSU
6, Duke
7, Kansas
8, Alabama
9, UCLA
10, Georgetown
11, Arizona
12, Wisconsin
13, Washington
14, Memphis
15, Texas A&M
16, Marquette
17, Nevada
18, Southern Illinois
19, Michigan State
20, Syracuse
21, Louisville
22, Texas
23, Boston College
24, Oregon
25, Gonzaga

Sac State redux

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:04 AM

I didn't cover the win over Sacramento State, but another member of our staff, Terry Wood, did.

And here's some of the quotes he had left over that didn't make it into his story on the game.

First, from Quincy Pondexter:

"I don't think we were as focused on the defensive end
as we should have been. We all had to pick it up. It
all started with Spencer's denial and steal, and that
just carried us throughout the game."

On fast starts and turnovers: "We know we're a young team, but we can't act like a
young team. We're going to get better at that,
rebounding and taking care of the ball."

On his own play: "I'm getting a little bit more comfortable. The first
game, I had the worst jitters in the world. I'm just
getting more confidence ... maturing."

And some from UW coach Lorenzo Romar:

Overall thoughts: "Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that was not a
pretty win. Sacramento State came out early in the
game for the first 10 minutes, were clearly the
aggressors, and their quickness I think caught us
off-guard. They were quicker to the ball than we were.
We had problems keeping them out of the paint, in
terms of dribble-penetration, and consequently that
got off to a 13-point lead on us."

"When we kind of gathered and composed ourselves, began
to keep them in front of us and play better defense,
then I think we held them to 12 points in the last 10
minutes, and two of those were on a missed box-out at
the end of the half."

"We also did not do a very good job of taking care of
the basketball. We've played against teams that press,
teams that don't press. Nichols State sat back in a
zone the entire game. We still have turned the ball
over too many times."

"We've got a long way to go in the area of taking care
of the basketball. And defending. We've got a long way
to go. But, we won a game, and we've got to prepare so the
next time we play we're a little bit better."

On comparing Pondexter and Brandon Roy: "Don't think you can compare the two. Quincy plays with so much energy. Brandon had a higher
skill level at this point. As a freshman, he's scored over 20 points in half our
games. That's pretty good. He's rebounding the ball
well, we try to put him on the team's best player on
the perimeter. We're giving him a lot of
responsibility like we gave Brandon (in that respect.)"

On Pondexter hitting both of his three-pointers: "I think he understands his
strengths. Brandon was really good at that. It's no
coincidence that he went to the line eight times. guys
who stand around on the perimeter and shoot threes a
lot don't get to the line. Rarely do you see a good
rebounder who doesn't get fouled, either. This guy's
in the mix, in the action."

On ball-handling problems: "I don't think it's nervousness. It's just an
adjustment to the game. At the same time, it's not
always the young guys who are committing the
turnovers. Familiarity could have something to do with
it. Everyone understanding what we're trying to do
offensively and having a comfort level in what we're
doing. As time goes by, that will help.

We always look at this in practice. When we run a set
or whatever we're doing offensively, someone runs to
the wrong spot, or you pass to the wrong person.
Oftentimes, that leads to a turnover. I don't mean the
guy picks the ball off as you're trying to pass it.
But one or two passes later you're turning the ball
over. We've got a little bit of that going on because
we're not as cohesive as we need to be and as cohesive
as we will be. When we talk early about our team being
young, bear with us early, these are some of the
things we're seeing. Yes, we're 4-0, but at the same
time it hasn't necessarily been smooth sailing, and we
just have to smooth it out. We'll do that."

On free throws: "Tonight we just didn't shoot well. I
don't think that's typical of our team."

On the play of Spencer Hawes: "Against Northern Iowa we got him the ball the
whole game. They're quickness bothered us all the way
around. They were under us, they were moving, they
were sliding their feet. It appeared lanes were open,
but as you look to pass they were so quick the lanes
would shut down. I think that had something to do with
it."

On Justin Dentmon: "He was the MVP of the tournament. Maybe
we're thinking he should be more than the MVP. I
thought he played very, very good in our tournament.
Tonight, he didn't have as good a game."

On the turnover problems: "Yes, turnovers are a big-picture concern,
absolutely. Because that has been a reoccurring thing
each game. So yes, that's a concern. I don't know if
it's a long-term concern or not yet. Sometimes, you go
the whole year and say, "Man, they were doing that in
the preseason.' We've had teams that have turned in
over like this in the preseason. But by conference,
we're taking better care of the ball."

November 19, 2006

Traveling today

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:58 PM

Was traveling back today from the Apple Cup so no updates on the hoops game.

But now that football season is over, we'll be back regularly here for basketball.

Feel free to leave any comments about the Sacramento State game here.

November 16, 2006

Lineup the same, Smith still out

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:23 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today that the lineup is likely to stay the same for Sunday's game against Sacramento State.

The personnel available will also remain the same as Joel Smith will again sit out while recovering from a stress fracture. Romar said he "anticipated'' that Smith would be available to play against Eastern Washington next Friday.

Smith was expected to practice Thursday.

"The foot has healed fine, it's just a matter of not coming back in one day full bore,'' Romar said. 'He's got to gradually get back in the swing of things like Spencer (Hawes) did when Spencer was cleared to practice.''

Perry persevering

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:13 PM

A lot of you have asked why Harvey Perry didn't play against Northern Iowa the other night.

I talked about it with Perry and UW coach Lorenzo Romar today and sounds like it was nothing out of the ordinary --- the game's style just didn't suit Perry.

Perry said he's healthy enough, though he said at the moment, he can probably only play about 15 minutes a game due to his conditioning, which he said still isn't where he'd like it to be. He also said he's struggling a little bit to adjust to UW's defensive style of guarding all over the floor.

"I have to get used to the pace of the game and up and down and running,'' Perry said.

He said his back still gets a little stiff when he plays, then comes out of the game. But he said it's not an issue when he's on the court.

"The main focus for me right now is getting in shape so I can become that defensive perimeter player that I came in being,'' he said. "The way the coaches want us to play is a little different for me so it's a process I have to get used to. I'm just learning right now just like the freshmen are.''


On to the Hornets, and Jamaal's brother

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:35 AM

Here's a first look at the next team on Washington's schedule, Sacramento State, from the school's Web site.

As that release details, the Hornets will play Friday at Denver, then travel to Seattle for a game against the Huskies Sunday.

Sacramento State is 1-2 and has lost its last two games by an average of 30.5 points including a 92-56 loss at New Mexico Sunday, so this doesn't figure to be the most competitive game in the world.

The most interesting thing about the Hornets may be senior forward Justin Williams, who is the younger brother of former Husky Jamaal Williams. You should be able to find his page from the school's media guide here.

Here also are his career and year-to-date stats.

November 15, 2006

Mayo signs with USC

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:11 PM

Well, this will make the Pac-10 interesting next year, as O.J. Mayo has officially signed with USC.

Here's a link.

Tough as it might make it for UW on the nights the two teams play, this will just enhance the reputation of the conference, which in the end is good for everybody.

Huskies on SI cover

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:28 PM

In case you haven't seen it, here's the SI cover with Jon Brockman and Ryan Appleby.

November 14, 2006

A solid win

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:55 PM

After the events of the week, that was a fun game tonight. The Huskies got challenged and answered it with a win that may look pretty good come March.

Considering he's had just three practices with the team, Spencer Hawes looked pretty good. Some of that first-half rust is to be expected due to sitting out three weeks after the knee surgery.

But his second half --- 12 points in 16 minutes --- was a sign of things to come.

To answer one quick question, there was apparently nothing wrong with Harvey Perry. Asked afterward if he was injured, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said simply "no'' and left it there. I think Perry is still trying to find his role on this team a little bit and UNI's deliberate style might not have fit his game.

Justin Dentmon was the star throughout the tournament. But I thought Hawes was the key tonight. UNI has good big players, but they also played Hawes from behind, something the Huskies were finally able to exploit in the second half.

After the four turnovers in the first half, it was interesting to see how he'd respond.
The answer came quickly.

"This was his first real challenge and he adjusted to it,'' Romar said.

A few notes ---- Justin Dentmon's 17 points tied his career high; the Huskies are now 3-0 for the fourth straight year; and they have now won 19 straight non-conference games overall and 20 straight non-conference games at home.

UNI coach Ben Jacobson had nothing but good things to say about UW afterward.

"They play hard,'' he said. "And they play with a lot of energy. They don't talk to the officials. They just go out there to play hard. And it was a fun game to play.''

Remember, UNI beat Iowa and won at LSU last year and has three starters returning, so this was a salty bunch.

One negative was the foul trouble of Jon Brockman, who fouled out in 18 minutes and also fouled out in 13 minutes of the exhibition game against St. Martin's.

"They were cheap, unnecessary fouls I could have prevented,'' Brockman said.

A struggle of a half

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:31 PM

The Huskies are getting a good test here in the first half at Edmundson Pavilion as Northern Iowa has led for all but about a minute in taking a 31-28 halftime lead.

The Panthers led by as many as eight before UW came back thanks to the play of Justin Dentmon and Ryan Appleby.

The freshmen, however, are having a freshmen night so far, notably Spencer Hawes, who has four turnovers.

UW is just 1-7 on three-pointers and is lucky that NIU is 0-7 from the three-point line.

And Bobby Jones just showed up, getting a chant of "Bob-by, Bob-by.'' Maybe that will turn things around.


Tipoff nears

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:07 PM

This should be an interesting game tonight as UNI is one of the more underrated programs in the country. UNI has qualified for the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years and last season ranked No. 7 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 57.8 points per game. Over its last 35 games, just two teams have scored more than 70 points on the Panthers.

That means the Huskies' offensive patience is likely to be tested.

On defense, UW is going to have to defend the perimeter as UNI is 19-40 on 3-pointers in the first two games.

And an old friend of the team is supposed to be here tonight --- Bobby Jones, who is in town to play for the 76ers against the Sonics tomorrow night.

SI cover hitting stands tomorrow

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:44 PM

The Sports Illustrated with Jon Brockman and Ryan Appleby on the cover will be hitting newstands tomorrow.

The picture of the two Huskies is one of five regional covers that SI is using for its college basketball preview. It is the first time any UW athlete has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated since Sonny Sixkiller in 1971.

The magazine will rank UW 14th and features a short preview of Washington's season that includes this quote from coach Lorenzo Romar.

"We've been pretty perimeter-oriented since I've been here," says Romar, who is in his fifth year in Seattle. "This year we will have more of an inside presence and better balance. That's an exciting prospect."

November 13, 2006

Three-point barrage

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:52 PM

The outcome was never in doubt, but UW made it interesting by making a school-record 17-34 three-pointers.

The 102=74 win came on Lorenzo Romar's 48th birthday.

Here are some of his comments from his post-game radio show on KJR-AM.

"The positive side to this is that we did a great job of really controlling the game. I understand Nicholls State is not a top 10 team. At the same time, you do what we did in the first half if you are an aspiring champion and we were able to do it.''

On making 17 three-pointers. "That's probably too many threes for us night in and night out. At the same time they sat in the zone and we got wide-open looks. We don't discourage our shooters from taking wide open 3-pointers.''

On the uneven night by Spencer Hawes, who scored the first four points of the game and then never scored again: "Last night was an emotional night for Spencer. It was an opening game and he had fun. Tonight he stared out pretty good, was pretty active. As we distanced ourselves from Nicholls State I think we let down a little bit.''

On Brandon Burmeister, who had a career-high 17: "Brandon had a very nice game. He's solid. You always know what he's going to give you night in and night out.''

On what figures to be a tough game Tuesday night against a good Northern Iowa team: "That team is going to be a good team. We knew coming in we would have our hands full with Northern Iowa.''

Romar said he thinks the schedule is setting up perfectly for UW in that it opened against Pepperdine and its unique run-and-gun style, then had a game tonight in which it realized it will always have to stay focused, and then against UNI will get tested well.

"Now we are going to play an opponent in Northern Iowa that is well-coached and very disciplined and can shoot the basketball and is not going to beat themselves. It is a big challenge for this young Husky team.''

UNI has made the NCAA Tournament the last three years.


Where's Zane Potter?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:31 PM

The only bad thing about a blowout like this is turning out to be is that the Huskies don't have any of those walk-ons who it's fun to see get in the game once it's soundly in control, as was the case with Potter and a few others the last few years.

But it is nice to see Brandon Burmeister get all that time. He's had some injury trouble so far with a foot and a concussion, so it's a plus for UW to get him rounded into shape. There could be some nights this year when he's needed.

BTW, you might have seen UW run off the court in the opposite direction at halftime from where it has in years past. The Huskies are using a temporary locker room in the other end of the arena while their regular locker room is renovated. That renovation also includes a new team room that will not only be more comfortable for the current players, but that coaches also hope will help in recruiting.

Tipoff nears

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:32 PM

I'm actually not at the game tonight --- football duties made me decide to take a night off from the tournament to make sure I got a few things done.

But I plan on watching it on TV and getting some info on here afterward, so as always, feel free to fire away with comments.

One thing to watch --- Nicholls State has just eight days and is playing its third game in three nights. Nicholls lost at Mississippi State Saturday afternoon, then flew to Seattle that night, lost last night to Northern Iowa and now plays UW.

So the Huskies should be able to wear these guys out.

Bracketology and rankings

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:23 PM

Didn't take long for ESPN to come out with its first Bracketology, and it has UW as a No. 4 seed in Spokane playing Western Kentucky with a possible second-round game against Texas.


It has four Pac-10 teams in the tourney --- UW, UCLA, Arizona and Oregon.

Also, here's the new AP Top 25 with UW now at No. 17.

And here's my ballot:

WEEK TWO
1, Florida
2, Ohio State
3, North Carolina
4, Kansas
5, Pittsburgh
6, LSU
7, Duke
8, Georgetown
9, Alabama
10, UCLA
11, Arizona
12, Wisconsin
13, Washington
14, Boston College
15, Memphis
16, Texas A&M
17, Marquette
18, Nevada
19, Southern Illinois
20, Syracuse
21, Louisville
22, Texas
23, Creighton
24, Oregon
25, Gonzaga

I remain the only person giving votes to Oregon (the Ducks got two votes because I put them at No. 24). Guess none of them know about Tajuan Porter yet.
Most of it stayed the same from last week except for Arizona moving down a bit --- I also moved Hofstra out after it lost to Charlotte the other day.


Monday morning mishmash

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM

First, here's a link to our coverage from last night's game, in case you missed it.

I'll specifically point out the quote from Jon Brockman about playing with Spencer Hawes for years on the AAU circuit. At least one of you mentioned that they already looked like they'd been playing together for years --- that's because they have.

I think that relationship could go a long way toward making this team come together more quickly than its youth might suggest.

As for Dentmon, I thought he was fine last night. Sure, he had four turnovers in 26 minutes and the team had way too many at 24. But some of that was also due to the nature of the game. Pepperdine trapped all over the place and tried to make it as up-tempo as possible. I'd expect those TO numbers to come down quite a bit the next two nights against teams that don't play quite as frantically.

Finally, I hate to ruin the mood by linking to a story about Oregon. But I honestly can't wait to see Tajuan Porter play. He's listed at 5-6 in the Oregon media guide and he's off to just an incredible start. He had 38 points yesterday against Portland State and earned a comparision to Nate Robinson by former UW assistant coach Ken Bone, who is now the head coach at PSU.

He was a high school teammate of Malik Hairston and I thought the rumbling in some circles was that Oregon signed him just to keep Hairston happy. Guess not.

If he keeps it up, I'm wondering how long it will be before they start calling Mac Court the Porter House.

And while it's just Portland State, Oregon lost to them at home last year, so the Ducks look like they may indeed be a different team this season.


November 12, 2006

A smashing debut

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:52 PM

Not much to quibble with about that debut, huh, as UW beat Pepperdine 99-91?

Lorenzo Romar did find a few things, however, as coaches inevitably do. The Huskies committed 24 turnovers, more than all but one game a year ago, causing him to say that "we got a little relaxed offensively and we tried some experimental passes and we didn't finish some plays. ... We made some mistakes and we don't understand yet how they played into the game.''

But overall, this is about what you could have hoped for.

Each of the four freshmen had their moments, especially the three you expect to make the biggest impact.

Quincy Pondexter proved a real shifty scorer inside, or as he put it afterward "I'm just one of those types of players who gets it done.'' He did Sunday night, with 21 points on 11-16 shooting.

Pondexter earned high praise from Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg, who spent years coaching in Fresno --- where Pondexter is from --- before taking the Pepperdine job.

"I think he is going to be in the NBA one day,'' Walberg said. "He's got a lot of talent.''

Spencer Hawes played just 19 minutes but had 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four blocks. He started the second half, meaning he's likely now moving into the starting lineup permanently, and said he could have played 30-35 minutes if needed. He said he felt out of shape only once all night despite just returning last week from missing about three weeks following minor knee surgery.

Hawes' four blocks, believe it or not, were the most for a Husky since the 2004 season when Hakeem Rollins blocked six against Cal.

Adrian Oliver had nine points and four assists in 25 minutes, and contributed to the play of the night, a lob pass that Pondexter slammed down late in the game.

Phil Nelson had an off-shooting night (1-6 and 0-4 on threes) but that figures to come.

In all, the four true freshmen combined for 45 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists and shot 18-31 from the field.

UW outrebounded Pepperdine 43-30 and had 23 assists on 36 baskets.

One down note --- UW shot just 4-17 on three-pointers. Justin Dentmon was 3-7, meaning everyone else was 1-10.

Tipoff nears

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:51 PM

Have been having some mechanical difficulties here so didn't post earlier.

It's almost game time, so a couple of quick notes:

Joel Smith is still out of uniform and won't play in any of these games.

Isaiah Thomas is here and was sitting with the Husky players before the game w watching the Nicholls State-Northern Iowa contest.

UNI won 68-63 and looks like they could be a tough foe Tuesday. They play a deliberate style and like to shoot threes --- they threw up 29 tonight in 55 field goal attempts.

More later, but until then, feel free to post in-game comments here.

PS - Put this on the wrong blog earlier --- operator error. UW off to a nice start at 16-6.

Ready for hoops

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:23 AM

I get the sense that for a lot of you, basketball season started about the time Richard Sherman crossed midfield in the fourth quarter yesterday.

Well good thing, then, that it officially tips off tonight with the opener against Pepperdine.

First, here's our preview of tonight's game, just in case you missed it.

I talked with Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg for a while the other day and didn't get a lot of it in the paper today.

So here are a few other things he said that might be of interest.

On his goals for this season taking over for Paul Westphal after last year's 7-20 season: "The biggest thing we want to do is just get the idea of competing hard every night and take it from there.''

On the new run and gun system: "Obviously, it's a whole different change for the kids and we are a little short-handed. We lost three kids in the summer time to different issues and so forth. When we lost them, it was too late to bring anybody else in so the only new person is my son.'' Walberg's son, Jason, is a good outside shooter and played at St. Mary's last year but transferred after taking advantage of the new rule where players can be immediately eligible at a new school for their final l season if they have graduated in four years.

On opening with UW in his first game as coach at the four-year level: "Welcoe to Division I, that's basically about it. It's a good opportunity for our guys to see exactly where they are at. We've got a lot of work to do.''

Also worth nothing that Michael Gerrity, Pepperdine's leading returning scorer from a year ago, is out with a foot injury.

As our story details, the starting lineup for UW is expected to be the same as it was for the exhibition game with coaches deciding it's better to bring Spencer Hawes off the bench for now.


November 10, 2006

Thomas to prep school, then UW?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:00 PM

Here's a story we just posted on our front page about Isaiah Thomas' future plans.

He says he plans to leave Curtis High School of University Place this year and attend a prep school in South Kent, Conn. --- the same school UW signee Matthew Bryan-Amaning is attending --- and then sign with UW in April and become a Husky next year.

That could give UW 16 scholarship players next year.

For now, the big news is that Thomas is leaving the state for his senior season.

Here's some info on South Kent --- the school's web site as well as a recent CBS News story about its rise as a basketball powerhouse.

More on Pepperdine

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:34 PM

For those of you who want to begin preparing for Sunday night's game, here's a good look at Pepperdine from the school's Web site.

Here also is a good breakdown of the West Coast Conference, of which Pepperdine is a member, from the Los Angeles Times.

Hawes doing more

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:12 AM

Stopped by practice briefly Thursday in the midst of all the football stuff and had a quick talk with Spencer Hawes.

His knee was in ice, a precautionary measure after having the kind of surgery he had, but he said he had done more in practice each day and expects to be able to play as much as needed in the Basketball Travelers Classic.

A couple other players are more uncertain.

Harvey Perry has sat out practice the past three days with a minor injury but is expected back at practice today.

Joel Smith is working his way back but it's unclear if he'll be able to play in the BTC.

November 9, 2006

Counting them up, again

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:43 PM

With the news that Darnell Gant has committed, the roster for the next two seasons seems set.

So let's break it down one more time.

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
F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
F - Darnell Gant
G - Justin Holiday
TOTAL 15.

Comment: Don't expect Isaiah Thomas coming in as part of this class.

He said the other day he still intends to be a Husky, but going to a prep school for a year, or something along those lines, seems a more viable option.

Still, this leaves UW with 15 players, two over the limit.

But as Lorenzo Romar always says, he doesn't offer scholarships without knowing it's going to work out.

There are several ways to get to the number.

First, Morris has apparently agreed that he will be a walk-on if needed.

Second, I still think it's better than even money that Spencer Hawes stays only one year.

Judging by the fact that they've signed two big men for 07-08, it seems like maybe they're planning along those lines, as well.

Again, I'm sure there are lots of other options, as well. The most important thing to remember is that a lot can change in a year.

And finally, just remember again what Romar always says that they know what they're doing.


Gant officially signs

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:05 PM

Darnell Gant's letter has arrived at UW.

The school just sent out a release officially announcing the signing of Gant. Here's what it says:

California prep standout Darnell Gant was added to the group of players who signed letters of intent to attend the University of Washington, fifth-year men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar announced Thursday.

A 6-foot-8 forward from Los Angeles, Calif., Gant helped Crenshaw High School to a 21-5 record last season. Crenshaw posted a 9-1 record in league play.

"We're just excited to have Darnell in our program. He's a great kid," said Romar. "We've got a 6-foot-8, athletic forward here that has a really good touch. He can shoot the basketball from the outside, can really run the floor and is another guy that can guard multiple positions."

Gant came on strong during the end of his junior prep season and he was impressive during spring and summer tournaments. Those performances dramatically raised his recruiting stock and he vaulted to the No. 1 position on Scout.com's ranking of West Coast power forwards.

"He just has so much upside that I think people recognized that and began to give him a little notoriety," Romar explained. "Darnell is one of those players that when you watch him run up-and-down the floor and watch him shoot the ball, right away he grabs your attention."

Gant was listed at the No. 12 prospect in the Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He is the nation's No. 50 recruit in ratings published by USA Today. Gant is listed No. 85 in the national rankings produced by PrepStars.

Gant is the third player to commit to Washington, joining a pair of athletes who signed their letters of intent Wednesday. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 forward from South Kent (Conn.) School was ranked No. 34 nationally by USA Today and 6-6 forward Justin Holiday from Campbell Hall (Calif.) High School was No. 23 in the Best in the West poll.

"We're extremely pleased with this class," Romar concluded. "It has been a five-year building project and this class gets us close to where we have as solid of a foundation as we need to have here in this program."

The trio of stellar recruits is another boost for a Washington program that brought in classes rated among the nation's best in each of the previous two years. UW is coming off three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back Sweet 16 berths. The Huskies registered a 26-7 record last season, finishing second in the Pac-10 for the third straight season with a 13-5 conference mark.

The early signing period continues through Nov. 15. After that time, prospects can't sign letters of intent until the late signing period that runs from April 11 to May 16.

Washington begins its 2006-07 regular-season schedule on Sunday, Nov. 12 as host of the three-day Basketball Travelers Classic. The Huskies open the four-team tournament at 7:30 p.m. against Pepperdine at Bank of America Arena. Northern Iowa and Nicholls State meet in Sunday's opener at 4:30 p.m.

2007 Washington Men's Basketball Letter of Intent Signees
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Forward, 6-9, 220, Surrey, England (South Kent School, Conn.)
Darnell Gant, Forward, 6-8, 210, Los Angeles, Calif. (Crenshaw)
Justin Holiday, Forward, 6-6, 180, Chatsworth, Calif. (Campbell Hall)

Another new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:15 AM

Just got off the phone with Darnell Gant who confirmed that he has committed to the University of Washington.

He said he sent his papers in this morning, though as of this posting, there was nothing official yet from the school.

Gant, a forward from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, said he felt UW "was where God was leading me to go. I felt it was the best place for me. I just liked the coaches and the players and everything about it.''

Here's a profile of Gant from Rivals.com.

Gant had also been seriously considering Oregon and Nevada.

Asked to give a quick scouting report on himself, he said "I'm a 6-9 guy who can shoot the long ball and has the ability to play the three [small forward] and maybe play the two [shooting guard] if I work hard enough at it. It's rare that you have a 6-9 kid in college who could possibly play the two.''

UPDATE - I should make it clear that when Gant said the above comment, it was under the assumption that he's listed as a power forward. So he was saying that while he's generally considered a power forward, he "has the ability'' to play the three and maybe the two, etc.

Gant will become the third member of the Class of 2007.

We'll break down the roster a little later.


November 8, 2006

Hawes ready to go

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:31 PM

Before Lorenzo Romar's news conference to talk about today's new Huskies, center Spencer Hawes updated us on his health and said he will definitely play in the opener Sunday night against Pepperdine.

"Yep, for sure,'' he said.

Hawes returned to practice Monday and said he "felt pretty good.'' That work included some scrimmaging on Tuesday.

Hawes said he has no medical restrictions other than simply being in shape. "I'll just go as hard as I can for as long as I can and go from there,'' Hawes said.

The Huskies will play three games in three days so UW coaches are likely to try to let Hawes ease into things.

As for the recruits, Romar said he's not sure if there will be any more signings this week.

"I don't know,'' he said. "No one else has said 'I'm going to sign at the end of this week.'''

Isaiah Thomas apparently won't sign with UW now, and the Huskies are still waiting to hear on Darnell Gant, who is also said to be seriously considering Oregon and Nevada.

Bryan-Amaning, Holiday officially sign

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:10 PM

As expected, the Huskies today received letters-of-intent from forwards Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday

The school just sent out a press release announcing the signings that included this statement from UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

"They are two really high character kids," said Romar. "They are long, athletic athletes that both play hard and fit right in with what we are about here at the University of Washington."

Here is more from the release:

Bryan-Amaning is a native of Surrey, England who came to the U.S. last year to attend prep school in South Kent, Conn. He averaged 14 points and nine rebounds as a junior at South Kent School.

The 6-foot-9 forward is the nation's No. 34 recruit in ratings published by USA Today. He is listed 10th among power forwards in the Rivals.com national rankings, the No. 44 prospect overall.

"Matthew has a 7-foot-3 wingspan at 6-foot-9, which allows him to play bigger than he is," Romar described. "Matthew, at that size is extremely skilled. He can handle the ball, he can pass the ball and he can score the ball. It's hard to get those kind of guys in your program and we feel that we got one."

Holiday posted averages of 20.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots as a junior at Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood, Calif. His 106 blocked shots were 60 more than any other player in the league that he also led with 373 rebounds.

The 6-foot-6 forward was ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the state of California by Rivals.com. He was listed No. 23 in the Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Holiday received honorable mention All-America accolades in Street & Smith's magazine.

"Justin is a 6-6, long-limbed athlete that has won a lot of games in high school. He really understands what winning is about and you can't have enough of those guys in your program," Romar remarked. "He is one of those guys whose best days are ahead of him. He will fill out and will continue to get stronger. Justin will have an impact on our program."

We'll have more later from Romar's press conference.


LOI day nears, so does Pepperdine

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:03 AM

We'll start with a few links today.

First, here's our story today on what to expect as the fall letter-of-intent period begins. I talked with Isaiah Thomas Tuesday and he said he won't be signing today and probably won't until the spring. What this means for his future at UW is unclear, though Thomas insists that will be his ultimate destination.

Lorenzo Romar typically holds a little press briefing on LOI day, which will be the first time he can talk about the players who actually sign, which is expected to be Justin Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

Our official preview of UW's season also ran today, which includes a story on the 2006 recruiting class as well as some other nuggets.

Among the many interesting things I learned in doing the interviews for that story that didn't make it in the paper is that Adrian Oliver's mother and stepfather are likely relocating to the Seattle area for job purposes, which will only make Oliver's adjustment to college that much easier.

Finally, here's a first look at UW's opponent Sunday, Pepperdine.

As this story indicates, Pepperdine is lighting it up under new coach Vance Walberg, averaging 106.5 points in its two exhibition games. So Sunday's game should be vastly entertaining for those who like up-and-down basketball.

November 7, 2006

Thomas update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:28 PM

A quick update on letter-of-intent signing day tomorrow.

Isaiah Thomas apparently won't be signing tomorrow and likely won't sign until the spring period, if then.

It all apparently hinges on his academics. It sounds as if he still wants to go to Washington but the academics have to be worked out first.

The Huskies should get letters tomorrow (Wednesday) from Justin Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

And they are still waiting to hear from Darnell Gant, who is said to be considering Oregon and Nevada as well.

For those of you watching scholarships, it all works out a little better now assuming Thomas may not show up next year.

UW has 12 players on scholarship for next year. But assume Spencer Hawes leaves early, which is still the conventional wisdom. With the two who will sign tomorrow, UW would be at the allowable 13 if Hawes leaves.

If Gant signs, something else has to happen. But as UW coaches always say, they don't sign someone without knowing that they'll have the scholarship to offer.


Thomas in trouble?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:53 AM

Letter-of-intent signing day is Wednesday and the Huskies are expected to get at least three.

But the academic situation of Curtis High School guard Isaiah Thomas is in some question, for this season and beyond.

There have been rumblings for months that that is why the Huskies have appeared to be signing more players than they have scholarships for.

Curtis coach Lindsey Bemis said "whether he makes it or not, we will know next week.''

Bemis said grades for the current quarter will be posted Tuesday, at which time it will be known if Thomas is eligible. Curtis' practice starts Monday.

Thomas is scheduled to have a meeting with Curtis High officials today to determine whether he will hold a letter-of-intent ceremony at the school on Wednesday.

UW's other letters-of-intent are scheduled to come from forward Justin Holiday of
North Hollywood, Calif., and forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning of South Kent, Conn.

November 6, 2006

Hawes back to practice

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:41 PM

Ran into Spencer Hawes briefly before practice today and he said he was planning to take part in the full workout this afternoon for the first time since his surgery last month.

"I'm probably about 80-85 percent right now,'' he said.

He's done a lot of shooting drills during the past few practices and said "now I'm ready to get back in the mix.''

I asked him how his conditioning was and he laughed and said, "We'll see.''

But sounds as if he has a good week of practice that he should be ready for the opener Sunday against Pepperdine.

Also ran into athletic director Todd Turner and asked him about Mike DeCourcy note that the Huskies may play Louisville next year. He said the Huskies are talking with Louisville but nothing is official yet. He also said the pre-season NIT is not official yet --- no papers have been signed --- so the 2007-08 schedule is far from a done deal.


Huskies 17th in first AP poll

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:10 AM

The first AP top 25 is out and the Huskies are No. 17.

That's one spot lower than they were in the coaches poll.

By the way, I'm the AP voter for the state of Washington this year so one thing I will do this season is pass along my vote in the this space.

So here's my pre-season poll I submitted about a week ago.

1, Florida
2, Ohio State
3, North Carolina
4, Kansas
5, Arizona
6, Pittsburgh
7, LSU
8, Duke
9, Georgetown
10, Alabama
11, UCLA
12, Wisconsin
13, Washington
14, Boston College
15, Memphis
16, Texas A&M
17, Marquette
18, Nevada
19, Hofstra
20, Southern Illinois
21, Syracuse
22, Louisville
23, Texas
24, Creighton
25, Oregon

So yes, I'm the one guy to vote for Oregon. I really think the Ducks are going to be a dangerous team this year --- if not, they will be one of the most newsworthy teams of the year.

I notice USC got five votes. But right now, I think Oregon is the better team than the Trojans and No. 4 in the Pac-10.

And no, I didn't vote for Gonzaga. I just feel there are too many question marks yet for the Zags (though they were probably about No. 27 on my list as they barely missed the cut).

As for the top, hard right now to go against a defending national champion team that returns virtually everybody.

As you can see, I have Arizona a little higher than the final poll does. But I also really think Arizona is going to be good this year. They have a lot of key seniors, and I think the chemistry will be much improved.



Huskies to play Louisville next year?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:49 AM

That's what Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News says, anyway, in this column.

DeCourcy doesn't write much about it, but he writes that UW should continue playing Gonzaga while pointing out that the Huskies could play a pretty loaded schedule next year, anyway, that might include a game with Louisville.

UW officials have said all along they were talking with another big-time national name about a game for next season. We'll see if this turns out to be the one.

November 5, 2006

They love Brandon in Portland

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:58 PM

The one good thing about the trip back from Eugene last night was being able to listen to the Trail Blazers' win over Minnesota.

The announcers, including former KJA-AM host Brian Wheeler who is now the play-by-play guy for the Blazers, couldn't stop raving about Roy.

Here's a story that details how the game went and Roy's contribution. He shot just 4-17, but also had eight assists and no turnovers and played the entire second half. He had the key play at the end, driving and then dishing out to Juan Dixon for a three-pointer that won the game.

Afterward, according to the radio guys, Brandon returned to the court and signed autographs and took pictures for what quite a while. The radio guys kept marvling at how Roy is indicative of how the Blazers are remaking their image.

Brandon's fast start to the season, however, also makes me wonder if the Huskies might miss him even more than has been thought. We'll see.

November 3, 2006

Exhibition impressions

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:47 PM

I wasn't able to be there for Washington's 108-74 win over St. Martin's tonight, but one of our correspondents, Terry Wood, covered the game and provided some notes and quotes.

First, here's the boxscore. You'll note the fine outings for Ryan Appleby and Adrian Oliver (each 20 points) and Quincy Pondexter (18 points, 13 rebounds), and the relative struggles of Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon.

UW led by only one point with four minutes to play in the first half and UW coach Lorenzo Romar got on his team at halftime a bit, saying he talked to his team about having "our cool jackets on and going through the motions'' and not understanding that they needed to play defense and rebound in the second half.

Here's some more of what Romar said afterward:

"That was a really good game for us. They were a smaller team, and obviously we were the more talented team out there. They were small and quick and that forced us to have to really concentrate, bear down and defend."

"They caught us off-guard early in the first half because of their quickness. With a new group out there, we didn't do a good enough job on the defensive end. Also, with a new group assembled early on, you are still trying to find your identity, and we were looking for an identity out there in the first half. In the second half our identity became what it needs to be. We picked it up on the defensive end and on the boards."

"Harvey Perry played a big game. He was kind of the catalyst in that whole situation. Once we started to play with energy things started to look up at that point. But it was a great lesson. This is why you play exhibition games, to find out where you are and learn some things, build from there and move on."

As for Oliver, this is what Romar said: "Adrian was very good. He not only was good offensively, but he attacked the glass. He was so focused out there. He is playing to win the basketball game, nothing else matters. He was going out there to win the basketball game. You want those types of guys on the floor. In some ways he carried us in the first half when we were kind of struggling. I thought he did a nice job."

Here's what he said about Pondexter, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds "Take a look at your first half box score (he had four points and four rebounds). Quincy got after it in the second half. He was kind of finding his way in the first half. Our guys collectively really started to rebound in the second half. But we also started to get them to miss."

And here's a quote from Oliver about the competition with Appleby for the shooting guard spot: "It's good competition. It's not anything where someone is going to be jealous. We are both trying to get a lot of minutes and coach Romar has us pressuring, and that gets us tired every now and then. It starts with hard work in practice. Whoever starts, starts. We're not here for ourselves, we are here for the team."


Almost game time

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:29 PM

I'm actually in Eugene getting ready for the football game tomorrow --- bring lots and lots and lots of rain gear if you are coming. Those were some wet, slick roads on the way down.

Anyway, that means I won't be at the hoops game tonight. We will, however, have reports here later as we will have another writer at the game and he will help put together a report for this space after the game.

But as always, we also welcome all comments from those of you who can attend.

More from media day

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM

Want to make sure you saw our complete reports from Pac-10 media day that appeared in the pages of the Times today.

Here's the main story that includes the poll and some interesting comments from conference coaches.

Here's what we call a notebook that includes items on each team in the conference.

Something I found real interesting talking with Stanford coach Trent Johnson is that Mitch Johnson has been elected team captain as a sophomore, just as Jon Brockman has been elected captain of the Huskies as a sophomore. If you know their history, you know they are close friends who played together for years on the summer circuit and each is now emulating in the other in becoming an early leader of their college team.

Two really interesting players I hadn't heard much about before Thursday are Oregon's Tajaun Porter and Oregon State's Roeland Schaftenaar. From what I'd heard of Porter during recruiting, I didn't expect him to be the type of player who would score 29 points in his first college game, exhibition or not. Oregon assistant coach Scott Duncan said Thursday "he's 5-6 on his tiptoes.'' He sounds a little like Nate Robinson, but I'm told he's not that kind of a leaper. Just a good, solid basketball player who figures to make Oregon that much better. He's likely to the be starting point guard when Oregon plays at UW, the game Aaron Brooks won't be able to play due to his suspension for the incident with Ryan Appleby during the Pac-10 tournament.

Schaftenaar is the latest of OSU's big man imports, joining Liam Hughes and Sasa Cuic. John elaborated on the quote I got in the paper to say that Schaftenaar "is not a shot-blocker, high-flyer type of guy, but in terms of shooting, passing, he can do all that.''

As for the discussion that WSU seems like a better team than 10th place, I agree. I had Arizona State 10th, particularly in light of the losses over the off-season of Kevin Kruger and Bryson Krueger. On the other hand, ASU does have Jeff Pendergraph, who is one of the more underrated young players in the conference. I know UW coaches really like the way he plays, and he's a solid player to build around.


November 2, 2006

Brockman praised

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:56 PM

Got a flight to catch here soon, so I don't have as much time as I'd like to post about what was said here today at Pac-10 media day. But a lot of that information will come out in different posts throughout the next few days and weeks.

One quick observation is that Lorenzo Romar was quite open about what he expects out of a few of his players this year, notably Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Ryan Appleby.

Romar said "a lot more responsibility will be placed on their shoulders and we expect those guys to have big years for us. We expect Jon to be one of the top rebounders in the league and that he could potentially be a double-double guy and that's what we thought when we recruited him.''

UCLA coach Ben Howland seemed to agree with the Brockman assessment -- remember, he tried hard to recruit Brockman to Westwood. Howland said that Brockman and Spencer Hawes "are the best four-five punch in the league.''


More on starting lineup

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:04 PM

I posted here earlier the starting lineup as announced by UW coach Lorenzo Romar for Friday's exhibition game against Saint Martin's --- Jon Brockman, Artem Wallace, Quincy Pondexter, Ryan Appleby and Justin Dentmon.

Romar later elaborated on why he picked those five during comments here today at the Pac-10's annual men's basketball media day.

"Those are the five we felt would play the best together at this point,'' Romar said.

Obviously, Wallace is starting because Spencer Hawes is injured. Hawes won't play tonight, though Romar said he's healthy enough he could have played if it had been a regular-season game.

But Romar also said Wallace has earned the spot by grabbing more rebounds during practices so far than any other Husky.

Appleby, meanwhile, has shown a more varied offensive game along with his three-point shooting, and Romar says that has put him ahead of the other guards.

Huskies to hit cover of Sports Illustrated

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:34 PM

Among the many items gleaned today from Pac-10 men's basketball media day was the news that the Huskies will grace the cover of a regional edition of Sports Illustrated for its college basketball preview issue in a few weeks.

An SI photographer is coming out later this week to shoot Ryan Appleby and Jon Brockman for the cover, with other photos likely to be inside.

It will be the first time a UW athlete has been the focus of a cover of SI since Sonny Sixkiller's memorable appearance in the fall of 1971.

But it comes with the caveat that it will be a regional cover only, something SI is doing on an increasing basis these days.

If you remember last year, SI also had regional covers for its college basketball preview. Last year, I think there were four different covers --- Duke was on the cover of the main edition, but if you lived on the West Coast it was Arizona.

Starters set for exhibition

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:05 AM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar used the occassion of Pac-10 media day to announce his starting lineup for the exhibition game Friday night against St. Martin's.

The starters will be Justin Dentmon and Ryan Appleby in the backcourt and Jon Brockman, Quincy Pondexter and Artem Wallace up front.

Wallace, obviously, is starting with Spencer Hawes still doubtful while recovering from that knee surgery.

In the past, Romar has decided starters for the opener based on rebounding totals in practice. But this year, he said the starting lineup is based more on overall play.

Here's the official poll

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:41 AM

So here's the official Pac-10 media poll:

1, UCLA (21 first-place votes, 335 total points)
2, Arizona (13, 280)
3, Washington (no first-place votes, 236)
4, Oregon (1, 193 votes)
5, Cal (177 total votes)
6, USC (160 total votes)
7, Stanford (127 total votes)
8, Oregon State (75 total votes)
9, Arizona State (69 total votes)
10, Washington State (54 total votes)

UW third in official poll

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:32 AM

Arrived safetly in Los Angeles and while I don't have the complete poll in front of me yet, what I've been told is that UCLA has been picked to win the Pac-10 in the official media poll, with Arizona second and Washington third, followed by Oregon and Cal. Washington State is 10th.

Also --- talked with a few people last night and word is that the Pac-10 Conference post-season tournament likely isn't going anywhere for a while despite the fact that cities like Seattle have made pushes for it to be spread around. The biggest reason remains t hat most of the coporate sponsors are based in Los Angeles and want to see it stay here.

November 1, 2006

Pac-10 media day on tap

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:01 PM

The Pac-10 Conference holds its annual men's basketball media day Thursday in Los Angeles and I'm on my way down there tonight.

It's a chance for the media to talk to all 10 coaches and get a good overview of the conference, as well as meet a few of the players.

And it's a good place to get a lot of little tidbits from around the league --- I'll have lots of coverage in this space Thursday and in ensuing days.

What often gets the most attention is the conference's preseason media poll, which is released in conjunction with media day.

I had a vote and here's the way I picked it.

1. Arizona
2. UCLA
3. Washington
4. Oregon
5. USC
6. Cal
7. Stanford
8. Washington State
9. Oregon State
10. Arizona State

As I've stated on here before, I think UW is an immensely talented team that will be a real bear come March. Picking them third in the conference doesn't mean I'm down on them at all --- I expect each of the top three teams to be contenders for the Sweet 16 and beyond this season.

I just think putting such a new roster togther may result in a few losses early in the year, especially with five of the first seven conference games on the road.

Feel free to disagree in the comments section below.

More on UW-Gonzaga rivalry

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:01 AM

Here's a good take from the other side of the state on the Washington-Gonzaga scheduling imbroglio from Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette.

Blanchette makes much the same point as our Bud Withers did the other day --- that for all the carping GU is doing about UW maybe killing this series, Gonzaga is basically contemplating doing the same thing to its longtime series with Eastern Washington.

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