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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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December 31, 2006

Reality bites

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:38 PM

Sure, the Huskies are loaded with young talent.

But the key word there remains young. Youth isn't quite the detriment in college basketball it used to be with everyone sporting young teams now with massive early entry to the NBA.

Still, you have to remember that UW had four seniors playing key roles last season and now has only two seniors on the roster, neither of whom usually figures in the regular rotation. And that youth seemed to catch up to the Huskies today as UCLA jumped on them from the start to win going away, 96-74.

"It's another learning game,'' said one of the team's four freshmen, Quincy Pondexter.

Other Huskies were more harsh, however. Phil Nelson said "we've been through a lot. There's no need to put this on youth.''

The Huskies didn't defend well, allowing UCLA to shoot a season-high 59.7 percent overall (40-67) including 72 percent in the second half (21-29).

And the offense often looked ragged as UW lost 22 turnovers, 13 in the first half. UW has now lost 20 or more turnovers seven times this year after losing that many only once last season.

"It's just something we've got to keep working on every day in practice and play like it's a game,'' said Spencer Hawes, who had a game-high six turnovers. "We'll improve. We'll get better.''

That was the general tone afterward, that it's still a long season, even though UW is now 0-2 in Pac-10 play and now has to prepare to face Arizona Thursday.

Hawes called it "ridiculous'' to suggest that the game showed that there is a big gap between UW and the Bruins and other elite teams.

"We know we are good enough,'' he said. "It's just a matter of getting things together on the defensive end. We know how good we are and what we are capable of when we play our best basketball, and that wasn't it tonight. In this league, you have an opportunity to bounce back every night and we are going to do that.''

Justin Dentmon seemed to take the loss particularly hard, and I'll have some of his reaction in stories that will appear in the paper and on-line later.

But he realizes he's struggling, particularly on the road, as he now has 12 turnovers in three road games this year, and has scored just 21 points, making 8-30 shots.

"I feel I haven't been playing good enough point guard to lead the team,'' he said.

Worst loss in three years

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:50 PM

No time to dissect this one just yet with post-game interviews calling. But UW's 96-74 loss to UCLA ranks as Washington's most decisive since it lost by 24 (86-62) to Gonzaga in December of 2003. Since then, UW has lost by 20 or more points only once --- earlier this year at Gonzaga.

More later.

Tough last two minutes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:51 PM

After a brutal start, the Huskies were at least hanging around until the last two minutes of the first half. But UCLA scored the last nine points of the half, including a three-pointer by Arron Afflalo as it ended, to take a 47-33 halftime lead.

UCLA led here 40-28 a year ago, but this feels a little different. UW's offense seems a little disjointed --- Justin Dentmon has three turnovers and is just 1-5 shooting and the Huskies are 1-5 on three-pointers after making 13-26 against USC Thursday.

UW has to figure out a way to slow down Afflalo, who has 20 points. He's been hot against everyone who's covered him, mostly Adrian Oliver and Phil Nelson.

Nate in the house

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:13 PM

Nate Robinson is here and sitting on the UW bench during warmups. The Knicks are in town to play the Clippers but Robinson is still suspended per that fight he was in a week or so ago, so he's here watching the Huskies.

At Pauley

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:49 PM

About an hour before tipoff and there are few people in the arean --- this is almost always a late-arriving crowd here and class obviously isn't in session.

But they are expecting their most rabid crowd of the year today, with a sellout of close to 12,000 apparently in the offing.

It's not lost on the fans, or the UCLA coaches and players, that UW has won the last three against the Bruins --- two in Seattle and one here last January. That was one of only two home losses for UCLA last year --- the other came the following week against West Virginia.

UCLA has won 12 in a row at Pauley since that WVU loss, including eight straight this season.

One of the key matchups today will be UW's Spencer Hawes against UCLA's Lorenzo Mata, generally regarded as one of the better defenders in the conference, if not much of a scorer.

UCLA coach Ben Howland said Saturday that Mata will get the first crack at guarding Hawes. An LA-based writer asked Howland if Mata could be expected to repeat his performance on Kentucky's Randolph Morris when he held him in check in UCLA's 73-68 win over the Wildcats at the Maui Invitational in November.

Howland downplayed the comparison, saying "we haven't played anyone (this season) as skilled as Spencer Hawes. He's as good as it gets.''

This will be the 29th time UW has faced a team rated No. 1 in the country. The Huskies are 2-26 in the previous 28 games, beating Stanford in 2004 and UCLA in 1979, both at home. UW is 0-10 on the road against teams ranked No. 1 in the country.

December 29, 2006

Shaking it off

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:14 PM

You wouldn't have been able to tell the Huskies had lost the night before juding by their practice at Pauley Pavilion this afternoon.

The Huskies seemed to take it in stride that a few losses are going to happen in this conference this season and were more concerned about looking ahead to UCLA.

The practice ended with some light-hearted dunking and three-point shooting contests, as often happens on the road.

The Huskies have two days to prepare for UCLA as the game was switched from Saturday to Sunday for TV purposes. It will be seen nationally on FSN at 2 p.m. Sunday.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said this is a good time to have an extra day because the USC game was "emotionally draining. So it will be good to have another day.''

But as he pointed out, the Huskies actually didn't have that many players play an abnormal amount of minutes, despite the fact it went two OTs --- mostly because of the foul trouble.

Spencer Hawes played 47 minutes and said he was surprised when he realized that afterward. But he also said it didn't seem to faze him much physically. Ryan Appleby played 37 minutes. But other than that, no one saw more time than Adrian Oliver's 32 and regulars such as Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter (each 26) and Justin Dentmon (28) played about the normal amount.

All, however, were limited due to foul trouble.

The foul disparity has been a big topic on here --- UW shot just 12 free throws to USC's 38. But you won't often get the Huskies to complain about the officiating, and I didn't hear any comments about it today.

I asked Pondexter about his controversial fifth foul and he mostly shrugged and said he put himself in that position with some foolish fouls earlier in the game. "As my dad always says, you can't change the call, you just have to play through it,'' he said.

Romar said only that road teams typically don't shoot as many free throws as home teams in the Pac-10 conference.

I'm including some of this in my story for Saturday, as well. What Romar said was
"For whatever reason, on the road, that happens a lot. It just seems that way.''

Romar's argument may have some merit â€" last season, UW attempted 215 free throws in its nine conference home games, and 149 in its nine conference road games.

Romar, though, said the Huskies were also often their own worst enemy.

"Some of the fouls we made were ill-advised ones and reaction fouls,'' he said.

As to the questions about the nature of UW's offense Thursday, Romar pointed out that the foul trouble meant the team was never able to really use its regular rotations, which upset the rhythm of everything. There were a lot of strange combinations on the floor at key times of the game.

As for why Brandon Burmeister played more than Phil Nelson, one possible reason is that Burmeister is a better ballhandler than Nelson. After Dentmon and Oliver fouled out, the Huskies were shy of ballhandlers so Burmeister got the call to help Appleby with ballhandling duties.

USC redux

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:52 AM

To answer a few quick questions on last night's game:

--- The 12 free throws attempted by UW was a season-low, and the 38 attempted by USC was a season-high for a Husky opponent, so that, obviously, was the biggest disparity of the season. The only time last year that an opponent shot that many free throws was UConn in the NCAA tourney game (47). Arizona also shot 38 in the double OT game at Hec Ed early in the season.

--- I know the above numbers will lead everyone to think the refs had it in for UW. But I can also tell you that the home fans booed the refs off the court at the end of the first overtime when everyone thought Nick Young got fouled on the baseline shot he attempted. Officiating always depends on your perspective.

--- The officials, by the way, were Verne Harris, Bruce Hicks and Deron White, all regular Pac-10 guys.

--- UW had 20 turnovers, the fifth time this year that the Huskies have had that many. By way of comparison, UW had 20 or more turnovers only once last season --- 28 in the win at USC.

--- Quincy Pondexter had suffered a concussion against Weber State and didn't practice Tuesday and that may be why his play was limited, though I think the foul trouble was obviously the biggest reason.

--- If you think Petros Papadakis is annoying on air, you should hear him do the PA for USC basketball games. It's like listening to Vince McMahon (which in my world, isn't a compliment).

--- Want to make sure you saw our coverage from today, which can be found here.

--- We'll have more later from UW's practice.

December 28, 2006

Huskies lose a tough one

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:22 PM

Obviously not the way the Huskies wanted to open conference play.

It's tempting to blame it partially on the youth, but that didn't really seem a factor. Spencer Hawes hit the remarkable three-pointer to force the second overtime and had a career-high 24 points and Adrian Oliver did about what has come to be expected of him. Quincy Pondexter had an off night but was in foul trouble all night and also was coming off a minor concussion.

I think this game may end up saying more about USC than about the Huskies. With Gabe Pruitt back and getting into playing form, the Trojans have a dangerous perimeter, and they have just enough inside to complement it with Taj Gibson turning into one of the best freshmen in the conference.

About the only thing UW coach Lorenzo Romar really seemed upset about afterward was his team's rebounding down the stretch --- after outboarding USC 23-13 in the first half the Huskies were outrebounded 24-15 the rest of the way. It's the only time, other than the Gonzaga game (41-39) that the Huskies haven't had a significant rebounding edge all season.

The other problem was lack of scoring from inside the three-point line from anyone other than Hawes. UW was 13-26 on three-pointers, the most this year other than 17 against Nicholls State. But the Huskies were just 16-40 shooting otherwise. Hawes was 10-16 overall (9-15 on non-three-pointers) meaning the rest of the Huskies made just seven conventional two-point shots in 50 minutes.

The big problem there, obviously, was foul trouble that limited both Pondexter and Jon Brockman. Brockman scored just four points, a season-low.

None of the Huskies seemed interested in blaming it on the refs afterward.

"It was just one of those games,'' said Hawes. "You just have to make the adjustments. That's not the reason we lost.''

Check our web site for more specifics on the game a little later.

Sloppy, but ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:32 PM

The Huskies have lost nine turnovers and committed 11 fouls and trailed for most of the first half.

But thanks to Ryan Appleby's three-point barrage, they have a 36-31 lead at halftime, scoring the last 10 points of the half to take a lot of the air out of the crowd here. It's a shiny new arena, but it's only about half full and the fans aren't making much noise. UW is catching a little break by playing here when classes aren't in session --- there is little student presence here.

Keys to the second half include keeping the lead through the first five minutes and staying out of any more foul trouble.

At the Galen Center

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:02 PM

It's about a half hour before tipoff and I've had a chance to look around the Galen Center, USC's new on-campus arena.

To say it's an upgrade from the Sports Arena is to say that Alaska is colder than the equator --- there is just no comparison. In fact, this rivals any arena in the conference now for comfort with plush seats, lots of room on the concourses, etc.

Once tipoff comes, we'll get a chance to see what kind of atmosphere there is here. Despite the new arena, USC hasn't been drawing real well, averaging just 3,209 for nine home games. A weak non-conference schedule has had a lot to do with that --- South Carolina is about the best non-conference opponent USC has played at home.

There figures to be at least double that tonight, however.

One Husky note --- Quincy Pondexter has recovered from his concussion and will start for UW tonight. He sat out practice on Tuesday as a precaution but returned Wednesday.

As always, feel free to leave game comments here. Glad to hear that a lot of you have figured out ways to see this one on TV.

Harvey Perry to Idaho

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:06 AM

I also want to post this from the Spokesman-Review that Harvey Perry is transferring to Idaho.

He should get all the playing time he wants there with a rebuilding Idaho team that is 1-10. As the story points out, he has a long relationship with Idaho assistant coach DeMarlo Slocum.

In Los Angeles

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:46 AM

Have made it down here for tonight's Pac-10 opener against USC.

This is actually the third straight year UW has played its conference road opener at USC and the Huskies are hoping this one turns out like the other two.

In 2005, the Huskies won 84-59 in a game in which the Trojans barely showed up, coming shortly after the firing of coach Henry Bibby.

Last year, UW was 1-2 in Pac-10 play after losing at home to Arizona and Washington State but came out on fire at the Sports Arena, taking a 25-6 lead and never giving it up, winning 86-77.

But this is a little different situation with so many young players on the team. The win here a year ago was led by Bobby Jones (23 points) and Brandon Roy (22). Jones, in fact, won his only Pac-10 player of the week award when UW then won at UCLA two days later.

As coach Lorenzo Romar said earlier this week, UW has had just one road experience this year "and it didn't turn out so well (the 97-77 loss at Gonzaga).''

UW players insist this one will be different. Center Spencer Hawes said this week that the players "were kind of listening with just one ear'' to a lot of the things the coaches said about how hard it is to win on the road until they found out first-hand what the coaches meant.

"I feel real good about our chances this weekend,'' Hawes said.

Here's our preview for tonight's game which is kind of a progress report on the Huskies to date. There is also a note about the improved play of Lodrick Stewart at the bottom.

And here's the view from LA, thanks to the Los Angeles Daily News, where the Trojans say they think they have a legit shot at the NCAA tournament this season. Interesting Stewart note on this one, as well, as he says he'll have some extra motivation going against the Huskies tonight.

Stewart won his first game against UW as a freshman early in the 2003-04 season, part of Washington's memorable 0-5 Pac-10 start to that season. But USC hasn't beaten the Huskies since, meaning Stewart is 1-5 against UW for his career.

December 27, 2006

More on TV

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:46 PM

My note in this story today on the fact that the UW-USC game Thursday is not on TV generated a few e-mails.

So I thought I'd pass along the official UW response on the matter.

Quoting from a UW official from an e-mail it sent out to those who asked: "While we are certainly thrilled that 28 of Washington's 30 regular-season games this season are televised, we share your disappointment that our television partner (FSN Northwest) was unable to deliver Thursday's game.

"Pac-10 television agreements prohibit member institutions from televising games that are in direct head-to-head conflict with a conference telecast. In Thursday's case, the league and its television partner (FSN) selected the Washington State at UCLA contest for regional telecast throughout the West Coast. We applied for a waiver of the time period exclusivity to allow FSN Northwest to telecast the game (most likely with distribution on Comcast since they FSN is obligated to carry the Pac-10 game) and were denied the request. For the record, we did receive waivers on two other games during the conference season.

"The interesting thing about Thursday's game is that, since there are two FSN affiliates in the region, it will be televised in Southern California on FSN West. If you have access to DIRECTV (Channel 653) or Dish Network (Channel 411), you can watch the game on FSN Prime Ticket.''

So hopefully that at least answers your questions about this specific instance.

Also, we ran our Pac-10 preview today, picking UW third behind UCLA and Arizona.


December 26, 2006

Catching up on the polls

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:54 PM

Time to catch up on the polls for this week.

First, here's the AP poll, which has UW 14th. And the coaches poll, which has them 13th.

Here's my ballot for the week.

1, UCLA
2, North Carolina
3, Duke
4, Wisconsin
5, Florida
6, Arizona
7, Ohio State
8, Alabama
9, Kansas
10, Connecticut
11, Oklahoma State
12, Pittsburgh
13, Washington
14, Butler
15, Texas A&M
16, Notre Dame
17, Oregon
18, Tennessee
19, Memphis
20, Wichita State
21, LSU
22, Marquette
23, Purdue
24, Nevada
25, Air Force

I listened to a Seattle sports talk host today say that it is "idiotic'' that Gonzaga isn't in the top 25. Guess that means I'm an idiot since I don't have the Zags in there.

Gonzaga's a tough call. The Zags are ranked No. 16 in the RPI this week and have played the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation. And obviously, we all saw them wallop the Huskies two weeks ago.

Conversly, Gonzaga has lost three of its last four games, two to teams ranked Nos. 51 (Washington State) and 114 (Georgia) in the RPI. This is the type of situation that raises the question of how to vote in these things -- for what teams have accomplished recently, for the season, or for just how good you think teams are.

Everybody knows things change quickly in college basketball, that the team you beat by 20 points one week might beat you by 20 the next. I often try to go with a method of ranking them by who I'd pick to win if the teams played on a neutral court, all else being even.

Ultimately, I thought the Georgia and WSU losses were enough to move them just out of the poll for now. But if GU beats Nevada this week, they'll almost certainly move back in.

Hawes Player of Week

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:26 PM

The Huskies practiced this morning as they renew preparations for the Pac-10 opener Thursday at USC.

Two quick news notes from practice --- Spencer Hawes was named the conference player of the week and Quincy Pondexter sat out practice this morning after suffering a mild concussion against Weber State. UW coach Lorenzo Romar said Pondexter suffered the concussion in the first half but didn't know what it was until he finally said something in the second half, and then sat out the end of the game, with the official diagnosis coming afterward.

But Romar said he expects Pondexter to return to practice Wednesday and be able to play against USC. Pondexter scored six points in 22 minutes against Weber State

Hawes scored 46 points and had 21 rebounds in UW's wins over LSU and Weber State last week. He is the first UW player to be named a Player of the Week this season.

December 23, 2006

The day after

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:11 PM

As always, want to make sure you saw our coverage of the game last night, which includes this game story and this notebook.

In the notebook is included the news that Brandon Burmeister has been invited to walk-on the football team next year by Tyrone Willingham. He says he's considering it but will think more about it once basketball season ends.

The game story focuses on the sluggish start to the game and the turnaround led by Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes.

Barring any big news, the blog figues to go dark for a few days now, but we'll be back on Dec. 26 to begin previewing the start of Pac-10 play.

December 22, 2006

Huskies win going away

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:32 PM

There were a lot of adjectives to throw around for the first 10 minutes of UW's game tonight.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar used both "weird'' and "goofy.''

But after trailing 21-10 with just over 10 minutes left, the Huskies dominated to win 80-51, and go into the Holidays --- and Pac-10 play --- on a solid note.

"I'm really excited about the way we closed out our non-conference schedule,'' Romar said (UW does play at Pitt in February). "We started out kind of goofy, but after that we settled down and we continued to play good basketball. I'm really happy about that.''

The stars were obvious --- Jon Brockman (18 and 12) and Spencer Hawes (23 and nine). And the good news, as coaches always say, is that size never has an off-night.

The Huskies dominated on the glass, outrebounding Weber State 47-24.

"They are a terrific rebounding team,'' said Weber State coach Randy Rahe. "I thought they wore us down as we got going, especially in the last 10 minutes of the (first) half, they wore us down. They are a very, very good basketball team.''

UW's dominance inside made up for the fact that the Huskies couldn't buy a shot outside about 10 feet most of the night. UW was 2-17 on three-pointers and Ryan Appleby was 1-10 for the game. That's the worst night of his UW career though he's always been prone to being a little erratic from game-to-game. He was 1-7 in the first NCAA game against Utah State last year then went 5-8 the following two games.

Here are a few other notes:

--- Brandon Burmeister left the game for a while in the first half with what he feared was a dislocated shoulder. But he came back in and said the shoulder is sore, but that he should be okay.

--- Jon Brockman is now averaging a double-double for the season with 12.82 points per game and 10.09 rebounds. The last time a Husky averaged a double-double was Todd MacCulloch in 1999 (18.7, 11.9). No Husky has come close to 10 rebounds a game since then as the highest average was 7.6 rebounds per game by David Dixon in 2002.

--- Spencer Hawes is averaging 20.2 points in UW's last five games after averaging 11.2 through Washington's first six games.

--- Hawes leads the Pac-10 in blocks at 2.5 per game. His 26 blocks for the season equals the season total of Brandon Roy a year ago, which led the team.

--- The Huskies have now won 16 in a row at home and 49 of their past 51. The only home losses in that span came last January against Washington State and Arizona.

--- UW has also won 27 straight non-conference home games, last losing at home against Gonzaga on Dec. 3, 2003. That's a streak that will now last until next fall as UW's lone remaining regular season non-conference game comes at Pittsburgh on Feb. 17.

Slow start, fast finish

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:53 PM

The letdown the Huskies talked so much about avoiding happened anyway.

UW missed 10 of its first 14 shots and fell behind 21-10 with 10 minutes to go in the first half.

But then they woke up and talent took over and the Huskies finished the half on a 28-9 run to take a 38-30 lead at halftime.

Again it was Hawes and Brockman leading the way. Hawes has 13 points and six rebounds while Brockman has 11 and seven.

UW has 23 rebounds to 14 for Weber, and would be ahead by a lot more if not 1-10 from the 3-point line.

One of the most interesting sights of the first half is former UW receiver Craig Chambers sitting three rows back behind the scorer's table.

As always, we'll be back after the game, so leave your comments here until then.

Tipoff nearing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:48 PM

As countdown nears for the tipoff against Weber State, I've noticed a lot of talk here about Jon Brockman.

I wrote a little about him here for today's paper, with Brockman and Lorenzo Romar each saying the LSU game was his best as a Husky.

But even before that, Romar has never voiced the slightest bit of concern about Brockman's play, either this year or last season. In fact, on media day this year, Romar said Brockman's was the only starting job that was assured.

He says he's stunned when he hears people questioning Brockman's worth.

"I've heard that this year and the guy is pretty much averaging a double-double, so it really is kind of a compliment to him,'' Romar said.

In fact, Brockman is averaging 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the season and has grabbed 12 or more rebounds in four of UW's last five games. Brockman is also shooting 55.7 percent for the season.

As for tonight's game, expect Weber State to try to slow the game down. The Wildcats are averaging 67.5 points per game but have scored more than 70 only once in their past seven games.

But as with most games against undermanned foes, this game is mostly about the Huskies. If UW comes with the intensity at least close to what it had the other night (hard to expect the same) there shouldn't be a lot of drama to this one.

December 21, 2006

Huskies try to avoid letdown

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:04 PM

The Huskies held a light practice this morning, a day after beating Louisiana State and a day before facing Weber State.

It's the first time this season UW has played two games in three days, but it's the traditional Pac-10 conference format so it's something coaches wanted the Huskies to get used to heading into conference games (UW did play three in three days at its tournament in November).

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he's curious to see how the team responds to the big win over LSU. He said he never worried about that the last few years, saying he had a good handle on the temperament of that group of players (Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, etc.). But this is a new team, and he called it "a fair question'' to ask if the Huskies can avoid a letdown.

Much of the conversation today revolved around the play of Jon Brockman, and some of that will be included in my story in Friday's paper.

Here are a few other notes:
-- There were a number of notable people at Wednesday's game, including former coaches Digger Phelps and George Raveling. One who wasn't there, however, was Hall of Famer Bill Russell, though some thought they might have seen him. Instead, the man they saw who bore a striking resemblance to Russell was Collis Temple, the father of LSU guard Garrett Temple. Even Romar said he thought Temple was Russell when he first saw him a few days ago. Collis Temple played a year in the ABA in 1974-75 as a 6-8 forward.

-- Romar said there remains no change in the status of Joel Smith, who is still expected back sometime in mid- to late January after reinjuring his foot. He also said center Joe Wolfinger will have his foot reexamined after the holidays to see how it is recovering. It is still a long shot that Wolfinger plays this season.

-- Romar raved about the play of Phil Nelson, who hit 3 of 4 three-pointers. He thinks Nelson's shooting touch is returning now that he is getting more comfortable with college basketball. "When you are a shooter, you can't have any distractions,'' Romar said, noting that Nelson has had to learn a new offense and defense. "I think he is starting to figure out conceptually what we are doing.''

Big blow for Cal

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:01 PM

Cal figured to be one of the more intruiging teams in the Pac-10 this season -- talented enough to beat anyone on any given night if flawed enough not to run with the elites.

But everything has changed for Cal now with the news today that center DeVon Hardin is out 8 to 12 weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot.

As this story reports, the Bears are also already without center Jordan Wilkes. Given how Washington's big men are playing, the Bears will have obvious matchup problems when facing the Huskies.

But while the loss of Hardin might make it easier for UW to beat the Bears, I think real fans will lament not being able to watch Hardin and Spencer Hawes go at it when the teams play. Hardin doesn't figure to be back for either game against UW as the two face off Jan. 13 in Berkeley and Feb. 8 in Seattle.

The Huskies are just wrapping up practice and we'll have more later from out here.

December 20, 2006

Worth the wait

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:00 PM

This is what everyone had been waiting for.

This was the Husky team that has been eliciting all that excitement since the day this freshmen class began coming together.

The Huskies dominated in every way against a team that a year ago was in the Final Four, with the duo of Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman at the forefront of everything.

Those two combined for 42 points and 26 rebounds and held Glen Davis to eight points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes. Hawes had career highs of 23 and 12 while Brockman had 19 and 14, the latter tying a career-best.

"We got it handed to us tonight by those two guys,'' said LSU coach John Brady.

UW won the rebounding battle 44-34, lost just nine turnovers, and hit 8-13 3-pointers.

Not only did the game come before a national TV audience on FSN, but Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Isaiah Thomas were also in the stands. Thomas has said all along he still intends to become a Husky while MBA has signed for next season.

Also here tonight were Digger Phelps and George Raveling, the latter talking with Brady after the game for a while.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar, meanwhile, said his team lived up to what the coaches have been preaching from the first day of camp to work hard, play defense and rebound. "If you do those things at a high level, you get to have a lot of fun because it pays off for you,'' he said. "I thought that tonight, we modelded that in every way.''

The only bad news might have been that Hawes was so good, all that one-and-done talk will be quickly revived.

Hawes is seventh on this mock draft for next season from HoopsHype.com published three days ago, and after a game like that, his stock can only rise.

Here are some other notes:

--- Both Brockman and Hawes had double figures in both points and rebounds, the first time the Huskies have done that since a game against Air Force in Nov. 2005 when Brandon Roy and Brockman pulled it off.

--- Former Husky Tre Simmons sat behind the UW bench wearing a LaDanian Tomlinson jersey.

--- Artem Wallace was the first Husky off the bench tonight and played six solid minutes in the first half, though he played only seven total and didn't score. Still, he played good defense while he was in the game.

Huskies come out blazing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:22 PM

Hard to imagine the Huskies could play much better than that first half.

UW has hit 19-36 field goals, with Hawes at 6-8 and Brockman at 6-10. Those two have combined for 14 of UW's 20 rebounds as LSU has just 14. And the Huskies have held Glen Davis to 1-6 field goals and just four points as he picked up two early fouls and had to sit a while.

Now the young Huskies get another test --- seeing if they can hold on to a lead. So often this year, UW has had to come from behind so it's a different feeling for them.

LSU might be out of this thing if Terry Martin, playing his first game since transferring from Texas Tech a year ago, hadn't come off the bench to score seven points.

Tipoff nearing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:22 PM

About 15 minutes before tipoff and the atmosphere doesn't seem much different than it has been before every other game this season, though that figures to change once the action starts.

There's been a lot of chatter on here this year about how the crowd hasn't seemed as into it this season, but the schedule also hasn't really merited a real raucous atmosphere until now, either.

One quick lineup note --- Adrian Oliver is listed in the official starting lineup after overcoming a concussion suffered Saturday against Portland State.

As always, leave your game comments here and we'll be back at halftime and afterward with more.


LSU on tap

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:04 PM

It's about three-and-a-half hours before tip off of one of UW's most anticipated non-conference, non-Gonzaga games in quite a while. Given the presence of Glen "Big Baby'' Davis, I think this is a bigger deal than the NC State game a few years ago.

Here's my preview story from today which focuses on how the game came about. I'm among the vast majority who wish they'd get it figured out to keep playing Gonzaga every year.

On the other hand, there's no doubt that scheduling is a complicated deal, especially during the non-conference season when holidays and working around finals weeks limits the number of days. I always hear people say "why don't they just schedule Duke or North Carolina'' or whoever. Well, that team has to want to come here to make it work as the Huskies have made it clear they no longer want to schedule teams that won't make return trips to Seattle. And the Huskies have earned the right to make that sort of request with their success of the last few years.

As today's story points out, this game might not have happened if UW president Mark Emmert, who formerly worked at LSU, helped broker the deal.

Here, also, is a list of odds for tonight's game, most of which show UW favored by a point.

December 19, 2006

Oliver returns to practice

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:14 PM

The Huskies are again practicing in the morning, with school now out, and UW coach Lorenzo Romar said that Adrian Oliver was taking part and will play tomorrow against LSU.

Romar said on Monday that as long as Oliver could play he would start, so with Oliver apparently having recovered from the concussion suffered Saturday, it looks like the starting lineup will be unaffected against LSU.

Big Baby ready for Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:27 AM

The most intruiging aspect of Wednesday's game is seeing how the Huskies will deal with Glen "Big Baby'' Davis.

He talked after Monday's practice and here's what I wrote up for today's paper.

He's an entertaining guy, and as is always the case, he talked about a lot more than I could get in the paper. He mentioned having gotten to know Rashard Lewis of the Sonics while playing with him in a Pro-Am League, and said some talks with Lewis helped him prepare for staying at LSU for another season and using it to enhance his NBA stock.

He also talked about how excited he is about the challenge of beating a ranked team on the road and what he knows of the Huskies.

"I've seen them on TV a lot,'' he said. "I just know they are a tough team and I know Brockman is a pretty good banger. I'm up for a battle, a war.''

I also had a note about Adrian Oliver saying he will play that didn't make it into the paper, so here it is:

Adrian Oliver didn't practice Monday after suffering a concussion in the first half Saturday when he was hit in the back of the head while going for a rebound. Oliver played briefly in the second half but said he couldn't remember his mother's name after the game. But he said he anticipates being able to practice today and playing against LSU. "I'll be playing on Wednesday, there's no doubt about that,'' Oliver said. He said it's the first concussion of his career.

December 18, 2006

LSU's Martin eligible

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:49 PM

There was one bit of LSU news today from head coach John Brady as he met the media after the Tigers practiced at Edmundson Pavilion.

Brady said sophomore guard Terry Martin, a transfer from Texas Tech, will be eligible for Wednesday's game and will play.

Here's a bio of Martin, a 6-6 guard who averaged 7.4 points and averaged 24 minutes a game for Texas Tech last year before deciding to transfer after 14 games, starting eight. He's been practicing with the Tigers but hadn't been eligible pending the posting of his final grades.

Brady said Martin was expected to fly to Seattle Monday night to join the team here in time for the game.

"I'm hoping he can add some perimeter scoring for us, that's what he's been doing in practice,'' Brady said. "But he hasn't played in a year. He's been practicing with us but he hasn't played and this isn't a great place to come in and take your training wheels off to play this type of a team in this type of an environment. But you got to throw him out there at some point. ... He's definitely going to get in the game and get his feet wet.''

Here's a story from the Shreveport Journal that has some good background on Martin's potential impact.

You'll see from looking at LSU's stats that the Tigers have typically been playing only eight players more than 10 minutes a game, so Martin will provide some depth.

The Tigers arrived in Seattle today after busing from Corvallis. The ride was apparently longer than expected as they fell into traffic just outside Corvallis.

Oliver, scoreboard update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:04 PM

Lorenzo Romar said Adrian Oliver missed practice today while still feeling some affects of the concussion suffered Saturday against Portland State. Romar said it was mostly precautionary and that Oliver will start against LSU assuming he is able to go.

Also, a new LED ProAd Ring Display is being put on the scoreboard in time for the LSU game.

According to UW offcials, the ring will be the first part of an upgrade to the scoreboard. The second phase, which includes LED Video Plus Displays, is scheduled to be installed by the UW vs Oregon Men's Basketball game on Thursday, January 25.

The new ring will be used to deliver game statistics, out-of-town scores, interactive features and sponsor messages. Here's what one looks like.

Back on-line

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:53 AM

Okay, so I'm still without power, but back to work after a crazy personal weekend out here in the darkness.

Today, both the Huskies and LSU are scheduled to practice at Edmundson Pavilion, so we'll update here as events transpire.

The first part of LSU's two-game Northwest journey was Sunday in Corvallis, a tougher-than-expected 60-53 win over Oregon State. Here's the Oregonian's take on the game.

You'll note that OSU decided to go with a zone to try to neutralize Glen Davis. The Huskies rarely play zone so it'll be interesting to see if that's something they'll try based on OSU's apparent success.

I'll also pass along Ken Goe's Pac-10 notes column, which includes some interesting news on UCLA, Stanford and USC basketball.

Finally, I'll also pass along that Nate Robinson has been suspended for 10 games for his role in that brawl the other night. I like the line at the bottom about former Sonic Jerome James being suspended a game for leaving the bench. That may be the first time all season James has left the bench.

December 16, 2006

PSU on tap

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:52 PM

Due to all the weather stuff going on around here, we had a truncated sports section in the paper today, which means the Husky basketball preview was a little truncated.

So here's the full version of the story:

Lorenzo Romar has a general philosophy of not wanting to schedule non-conference games against fellow coaches he considers close friends.

"That doesn't speak well for me, does it,'' laughed Portland State coach Ken Bone.

Actually, it says volumes.

While UW's scheduling tactics have generated lots of controversy in recent weeks, one thing the Huskies easily agreed to was playing Portland State once Bone got the job done there and came calling. The urge to help a friend, it turns out, was greater than the urge not to want to beat one for Romar.

"Coach Bone wanted to do it,'' said Romar. "We put that aside (his usual scheduling philosophy) for this.''

So the Huskies and Portland State will play each of the next three years, allowing Bone to not only sell his program in Seattle --- which he considers a key recruiting area for the Vikings --- but have a little homecoming, as well.
The two teams meet tonight at 7 p.m. at Edmundson Pavilion.
Bone, a Seattle native and graduate of Shorecrest High, was the head coach at Seattle Pacific --- where he played for two years - for 12 seasons, going 258-118. Then when Romer got the UW job in 2002, Bone joined on and helped lead the Huskies back to prominence.

"It was all-encompassing what he did for us,'' Romar said, adding that Bone's previous head coaching experience was particularly helpful. "He didn't make a lot of guesses.'' Bone was particularly instrumental in recruiting Jon Brockman, who played for his brother, Len, at Snohomish.

After UW advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2005, Bone took the Portland State job, though not before a few moments of hesitation. He said he could have been happy being "like a Jim Lambright'' and spending the rest of his career at UW, whatever the duty. His wife had also just finished remodeling the family's dream house in Richmond Beach and wasn't anxious to move.

But the more Bone investigated it, the more Portland State, a member of the Big Sky Conference, appealed to him. It's close enough to home, and it's a school that can annually be competitive in its conference, having won the regular season title in 2005.

"One of the main reasons I took the position is because I felt, and I still do feel, that Portland State can compete for a conference championship, and if you can compete for a conference championship, you have an opportunity to get into the NCAA Tournament,'' Bone said.

That's something Portland State has never done, losing out on a chance in 2005 when it lost in the Big Sky conference tournament to Montana, a team the Huskies beat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

But Bone appears to have PSU again on the doorstep as the Vikings enter tonight's game 7-3, a ledger that includes a win at Arizona State.

Bone isn't the only former Husky making a homecoming tonight. Next to him on the bench is former UW point guard Curtis Allen, who played for the Huskies from 2000-04.

"I had a couple of offers to (play) overseas but nothing to go crazy about,'' Allen said. "When coach Romar and his staff came my junior year, they really inspired me to get into coaching the way they dealt with players and the way they carried themselves and just their love for the game.''

Not that the switch from Bob Bender to Romar was always easy for Allen. He was a starter and a featured player under Bender, but his role diminished under Romar once players like Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy began to emerge. But after some brief struggles with it, Allen thrived as a backup as UW made its turnaround in 2004 to make it to the NCAA Tournament. In his last game as a Husky, he was carried off the floor after a win over previously undefeated Stanford.

Allen says the way Romar "handled me, the overall situation I was in really humbled me and gave me a better respect for the game'' and also helped
encourage his coaching.

When Bone took over at PSU, Allen --- who spent a year assistant at the high school level locally --- bugged him for a job. Bone didn't have an opening initially, but one was created in late summer when another coach left for Oregon.

"You don't know what you're getting into until you get into it,'' he said. "I remember as a player looking at the coaches and wondering 'what do you guys do all day?' You get into it and there is plenty to be done.''

Allen handles a little bit of everything for the Vikings but has been particularly adept at scouting opponents, Bone said.

Neither one, however, figures to have much trouble putting together a scouting report tonight.

CAPSULE PREVIEW
Portland State at Washington
7 p.m. today at Edmundson Pavilion
TV/Radio: FSNW/KJR-AM 950
Records: UW 7-1, Portland State 7-3
Next game: vs. LSU, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Starting lineups
Ht. Yr PPG
Huskies
F Jon Brockman 6-7 So. 11.9
F Quincy Pondexter 6-6 Fr. 16.0
C Spencer Hawes 7-0 Fr. 13.5
G Adrian Oliver 6-3 Fr. 6.9
G Justin Dentmon 5-11 So. 12.3
Vikings
F Juma Kamara 6-6 Sr. 13.6
C Scott Morrison 6-11 Jr. 15.0
G Ryan Sommer 5-11 Jr. 4.8
G Dupree Lucas 6-1 Jr. 11.1
G Deonte Huff 6-4 Jr. 10.0

Also, I won't be able to be at the game tonight so the blog may be a little quiet. But as always, feel free to leave your comments here.

December 14, 2006

Romar honored

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:51 PM

Lorenzo Romar has been named as one of two Developmental Coaches of the Year by USA Basketball.

Here's the release which pretty much tells you all you need to know about it.

USC's Pruitt eligible?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:29 AM

Sounds as if USC will become whole pretty quickly as Gabe Pruitt has apparently gotten eligible.

That's a big lift for a USC team that looms as a sleeper in the Pac-10 this year --- the Huskies will open the conference season against the Trojans in LA on Dec. 28.

Pruitt was an All-Conference Pllayer a year ago and with his return, I can see USC's backcourt creating all kinds of matchup problems for the Huskies if UW doesn't get its defensive problems figured out pretty quickly.

Also an interesting note about USC not having interest in Jamal Boykin at the bottom of the story.

December 13, 2006

Roy close to getting back on court

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:05 PM

That's what this story from the Oregonian says, anyway.

The story details how Roy has begun working out again after missing 19 games with a left heel injury and hopes to return in time for Friday's game against the Clippers.

The story also has some good information on the nature of the injury and a funny quote from Roy about how he was glad that he wasn't near Dan Dickau last Saturday when Gonzaga beat the Huskies.

December 12, 2006

Up next - Portland State

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:45 PM

It figures to be a rather quiet week on Montlake as the Huskies have just one game --- Saturday at home against Portland State --- and will spend a lot of the week taking finals and finishing up the quarter.

The team isn't scheduled to practice on Wednesday allowing players some time to finish up academic work and also allow some of the coaches to hit the road recruiting for a day or so.

Portland State is a member of the Big Sky Conference and is 7-3 so far. Here's a look at their team via the school's athletic web site.

One of the most interesting things about Portland State is its head coach, Ken Bone, and assistant, Curtis Allen.

Bone worked for the Huskies under Lorenzo Romar for three years before taking the PSU job. Allen played at UW for four years, the last two under Romar, then followed Bone to PSU to begin his college coaching career.

--- And here, courtesy of Ken Pomeroy, is the latest RPI. Much too early to worry about it at all, but it does make for interesting reading. You'll find UW at 61, just ahead of Washington State (67) but behind the likes of Holy Cross, Loyola-Marymount and Sam Houston State.

December 11, 2006

Monday meanderings

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:12 PM

Was away for a while today so didn't get this posted until now.

First, here's my story from today focusing on UW's (lack of) defense against Gonzaga. If, as they say, the first step toward fixing a problem is admitting that you have one, then the Huskies are on the right path as there was no dispute from players or coaches about what ailed UW most against the Bulldogs Saturday.

In a quote that didn't make it in the story, Jon Brockman said "the biggest gap we had was on the defensive end. There is no way you are going to win a game when you are giving up 60 points in a half, which is close to what we gave up (actually 56). Defensive stops are what kickstart your offense and get you out on the break. When you are constantly grabbing the ball out of the net, it makes it real tough to get into your offense. Then they can get back into their defense.''

The stats bore that out as UW had just two fast break points against Gonzaga, a sign that the Huskies weren't creating their own opportunities.

Gonzaga shot 50.7 percent for the game ---- the previous high against UW was 45.3 percent by both Pepperdine and Northern Iowa.

Asked what he thought led to UW's defensive problems against Gonzaga, Spencer Hawes said "discipline, communication. Obviously it was hard to communicate in an atmosphere like that.''

But the Huskies had better figure out how as they will obviously have to learn how to win on the road reach any of their goals this season.

--- Next, here's my AP poll for today, and you'll see I was a little harsher on the Huskies than were a lot of other people. UW is 17th in the national poll but 24th in mine. As I looked around, a lot of other teams have done more than UW has to date and, I thought, deserved to be ranked ahead of them given the events of the weekend. UW will have ample chances to climb back up in the coming days, however, with a home game against LSU on Dec. 20 and at UCLA on Dec. 31.

And I'm sure you'll notice that I have Oregon ahead of UW. I don't think you can argue, however, that so far, the Ducks --- who have won at Georgetown and beat a Nebraska team that has a win over a then-ranked Creighton squad --- have done more than the Huskies. The toughest team to leave out was Air Force, which made it into the national poll and was 26th on mine. But I still just think Nevada is the better overall team (a loss to an improving UNLV team isn't as bad as it might appear at first glance).

WEEK SIX
1, UCLA
2, Pitt
3, North Carolina
4, Ohio State
5, Duke
6, Arizona
7, Florida
8, Alabama
9, Wichita State
10, Wisconsin
11, Kansas
12, Connecticut
13, Oklahoma State
14, Butler
15, LSU
16, Texas A&M
17, Notre Dame
18, Gonzaga
19, Memphis
20, Oregon
21, Texas
22, Marquette
23, Purdue
24, Washington
25, Nevada

Huskies drop in polls; Oregon finally ranked

Posted by Bob Payne at 4:03 PM

The new polls are out, and as would be expected, the Huskies have slipped following their first loss of the season.

Here's the AP poll, in which the Huskies are 17th, and the coaches' rankings, in which the Huskies fell six spots to 14th.

The undefeated Oregon Ducks, meanwhile, have finally cracked the Top 25, following an impressive win Saturday over Nebraska, 68-56.

The Pac-10 now has a record of 64-15 against non-conference opponents. At one of the top RPI sites, www.kenpom.com, two Pac-10 teams are currently No. 1 (Arizona) and No. 2 (UCLA) in the RPI.

Definitely looks like the going will be tough for the Huskies once Pac-10 play gets under way.

December 10, 2006

The day after

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:24 AM

Wanted to make sure you saw our coverage on today's game.

First, here's the game story, with Lorenzo Romar stating flatly that his team "wasn't ready for this'' primarily on the defensive end, where the Huskies could never stop the Zags. There's also some stuff on Justin Dentmon admitting he just didn't have it during a 2-14 night.

Next, here's the notebook focusing on some pre-game conversations between Romar and Gonzaga AD Mike Roth (and Roth and Todd Turner talking the day before) in which all sides agreed to continue talking about playing the game in the future. Romar said he wanted to make it clear with Roth that there was nothing personal in UW's decision to suspend the series for at least a year, saying any talk of a feud between the schools is false. He also emphasized that any halt to the series is "temporary.''

Here's a column by Jerry Brewer on what a reality check this game was for the Huskies.

And here's the view from the other side from Gonzaga beat writer Steve Bergum of the Spokesman-Review. Bergum focuses on the contribution by Gonzaga true freshman Matt Bouldin, who Romar praised heavily as "a great player.''

December 9, 2006

Huskies show their age

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:26 PM

It didn't figure to be easy for a young Husky team to win a game like this on the road. And that's exactly what happened.

UW looked had a collective deer-in-the-headlights look much of the night, prompting coach Lorenzo Romar to proclaim that "we were no match for them tonight.''

The game had the feel of a Kiss concert much of the night, with the crowd at a fever pitch, and that seemed to unnerve the Huskies.

"When you are on the road and there is all that atmosphere and emotion, it can disrupt your game,'' said Spencer Hawes.

In terms of what happened on the floor, Romar said defense was the main culprit as the Huskies gave up a season-high 97 points and allowed GU to shoot 55 percent in the first half.

Romar said it's obvious that his team is not "committed'' to playing defense yet.

"There's not any question that tonight's g ame will get our attention,'' Romar said. "We will definitely learn from it.''

That was the theme --- that this was a growing experience for a team starting three freshmen and two sophomores.

Some positives --- Jon Brockman had double-digit rebounds for the third straight game (12) and also scored 13 points; Hawes settled down after a rocky start and hit 8-15 shots to score a team-high 20; Quincy Pondexter also overcame a rocky start that saw him pulled twice in the first 10 minutes to score 13 on 5-7 shooting; and Phil Nelson had eight points in 21 minutes.

The negatives were led by Justin Dentmon's 2-14 night as he seemed to get caught up in trying to take the team on its shoulders and force a lot of things.

Here are some other sobering numbers --- GU had 50 points in the paint to 28 for UW; Gonzaga had 21 points off turnovers to seven for UW; and Gonzaga had 12 fast break points to just two for the Huskies. The latter speaks to the how poorly UW played defense as it never gave itself a chance to get out and run by forcing turnovers --- Gonzaga had just eight.

All for now as we had out into the icy night.

The Huskies likewise are in for a long night as they are bussing back to Seattle.


No blogging allowed

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:58 PM

A quick note to say that we are not allowed to blog from the arena here at Gonzaga during the game, so I won't be able to post anymore here until afterward.

One other quick note before I go to say that Adrian Oliver will start at guard as the Huskies will stick with the lineup of the last three games.

As always, feel free to comment here and we'll try to get to your comments and questions afterward.

In Spokane

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:35 PM

Arrived at the arena and there is already a sea of red-shirted students in the stands about 90 minutes before game time.

Also, a few of you have asked about the officials for tonight so here they are --- Dick Cartmell, Mark Reischling and Sam Haddad.

Cartmell and Reischling are each long-time west coast officials who have worked in the Pac-10 and the WCC. Cartmell has worked one GU game this season, the opener against EWU, while Reischling hasn't worked any. Cartmell is one of the more respected officials around, having worked several Final Fours. He was also the point guard on the Richland High state title team in 1972.

I don't know much about Haddad but he has not worked any GU games this season.

Off to Spokane

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:44 AM

I'm headed to Spokane, and assuming all the logistics are in place at the McCarthey Athletic Center, I'll try to post some stuff before, during and after the game.

Before I go, here's a look at some stories we had today.

First, here's a column by Steve Kelley that serves as a good last word on the scheduling issue. He says we should keep the series going (I agree) and talks to several players who agree as well. Definitely will give tonight's game a unique tone.

Next, here's my preview story focusing on how the young Huskies will handle going on the road for the first time. That's not going to be an easy task. Last time UW was here, with a much more experienced group, it lost 99-87. Of course, that was also in the wake of winning the Alaska tournament and some of the players said they were dead tired, and also the game where they knew for the first time Brandon Roy would be out for a while with a knee injury.

Given this team's inexperience on the road, I think the first 5-10 minutes are huge for giving the Huskies some confidence they can handle the surroundings.

Lastly, here's our preview box with lineups, a breakdown by position and a prediction. Sorry, I am picking Gonzaga, and while 91-82 may seem like a lot, that's mostly my hunch that the Huskies will keep it close until the final minute or two, then free throws, etc., will allow Gonzaga to pull away a little bit.

But as is often the case with early-season games, when there is little evidence to base such picks on, this is a hard call. We'll know so much more about the Huskies after tonight.

December 8, 2006

Guard starter still undecided

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:18 PM

The Huskies practiced in Seattle this afternoon, then flew to Spokane for tomorrow's game with Gonzaga. Through a spokesman, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said he had not yet decided on who will be the starter at the off-guard spot --- it will be either Adrian Oliver or Ryan Appleby.

Not sure it matters a whole lot as both will see significant time. Appleby has played well in the two games coming off the bench, however, scoring 35 points, including the 24-poiunt outing against Southern Utah.

Romar said he'll decide on Saturday.

Asked about the position earlier in the week, Romar said "whoever may start out there may not finish there. We'll see how it goes.''

Here are few other notes:

--- A few of you had asked whether the Huskies might give a scholarship to walk-on Brandon Burmeister now that Harvey Perry has left the team. Romar said this week it's not legal by NCAA rules do to so, that players can't be awarded scholarships during the season.

--- I wrote a story the other day on Spencer Hawes. You can find that here.

Hawes acknowledges he needs to improve his rebounding, but also says it's early to start getting too concerned about anything.
"I need to rebound better, but the fact remains that we are 7-0 and ranked No, 8 in one poll and No. 13 in another, so we are doing well right now and that's above everything else,'' Hawes said. "I think as the season goes on, the other stuff will take care of itself. I'm not worried about it.''

--- Justin Dentmon had a funny quote the other day when asked about what it'll be like to see Gonzaga without Adam Morrison. "It'll be weird, but they've got another kid on the team with wild hair, another Morrison,'' he said. "But they don't have a primary go-to guy. They are looking to something different.'' The guy with the wild hair he was referring to was freshman Matt Bouldin. You can see what he's talking about here.


More on scheduling

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:30 AM

We had a couple more stories on the UW-Gonzaga scheduling issue in the paper today.

First, here's Mark Few's take on it, some of which was published here Thursday, as well.

Next, here's a story by our Bud Withers on a proposal to have the four Northwest teams face off in Seattle every year. As you can see, however, there are some hurdles to overcome for this to happen, but it might be a way to keep the GU-UW series alive.

My story also originally included an update on Erroll Knight that didn't make it in the paper. So I'll throw it out here:

--- One player who saw the UW-GU rivalry from both sides is Erroll Knight, a Chief Sealth grad who spent a year with the Huskies before transferring to Gonzaga. Knight graduated after last season and Few said he is currently in Spokane, working in sales for a local commercial moving company while waiting for his knee to heal. One of the owners of the company is former major leaguer Bump Wills.

-- And as a personal aside, here's another plea to try to clean up this board a little bit (meaning no more posts by "Lute Olson'' or references to sex acts, please). If you find some of your posts deleted, that's why.

December 7, 2006

Few non-plussed over end of series

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:00 PM

Gonzaga coach Mark Few held a conference call with reporters today to discuss the Washington game Saturday, and the news that Washington says the series is definitely ending for at least a year was topic number one.

Not that it was one that Few embraced.

"The media and the fans seem to be more worked up about it than the staffs and the players,'' Few said. "Our guys know they are going to play a lot of big-time games in big-time arenas that are on national television. That will certainly be the case as long as I'm here.''

But Few expressed some empathy for UW coach Lorenzo Romar saying "scheduling is really the hardest part of the business right now, even tougher than recruiting, and there are a lot of different ways to do it. Washington's way has certainly worked terrifically the last couple of years.''

Few also said he had been "misinterpreted on this, especially over in your region (the Seattle area)'' a reference to a comment in the Tacoma News Tribune that "if we lost seven of the last eight games, I'd probably look to get rid of that team.'' Gonzaga has won seven of the last eight in the series. Few said later the comment wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

"It's not that big a deal,'' Few said.

We'll have more on this in the paper in Friday's editions and on-line.

The Pac is back

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:00 AM

It seems to be an annual rite of winter for followers of Pac-10 basketball -- as well as coaches and players -- to grouse about a lack of national respect.

I don't think that's going to be a problem this year, with the conference off to one of its hottest starts, one that is already garnering national attention. In a story you can only get as an ESPN Insider, Andy Katz wrote last Friday that the Pac-10 "is sizzling'' and went on to list some of the conference's virtues this season.

And that was before Tuesday night when Arizona beat Louisville and Washington State upset Gonzaga.

Through Tuesday night, the Pac-10 has a record of 59-14, a much more rapid pace than last year's 82-36 mark. Half of the Pac-10's losses have been accumulated by the two teams bringing up the rear -- Arizona State (4-3) and Oregon State (4-4).

That means the top eight teams in the conference are 51-7. And none of those losses are to slouch teams -- the seven defeats have come against Kansas, Virginia, San Diego State, South Carolina, Nevada, Air Force and Utah.

That's a far cry from a year ago when USC lost to Cal State-Northridge at home, Stanford to UC-Davis and UC-Irvine and Oregon to Portland and Portland State, to name just a few of the embarassing defeats the conference suffered early.

Teams like Oregon and Washington State, each with basically the entire roster back, are maturing quickly, while the teams at the top don't appear to have dropped off much, and in the case of Arizona, look better than last season.

A case can even be made that Arizona State is better than many might have thought as the Sun Devils have a win over Iowa and a couple of young freshmen playing well.

Only Oregon State is really underachieving, though the Beavers have a schedule that should have them no worse than 8-5 heading into conference play.

The question come March could be whether the conference deserves six bids to the NCAA Tournament, something that has happened only once, in the 2001-02 season.

December 6, 2006

Romar says no Gonzaga next year

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:58 PM

UW players and coaches met the media today and maybe the most noteworthy thing head coach Lorenzo Romar said is that a game between the Huskies and Gonzaga "is definitely not going to happen next year. And then after that we will revisit it.''

The two teams have played every season since 1998. UW athletic director Todd Turner said last month that the series might be stopped for a little while so the Huskies can pursue some other scheduling opportunities.

Those include taking part in the proposed Pac-10-Big 12 Challenge. That series has yet to be officially announced, but all indications are that it is going to happen, and Romar said today that UW will have a game at Texas A&M next season if the challenge is a go.

That would give UW games at LSU and A&M, as well as a home game against Pittsburgh and a possible spot in the pre-season NIT. Romar said that doesn't leave room for Gonzaga next season.

One reason is that all of those other games offer UW a chance at being on national television, specifically ESPN, giving the Huskies a different level of exposure than their regular contracts with Fox Sports Net. (The UW-Gonzaga game is this year resigned to being telecast regionally on Fox Sports Net Northwest).

"Everyone around the country will see those games as opposed to just the state seeing those games,'' Romar said.

The obvious question, then, is why not dump the Idaho's of the world to make room for Gonzaga.

But Romar said again that a non-conference schedule needs to be balanced between games against marquee foes and games that allow the team to grow and experiment a bit. Home games against teams like Portland State and Idaho are often referred to as "guarantee games'' because the opponent is guaranteed a certain sum of money for agreeing to play on the road without a return visit.

"You sprinkle in a little bit of this and a little bit of that,'' Romar said. "We wouldn't want to play an entire non-conference schedule with home games that are guaranteed. A little bit of everything helps you develop.''

Romar said the two schools are likely to play again in the near future.

"I think eventually we will end up doing both --- playing a national schedule and playing against Gonzaga,'' he said. "It just didn't work out for now.''


December 5, 2006

Alumni update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:58 PM

Time for another look at what some of UW's alums are doing:

Will Conroy remains with Tulsa of the NBADL. He's averaging 15.8 points and 6.2 assists in four games for the 66ers. Here are his season stats.

Bobby Jones is with Fort Worth Flyers of the NBADL having been sent down by the Philadelphia 76ers last week (he can be recalled by the 76ers later). As this box score shows, he had a good game Saturday with 18 points and eight rebounds. You'll notice Seattle native Kevin Burleson is on the same team.

Jamaal Williams is playing in France with Union Poitiers Basket 86 of the Ligue Nationale de Basketball. Poitiers is in the Pro B or second division. Here are his stats to date ---- looks like he's averaging 10.3 points per game if I'm reading it right. Here, also, is more information on the league.

Tre Simmons is home right now but is expected to return to Spain to play after the holidays.

Scoreboard, baby

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:43 AM

Noticed a lot of comments here and elsewhere about the scoreboard at Edmundson Pavilion, so I thought an update was in order.

The plan was for a new videoboard capable of showing replays to be in place for the LSU game on Dec. 20.

For several reasons, that couldn't happen, so the hope is now that it can be in place in January or February.

One of the main holdups right now is finding a few days to install it when the arena is not being used.

That doesn't just mean days when there are no games, but days when there are no practices. With volleyball and men's and women's basketball all going strong right now, there's not a lot of open time in the arena.

The new videoboard will have a screen wider than the current screen.

Also, a new message board will be put in place underneath the current scoreboard sometime this month. That board will be used primarily to display messages and sponsor-related items.

So the good news is a new scoreboard is coming -- we just still don't know exactly when.

December 4, 2006

SUU aftermatch

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:36 PM

Southern Utah may not sound like much on paper, but UW coaches were sincerely worried about this one heading in --- if for not other reason than the Thunderbirds had already won at Utah and came in 6-2 for the season.

So there was a lot of praise being heaped around after the Huskies beat SUU 87-72 at Edmundson Pavilion Monday night.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said it was "as good as we have played all year. That was the game that we have been looking for, where we put together 40 minutes of solid basketball.''

The standouts were many:

--- Ryan Appleby had the best shooting game of his UW career and scored a career-high 24 points. Said Romar of Appleby: "Ryan Appleby was tremendous tonight. He got us going. When he shoots the ball like that, you don't think he is ever going to miss.''

--- Spencer Hawes shook off some first-half foul-induced frustration to score a career-high 21 points (15 in the second half). "Spencer did a tremendous job of finishing,'' Romar said;

--- Justin Dentmon played great defense on SUU point guard Steve Barnes and handed out a career-high 11 assists. "I thought Justin Dentmon, on both ends of the floor, was huge,'' Romar said. "He controlled us offensively, made great post feeds, and defensively, the job he did on Barnes was second to none. Barnes is a really good player.''

--- and true freshman Phil Nelson tied a career-high with 10 points and also had four rebounds and just one turnover in 20 minutes. "For Phil Nelson, making shots is not a surprise at all,'' said Romar. "What was good was that on the defensive end, he got after it, he got on the floor, dove for a ball or two, rebounded relatively well. He did other things that we wanted him to do tonight and consequently, he played 20 minutes.''

Here are some other notes:

--- Guard Harvey Perry, who decided over the weekend to transfer to another school in search of more playing time, attended the game and sat on the Husky bench wearing the team's regulation black warmups. Before the game, he shagged rebounds for his former teammates. "It's like a divorce where the husband and wife get along real well,'' Romar said. "He made a decision but we told our team we are not disowning Harvey and he is not disowning us. He is still a part of our family, if not our immediate family. In his case ...quot; others are different ...quot; we don't take it as a slap in the face.'' With the academic quarter ending, Perry won't be around by UW's next home game.

--- UW shot a season-high 58.3 percent, all the more amazing considering the Huskies missed seven straight shots on one possession in the first half.

--- Reserve forward Hans Gasser played 18 minutes despite spending about three hours having work done on a troublesome front tooth. Gasser will have the work completed today.

--- Mirroring the end of the Sacramento State game a few weeks ago, the horn got stuck with 9:07 left in the first half. The game was delayed for three minutes until the horn could be turned off. A hand-held air horn was used for the rest of the game. The scoreboard showing individual points and fouls also wasn't working much of the game.

--- There was also a lot of talk about the pending Gonzaga game afterward, as the Huskies can now look forward to the Zags without worrying about looking past anyone else.

"I don't know if we are ready or not ready,'' Dentmon said. "I just think we are focused. We are way more focused than we was at the strart of the season and ready or any challenge that is coming our way.

Dentmon was asked if he considers Gonzaga to be UW's rival and he said "no, not really. If it's a rivalry why are they kicking us out of their contract to play another team? It's just another game we are looking forward to.'' That last comment may sound as if Dentmon is saying it's Gonzaga ending the series, when it's UW's call at the moment, and I'm not sure what exactly Dentmon meant there. But I thought it was telling that the scheduling issue was front and center on his mind.

--- One last note: Romar said he didn't know who would start, Appleby or Oliver, against Gonzaga.

Dentmon just cramps

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:47 PM

It looked bad when Justin Dentmon fell to the floor with 1:13 left in the game clutching his left leg.

But he said it was just a bad case of the cramps, something he was struggling with through the last 12 minutes of the game.

Dentmon said he had cramps in the stomach, his quad, his calf and his back throughout the game. He was carrying two juice bottles afterward that he said trainers wanted him to drink to treat them.

Dentmon also played with his left thumb wrapped up after he said it popped out in practice a couple of days ago.

I'll have a little more on the game later.

Appleby goes off

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:57 PM

The first half was all about Ryan Appleby.

The junior guard came off the bench to score 21 points in the first half --- already a career-high, besting the 18 points he scored against Loyola-Marymount last year.

He's hit 5-6 three-pointers, and they came just in time as UW looked sluggish early --- eight turnovers before the game was barely six minutes old. But UW is now in control, having also gotten a career-high-tying 10 points from Phil Nelson.

Thanks to those two, UW is in control at 49-37 at halftime.

Interestingly, SUU is just 1-5 from the 3-point line as the Huskies are doing a good job of taking away what appeared to be the team's biggest strength.

Tipoff nearing

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:42 PM

About 20 minutes to tip off here for a game that I think may be as interesting as any other UW has played so far.

Could be that Southern Utah is the second-best team the Huskies have played to date behind only Northern Iowa. The player to watch for SUU is its point guard, Steve Barnes, who leads the team in 3-point shooting (47 percent), scoring (14.5), assists and steals. As coaches often say, a good point guard can make up for a lot of other problems.

If Hans Gasser doesn't play tonight it's because he has a problem with a right front tooth. He apparently spent about three hours attempting to get it fixed today and the job still didn't get completely done so he'll have to go back for more work tomorrow. He's in uniform and is scheduled to play, but if he doesn't, that's why.

Also, Harvey Perry is sitting on the bench, but don't read anything into that. He simply is finishing out school here and has been allowed to be around the team until he departs. He was shagging rebounds for his former teammates before the game --- kind of a surreal sight, to be sure.

As always, feel free to leave game comments here and we'll have more later.

Huskies still No. 13

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:03 PM

The new polls are out and the Huskies remain No. 13 in the AP poll this week

Here, as always, is my poll, ready and available for your bows and arrows.

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

I moved UCLA to No. 1 after Ohio State's loss to North Carolina, though now that Greg Oden is in the lineup, the Buckeyes may soon again be the country's top team --- on the court, anyway, if not in the rankings.

As you can see, I moved UW down four spots and Gonzaga up 11 after the Bulldogs beat Texas (and got some more oomph out of their win over North Carolina with the Tar Heels' win over Ohio State) and after the Huskies again looked a little less than awe-inspiring against an over-matched foe --- this time, Idaho.

My other big moves were Wichita State and Oregon, each of which got road wins against ranked teams. I think everyone keeps forgetting that Wichita State was in the Sweet 16 a year ago and returns four starters from that squad, so it's hardly a surprise that the Shockers are good again this season.

As for Oregon, the Ducks look like they could be legit contenders in the Pac-10 this season. They are still not at full health (Malik Hairston's still somewhat limited in his play) and have a favorable schedule that means the Ducks could be 14-0 when they host UCLA on Jan. 6.

I see I was one of the few to leave Texas in the poll. But the Longhorns' losses are a two-pointer at Michigan State and the defeat to Gonzaga, so I didn't think they deserved moving completely out.


Previewing Southern Utah

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:19 AM

The Huskies are in action again tonight at 7 o'clock against Southern Utah so I'll pass along a few things looking ahead to that game.

First, here's the story in our paper today that includes some information about Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning at the bottom.

Second, here's a look at Southern Utah from CBS Sportsline. And here's the basketball page from the school web site.

The key stats there are the three-point shooting. If SUU, yes, that's the proper acronym, is hitting its threes tonight, the Huskies could have a tough game on their hands.

December 3, 2006

Recounting them up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:44 AM

It's always a popular topic on here to discuss the team's scholarship situation everywhere there is a personnel move of some sort. So let's again break it down again in the wake of Harvey Perry's decision to leave the team.

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
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 -- 12.

Comment: Perry's departure means the team is now one under the 13-player limit. For those who continue to wonder about Zach Johnson, he is not on a basketball scholarship and doesn't count against this total.

07-08 roster

SENIORS
Joel Smith
Ryan Appleby
Tim Morris

JUNIORS
Justin Dentmon
Jon Brockman
Artem Wallace

SOPHOMORES
Joe Wolfinger
Spencer Hawes
Quincy Pondexter
Phil Nelson
Adrian Oliver

FRESHMEN
F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
F - Darnell Gant
G - Justin Holiday
TOTAL 14.

Comment: Isaiah Thomas won't be coming in as part of this class. I talked with South Kent coach Raphael Chillious the other day and he said Thomas' academic situation means he has to spend two years at South Kent to graduate. So it sounds as if Thomas won't be playing college basketball until 2008.

That now leaves UW just one over the limit and as has been discussed here before, Tim Morris can be moved to walk-on status if necessary.

As for whether the Huskies will sign anyone more for 2007-08, I wouldn't rule it out. But as of now, there isn't another signing period until the spring, and there don't tend to be a lot of commitments during the season as both coaches and players tend to like to wait to see what happens, so I wouldn't expect any immediate movement.

December 2, 2006

More on Perry leaving

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:36 PM

Freshman guard Harvey Perry has decided to leave the Washington men's basketball team in search of more playing time elsewhere.

"I just want to find a better fit for me as far as playing time,'' Perry said Saturday.

Perry, a 6-4, 210-pounder from Las Vegas, played only 35 minutes in four games this season, mostly in garbage time. He had been expected to be a major factor as a perimeter defender, but had trouble finding a role with the team. He was averaging 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds.

Perry played only six minutes in UW's 87-66 win over Idaho Wednesday, which he said was when he began to think about leaving.

He didn't participate in Friday's practice but showed up as it was ending to talk with players and coaches and tell them of his intentions. He made it official Saturday.

His departure leaves UW with just 10 healthy and available players with guard Joel Smith sidelined until January with a foot injury and redshirt freshman center Joe Wolfinger possibly out for the season with a stress fracture.

Perry said coaches had told him he needed to improve his ballhandling to earn more time. He said he thought in recent practices he had done enough to show the coaches he should be on the court more.

"I definitely thought I was doing enough to get a lot more minutes than what I was getting and it didn't go that way so I just decided to try somewhere else and hopefully become more of an asset for the team,'' he said.

"There were some things going on earlier in the season at practice that they told me (he had to improve on) and I felt personally I improved on all of those things they wanted me to do. But the playing time didn't increase so I just questioned myself 'when will it increase?'''

Perry said the last straw was the Idaho game, when he played only the final six minutes.

"The last game I definitely felt like I should have been in the rotation a lot earlier,'' he said. "There aren't too many players that ever want to sit on the bench so it was a thing I wasn't used to and it got the best of me, I guess you could say.''

Perry will finish out the quarter at UW and then decide where to transfer. He said he has not yet thought about other schools.

"I'm going to head home the week after (finals) and make a decision,'' he said.

Despite his insistence that he had done enough to earn more playing time, Perry said he leaves with no hard feelings.

"I don't have any grudges against them or anything,'' he said. "I'm definitely not leaving on bad terms. I still love all these guys.''

Perry was rated as the No. 21 recruit in the nation by Rivals.com out of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. in 2005.

He was part of UW's seven-man 2005 recruiting class that was considered among the best in the nation. Only four players remain as Martell Webster never enrolled after declaring early for the NBA and guard Roburt Sallie didn't qualify.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar couldn't be reached for comment Saturday but said in a statement that "Obviously we wish him the best because there is definitely no ill will on
our end toward Harvey. We wish it could have worked out,
but sometimes these things happen.''

Perry sat out last season with a back injury and ended up redshirting.

But he said his back wasn't an issue this season and that he didn't think sitting out last year derailed his career at Washington.

"I don't think me sitting out last year hurt my chances this year,'' he said. "I still had a chance to attend practices and everything and I had a good feel for how everything was going to work.''

Perry's departure will open up a scholarship for what figured to be a crowded roster in 2007. UW projected to be two players over the 13-person limit for 2007 if everyone who had signed and was on the current roster with eligibility remaining returned.

Perry turned 21 on Oct. 11, which is one factor in why he is anxious to get somewhere where he feels he will be able to play more quickly.


Perry quits

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:46 PM

Freshman guard Harvey Perry has decided to transfer over a lack of playing time.

Perry didn't practice with the team on Friday and then met with coaches, and then decided to leave the team.

Perry hadn't been playing much and that was apparently the crux of the issue.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today that Perry leaves with no hard feelings.

"Obviously we wish him the best because there is definitely no ill will on
our end toward Harvey,'' Romar said. "We wish it could have worked out,
but sometimes these things happen. Harvey hasn¹t made contact with any other schools. He said that he plans to inish this quarter and then transfer.''

Washington¹s fall quarter ends Dec. 8 with final exams the following week
that conclude Dec. 15.


December 1, 2006

Hawes gets aggressive

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:46 PM

There's been some talk on this and other message boards about whether Spencer Hawes is living up to his hype so far.

A lot of people might have expected Hawes to be averaging more than 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds given all the accolades he brought with him to Montlake.

But UW coach Lorenzo Romar isn't the least bit concerned about Hawes' play to date.

Romar says the reason Hawes' numbers might not be what some would have expected is the fact that he missed the first month of practice after having knee surgery.

That not only cost Hawes a month, but also meant the rest of the team went a month without learning how to play with Hawes.

"People want to say it doens't matter, but it does matter,'' Romar said. "You're not going to be as sharp.''

Hawes is making 57 percent of his shots, the best percentage on the team, and also has 13 assists, the third-most on the team and evidence of his uncommon passing ability.

"If there's anything we'd like to see Spencer do it's rebound more,'' Romar said Friday.

Hawes agrees, having said before the Idaho game Wednesday that he wasn't happy with his rebounding. So against the Vandals, he grabbed nine in 22 minutes.

Hawes said he was "being more aggressive.'' He said he had previously been so concerned about boxing out correctly that he had sometimes neglected to go get the ball.

Hawes said he's close to 100 percent but that he still feels some pain from the scarring in the knee.

It's also worth noting that the Huskies have tried to keep Hawes' minutes down in games where it hasn't been necessary to play him much. He's played more than 25 minutes only once, when he went for 30 minutes against Northern Iowa.

In that game, as Romar pointed out, he scored 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds.

"He's going to be fine,'' Romar said.

There was no other real personnel news of note out of practice Friday as Romar said the lineup will remain as it was against Idaho.

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