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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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April 30, 2007

Katz picking Cougs to win Pac-10?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:29 PM

ESPN's Andy Katz posted a new pre-season top 25 for next season today, revised to take into account those players who have declared early.

And as you can, he has Washington State No. 5 in the country and the first Pac-10 team in the rankings, apparently indicating that he believes the Cougars are the best team in the conference.

And what a conference he figures it to be next season as he has six Pac-10 teams ranked among his top 16 teams. Following WSU are UCLA at No. 6, USC at 12, Arizona at 13, Stanford at 15 and Oregon at 16.

He has the Huskies among his "teams missing the cut'' the only Pac-10 team so listed.

Hard to dispute what he writes about WSU, but as he writes, it sure looks a little bit crazy to see the Cougars rated that high.

Good fodder for off-season conversaton, however, if nothing else.

Info on Hawes, draft

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:22 PM

Here's a fairly lengthy interview with Spencer Hawes from that also promises a second part coming tomorrow (Tuesday).

Nothing really earth-shaking in part one, though he does shed some light on how he plans to approach the next month or so until he heads to the pre-draft camp, and what he plans to do once he gets there.

Also from DraftExpress is this list of players who declared for Early Entry to the draft --- the deadline was Sunday. The deadline to pull back out is June 18.

The final Pac-10 tally reads like this:

UCLA --- Arron Afflalo, who is definitely gone having already declared once before.

USC --- Nick Young, definitely gone; Gabe Pruitt, testing the waters and could be back.

Cal --- DeVon Hardin, could pull out but sounds as if he wants to stay in.

Arizona --- Marcus Williams, who has already hired an agent and is definitely gone.

Washington --- Hawes, who is probably not coming back.

Oregon State --- Marcel Jones, testing the waters and almost certain to be back.

Nobody from Stanford, Arizona State, Washington State or Oregon declared early.

None of these decisions are really surprising so it's hard to tell if there will be much impact since most of the teams built their rosters for the future knowing that the guys who likely aren't coming back wouldn't be back.

USC, for instance, has O.J. Mayo coming in to replace Young. Mayo, obviously, seems like a real wildcard, so who knows how that will really work out, but the point is the Trojans have made plans for not having Young after this season.

Pruitt might be the bigger loss since he plays point guard and the Trojans really picked it up this year once he started to play well.

While Afflalo's loss will hurt UCLA a little, the Bruins were helped by the fact that no one else decided to go, particularly point guard Darren Collison. With Collison back and Kevin Love coming in next year, the Bruins shouldn't miss a beat and could be the No. 1 team in the country heading into the season.

Williams could be addition by subtraction at Arizona.

The team that could have the most on the line in the next month or so is Cal, which would greatly benefit from another year of Hardin. With a healthy Hardin paired with Ryan Anderson, the Bears could be a dangerous team next season.

April 27, 2007

11-foot hoops?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:18 AM

We had a couple of interesting stories in the paper today I'll draw your attention to here.

First is a story I wrote on a planned game by former Sonic assistant and longtime NBA scout Tom Newell this summer at Hec Ed that would feature 11-foot rims. You can read the story here for more details but the general idea is that Newell thinks the game has grown stagnant, especially at the NBA level, and that it might be worth experimenting with 11-foot hoops to see if that would make a positive difference.

The other is a column by our Bud Withers on all the strange happenings in the Pac-10 of late, most notably the decision by Lute Olson to get rid of longtime assistant Jim Rosborough.

April 26, 2007

New perspective on Hawes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:00 PM

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News comes up with a new reasoning behind Spencer Hawes' decision to test the NBA waters that I have to admit I haven't heard before.

DeCourcy writes this week, at the bottom of this short notebook, that Hawes "entered the NBA draft because of concern that his ratings would drop as he aged.''

DeCourcy cites no source for his information.

But it seems to go counter to the conventional wisdom of many that he'd only help his stock if he had another year of college to get bigger, stronger and more experienced.

And if true, it's also one more indication that he isn't coming back.

It's an interesting theory, though I wish there was just a little more explanation.

If this is true, is Hawes worried that the more people see of him they'd find holes in his game? Or simply that the longer he stays out of the draft, the less he becomes the Flavor of the Month, a hot, young player with tons of potential?

Speaking of Hawes, here's one person who doesn't seem to think his stock is dropping. John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that Hawes won't make it out of the top 10 and that the 76ers should snap him up if he's there when they pick.

Jamaal Williams headed to the Philippines

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:06 PM

Here's a story I ran across on the Manila Standard Today reporting that former Husky Jamaal Williams will soon begin playing for the Sta. Lucia Realtors of the Phillipine Basketball Association Fiesta Conference.

Here's a little more the PBA. And here's a little more on Sta. Lucia.

UPDATE: Here's an even better story on Williams going to Sta. Lucia.

April 25, 2007

Stuckey declares (updated)

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:08 AM


We wrote earlier today about Eastern's Rodney Stucky saying he'd make his decision today on whether to declare for the NBA.

Stuckey has decided to take the Spencer Hawes route of declaring without hiring an agent.

Somewhat oddly, however, he didn't meet with the media, nor did EWU head coach Mike Burns.

You can also read on that blog about EWU losing another player today, as well, with guard Michael Taylor announcing he's transferring. Maybe that's why no one was around to talk about any of it.

Abbott picks ASU

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:09 AM

Ty Abbott made official last night the speculation that had been going around earlier in the day --- that he will attend Arizona State.

Here's a story on his commitment from the East Valley Tribune.

The 6-3 guard from Phoenix had also seriously considered Washington State and Washington, visiting each school last weekend --- he left UW on Monday.

But in the end, staying at home was apparently the key thing for Abbott, who became available when he got out of a LOI signed earlier with New Mexico when that school fired Ritchie McKay.

So UW's roster for the 2007-08 season appears set, pending Spencer Hawes' decision on whether or not to turn pro.

Here's how it figures to look:

07-08 roster

G - Ryan Appleby
G - Tim Morris

G - Justin Dentmon
F - Jon Brockman
F - Artem Wallace
G - Joel Smith

C - Joe Wolfinger
C - Spencer Hawes
F - Quincy Pondexter
G - Adrian Oliver

F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
F - Darnell Gant
G - Justin Holiday
G - Venoy Overton

This still 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, so even if Hawes stays --- for now, probably best not to count on that --- the numbers will apparently work out.

One other comment is how evenly spaced the classes seem now, which is what you want as a program begins to mature. Obviously, early entry and transfers can always change things. But if all goes to form, UW shouldn't be count in any more situations where it suddenly is too young.

08-09 roster

G - Justin Dentmon
F - Jon Brockman
C - Artem Wallace
G - Joel Smith

C - Joe Wolfinger
C - Spencer Hawes
F - Quincy Pondexter
G - Adrian Oliver

F - Matthew Bryan-Amaning
F - Darnell Gant
G - Justin Holiday
G - Venoy Overton

G - Isaiah Thomas
G - Elston Turner

Comment: Thomas and Turner have committed but can't sign until November. No way Hawes will still be here this long, however, so probably more accurate to say it's 13. That obviously leaves the question of how they get any more guys into this class. But it always seems to work out doesn't it? The fall of 2008 is a long time from now and a lot can happen.

April 24, 2007

Thoughts on Hawes, Abbott

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:04 PM

Sure a lot of you have seen or heard the talk about Spencer Hawes "sliding'' down the draft projections, if only just a little bit.

Here's a projection, for instance, that has him at No. 13, but had him a few spots higher a month or so ago.

I'll point out two reasons not to get overly excited about that:

First, the real evaluation of Hawes won't come until he participates in the pre-draft camp in late May and early June, at which time a much truer gauge of where he might go will arise;

Second, Hawes said himself at his press conference announcing his decision that the most important thing isn't so much the pick he is selected with, but where he ends up.

Here's the actual quote:

"But right now, it's not about the number, but about the situation and the role I might play,'' he said.

The way I read that, Hawes might actually prefer going, say, No. 13 this year to a team and situation that he likes rather than coming back for a season just to move up a few spots.

ON ABBOTT: I still haven't been able to get a hold of Ty Abbott to find out what he's thinking now after making his trips to Washington State and Washington over the weekend.

What I do know is that the conventional wisdom is that Abbott, a 6-3 guard from Phoenix, will likely announce later this week that he's heading to Arizona State.

Word is he didn't have a solid offer from ASU until just a little while ago, when the Cougars and Huskies began to get really involved, but might have just been waiting for the hometown team to come through. We'll see.

April 23, 2007

Arizona makes interesting coaching change

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:39 AM

No, not Lute Olson.

He'll be back for more.

But in the wake of some disappointing seasons, Olson decided last week to jettison longtime assistant Jim Rosborough, a move that didn't go over well with many in Tucson, including Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen, whose views can be found here.

As clear a sign as any that Olson is serious about trying to get Arizona back on top --- and will apparently use any means to do so.

Here also is a news story on the Rosborough move.

April 19, 2007

Jones update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:15 PM

Bobby Jones had a nice end to the his rookie season for the Philadelphia 76ers, getting to play quite a bit at the end of the season with the team out of the running for the playoffs combined with some injuries to veteran players.

On Tuesday night, Jones was handed the task of guarding LeBron James and apparently did quite well according to this story here in which he earns praise from coach Maurice Cheeks.

A lot of the comments Cheeks made sounds like stuff we heard Lorenzo Romar say a lot the last few seasons.

You can check here for all of Jones' stats this season.

As they show, Jones played in 44 games with five starts, averaging 2.5 points and shooting 46.2 percent from the field.

Daugherty to WSU

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:49 AM

Though this is primarily a place for news on the UW men's team, I'll go ahead and throw out there the news on June Daugherty being hired as the new women's coach at Washington State since I figure it may be of interest to many of you.

Here's a report from our Craig Smith that the move is a done deal, after it had been much-rumored for the last few days.

It's obviously a hire that will make the UW-WSU women's basketball rivalry --- if you can really call it that --- a lot more interesting than it ever has been.

UW is 54-10 all-time against WSU in women's hoops and has won the last 24 in a row.

Daugherty won all 22 games she played against WSU while at UW, with the last Cougar win against the Huskies coming on Feb. 22, 1995.

In fact, after WSU won eight of the first 12 in the series, UW has won 50 of the last 52.

Daugherty was also rumored to be in the running for the Penn State job but has apparently decided to stay close to where her coaching roots are. She was also the head coach at Boise State before coming to UW so she has a lot of connections in the Northwest area that could serve WSU well.

As for the Huskies, they have hired Tia Jackson in an attempt to create more "buzz'' around the program.

Jackson has hired former UW player Loree Payne as an assistant and also may be close to hiring former Missouri State head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson as another assistant. You can find some details on that here.

As for Daugherty, she's got some major work to do at WSU, which hasn't had a winning season of any sort since 1995-96 and has had a winning conference record just once since the formation of the Pac-10 women's basketball conference in 1986-87.

Daugherty won't be the first coach to make a Cougar-Husky move. Marv Harshman coached at WSU from 1959-71 before leaving to take over at UW.

April 18, 2007

Abbott visiting UW this weekend

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:12 AM

As has been reported in numerous places, guard Ty Abbott of Phoenix is expected to make a recruiting visit to UW this weekend, after visiting Washington State earlier in the week.

Here's a profile of Abbott from and another from

As the Rivals story reports, UW coach Lorenzo Romar had an in-home visit with Abbott last Friday. He is expected to be at WSU Thursday and Friday and UW Saturday and Sunday.

The Rivals story includes this interesting quote from Abbott about his meeting with Romar:

"Coach Romar just said that he wanted to get back to being more athletic and playing faster, not so much halfcourt stuff.''

Sounds from that like Romar isn't putting much stock in Spencer Hawes returning.

Abbott also said that Romar told him that "they wanted to get bigger at guard and that I would help them accomplish a lot of what they were trying to do with recruiting at the guard position.''

Abbott also told Rivals that he hopes to make a decision next week, and that "all things being equal'' he may be more inclined to stay home and play at Arizona State. But if not, that he would have little trouble uprooting and heading to one of the two Washington schools.

As we've written here before, this is a rare time that UW and WSU are battling this closely for the same player in basketball.

Abbott originally signed with New Mexico but got out of his letter when Ritchie McKay was fired.

April 17, 2007

Romar successor at SLU fired

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:30 PM

Brad Soderberg, who took over at Saint Louis University when Lorenzo Romar came to UW in 2002, was fired today.

Here's a wire story about it.

Always the first question is who comes next, and I wondered immediately if anyone with Romar ties would be in the running.

But according to this list from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, no one with Romar connections is in the running (unless you want to count Steve Lavin, a friend of Romar's from their days together at UCLA).

Interesting Gonzaga news

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:25 PM

Color Gonzaga as the most recent school to lose a couple of players as it's being reported today that reserves Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes and David Burgess are leaving.

Neither was a big impact player this year though P-Mac had been a starter at times through his career.

Here's more from Steve Bergum at the Spokesman-Review.

From Husky to Cougar?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:14 AM

This is a men's basketball blog and we haven't often talked about the women's team on here since I don't cover that team ---- their competing schedules make it impossible for me to see both teams regularly.

However, I hadn't seen this discussed much yet locally so I thought I would highlight here this story from the Spokesman-Review that former UW women's coach June Daugherty is apparently interviewing to become the new coach at Washington State.

What an interesting move that would be, though not unprecedented --- avid fans remember well how Marv Harshman went from WSU to UW in 1971 after having coached 13 seasons with the Cougars. He ended up coaching 14 for Washington.

Daugherty, at least, can sell that she's undefeated in Pullman --- the UW women haven't lost in Pullman since 1995 when Chris Gobrecht was still Washington's coach.

April 15, 2007

Perry transfering again

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:20 PM

We posted last week about how the assistant coach who lured Harvey Perry to Idaho after he left Washington was now leaving himself, to Colorado State.

Now Perry is leaving, too, as Jim Meehan reports in the Spokesman-Review.

UPDATE --- In this story, Meehan reports that Perry is likely to play next year at College of Southern Idaho, a JC powerhouse in Twin Falls.

April 14, 2007

Young gone, Shipp staying

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:43 AM

Looks like the personnel shifiting in the Pac-10 is about complete with the news today that Nick Young is leaving USC to head to the NBA --- intending to hire an agent, which will make it official --- while Josh Shipp plans to return to UCLA.

Here's some more info on both stories from the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Also this week came word that Malik Hairston is staying at Oregon while Marcel Jones of Oregon State will put his name in for the draft but is likely to return as he won't hire an agent and just wants to test the waters.

Think that's about it for guys from the Pac-10 who were thinking of leaving, other than UCLA's Darren Collison, who at last report was still considering it but who figures to be back for another season.

So the count of players who have at least declared from the conference is six --- Spencer Hawes, Arron Afflalo, Young, Jones, Marcus Williams and DeVon Hardin.

Afflalo, Williams and Young having no chance at coming back, while Hawes and Hardin still have the option but are probably leaning toward going.

April 13, 2007

Nelson to Portland State official

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:17 PM

Just a quick note to pass along this press release from Portland State officially announcing that Phil Nelson will transfer there after leaving the Huskies earlier this week.

Here's the story with a quote from former UW assistant Ken Bone about how excited the team is to have Nelson aboard.

More on Overton, Nelson

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:02 AM

Up early today so thought I'd make sure to pass this along, our story today on UW's signing of Venoy Overton, as well as a little more on the transferring of Phil Nelson.

I talked a little bit with Nelson Thursday and he confirmed what UW coach Lorenzo Romar had said about why he's leaving, that he didn't think he fit in and would simply be more comfortable at Portland State, a quote you can find in the story.

Nelson spent the afternoon playing a pickup game with the rest of the Huskies, who say he will missed.

"He'll always be a teammate and a friend, but I guess he just kind of had to leave,'' said Jon Brockman.

As for Overton, Romar definitely seemed excited to finally have him officially on board.

As has been detailed earlier, Overton, a Franklin High senior, had committed to USC in the fall but began rethinking things when the Trojans took a commitment from highly touted PG Brandon Jennings for the class of 2008 (interesting that Jennings has apparently since said he's rethinking things as well, apparently now also considering Arizonan and UConn).

The Huskies then got involved, in part when a scholarship opened up for this year with the academic problems of Isaiah Thomas that caused him to go to a prep school and delay his college entry by a year.

"We always had been interested in him but at the time we couldn't work it out here so instead of just holding him up, we said 'do what you've got to do,''' Romar said of Overton's initial commitment to USC. "But he ended up not signing so it ended up working out for us.''

Romar said one thing he likes about Overton is the fact that he already considers himself a Husky. Romar remembers seeing Overton kiss the W on the court at Hec Ed during the Martin Luther King Classic in January, ala the way Will Conroy so memorably did his final game as a Husky.

"Guys have had pride in being a Husky and representing this University and that's what Venoy has,'' Romar said. "He has a lot of pride and loves this University.''

BROCKMAN ON HAWES: I also asked Brockman what he thought about the decision of Spencer Hawes to declare for the NBA Draft. The two are close friends and Brockman had held out hope that Hawes wouldn't declare.

"I think it was kind of something that I knew was going to happen because of his attitude coming in and the hype he had coming in and everyone talking about him,'' Brockman said. "But I think he's doing it the right way not signing with an agent and keeping his options open. But I kind of knew the NBA was going to be knocking on his door.''

Brockman said he thinks "there is a chance'' that Hawes will still return. "He knows we'd all love to have him back,'' Brockman said.

ROMAR ON HARSHMAN COURT: There's also a note at the bottom of the story about the North practice court being renamed for Marv Harshman. Romar said it's a fitting tribute, saying Harshman is the face of modern Husky basketball, and that the thing he enjoyed most was teaching during practice. "He always says what he misses most is practice,'' Romar said.

April 12, 2007

Overton letter in

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:08 PM

Venoy Overton's LOI has apparently been received and there is expected to be an official announcement shortly.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar will meet the media soon to discuss it so we'll have some of that here later, as well.

UPDATE (3:25 p.m.) --- Romar met the media here a few minutes ago and said the letter is in and Overton is officially a Husky.

Romar spoke about what Overton's skills and said concluded by saying that
"he's even better at winning. That's his best skill --- he really helps you win games.''

Romar also spoke about Overton's attitude, and said "he brings attitude, but in a good way'' and compared him in that regard to Will Conroy and Nate Robinson.
The only caveat now is that Overton still needs a qualifying test score.

UPDATE (3:40 p.m.) --- Here's the entire release on Overton from

SEATTLE -- Venoy Overton, the Class 4A player of the year from the state of Washington, signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Washington, men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar announced Thursday.

Overton averaged 21.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals during his senior season. He registered four 30-point performances.

The 6-foot guard from Seattle led Franklin High School to the 2006 state championship. The Quakers placed third at the state tournament during his senior season, posting a 24-3 record with a perfect 14-0 mark in KingCo Conference play. He twice received the KingCo Most Valuable Player award.

"First and foremost, Venoy is a winner. He brings a winning mentality," Romar exclaimed. "He is a very energetic, hard-nosed guard that enjoys defending and enjoys distributing the ball.

"Venoy is a very good athlete. He just brings more quickness and savvy to our backcourt."

Overton was listed as the No. 25 prospect in the annual Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He is the nation's No. 26 point guard recruit in ratings published by

Overton is the fourth player to commit to the current UW class, joining a trio of athletes who inked their letters of intent in November during the early signing period.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 forward from South Kent (Conn.) School was ranked No. 34 nationally by USA Today and Darnell Gant, a 6-8 forward from Crenshaw (Calif.) High School in Los Angeles was listed 50th by that same publication. Justin Holiday, a 6-6 forward who led Campbell Hall (Calif.) High School to the 2007 state championship, was ranked No. 23 in the Best in the West poll.

"We're extremely pleased with this class," said Romar. "If you want to win big, you are going to have to have those players who have toughness, a winning mentality and talent. I think the guys that we have coming in certainly fit that description."

The quartet 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.

The Huskies are not expected to add any additional recruits during the late signing period that concludes May 16.

Washington completed the 2006-07 campaign with a 19-13 record, capping the regular-season with a 61-51 victory over second-ranked and Final Four qualifier UCLA on March 3. The Huskies finished seventh in the Pac-10 with an 8-10 record.

2007 Washington Men's Basketball Letter of Intent Signees
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Forward, 6-9, 220, Guildford, 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)
Venoy Overton, Guard, 6-0, 165, Seattle, Wash. (Franklin)

Nelson redux

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:10 AM

With the Phil Nelson transfer news now starting to digest, time to address a few other issues it raises:

First, I've gotten a few people wondering whether Nelson was run off to make room for other players. Definitely not the case. UW coach Lorenzo Romar said they had some talks with Nelson the last few days to make sure he really wanted to leave.

Romar said they talked with Nelson not to much to try to change his mind, saying that once someone's mind is made up there's usually no changing it. But more just to "talk through things. We support him in whatever he does.'' But Nelson was apparently set on leaving.

Second, Nelson's depature opens the door now for UW to pursue 6-3 guard Ty Abbott of Phoenix (here's a profile here). From what I understand, UW assistant coach Jim Shaw saw him play last weekend and the Huskies decided to make a late run at him.

Abbott is also considering Arizona State and Washington State after being released from his letter to New Mexico once Ritchie McKay was fired. As my colleague Glenn Kasses of the Spokesman-Review points out in his blog, this could be the first recruiting battle between UW and WSU since the Cougars' resurgence.

But in that regard, it's also fair to point out that WSU has reportedly been in on Abbott a lot longer than the Huskies, with UW apparently regarded as a little of a longshot in this deal. (Also some interesting news in Glenn's blog on WSU taking a trip to Australia, similar to that UW will take to Greece; and on WSU's two players who are transferring. Could be some interesting Mac Hopson-Phil Nelson battles in the Big Sky in the next few years, it sounds like).

Third, as far as I can tell, none of this has anything to do with Venoy Overton. I'm told he has signed his letter, but since it is spring break at Franklin, he doesn't have ready access to a fax machine, so he is simply waiting to deliver it in person, which is expected to happen by Friday. So figure on an official announcement on that in the next few days.

Fourth, for those wondering what Nelson's transfer indicates about the UW program, I'll point out again that transfers have been rare during Romar's tenure of players who figured to have a significant future. I counted seven players who transferred from UW since the day Romar got the job in 2002, but four occurred in the first 18 months or so as the program was getting settled (Erroll Knight, Josh Barnard, C.J. Massingale, Jeffrey Day). Harvey Perry left in December and landed at Idaho and Perry said flatly it was strictly a playing time thing (there have been whispers of some behind-the-scenes stuff there, as well, but the larger point is that he wasn't being counted on for a significant immediate role.). EDIT: To make it clear, referring here only to Perry and the stuff that's been bandied about on here about him expressing unhappiness with his role on the team.

No doubt, however, this is all part of the process of the program taking that next step from the core group of Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, etc., that got it off the ground to establishing that next group that will get it back to that point.

NORTH GYM NAMED FOR HARSHMAN: On another note, hope you saw this today on the school deciding to name the North Gym at Hec Ed after former coach Marv Harshman. I'm told it was a pretty moving scene at the banquet Wednesday night when Romar made the presentation to Harshman.

April 11, 2007

Nelson transferring

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:21 PM

Washington is proving not to be immune to all the player movement that has happened elsewhere in the Pac-10 in recent days as we have confirmed tonight that Phil Nelson is transferring, likely headed to Portland State.

Here's the story that will be appearing shortly on our website and in the paper:

Phil Nelson, a 6-7 forward who just completed his freshman season at Washington, has decided to transfer, Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar confirmed Wednesday night.

Nelson, a native of Keizer, Ore., is likely headed to Portland State, which is coached by former Husky assistant Ken Bone, Romar said.

"His familiarity with Coach Bone helped with that, and it's close to his home,'' Romar said. "Coach Bone does a lot of the same things we do, so it will be a comfortable place for him.''

Nelson played in 31 of UW's 32 games this season, averaging 4.7 points, and started nine straight at mid-season.

But his playing time fell off at the end of the season and he did not score in seven of UW's last 10 games, concluding with a scoreless two-minute effort in the finale against Washington State in the Pac-10 Tournament.

Romar, however, said playing time wasn't necessarily the issue.

"He played,'' Romar said. "Sometimes guys just want a change.''

Nelson's departure means that half of Washington's highly-acclaimed 2006 recruiting class, judged by as the No. 3 class in the country, could already be gone.

Center Spencer Hawes announced last week that he is declaring for the NBA draft, though he hasn't hired an agent and could return to school pending what he hears from scouts about his prospects. (Guard Adrian Oliver and swingman Quincy Pondexter were the other two in the class).

Nelson is only the second UW player signed by Romar to play at the school and then transfer, both this year. Freshman guard Harvey Perry left in December and is now at Idaho.

"As the talent level increases and you have talent in more numbers, sometimes these things begin to happen,'' Romar said. "It is unfortunate, but it is not uncommon that it happens.''

Nelson was regarded as one of the top shooters in the country during his senior year at McNary High School and chose UW after also considering the likes of Gonzaga and Georgia Tech and was rated the No. 12 prospect in the Best in the West poll by the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

He struggled with his shot this season, however, making 24-82 three-pointers (29.3 percent). He scored a career-high 16 points in his first start at home against Arizona on Jan. 4 but hit double figures just twice the rest of the way.

Though Romar said playing time wasn't the sole issue, Nelson might have been swayed by what looms as a logjam on UW's perimeter.

UW lost only two players to graduation (and could lose Hawes), with everyone else expected back, including two guards who sat out this season ---- Stanford transfer Tim Morris and the injured Joel Smith. Smith redshirted this season after suffering a stress fracture and now has two more years of eligibility.

The Huskies also signed 6-6 swingman Justin Holiday in November, and are expecting a letter-of-intent this week from Franklin point guard Venoy Overton. Both are expected to be members of the 2007-08 Huskies.

Nelson is still enrolled at UW and will finish the school year at Washington before leaving.

"Whenever you lose some of your family, it's tough,'' Romar said. "But we have a team of guys here and guys with experience that will be returning like Tim Morris and Joel Smith who will be there, so we have to move on.''

MORE COMMENT --- This also could take care of any scholarship logjam the Huskies had for next season, though interestingly enough, the Huskies may make quick use of the sudden vacancy.

UW is reported to be getting a visit next weekend from guard Ty Abbott. Here's a report on Abbott's recruitment.

Abbott is a 6-3 guard from Phoenix who was headed to New Mexico before getting out of his letter when Ritchie McKay was fired. If Abbott signs and Hawes comes back, the numbers can still work if Morris switches to walk-on status.

As for Nelson, as Romar said, these things happen, as has been in much evidence around the Pac-10 lately. Chamberlain Oguchi left Oregon last week, five guys left Oregon State earlier this week, and it was announced earlier today that Mac Hopson and Chris Matthews are leaving WSU.

Nelson had apparently been contemplating this since the end of the season. He evidently bade his official farewell to his teammates at the team banquet tonight, though he's expected to remain on campus through the end of the quarter.

Nelson was not available for comment tonight.

Brockman dominates team awards

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:22 PM

The Huskies held their annual men's basketball banquet tonight, the time when it announces its yearly awards.

Here's the release from the school detailing who won what:

SEATTLE -- Sophomore Jon Brockman collected five team awards, including the KJR Radio Most Valuable Player trophy at the annual Washington men's basketball banquet, Wednesday at Bank of America Arena.

Brockman (Snohomish, Wash./Snohomish) was a first-team All-Pac selection. The 6-7 forward led all Pac-10 players with an average of 9.6 rebounds per game. His 15 double-doubles led the conference. Brockman ranked third among Pac-10 players in field goal percentage (55.0%) and 12th in scoring (14.2 ppg).

Along with the team's MVP honor, Brockman received the Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award and the Wurster Award that recognizes UW's top hustler. He also was honored with the Most Improved Player award and the Harshman Trophy as UW's top rebounder.

Another multiple-trophy winner was freshman center Spencer Hawes (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep) who collected the 101 Club Scholar-Athlete plaque and the Playmaker of the Year Award.

Hawes led the team and ranked 10th among Pac-10 scorers with a 14.9-point average. His 53.2-percent accuracy from the field was the league's fourth-best figure. The 7-foot center was a first-team All-Pac-10 Freshman Team selection and an honorable mention all-conference pick. He established two new school freshman records with 461 points and 54 blocked shots.

The team's hardest worker was junior Ryan Appleby (Stanwood, Wash./Stanwood), who was the recipient of the Industrial Award. Appleby established a new school record for 3-pointers in a season with 84. That was 60 more treys than any other Husky made.

Sophomore center Artem Wallace (Toledo, Wash./Toledo) was recognized as the team's best defensive player as the winner of the John Meyers Award.

The Hec Edmundson Most Inspirational award was presented to red-shirt freshman center Joe Wolfinger (Portland, Ore./Aloha) who missed the entire season with a foot injury.

A pair of seniors garnered the remaining team awards. Hans Gasser (Issaquah, Wash./Issaquah) received the Coaches Award, signifying the player with the best attitude. For the fourth straight season, Brandon Burmeister (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) received the Brandon West Award that honors the team's top walk-on.

Washington completed the 2007 campaign with a 19-13 record, capping the regular-season with a 61-51 victory over second-ranked and Final Four qualifier UCLA on March 3. The Huskies finished seventh in the Pac-10 with an 8-10 record.

2007 Washington Men's Basketball Team Awards
KJR Most Valuable Player -- Jon Brockman
Hec Edmundson Most Inspirational -- Joe Wolfinger
Harshman Trophy (top rebounder) -- Jon Brockman
Wurster Award (top hustler) -- Jon Brockman
Tyee Sports Council Community Service -- Jon Brockman
Brandon West Walk-On Award -- Brandon Burmeister
Most Improved Player -- Jon Brockman
Playmaker of the Year Award -- Spencer Hawes
Industrial Award -- Ryan Appleby
101 Club Scholar-Athlete -- Spencer Hawes
John Meyers Defensive Player -- Artem Wallace
Coaches Award -- Hans Gasser

WSU loses two

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:47 PM

It's apparently Movin' Time around the Pac-10 as Washington State announced today that two players are leaving its program, a day after Oregon State announced the departure of five players.

According to a WSU press release today, sophomore guards Mac Hopson and
Chris Matthews have been granted releases and will transfer at the end of the semester.

Hopson appeared in 21 games, including seven starts,for the Cougars in
2006-07. The Portland, Ore., native averaged 4.2 points and 16.0 minutes per game. Mathews, a two-year member of the WSU men's basketball program, came off the bench in 17 games and averaged 3.7 points and 11.5 minutes per outing.

Kent staying at Oregon

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:01 PM

The Ernie Kent rumor mill can come to rest for a while as the coach has agreed to a new five-year contract with Oregon.

Here's the official release from the school with the details:

EUGENE, Ore. --- University of Oregon director of athletics Pat Kilkenny and men's basketball coach Ernie Kent have reached an agreement in principle on a new five-year contract that will keep Kent at his alma mater through the 2011-12 season.

Kent's total guaranteed annual compensation will be $1 million. His annual university salary will remain at $150,000, which is included in his guaranteed base contract that has been increased to $800,000, from $650,000. Supplemental compensation will account for an additional $200,000, adding up to the $1 million total.

In addition, performance incentives, such as postseason wins, could push the net worth of the deal to nearly $1.3 million annually.

For the 2006-07 scholastic year, Kent will earn an estimated $897,000, which breaks down to the $650,000 guaranteed base, $148,000 compensation from season ticket sales and $89,000 in performance bonuses related to the team's showings in the Pac-10 and NCAA tournaments. The compensation from season ticket sales, which was not guaranteed in the previous contract, is guaranteed in the new deal at a minimum of $150,000.

The contract also contains a clause stipulating the guaranteed payment of $1 million if the University terminates the contract prior to its expiration. Kent does not have a buy-out clause in the contract, should he leave the University before the end of 2011-12 season.

Oregon is coming off one of the best seasons in school history. The Ducks were 29-8, winning 29 games for just the third time in school history and advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight for the second time this decade. In addition, Oregon is one of only 15 schools nationally to advance to two NCAA Regional Finals this decade (Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA).

In his 10 years at Oregon, Kent, 52, has posted a 193-120 record (.617) and ranks second all-time in wins at Oregon to Hall of Fame coach Howard Hobson, who won 212 games in 11 seasons. Overall in his 16-year head coaching career, Kent has a 283-200 record (.586).

COMMENT: So it looks like there will be no coaching changes in the Pac-10 this season with both Kent and Tony Bennett agreeing to extensions, and everyone else staying put.

Jones gets first start for 76ers

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:25 AM

Bobby Jones got his first NBA start for the 76ers last night, and helped the team beat Indiana.

Jones had four points and five rebounds in 25 minutes, but as this story reports that Jones "played well defensively'' which sounds like the Jones we all know.

April 10, 2007

Big changes in Corvallis

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:34 PM

Not only will the Beavers be welcoming C.J. Giles next season, but they've said goodbye to five other players, including mercurial forward Sasa Cuic.

You can read the full release here from the school's athletic department stating that Cuic is electing to begin a pro career overseas while guard Angelo Tsagarakis and center Liam Hughes will graduate and transfer to lower-division schools, and that guard Wesley Washington has run into academic problems and won't be back.

Also, guard Vojin Svilar is returning to his native Serbia.

I named Cuic the most disappointing player in the Pac-10 in this space earlier this year as I always thought he had a lot more ability than his performance indicated. None of the others are big losses, though Tsagarakis will always have a minor place in Husky lore as he scored 18 points in the memorable 2004 game in Corvallis when UW rallied from a 16-point deficit to begin the program's turnaround.

Turnover of this level isn't all that common, however, and indicates that the pressure is on in Corvallis for coach Jay John to begin turning things around. He'll be in his sixth season next year and has yet to lead OSU to a winning conference record.

April 9, 2007

Cal's Hardin declares for draft

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:37 PM

Cal junior center DeVon Hardin, who missed the entire conference season after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, announced today he is declaring for the NBA Draft. Here's the official release.

But like Spencer Hawes, he said he won't hire an agent and could return.

I don't think this will do much to impact Hawes' ultimate decision, however, as Hardin isn't held in quite the same light by NBA scouts.

Hardin becomes the third Pac-10 underclassmen to officially declare for the draft, the others being Hawes and Marcus Williams of Arizona. Williams said he will hire an agent, meaning he can't return.

Here's a list from of players who have declared and those who are still considering it.

Oregon State unveils new look

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:31 PM

In lieu of having no Husky basketball news today, thought I'd pass along this story that I missed last week on Oregon State announcing that its athletic logo will no longer include the U at the end.

Instead, OSU will now be known simply as OS on its athletic jerseys.

One reason, apparently, is to differentiate the school from Ohio State and Oklahoma State, which also go by OSU, though I wonder just how many people have really been confusing the athletic programs of Ohio State and Oregon State through the years.

And I can already hear the taunts of opposing fans (especially those of the basketball variety) that you can't spell loss without OS.

Here's a Corvallis Gazette-Times columnist who thinks the attempt to create a new identity is "hogwash'' with some accompanying fan comments revealing that Beaver Nation may be a little split on the whole deal.

April 7, 2007

Tough break for Harvey Perry

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:13 PM

When Harvey Perry left Washington last December, two of the biggest reasons he then decided to transfer to Idaho were his ties to Vandal assistant coach DeMarlo Slocum and incoming recruit Andre McFarland.

Slocum had coached both McFarland and Perry at the AAU level in Las Vegas.

Now, according to this from Jim Meehan at the Spokesman-Review, Slocum and McFarland are both leaving Idaho, with Slocum headed for a job at Colorado State and McFarland apparently following him there after being released from his letter of intent.

Meehan writes that Perry is apparently going to stay at Idaho. But this can't be the way Perry hoped his Idaho career would begin.

Wrapping it up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:39 AM

A Saturday morning potpourri:

--- Here's more from the Long Beach Press Telegram on the decision by Long Beach State to pass on Cameron Dollar and instead hire Dan Monson. LBSU athletic director Vic Cegles says Dollar's violations at UW in 2002 had nothing to do with the decision and that Dollar will be "a star in this business'' but that for now, Monson was a better fit. Time, obviously, will tell.

--- As we reported here before but which is again relevant, Long Beach State will play at UW next season, meaning we'll all get to again ponder what might have been had Monson accepted the Huskies job in 2002 instead of Lorenzo Romar. And get an early indication if the 49ers are better off with Monson than they might have been with Dollar.

--- Speaking of the schedule, UW apparently needs just one more home game before finalizing its 2007-08 schedule. But UW is also still waiting to hear official word that it will host the opening rounds of the preseason NIT, as is expected. So don't count on seeing an official schedule until all of that is cleared up, which could still be a little while.

--- With LBSU finally making a decision, things around the Huskies are beginning to settle. The spring letter of intent period starts next week and the Huskies are expected to sign Venoy Overton and nobody else (the other three incoming players signed in November). That will leave the roster at 14 scholarship players not including Spencer Hawes, whom it's probably best to consider as gone for now. But as we've detailed before, UW can get to the limit of 13 if Tim Morris moves to walk-on status, as has been agreed on if necessary. At this time, everybody else on the current roster is expected back next year.

--- And speaking of Hawes, his final decision doesn't figure to come for a while. He can't do any official workouts until the Orlando pre-draft camp, which begins May 29. He'll then embark on what figures to be a whirlwind three weeks, as he can conduct individual workouts following that camp until the June 18 deadline to officially declare or pull out and return to college. Until May 29, Hawes will be working out on his own, while also still doing some informal things with his UW teammates, preparing for Orlando.

April 6, 2007

Monson to Long Beach State

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:45 PM

For now, anyway, the Washigton Huskies won't have to worry about replacing Cameron Dollar as an assistant coach.

Long Beach State today hired Dan Monson as head coach, a job Dollar had interviewed for twice and was considered one of the leading candidates.

Dollar had hoped to get a chance at his first Division I head coaching job, but as he's said many times before, he's more than happy at Washington.

"It's all about trying to find that right fit,'' said Dollar.

As of now, Dollar isn't in the mix for any other head coaching jobs, so expect him back for another year with the Huskies.

After getting the word Friday night that he wasn't going to get the LBSU job, he was on a flight, ready to go do some more recruiting for the Huskies.

UPDATE --- Here's an story on the Monson hiring.

Oregon's Oguchi to transfer

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:39 PM

There had been rumors of this for the past two seasons and it's finally come to pass as Oregon guard Chamberlain Oguchi announced today he's transferring.

Oguchi came to Oregon as part of the Ducks' heralded 2004 recuriting class but never seemed to really find his role in Eugene, other than the night he shot the Huskies out of the Pac-10 Conference tournament last year, the same night Aaron Brooks clubbed Ryan Appleby. Not sure how much this really hurts the Ducks since his career seemed stalled there, though it seemed realistic to think he would help fill in the scoring void that will be created by the departure of Brooks.

Here's the official release from the Oregon athletic department:

Junior guard Chamberlain Oguchi announced Friday that he will transfer from the University of Oregon to a yet-to-be determined college. The University has granted his request for release.

"It is unfortunate when players transfer from your program, but at the same time, we recognize that Champ wants to find an opportunity that is better suited for him and his career goals and we understand that," said Oregon coach Ernie Kent. "Champ has been an important part of what we've accomplished here the last three years and we wish him the utmost success in the future."

Oguchi played in 32 games in 2006-07, starting 10. He averaged 4.8 points per game and was one of the better free throw shooters on the team at 84.6 percent. He scored a season-high 25 points in Oregon's 85-42 win over UC Irvine. Had then grabbed six rebounds in the 57-50 upset win at No. 18 Georgetown before suffering a severely sprained left ankle during the first half that caused him to miss the next five games.

For his three-year career, Oguchi scored 571 points in 86 games, averaging 6.6 per game. He made 115 three-pointers and shot 31.9 percent from beyond the arc.

--- On another note, to answer the question on Will Conroy and his future, I think Will has a long playing career ahead of him so I don't think it's realistic to think he'll be joining the UW staff anytime soon.

Clippers give Conroy another chance.

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:35 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed former Husky Will Conroy for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, the Sonics and Clippers don't play anymore this season, so we won't get any more chances to see him here. But the Clippers do have a good chance to make the playoffs, which could give Conroy that much more of an opportunity to make a name for himself.

Monson back in LB picture

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:40 AM

Here's more on the Long Beach State situation from Frank Burlison of the Long Beach Press-Telegram as he writes that Dan Monson is getting another interview.

That comes in the wake of the decision of Kerry Keating on Thursday to take the Santa Clara job instead of LBSU.

UW assistant Cameron Dollar remains in the picture. But Burlison writes that Dollar's involvement in some recruiting violations at UW in 2002 could be hindering his getting an offer.

Here, also, is a column by our Bud Withers
on the announcement by Spencer Hawes Thursday to explore his NBA draft options. Bud got a little of the same vibe I did Thursday --- that while Hawes left the door open to return, it felt an awful lot like goodbye.

Here's an updated look at the draft landscape from Hoopshype.

April 5, 2007

Dollar still waiting

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:43 PM

As several of you have already pointed out, Kerry Keating took the Santa Clara job today, and passed on the Long Beach State job.

Here's a story that indicates one reason Keating passed on the LBSU job was worry over what the NCAA might do about recruiting violations committed by the former staff.

That would seem to open the door for Cameron Dollar, who has generally been mentioned as the other leading candidate for the job.

Dollar has interviewed twice for the job, which indicates he's pretty interested in it. So for now, the wait goes on.

More on Hawes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:31 PM

Just to make sure you see it, here's a link to our online story on the announcement today by Spencer Hawes that he will declare for the draft, but won't hire an agent so he will have the option to return to school.

By the tone of Hawes' comments, he isn't doing this just to get an opinion on his game so he can find out what he needs to work on next season in college. After listening to him speak, and reviewing his comments in writing that story, I don't think there's any question he's looking at playing in the NBA next season if it makes any sense at all. And since it probably will, I think there's a good chance today was goodbye for Hawes.

There's a reason, after all, the Huskies had committed themselves to as many as 15 scholarships for next season. This was one of the things they knew would probably happen. Today was the first step. But it hasn't happened often that a guy in the position of Hawes declares and then comes back --- that's usually borderline guys, and not probable lottery guys like Hawes.

Hawes to declare, without agent

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:01 PM

Spencer Hawes said today what was expected --- that he will declare for the draft but won't hire an agent so he can return to college if he wants.

Hawes, however, said for now his focus is on preparing for the draft.

"My goal has been to go to the NBA growing up,'' he said.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said the decision was no surprise, that the Huskies new the minute Hawes signed that this could happen. "The rule was put in for this very reason so he can go out and see what the experts think,'' Romar said.

Hawes said he will attend the pre-draft camp in Orlando on May 29 and then will be able to conduct individual workouts. The deadline to pull out is June 18.

Hawes said the situation he may find himself in is more important than simply his draft number in determining how he will make his ultimate decision.

We'll have more on-line a little later.

Big day today

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:07 AM

Figures to be lots happening on Montlake today.

First, there is a press conference to kick off spring football that will include Tyrone Willingham, some of the assistants, and key players.

Then, Spencer Hawes will meet with the media to discuss his intentions for the future with all indications remaining that he will say he's declaring, but likely without hiring an agent yet --- there's really no need to hire an agent this early in the process.

Also, Cameron Dollar may still be in the running for the Long Beach State job.

Rumors, and at least one internet story, have circulated saying that the school offered the job to UCLA assistant Kerry Keating. But word this morning is that Keating may turn the job down. Whether that means Dollar then gets the job is unclear. The two have been portrayed as the two main candidates.

Here's an update on that a few hours ago from the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Then tonight, there is a memorial service at Edmundson Pavilion for Jessie Stair, the stepdaugher of UW announcer Bob Rondeau and an avid fan of the Husky basketball team. I wrote about that a little bit in today's paper, but here's some more.

Stair suffered a rare brain disease as a small child and was rendered non-verbal. She had just turned 20 two months ago, far longer than doctors expected her to live, Rondeau said, before dying March 27 of what were termed natural causes.

Rondeau said that Stair would adopt a Huskies player each year to be her favorite --- including the likes of Jamie Booker, Todd MacCulloch, Thalo Green, Nate Robinson and Jon Brockman --- often wearing that player's jersey to games. She was wearing Brockman's jersey when she died.

"We could not leave the arena until Jessie's player came out and said hello to her,'' Rondeau said. "She would just not allow that. And all of those guys were really, really great that way.''

Said UW coach Lorenzo Romar: "She always had a smile on her face.''

Rondeau recalled MacCulloch and much of his family showing up at a surprise birthday party for Jessie one year, saying "it absolutely blew her mind'' that MacCulloch was there.

This year, her birthday fell on the day the Huskies beat Oregon at home. Following the game, Brockman emerged from the locker room with a big bouquet of flowers and a stuffed toy. "It brought the house down,'' Rondeau said. "It was absolutely sensational.''

Rondeau said that given her love of Husky basketball, there was little doubt but to have her memorial service at Hec Ed.

April 4, 2007

Hawes announcement Thursday

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:10 PM

I wrote today (Wednesday) that Spencer Hawes was due to soon discuss his plans for the future.

Hawes, I'm told, will do that on Thursday.

As I wrote today, almost everyone expects Hawes to announce that he will declare but won't hire an agent, which will give him the option of returning. The deadline to pull out of the draft is June 18. By declaring, Hawes can conduct some workouts to get a more clear evaluation of his draft status. Players can do that and still return to school once during their college careers.

RIVALS REVEALS RANKINGS: I've passed along a few projections of next year's pre-season rankings. Here's one from that takes the interesting route of deciding not to assume any players are gone to the NBA except for those who have already declared.

Rivals lists UW at No. 22 assuming that Hawes will be back.

Still, don't know how they don't include Washington State in the top 25. The Cougs lose Ivory Clark but return everyone else, and I'm almost certain will be a top 15 team heading into next season.

Jeff Goodman picks UW 19th

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:22 PM

There are a spate of stories today trying to guess the pre-season polls for next year --- including our own, which I posted here earlier today --- and here's the first one I've seen that includes the Huskies.

Jeff Goodman at has UW 19th though he kind of seems to be assuming that Spencer Hawes is coming back and also makes a minor error in stating that the Huskies need Justin Dentmon to "return to the form he displayed as a sophomore.''

Even Dentmon would admit that's the last thing the Huskies need.

Obviously Goodman is referring to Dentmon's freshman season.

He has UCLA, USC, WSU and Oregon all listed ahead of UW in the poll.

On Hawes, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:32 AM

I wrote this update today on the future of Spencer Hawes.

Essentially, he is expected to say by the end of the week what he is going to do, and most think he is going to declare for the draft but not hire an agent. That means he can go through pre-draft workouts but still retain the option of returning to UW.

At the bottom of the story is the latest on Cameron Dollar's involvement in the Long Beach State job. Dollar and UCLA assistant Kerry Keating are apparently the two favorites for the job with a decision expected any day.

Also in our paper today is this column by Bud Withers speculating that the Pac-10 could be the top conference in the country next season. Bud and I also combined on what we see as a possible top 25 ranking heading into next season.

April 3, 2007

SI writer says Hawes should stay, will go

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:20 PM

As part of their day-after coverage of the NCAA Tournament, has a story speculating on what underclassmen should do, and will do, concerning the NBA.

Author B.J. Schecter posits that Spencer Hawes should stay because he could be a top five pick with another year's experience, but concludes that Hawes is likely to go.

He also ruminates on several other Pac-10 players, the most interesting of which is speculating that Oregon's Malik Hairston will go. That doesn't seem to be the conventional wisdom in Eugene, where most of the stuff I've seen has indicated he's likely staying.

There's also this story from Luke Winn, speculating on a possible pre-season ranking for next season, with UCLA at No. 2. He lists six Pac-10 teams in all, with no mention of the Huskies, which I guess could be looked at as saying he doesn't think UW will be any better than at least No. 7 in the conference next season.

April 2, 2007

So where does Florida rank now?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:52 PM

As we predicted here earlier today, Florida won it all again tonight, and did so with relative ease.

So now the question is, where does Florida rank in the annals of college basketball history?

Obviously, nothing will ever compare to the UCLA dynasty.

But since then, only the Duke teams of 1991-92 have been able to repeat as a national champion, making those two the best since then. (UCLA last repeated as a champ in 1973, the end of its seven straight titles, with its last title in that era coming in 1975).

And really, that makes Duke and Florida the best of the modern era of college basketball. During the heart of the UCLA dynasty, only 16 teams were invited to the tournament and the Bruins had to win only four games to claim the title.

In my mind, those Duke teams were better than this Florida team. En route to winning its first national title in 1991, Duke had to beat a UNLV team generally regarded as maybe the best in the history of the game until it lost to the Blue Devils. Duke beat UNLV in the semis before beating Kansas in the national title game.

Then Duke walloped the Fab Five Michigan team --- unquestionably one of the most memorable in the history of the game --- to repeat in 1992.

I think beating teams like that is a little more impressive than beating UCLA teams starting Lorenzo Mata at center (much as I truly appreciate Mata's game).

And in general, I just think the overall quality was a little better in those days than it is now, even if the new rule requiring the likes of Greg Oden to at least go to college for a year helped make it better this year.

But I'd be interested in hearing what you think.

Two other quick thoughts:

--- Why does Sam Ryan always act as if the losing coach just suffered a great personal tragedy in those post-game interviews? Sure, it's sad Thad Matta lost and all, but it's still just a basketball game. Spare us the stuff about how great it is that he consents to an interview in such a difficult time, or however it is she always phrases it. It's part of his job and should be treated as such. Save the Nobels for someone who deserves them.

--- Whatever Joakim Noah was having during his interview after the game, I want some. Maybe it was just me, but it looked like Billy Donovan was reaching to take the microphone away from Noah as he rambled on about the "people in Gainesville'' knowing what he's talking about. I'm not sure anyone else had a clue.

Florida to win it all tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:05 PM

I hope I've proven to be upfront enough on these blogs about pointing out when I've been wrong that you'll indulge me also noting when I may have been right.

In November, in my first ballot of the season for the AP writer's poll, I had Florida No. 1 and Ohio State No. 2. Not brain surgery to figure that out, to be sure, but still ....

And tonight, I think that's how it will unfold as I fully expect Florida to beat Ohio State with relative ease and become only the second team since 1973 to win back-to-back NCAA titles (Duke did it in 1991-1992).

I think it'll be along the lines of 81-68 with Florida's greater depth and experience everywhere eventually making the difference.

The bigger story tonight, however, is the fact that Ohio State and Florida each made it to the title games for both football and basketball.

I agree with much of what Pat Forde of wrote here today that this could be the beginning of the really big-time programs simply taking over college athletics. Money isn't everything in sports, as the Oakland A's have shown, but it sure betters the odds for success.

And as Forde further notes, the days when some schools considered themselves only "football schools'' or "basketball schools'' are over. The big ones see they can be good in both with enough effort (and cash), which figures to only further distance them from the mid-majors.

Nice as George Mason's run to the Final Four last year was to watch, I don't think it was quite the coming-out party for the mid-majors as some liked to think, but rather a fluke that may look even more incredible a decade or so from now, when the big powers will likely be lording over college sports with an even firmer grip.

By the way, figured I'd open myself up to further abuse by reprising the rest of my pre-season poll.

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

I vastly overrated Arizona, LSU, Duke, Alabama, Washington and Hofstra, but redeemed myself with my mention of Oregon --- that was the only vote the Ducks got in the pre-season poll.

Overton struggles in All-Star game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:11 AM

UW recruit Venoy Overton of Franklin --- he has committed to the Huskies and will sign later this spring --- didn't have a real memorable outing in the Les Schwab Northwest Shootout over the weekend, a game pitting all-star teams from Washington and Oregon.

Overton scored just four points and was disqualified with six fouls, the final being a technical, early in the second half. Here's our story that appeared on-line today.

And here's a live blog from that details exactly what happened with Overton. As the blog details, Overton was whistled for an offensive foul, then apparently picked up a fifth foul and an intentional foul, which was apparently deemed a technical, and fouled out.

Washington won the game 96-82 with Gonzaga signee Steven Gray of Bainbridge scoring 20 points to win MVP honors. However, as the stories point out, Oregon didn't have the services of the two best players in the state, Kevin Love and Kyle Singler, as they had already committed to the maximum two all-star games elsewhere.

Vitale pumps Dollar for job

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:04 AM

Other than Spencer Hawes' NBA decision, the other still-undefined issue surrounding the Huskies is whether Cameron Dollar will be back as an assistant.

Dollar interviewed for the head coaching job at Long Beach State last week, and until the 49ers hire someone, remains in the running for the job.

Here's a story from Frank Burlison at the Long Beach Press-Telegram stating that a decision could come "early this week'' and again listing the four known candidates --- Dollar, UCLA assistant Kerry Keating, USC assistant Gib Arnold and former Gonzaga and Minnesota coach Dan Monson.

Burlison then notes that ESPN analyst Dick Vitale apparently called LBSU athletic director Vic Cegles recently to recommend Dollar. (I can already hear the jokes about the irony in that considering it often appears the guys on ESPN don't even know the Pac-10 plays basketball.)

And it definitely sounds as if Dollar has a lot of friends out there. Here's another column from the Press-Telegram a few days ago, this one from Bob Keisser, stating that "Cegles has received more references and recommendations for Dollar than anyone.''

April 1, 2007

Denver Post says Hawes "leading toward'' draft

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:13 PM

Marc J. Spears of the Denver Post, in his weekly news and notes from around the NBA column, writes today that Spencer Hawes is one of several underclassmen said to be "leaning toward'' entering the draft.

I'm assuming that's what Spears is gleaning from the NBA side of things.

That jibes with much of what we are hearing. As we reported here last week, Hawes expects to meet with UW coach Lorenzo Romar early this week to discuss his future, with the conventional wisdom being that he is likely to declare for the draft, but without hiring an agent.

That would allow him to participate in tryout camps, go through workouts, etc., but with the option of returning to college. As we noted here last week, Hawes is enrolled for the spring semester and has been attending informal team workouts.

For what it's worth,, in its latest mock draft, has Hawes going No. 7.