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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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July 31, 2007

Good Nate Robinson interview

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:07 PM

Thanks to a reader for passing along this interview with Nate Robinson from Knicks.com.

As would be expectedm, it concentrates on his current pro career so there's nothing on his days at UW.

Among the highlights is Robinson saying he has a new hairstyle, apparently having put it in braids. Be intersting to see that.


July 29, 2007

Vitale honors Brockman

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:03 AM

Have no idea if this is really old or not, but saw this about Dick Vitale naming Jon Brockman to his All-Rolls Royce second team for next year.

Vitale writes of Brockman that: Washington may not get a lot of press but Brockman is going to be legit for them this season and anchor their front line.

Not exactly a lot of insight there, but hard to argue with it.

The Pac-10 is well-represented on Vitale's list with Arizona's Chase Budinger also on the second team, Stanford's Brook Lopez and UCLA's Darren Collison on the third team and UCLA's Josh Shipp on the fifth team.

INTERESTING COACHING NEWS OUT OF EWU: This is also a few days old, but between football media day in LA and hydros in the Tri-Cities, I haven't had the usual time to get at all this stuff.

But wanted to pass this along from Dave Trimmer's blog at the Spokesman-Review about Eastern Washington coach Kirk Earlywine showing some interest in the Ball State job.

Earlywine, if you recall, got the job at EWU earlier this spring instead of several other candidates, including UW assistant Jim Shaw. Word later seemed to be that Shaw and others who were interviewed were mostly window dressing as EWU AD Michael Westfall had his sights set on Earlywine from the beginning ---- the two have a long relationship.

July 28, 2007

A few notes and comments

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:28 AM

Some good comments on the previous thread about my prospective All-Pac-10 team for next season, although just for the record, I was not on mushrooms when I put it together.

And please, no Josh Heytvelt jokes.

I'll respond to a few of the comments:

--- I thought about O.J. Mayo and I figure he'll make a big impact at USC. But I like the chances of Kevin Love being able to be more of an immediate factor due to his size and the fact that I think he'll have an easier time adapting with a lot of other talent around him. But as I wrote, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Mayo makes one of the teams by season's end.

--- I gave Tajuan Porter serious consideration, and close readers of this blog will remember I was one of his bigger supporters last season. But it will be interesting to see how well Porter adapts this season to not having Aaron Brooks beside him. I've heard Ernie Kent say he expects opponents to put a lot more of their defensive focus on Porter this season and Porter will have to make adjustments. Also, if Malik Hairston is healthy from day one, he could take up some of Brooks' scoring slack, which means Porter's numbers won't necessarily increase. I expect Porter to have a good year, but for now, I figure all the Oregon vets may be better-positioned to have standout years.

--- One of you asked about a Coach of the Year candidate. How about Arizona State's Herb Sendek? At the moment, I'd probably pick ASU ninth. But I also think the Sun Devils could make a huge leap with the return of just about everybody, and the infusion of a lot of good talent.

--- Speaking of ASU, several of you wrote that I should have at least included James Harden on the "guys who almost made it list'' and you're right, I should have. So let's consider him officially included as of now.

RECRUITING UPDATE: Between football and some other duties, haven't been able to keep as close an eye on basketball recruiting as I'd like. But it has been widely reported this week that highly-regarded forward Terrence Jennings is still seriously considering UW.

According to this story, Jennings has narrowed his list to Washington, Kentucky and Maryland. Jennings is a 6-10 forward from Mt. Zion in Durham, N.C., but is a native of Sacramento and has played this summer with UW recruit Isaiah Thomas, apparently striking up a solid friendship with the former Curtis High standout.

UW already has three commits for the Class of 2008 but is expected to take at least one more. Yes, that could put UW two over the limit for the 2008-09 season, but as is becoming our mantra on here on that topic, Lorenzo Romar always says he doesn't bring in recruits without knowing that it will all work out somehow. And so far when the Huskies have brought in more players than it appeared they had scholarships for, it always has.

Your speculation on how it could work it is as good as mine --- Quincy Pondexter going pro could be a possibility. Here's a 2009 mock draft from NBADraft.net that has Pondexter going No. 13. Yes, that's two years away, but it also shows that Pondexter still has the eye of the NBA despite some struggles a year ago.


July 25, 2007

A look ahead

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:31 PM

My attention will shift from basketball to football for the next few days as I'm attending Pac-10 media day, as well as taking on a few other duties (namely hydros, an interest since my days growing up in the Tri-Cities).

But I'd like to keep the conversation going here if I can, so I'll give you my projection for the All-Pac-10 Team for next season and welcome your thoughts in the comments section.

As we reported here a few months ago, the conference will change the format for the team next season. Instead of simply naming 10 players for an All-Conference team (or only nine as it turned out last season when not enough received at least 50 percent of the votes), the coaches will instead pick three five-man teams ---- first, second and third.

I'm told they will be selected regardless of position --- the first team could be five centers if those were the five best players, for instance --- so that's what we'll do here, as well.

FIRST TEAM
Darren Collison, UCLA (who is also my pick for Player of the Year)
Chase Budinger, Arizona
Ryan Anderson, Cal
Kyle Weaver, Washington State
Kevin Love, UCLA

COMMENT: I think Collison was pretty close to winning POY honors last year, and as the point guard on the team that will be the pre-season fave to win the Pac-10, and in the top five in the nation, seems a pretty obvious choice. Budinger was good last year and should make a real leap in production with having to pick up the slack with other players gone as well as the benefit of a year of experience. Weaver is the most versatile player in the conference and could be a POY candidate if the Cougars can repeat or top what they did a year ago. Anderson is among the most productive players in the conference and should only be better. Love could be a reach here, but if he's really as good as the hype, sounds as if this is where he'll end up.

SECOND TEAM
Derrick Low
, Washington State
Jon Brockman, Washington
Lawrence Hill, Stanford
Brook Lopez, Stanford
Bryce Taylor, Oregon

COMMENT: Low and Brockman could easily end up on the first team depending on how things work out (in Brockman's case, team success will tell a lot). Hill and Lopez could have Stanford contending for a top three spot this year. Tough call on which of the Oregon seniors to put here, but Taylor seems primed to have the best year statistically.

THIRD TEAM
Malik Hairston
, Oregon
DeVon Hardin, Cal
Maarty Leunen, Oregon
Taj Gibson, USC
Marcel Jones, Oregon State

COMMENT: Hairston could end up a lot higher if he stays healthy --- that he was finally healthy was a big reason the Ducks finished as well as they did a year ago. If healthy, Hardin will be one of the more imposing big men in the conference, if not the nation. Making the Pan Am Games team shows that Leunen may have more in the tank than he displayed at times last season. Gibson is a beast in the middle, and Jones quietly became one of the most productive players in the conference last season.

GUYS WHO ALMOST MADE IT, OR COULD MAKE IT BY MARCH: Quincy Pondexter, Washington; Robin Lopez, Stanford; Anthony Goods, Stanford; Josh Shipp, UCLA (injuries still a concern); Tajuan Porter, Oregon; Jawann McClellan, Arizona; Jeff Pendergraph, Arizona State; Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA; O.J. Mayo, USC; C.J. Giles, Oregon State.

COMMENT: Doing this, I'm struck by how good the Pac-10 really should be this season. The guys on my "almost made it list'' are all probably talented enough to make the first team or second team depending on how things shake out.


AND A NOTE TO MALLORY: You're probably right that I shouldn't bother listing a UW starting lineup by position, since Lorenzo Romar is big on not trying to horseshoe guys into specific positions (trust me that I've heard that explanation a lot through the years). But I figured for the purposes of debate, it made it more clear why I was putting which players in the lineup. UW could have its share of unconventional-looking lineups next year, however, with so much depth in the backcourt and so many players who seem able to play different positions.

July 23, 2007

Answering your questions

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:37 AM

Here's our latest attempt at answering some of the questions and responding to some of the comments posed on here the last few days:

QUESTION: Will you be covering the team's trip to Greece? Is there any TV planned?

ANSWER: No. As some of you have pointed out, that is also the weekend of the UW football team's season opener at Syracuse and I will be there, instead. But I would be surprised if traditional media covers that trip. It's a pretty expensive endeavor for what are exhibition games, and I've never heard of those trips being covered. No one covered WSU's recent trip to Australia and New Zealand, nor did anyone cover Oregon's trip to the Bahamas last year.

But we will cover it as best as we can. UW will practice in town for 10 days prior to leaving, and we will cover as much of that as we can --- that will be a great opportunity to gauge the progress of the likes of Joe Wolfinger, Artem Wallace and Justin Dentmon, who I think are of particular interest this year.

In fact, having that practice, as well as the trip to Greece, should give everyone --- coaches, fans, media --- a much more realistic view of where this team is headed into the season than we had a year ago. Most years, we've had to rely on anecdotal reports or watching off-season workouts, which don't always allow for the best real gauge of anything. This year, we'll have 10 practices, plus the trip itself, to tell us a few things about the team heading into fall camp.

As for TV, I haven't heard of any plans, and again, I'd be really surprised.

QUESTION: Any guess at a starting lineup for next season?

ANSWER: As stated above, one of the great things about the Greece trip is that we'll all get a good sense of where this team is heading into the season, including such things as a possible starting lineup (though it's almost certain coaches will use the trip to experiment a lot, as well).

The incoming freshman cannot make the trip to Greece, but I think only one has a real shot at starting ---- center Matthew Bryan-Amaning. In fact, with Wolfinger still a big question (the Greece trip will tell a lot about where he is) you could make a real good case MBA will start in the middle this year.

That said, as of today, this is what I'd go with:

PG --- Justin Dentmon.
SG --- Ryan Appleby
SF --- Quincy Pondexter
PF --- Jon Brockman
C --- MBA or Artem Wallace.

I think Brockman, Pondexter and Dentmon are just about locks to start, especially the first two. I know there's a lot of concern about Dentmon based on last season, but he appears to be back in optimum shape, and that --- combined with being a year older, and maybe a little more humble --- should make a big difference. I've sense no loss of confidence in Dentmon from UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

The SG spot will be a great battle between Appleby, Joel Smith, Tim Morris, Adrian Oliver and maybe even Venoy Overton, should he get eligible. And based on matchups, it's possible maybe two of those players could start (or one of them could beat out Dentmon, though I think that's unlikely for the reasons stated above).

But no matter who starts, all of those players will see a lot of action as I think UW wants to get back to being more aggressive defensively, especially on the perimeter, due to having more depth back there.

As for the C spot, Wolfinger could also work his way into the mix there. But until he proves he's recovered, I think it's premature to speculate about him starting. Even if recovered, he still hasn't played a collegiate game (obviously, MBA hasn't either, one reason the nod could ultimately go to Wallace).


July 21, 2007

Couple quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:01 PM

Here's a couple of quick updates on Husky summer happenings:

GREECE TRIP UPDATE: The Huskies will leave for their trip to Greece on Aug. 27 and return Sept. 6.

The exact schedule of games, however, hasn't been set yet. ""That's usually the last thing that happens on these trips,'' said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

But Romar said the Huskies are likely to play a few club teams, which will probably include a few American players, as well as a national team.

Romar expects stiff competition and the win-loss record won't really be all that important, necessarily.

"We'll be playing against grown men,'' he said. "We went on a trip like this with UCLA in 1993 (when Romar was an assistant there) and the first game we played, the other team had Roy Tarpley (a well-known former NBA player of that era). It will be tough.''

WOLFINGER UPDATE: Husky center Joe Wolfinger has been out of town the last few weeks, spending some time at his home in Oregon. But he's due to return this week to continue his rehab and begin preparing for the trip to Greece.

Romar said Wolfinger was able to play three-on-three games without a setback before his depature and will now begin playing five-on-five.

"He's doing fine,'' Romar said of Wolfinger, who missed last season with a foot injury.

Romar says the trip to Greece "will be huge'' for Wolfinger as a barometer of just how much he will be able to contribute next season.

July 20, 2007

Breshers talks about commitment

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:09 AM

Got a hold of Tyreese Breshers today who said there is no doubting his commitment to Washington.

"I'm done,'' he said of a recruiting process that saw him initially commit to Miami earlier this month before changing his mind this week and deciding on Washington instead.

Breshers, a Los Angeles native who is a 6-6 forward at Price High School, confirmed what his coach, Mike Lynch, had earlier told reporters --- that he simply began having second thoughts about the distance of Miami from Los Angeles.

"It's kind of too far away from home and my family wouldn't really be able to come to my games, and they've always been coming to my games since I was little, so it would be weird for them not to be able to come to my games,'' he said.

Breshers said he initially picked Miami in part because "I had great relationship with the head coach (Frank Haith). But the program didn't really fit me as I took a look into it after I committed.''

Breshers said Miami coaches "were upset'' when he called them to tell them he was changing his mind.

UW coaches, meanwhile, were ecstatic.

Breshers said UW coach Lorenzo Romar "said he was the happiest man in America'' when Breshers informed him he was changing his mind.

Breshers said the door had been left open at UW even after he committed to Miami.

"They said that I always had a spot, and I believed it,'' Breshers said. "My head coach from high school (Lynch) said if things didn't work out with Miami that Washington would always be there for me.''

Breshers also considered Boston College and Washington State, but if Miami was too far away, so was BC, and Breshers said he wasn't sure he'd be able to adapt to Pullman's small-town environment.

"That just didn't really fit me,'' he said. "I couldn't see myself staying at Washington State.''

As for UW, Breshers said simply that "I liked everything about Washington.''

The 6-6, 260-pounder averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots a game last season for Price High, which is a private school in south central Los Angeles. Breshers said the school has about 70 students, enough to field only an eight-man football team.

Breshers' somewhat unique build has led to some inevitable comparisons to Charles Barkley.

"People always tell me that,'' Breshers said. "I guess it's the fact he can jump and get up and down the court.''

Breshers said he plans to take an official visit to UW sometime this fall, then sign his letter in November.


July 19, 2007

Idiot reporter makes stupid mistake

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:06 AM

And unfortunately, I'm the reporter in question.

As a number of you pointed out, I made a big error in my story today on Tyreese Breshers' change of heart in writing that Seattle is 1,800 miles away from Los Angeles.

As all of you pointed out, the distance is more accurately about 1,150 or so by road, maybe 950 or so by air.

Funny thing is, I know that well, having made that drive maybe 15 times myself --- I used to live and work in Los Angeles (at three different newspapers down there over a span of about seven years) and would make that drive every summer to visit friends and family up here and see a few Mariners games.

Just to give you an idea how a mistake like that happens, I originally wrote "about 1,000 miles'' remembering that distance from my drives and the dozens of times the friendly stewardess has informed me that's how many frequent flier miles I'll earn for my trip.

But I decided I'd check it out, and googled "los angeles seattle distance'' and the first web site that popped up was this one.

As you can see at the bottom, it says "1835'' as the distance, so that's what I typed in (rounding it off just to be a little more general with it).

As you can also see, my fatal error is that the "1835 '' number is kilometers. But I didn't notice that --- and for whatever reason, my own experience in having made that drive a number of times didn't register at that moment.

As I was doing all of this, I got a phone call that turned into a one-hour interview for a story unrelated to any of this.

By then, it was time to give them the story, so I punched the send button and didn't give it another thought until I started checking my e-mail this morning, feeling a little more horrified with each one.

Maybe all of this explains why I got a "C'' on our new Big Brain Academy game on the Wii last night.

Anyway, it's fixed on-line now, and I'll chalk that up as another learning experience while hoping you'll continue to have faith in the reporting on this site here.

July 18, 2007

Brockman says no hard feelings

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:01 PM

Jon Brockman was back in Seattle today after his weekend at the Pan American tryouts in Haverford, Pa.

And while he said he was "a little shocked. A little surprised'' that he was cut from the team, he expressed no lingering resentment.

"I knew that nothing was a sure lock and there were some great players there,'' he said. "It wasn't totally out of nowhere (to be cut) but I would have loved to have made the team.''

It's already been a big topic on this board how Brockman didn't make the team while Oregon's Maarty Leunen did. The two are each power forwards in name, but their games are different, with Leunen better on the perimeter, which probably made the difference in this case.

"That's just the way it is, I guess,'' Brockman said of Leunen's selection. "I guess he brought something that I didn't bring.''

Some on here have wondered if the presence of Oregon coach Ernie Kent on the selection committee might have made a difference.

Brockman said "it could have had something to do with it. It could not have. Who knows?''

Even if it did, however, Brockman said he has no ill will toward anybody.

"I'm not holding a grudge against Ernie Kent or Maarty Leunen,'' Brockman said. "Especially not Maarty Leunen or Bryce Taylor (an Oregon guard who was also at the tryouts). They didn't (select) the team and they had good tryouts and played well and were great players.

"The only motivation I will take from it is to keep working hard and hopefully I will have another opportunity to try out for another USA Basketball team.''

Brockman said he thought he played about as well as he could have, saying he thought he showed a better perimeter game than he has in the past.

"I shot the ball pretty well at the tryouts,'' he said. "I hit a three-pointer and I kind of felt a lot more comfortable on the wing as well as on the inside. I'm just working hard at it, getting a lot of shots up and dribbling. Maybe not making the team and being able to come home and get some more individual work will benefit me.''

Brockman also said he thought he held his own against one of the more well-known players at the tryouts --- Georgetown center Roy Hibbert.

"I thought I played really well against him,'' Brockman said. "I was able to get low on him and push out his hip and just kind of use my quickness around him. It was a good gauge playing against those guys just because they are the best, and you see where you are as a player.''

While the Huskies, Ducks and Cougars are all big rivals, Brockman said that the players from those teams actually all stuck together pretty closely during the tryouts.

"The Pac-10 guys, we kind of hung together as far as eating meals and that knd of stuff,'' he said. "We all kind of laughed a lot and joked with each other about the times we've played against each other.''


More on Breshers

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:45 PM

Just got off the phone a little while ago with Mike Lynch, the high school coach for Tyreese Breshers, who confirmed that Breshers is indeed headed to Washington.

"If he could wear a Husky hat now he would,'' Lynch said with a laugh. "But I won't let him get started that early. ... I've got him for one more season and then he will be a Husky.''

Breshers is a 6-6 power forward from Price High in Los Angeles who had committed to Miami earlier this month.

"He had committed and then the family thought through that commitment and decided it was a little bit premature and decided to think it over,'' Lynch said. "They contacted Miami at that time and let them know that he family wanted to reconsider the whole situation.

"They wanted him closer to home and be on the West Coast and Washington had always been at the top of the list until he came back from that visit to Miami. So upon further thinking and discussing it, they decided that the University of Washington is exactly where they wanted to be.''

As noted below, Breshers will be the third member of the Class of 2008, and speculation is that the Huskies could look to land one more.

Lynch said Breshers averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots last season for Price.

"When we last measured him, he was 6-6, 260 pounds,'' Lynch said. "But we're not talking about an out-of-shape kid. He's a kid that's a good-sized guy who has a great around-the-basket game but for his size is also really athletic and can jump and run. I'd say he's a power player with some finesse.''

Breshers is also said to be a good student, so doesn't sound as if qualifying academically should be an issue.

Huskies get Breshers after all?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:45 AM

Greg Hicks of Scout.com is reporting that forward Tyreese Breshers, one of the more highly-rated post players on the West Coast for the Class of 2008, has changed his mind and will commit to Washington.

Breshers had committed to Miami a few weeks ago after seriously considering UW, among several other schools.

But Hicks reports that the 6-6 power forward from Los Angeles decided after his earlier commitment that he wanted to stay closer to home, then contacted UW coaches and committed to Washington, instead.

Scout.com recently ranked Breshers as the No. 2 power forward on the West Coast for the Class of 2008.

With Breshers apparently in the fold, here's how the roster for that season looks right now.

08-09 roster

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

JUNIORS
C - Joe Wolfinger
F - Quincy Pondexter
G - Adrian Oliver

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

FRESHMEN
G - Isaiah Thomas
G - Elston Turner
F - Tyreese Breshers
TOTAL 14.

Comment: As we all can tell, this now puts UW one over the limit. As we also all should know, UW has been over the limit on signing day every year for the past three years and it has always worked itself out.

July 17, 2007

GoHuskies.com interviews Romar

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:44 AM

The University of Washington's official athletic web site, GoHuskies.com, has an interview with hoops coach Lorenzo Romar previewing the season and the team's trip to Greece.

Nothing earthshattering but Romar again makes the statement that the Huskies didn't slow down the offense last year due as much to the presence Spencer Hawes but more because "we forced less turnovers.'' Fewer turnovers, obviously, means fewer opportunities to get out on fast breaks.

Seth Kolloen, who publishes a good blog about Seattle sports called "Enjoy the Enjoyment,'' is among those intrigued by that statement. You can find his thoughts here.

Loyal readers of this blog may remember that I quoted an anonymous opposing assistant coach as telling me in December that perimeter defense was the biggest difference between the 06-07 Huskies and the teams of the past few years.

The coach told me that the Huskies wouldn't get as many easy points because they didn't have the same type of perimeter defense and couldn't press as well as in the past, something that became apparent as the season wore on.

The stats bore that out, as well, as UW had 175 steals last season compared to 273 the year before while playing just one fewer game. UW also forced just 445 turnovers last season compared to 592 the year before.

Romar doesn't really say it in this interview, but he has said in other interviews that he expects UW to be much better defensively on the perimeter this year due to the return of Joel Smith, the addition of Tim Morris and the expected return-to-form of Justin Dentmon. Adrian Oliver and Quincy Pondexter will also be a year older and presumably that much better on the defensive end.

Improving the perimeter pressure was also a big reason for the signing of Venoy Overton, who would figure to have an immediate presence defensively if he gets eligible. Justin Holiday will also help in this area and the other two new frosh --- Darnell Gant and Matthew Bryan-Amaning --- while each big players are also pretty athletic and should make the Huskies better in this area, as well.

Kolloen wonders if any of this means a reduced role for Ryan Appleby.

I don't think it's necessarily quite that either/or. What I think it means is that UW may go back to having more sm:aller lineups on the floor (Phil Nelson, who also wasn't stellar in this area, is also now gone). His shooting alone will ensure that Appleby will have a big role this season, the place where Nelson's departure will be felt the most.

However, it probably wouldn't be a surprise of Appleby played fewer than the 29.6 minutes per game he got last year --- believe it or not, that was the highest on the team (Dentmon was next at 29.0 and Jon Brockman at 28.8) --- if for not other reason than that all the added depth in the backcourt will mean a wider distribution of minutes.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.: The final roster of 12 has been set for the Pan American Games. Looks like Bryce Taylor didn't make it, but the other three Pac-10 guys did ---- WSU's Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver and, yes, Maarty Leunen. So does this mean Ernie Kent likes Leunen more than he likes Taylor?

Here's the official roster: Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); and D.J. White (Indiana / Tuscaloosa, Ala.).

The other final cut was apparently Texas A&M guard Josh Carter.


July 16, 2007

A few quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:50 PM

As the title implies, here's a hodgepodge of information gleaned in the last few hours:

---- The Huskies will begin practicing for the trip to Greece around Aug. 15 or so. The team is allowed 10 practices, which is one of the major benefits of taking such a trip. The Huskies will be in Greece roughly Aug. 25 to Sept. 4 or so, playing 4-5 games while there. Only returning players can take part, meaning the four incoming freshmen will not make the trip.

---- There's really nothing significantly new to report on Joe Wolfinger. He's continuing on his rehab and while it sounds as if it's going fine, UW coaches continue to say the real litmus test will be how he performs in Greece. That trip will tell a lot about what kind of role he will be able to have this season. (All that said, we'll try to catch up with Wolfinger soon for an update).

--- The contract extension for Lorenzo Romar should be announced in the next week or two. UW officials say everything has been agreed on, it's just a matter of getting the appropriate signatures. Until then, no official details will be released.

--- Talked today to an impartial observer --- somebody who is not affiliated with UW in any way --- who saw two of the Pan Am Games practices, and asked him about the Jon Brockman-Maarty Leunen roster decision. The first thing this person said was "remember that Ernie Kent is on the selection committee.'' So maybe that's a bigger factor than I've allowed for in earlier discussions here, though this person also made clear it's more about selling you own guy than denigrating someone else's player. But this person also said there wasn't a lot of difference in the performance of the two players. "It's so close,'' this person said.

--- Here's an interesting take on that decision from SI.com's Seth Davis, who writes that "for the big men, skills were more important than bulk.'' He then uses Leunen as an example of that thought process. And that, obviously, may explain it all right there why Leunen made the team and Brockman didn't. As others on here have noted, the international game tends to be more finesse-oriented, and obviously, finesse isn't really Brockman's strong suit.

--- Finally, here's an intersting story from the Sacramento Bee on Spencer Hawes, who it sounds like make quite a good impression on the Kings during Summer League play. As the story details, Hawes averaged 16.7 points, making 40-91 shots.

Robinson Summer League MVP

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:25 AM

A little late on this, but still wanted to pass along that Nate Robinson was named the MVP of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Here's a good overview from the New York Post.


July 14, 2007

Brockman said cut from Pan Am team

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:11 PM

Andy Katz at ESPN.com is reporting that the list of finalists for the Pan American Games team has been set and that Jon Brockman has not made the cut.

Here's the story, which includes the observation that Brockman was said to have had his best practice on Saturday of the five the team had conducted, but hadn't done enough earlier in the process to hang on.

Four Pac-10 players were reported to have made the list of 14 finalists --- Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver of Washington State and Maarty Leunen and Bryce Taylor of Oregon.

The team will be cut to its final number of 12 by next weekend.

For Brockman, it apparently means a trip home this week where he can continue getting ready for next season, specifically, the team's trip to Greece in late August-early September.

As Katz notes, that two players each from WSU and Oregon made the list of finalists will only bolster the repuation of those two teams --- as well as the Pac-10.

Leunen, in particular, figures to really boost his rep if he can make the final roster.

UPDATE 9:45 A.M. SUNDAY:

Here's t the official release from USA Basketball this morning:

HAVERFORD, Pa. (July 15, 2007) " Highlighted by five players who own prior USA Basketball experience, 14 finalists for the 2007 USA Pan American Games men's basketball team were announced Sunday morning. The player selections, which were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials sessions between July 12-14 at Haverford College (Pa.), were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University (N.Y.) head coach Jim Boeheim.

Selected for the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team roster were: Josh Carter (Texas A&M / Dallas, Texas); Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Bryce Taylor (Oregon / Encino, Calif.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); D.J. White (Indiana / Tuscaloosa, Ala.).

"The trials were as competitive as any we have ever had. With the group of 14 finalists there is really good balance. We've got good inside guys, we've got good wing players and the point guards have really come on," said Boeheim. "I don't know that we have a superstar type player, but we've got really good balance and the players worked very hard and they look like they'll be good teammates, guys who will play well together which is tremendously important."

"This was definitely the most difficult choice we've ever had to make, but I just love this group. I think we have great options. We've got shooters, we've got penetrators, we've got size, we've got post people - a guy like Hibbert could be a game changer," stated USA and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright. "It's just a really diverse group that has great personality and I think the committee did a great job of putting together a really strong team. Our staff is excited about working with this team and getting them to come together and think like a team."

Wright is being assisted on the USA bench by University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones.



July 13, 2007

Pac-10 loaded next year

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:11 PM

Not that you really need me or anyone else to tell you that as it's pretty self-evident that the conference next season could be about the strongest it has ever been --- one reason why picking UW to move up real high is kind of dicey.

But here's even more recognition for the conference in this list of the top players in the country from NBADraft.net. The author rates the top five players at every position, and seven of the total of 25 are from the Pac-10, including two who are rated as the best at their position --- small forward Chase Budinger of Arizona and power forward Ryan Anderson of Cal.

Two other Pac-10 players are rated No. 2 at their spot --- point guard Darren Collison of UCLA and Oregon's Bryce Taylor at small forward. Taylor's ranking may seem like kind of a surprise, but I would agree completely that he's one of the most underrated players around.

Jon Brockman is the lone UW player rated, listed as the No. 4 power forward.

Friday news and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:45 AM

A few items to pass along on a Friday morning:

First, here's a link to the USA Basketball front page which shows Jon Brockman in action yesterday in tryouts for the Pan American Games team, wearing No. 12. Fittingly, he appears be going after a rebound.

Other than that, I didn't find any mention of Brockman on the site. There's an audio interview with head coach Jay Wright, but I listened to it and he didn't mention Brockman (the clip simply cuts out about six minutes in).

Next, here's a recap on the Kings-Knicks summer league game last night, with two former Huskies --- Nate Robinson and Spencer Hawes --- playing starring roles. Robinson had 21 points and 10 assists (there --- I fixed the previous error) and as the story notes, is averaging 17.3 points and 7.0 assists in 28 minutes per game during the summer league.

Hawes had another good outing, as well, with 22 points (on 11-25 shooting --- the most shots he ever took as a Husky was 17) and five rebounds in 37 minutes. He's averaging 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in three summer games.

Lastly, here's an interesting column from Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star on the bevy of good underclassmen in the Pac-10 next season who are likely to be high NBA Draft picks. Hansen mentions both Brockman and Quincy Pondexter as future draft picks.

July 12, 2007

Brockman gets TSN nod

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:55 PM

I haven't been able to find anything yet on how Jon Brockman might have done during the opening day of tryouts for the Pan American games.

But I did find this from Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News as he made his choice for the team, and selected Brockman as one of the 12 to make the final roster.

"Rock solid toughness,'' DeCourcy writes of Brockman while also saying his "greater offensive skill'' would get him the final spot at the power forward position over Randal Falker of Southern Illinois.

Brockman tryout begins today

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:54 PM

Jon Brockman's tryout for the Pan American Games team begins today in Haverford, Pa.

Here's the complete schedule from the USA Basketball web site. That site is a good place to look for updates, though we'll try to keep you informed here, as well.

As you can see, the team will be announced Sunday.

Also, there has been some talk about Lorenzo Romar getting close to signing a new contract. This is nothing new. As has been reported here and elsewhere, Romar and the school agreed to basic terms of a new deal last October. Both sides decided to put it aside for a while once the season began, and UW athletic director Todd Turner said other matters --- specifically, the hiring of a new women's basketball coaching staff --- then delayed matters further.

The thought remains that the new contract will be in the 10-year range with a slight bump in pay.


July 11, 2007

Conroy update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:42 PM

Never let it be said that we don't try to please here.

So for the guy who wrote that he wanted more Will Conroy, here you go, a story from HoopsWorld.com from a writer making the case that the former Husky could be just what the Phoenix Suns need.

You can obviously read it yourself, but the author states (near the bottom of the article) that Conroy might be "the little engine that could'' make a big difference for a contending team.

Certainly, if a team is looking for someone with heart and tenacity, it wouldn't go wrong with Conroy.

Unfortunately, he didn't get much of a chance to make a real impression Tuesday night while playing for the Clippers. Conroy played roughly 11 minutes, likely held down due to the four fouls he picked up, dishing out three assists in the process.

As you can see, former Oregon and Franklin star Aaron Brooks scored 21 points eight assists to lead Houston's win.

Thomas gets some props

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:55 AM

Husky recruits Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner Jr. each played at the new Reebok camp the last few days (it was previously the ABCD camp) with both drawing some raves for their play.

Here's an assessment of each player from NBADraft.net rating Thomas as the No. 10 player at the camp and saying that he was more efficient as a guard than Brandon Jennings, who is generally acclaimed as the top guard in the Class of 2008.

Looks like there could be some real fun UW-Arizona (where Jennings is headed) matchups in the future.

In fact, it seems really interesting that Thomas is called "not as flashy'' as Jennings, since flash seemed to be what much of Thomas' game was about while he was at Curtis. Seems as if he's becoming a more mature player, which would jibe with the reports of what's been happening off the court, as well.

Turner is rated as "just missing the cut'' of the top 20 players, though complimented for his scoring ability.

Here's some background on the tournament itself from USA Today.

Both Thomas and Turner are expected to sign with UW in the fall as part of the Class of 2008.

July 10, 2007

Hawes struggles in second game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:10 PM

Sorry to get to this so late, but here's the story on Spencer Hawes' second summer league game for the Sacramento Kings today, and it wasn't as good as his first outing.

As the story notes, Hawes was 4-16 from the floor with eight points and six rebounds against the Washington Wizards after a 17 and nine game on Saturday against China.

Here's the full box score showing Hawes also had five fouls and four turnovers in just under 31 minutes.

And here is the box score for the Knicks' game tonight showing Nate Robinson with 11 points and Tre Simmons with six points in about 14 minutes.

Alumni update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:13 AM

A few of you have asked how Spencer Hawes is doing in Summer League action.

So far, so good, according to this account from HoopsWorld.com which details his first game when he had 19 points and seven rebounds in a win over Team China on Saturday.

The story includes an interesting quote from Hawes saying he thinks he may be better suited for the NBA game, where he won't be able to be double-teamed as much as he was in college. That the Huskies lacked that one additional shooter last season to take some of the pressure off of Hawes was a significant reason for UW's struggles at times a year ago, I thought.

Here, also, is an entry from the Kingsblog from the team's official web site, detailing that Hawes apparently was impressive again on Monday when the team held a scrimmage against several teams. What might be most interesting is this observer's characterization of Hawes as "tough'' something he was criticized for a bit during his time at UW. (There are also pictures of both Hawes and Brandon Roy).

Hawes and the Kings will be in action again today at 1 p.m. against the Washington Wizards (you can find out how to follow that game here).

Also, our paper is running a chart every day throughout Summer League detailing how local players are faring, which includes every ex-Husky.

July 9, 2007

Overton update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:26 PM

With the Artem Wallace situation cleared up, one of the final remaining personnel questions for the Huskies regards Venoy Overton's eligibility.

I talked to Overton for a little while today to get a sense of what's going on.

Overton said he recently took the SAT again for a final time and is waiting for the results, which he said should come any day.

He is also taking a few summer school courses on-line in an attempt to raise his core GPA, which he said will probably last about another six weeks.

So that means, depending on Overton's SAT score, it could be a little while still before his situation is finalized --- eligibility is determined on a sliding scale combining standardized test scores and GPA.

"It's close,'' Overton said. "Real close.''

But Overton also said he fully expects to be playing for the Huskies next season.

"I'm hoping to be there in the fall,'' he said. "That's what I'm shooting for. I believe I'll be ready for the fall. That's what the coaches tell me.''

In the meantime, Overton has been staying sharp on the court, sometimes attending pickup games with the Huskies.

"I've been going to UW, working out, running with some of the guys,'' Overton said. "Trying to play every day.''

More schedule notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:31 PM

I posted a tentative UW schedule a couple weeks ago before leaving, and I hope I made clear that the emphasis was on the "tentative'' part of things.

Matters are still fluid on the schedule, which is why no official schedule has yet to be released, and there are some changes to the one I posted earlier.

A home game against Idaho State that had been set for Dec. 23 has been moved to Dec. 31, making for a quick turnaround from the trip to LSU on Dec. 29.

The reason for the move, however, is to try to open up some room in December to add another home game. UW had been trying to get a home game in early November, before the start of the NIT, but those efforts haven't been successful, so now the hope is to get one in December sometime.

That means UW will almost certainaly have only game before the NIT, its exhibition opener on Nov. 10, which will be against Seattle Pacific.

Also holding up the schedule is the fact that the NIT has yet to complete its field. That apparently became harder to do once the tournament again decided to hold the first and second rounds at on-campus sites rather than on neutral courts.

Utah was reportedly set as one of the teams to play in Seattle, but apparently pulled out once the site was changed to Edmundson Pavilion instead of a neutral court in the Seattle area (originally, either the arena in Everett or KeyArena had been considered).

So here, again, is the tentative schedule, but keep the eraser handy.

Day Date Opponent Location Time
Sat. Nov. 10 + TBA (Exhibition) Seattle Pacific, Seattle, Wash. TBA

Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Regional Site TBA
Mon. .Nov. .12 ..Game .1 TBA ..TBA
Game .2 TBA ..TBA
Wed. .Nov. .14 ..Consolation .Game ...TBA
Regional .Championship .Game ..TBA

Sun. Nov. 18 EASTERN WASHINGTON Seattle, Wash. TBA

Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Wed. .Nov. .21 ..Semifinal .Game .(ESPN) ..TBA
Semifinal .Game .(ESPN) ..TBA
Fri. .Nov. .23 ..Third-Place .Game (ESPN) ..TBA
Championship .Game .(ESPN) ..TBA

Mon. Nov. 26 LONG BEACH STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. .Dec. .1 ..at .Oklahoma .State ..Stillwater, .Ok. .TBA
Sat. Dec. 8 PITTSBURGH Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Dec. 15 PORTLAND Seattle, Wash. TBA
Tue. Dec. 18 PORTLAND STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. .Dec. .29 ..at .LSU ...Baton .Rouge, .La. .TBA
Mon. Dec. 31 IDAHO STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Jan. 5 * WASHINGTON STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Thu. .Jan. .10 .* .at .UCLA ...Los .Angeles, .Calif. .TBA
Sat. .Jan. .12 .* .at .USC ..Los .Angeles, .Calif. .TBA
Thu. Jan. 17 * OREGON STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Jan. 19 * OREGON Seattle, Wash. TBA
Thu. .Jan. .24 .* .at .Arizona .State ..Tempe, .Ariz. .TBA
Sat. .Jan. .26 .* .at .Arizona ..Tucson, .Ariz. .TBA
Thu. Jan. 31 * CALIFORNIA Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Feb. 2 * STANFORD Seattle, Wash. TBA
Thu. Feb. 7 * USC Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Feb. 9 * UCLA Seattle, Wash. TBA
Thu. .Feb. .14 .* .at .Oregon .Eugene, .Ore. .TBA
Sat. .Feb. .16 .* .at .Oregon .State ..Corvallis, .Ore. .TBA
Thu. Feb. 21 * ARIZONA Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Feb. 23 * ARIZONA STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Thu. .Feb. .28 .* .at .Stanford ..Palo .Alto, .Calif. .TBA
Sat. .Mar. .1 .* .at .California ..Berkeley, .Calif. .TBA
Sat. .Mar. .8 .* .at .Washington .State ..Pullman, .Wash. .TBA
Wed.-Sat. Mar. 12-15 at Pacific-10 Conference Tournament Los Angeles, Calif.

(The asterisk indicates a Pac-10 game).

HEAT'S ON NATE: Also, sounds as if the pressure is on Nate Robinson to make a good impression with New York's summer league team with the Knicks having added several new guards to the roster.

Here's another story with the same theme from the New York Times.

Among the new players on New York's summer league roster is Tre Simmons.

Also playing in the summer league is Will Conroy with the Clippers.

Back at it

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:00 AM

The week in isolation --- a cabin with no phone service but great access to a beach --- is over, and so is the hiatus from the blog.

It was heartening to come back and see that so many of you kept it going during my absence.

And as I feared, there was a bit of news breaking while I was away.

Artem Wallace was found not to have committed any crimes for the May incident at Alki Beach, as had been hinted at previously here and elsewhere, putting an end to all of that (though I would imagine Wallace will be putting his long-distance running skills --- he annually wins the team's mile race during pre-season conditioning --- to good use).

Jrue Holiday committed to UCLA and Tyreese Breshers to Miami, leaving the Huskies now pursing the likes of Scott Suggs, the 6-5 shooting guard from St. Louis, and Terrence Jennings, the 6-9 forward-center from Mt. Zion Prep in North Carolina to fill out the Class of 2008.

I sense a little consternation over the loss of Holiday, but I still can't see where losing a southern California player to UCLA can ever be considered as a mark against a Washington coach. As for Breshers, I think a few other schools were on him more aggressively and earlier in the process than UW and it was hard for the Huskies to make up ground.

Of note involving current Huskies this week is Jon Brockman's participation in the Pan-Am Games tryouts Thursday-Saturday --- hopefully they'll get his first name right if he makes the team.

Brockman may have at least one ally on the coaching staff as assistant Mark Gottfried, who is the head coach at Alabama, is one of Lorenzo Romar's closest friends in the business owing to their days together as assistants at UCLA.

If you checked away for the week, I hope you'll again add us to your routine as we're now officially back to regular duty.

July 1, 2007

Taking a brief hiatus, plus power poll

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:07 AM

We've tried to keep the blog going throughout the off-season, but it's time for just a little break as summer calls us away for a few days.

So if you don't see anything here for a week or two, that's why, and we'll be back on the beat again sometime around July 10.

In the meantime, thought I'd leave you with my newest Pac-10 Power Poll.

1, UCLA --- The Bruins have surpassed Arizona as the new "team to beat'' in the Pac-10. Despite the loss of Arron Afflalo, UCLA returns four starters, most of the key backups, and adds highly-hyped freshman Kevin Love. Concerns are the health of Josh Shipp (who recently had a second hip surgery) and how quickly Love acclimates to everything. But the Bruins look primed for a three-peat.

2, Washington State --- There was nothing fluky about what the Cougars did last year, and with virtually everybody back, plus the addition of promising redshirt guard Thomas Abercrombie and the likely return from injury of Nikola Koprivica, the Cougars should again contend for the conference title. We've all seen how well senior-dominated teams tend to do. The concern will be how WSU handles the hype and having a big target on its back from the first day.

3, Arizona --- I'm a little hesitant about this given how Arizona has underachieved of late --- proof that they've noticed that in Tucson came when Lute Olson shook up his coaching staff by unceremoniously jettisoning longtime assistant Jim Rosborough. But while the Wildcats lose three starters, they still return a lot of talent and welcome a good recruiting class led by Jerryd Bayless, who figures to play the point for a season until Brandon Jennings shows up. Arizona also got a big boost with the recent news that center Kirk Walters was granted another year of eligibility and will return for another season.

4, Stanford --- The Cardinal returns all but one starter and having both Lopez twins healthy and ready to go from day one should make a huge difference. Also back are Lawrence Hill and Anthony Goods, who blossomed as stars a year ago. There's no reason the Carfdinal doesn't return to 20-win status for and it had probably better for the future of Trent Johnson, as this looms as a key year for him to show he has the program back on the Montgomery track.

5, Oregon --- No one argued more vehemently that Aaron Brooks should have been the conference Player of the Year last season than I did, and I don't think the possible impact of his departure can be overstated. But the Ducks have virtually everyone else returning (Malik Hairston, Tajuan Porter, etc.) which should be enough for another top five conference finish and NCAA Tournament berth.

6, Washington --- The Huskies lose Spencer Hawes, but return everyone else of note, and that experience should make a big difference this season. Only problem is figuring out who UW leaps over in what is a loaded Pac-10. The added depth in the backcourt will give UW coaches a lot more options next season than they had this year when problems arise, and figure on Quincy Pondexter finally ascending to star status with Hawes gone and the need for someone else to take over some scoring.

7, USC --- No team took more of a hit due to early entry as the Trojans lost Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt. Those two, along with senior Lodrick Stewart, combined to average almost 44 points a game last season. USC will pin much of its hopes this season on O.J. Mayo and the early returns sound promising as Mayo is already on campus working out and saying all the right things in interviews. But as of now, there's too much uncertainty to pick the Trojans too high.

8, Cal --- The Bears are indcative of how strong the Pac-10 is this year. I would bet this is where Cal ends up in most pre-season polls, yet the Bears have the kind of talent that could easily surprise with center DeVon Hardin and forward Ryan Anderson returning to give the Bears one of the more potentially dangerous frontcourts around. Big key is finding a replacement for PG Ayinde Ubaka.

9, Arizona State --- Another team that could easily surprise, but for now has to be tabbed here. Everybody of note returns and ASU welcomes one of its best recruiting classes in years, led by guard James Harden, who also seriously considered UW. This will be one of the scariest teams in the conference next year.

10, Oregon State --- The only team in the conference I wouldn't make a case for somehow finishing with a winning record. The addition of C.J. Giles will give them a spark and Marcel Jones made the wise move of returning. But this looks like another season of wheel-spinning in Corvallis, which could be bad news for sixth-year coach Jay John.

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