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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.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:21 PM
Here's the box score for Game Two of the Greece trip, an 87-82 defeat to Iraklis. And here's the full game story.
A few things that stand out:
--- Joe Wolfinger had four points and four rebounds, so assuming he didn't play as much as he had the previous night. Probably tried to take it easy with him considering his activity the day before.
--- Looks like the Huskies might have been a little gassed early from playing the day before, falling behind 25-10 before rallying.
--- You wonder if there was some home cooking with the refs as Iraklis shot 41 free throws to 21 for UW. Or maybe the Huskies were a step slow and forced to foul a lot.
--- Another nice game for Jon Brockman with 18 and 14. That means he's averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds for the trip.
--- Looks like UW has taken some time to get going from the three-point line on the trip, going 4-19 in the first half of the two games.
We should get some more details later.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:08 PM
Here are all the details on Washington's first win in Greece from GoHuskies.com.
Sounds as if it really was a huge step forward for Wolfinger.
As I stated earlier, all those lower-division Pac-10 predictions for UW may really have to be re-evaluated if Wolfinger can do this on a consistent basis.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:07 PM
The Huskies opened play in Greece today on a winning note, beating MENT Thessaloniki 93-81.
Here's the box score from GoHuskies.com and as a couple of you have mentioned, the big news has to be that Joe Wolfinger scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Word was he would only play 10-15 minutes a game, but I'm assuming he saw a lot more action than that to put up those kinds of numbers (unfortunately, minutes aren't listed).
Also looks like a nice game for Tim Morris with 10 points and nine rebounds, and a typical game from Jon Brockman with 20 and 10. Really, pretty solid performances up and down the lineup (the caveat being we have no idea the level of the competition) but certainly looks encouraging.
Also notice that UW won the turnover battle, getting 19 while losing 15, something it didn't do enough of a year ago.
But the revelation, no doubt, is Wolfinger. If he can really do that every night we will definitely have to re-evaluate what kind of team this could be next season. He could create some mammoth matchup problems that would really open things up for some other players.
I talked to Wolfinger for a story just before practices started and he said he hoped he'd be able to play a little bit, but I didn't get the impression he thought he'd be able to do something like this.
Again, we don't know anything about the competition, but for Wolfinger, simply being able to be out there long enough to put up those kinds of numbers is very encouraging news, indeed.
You can see that the Huskies play again tomorrow and Saturday and one of the big questions will be how much Wolfinger is able to do playing consecutive nights.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:21 PM
Here's a postcard from Greece from Justin Dentmon, courtesy of GoHuskies.com.
Doesn't sound as if these guys are experimenting much with the food over there, however.
First game is tomorrow morning our time.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:38 PM
Here is the first report from GoHuskies.com on the team's trip to Greece, a postcard from Jon Brockman.
I'm hoping, however, that there's a mistake in the sentence in which Brockman proclaims that he has "gone completely nuts.'' Assuming there was supposed to be a "not'' in there somewhere. If not, this could be an even more interesting season than we thought, especially for the other big men in the Pac-10.
Here, also, is the team's schedule for Greece, showing there are still two days before playing any games.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:38 PM
The Huskies left for Greece today and are scheduled to arrive in Athens tomorrow.
Here's the schedule from GoHuskies.com and that is where you can go for results. (I'll also post them here but all I'll be able to do is get them from there. But I'll try to comment on them here).
I also wrote this story today in anticipation of the trip focusing on the return and addition, respectively, of Joel Smith and Tim Morris and what they may mean to this year's team.
I talked to each for a while on Friday. Here are a few notes and quotes that didn't make it in the paper.
Smith on his thoughts on this year's team: "We've definitely got a lot more depth on the outside wings and a lot more strength. Me and Tim are some bigger guys and Quincy (Pondexter) is bulked up and Adrian (Oliver) has improved. Everybody has improved, body-wise and game-wise, and just by throwing me andd Tim back in there with some of our experience will definitely help our team out in every direction.''
Smith said he has played only two or three games since last year, all in a summer college league in the Los Angeles area, so he's really looking forward to the games in Greece: "I can't wait. Once I get out there I'll be fine. I might be a tad rusty but that will go away real quick.''
Morris, meanwhile, talked about his regiment of 500 shots a day every day this summer. He said he started out with 70 15-footers, then 70 three-pointers, then 30 free throws, then 50-70 mid-range jumpers off the dribble, then the same number of mid-range jumpers on the move, and then back out to three for another 70.
Morris said it was the most concentrated work he has ever done on his shooting and is convinced it will make him a better outside shooter, which was one of the question marks about his game at Stanford.
His value to the Huskies has already been proven in his being elected a captain by teammates
"I was just being me,'' he said. "It's definitely an honor. I think my teammates respect me. I'm one of the older guys on the team so they joke around and call me Papa Tim.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:40 PM
Here are a couple of interesting pieces concering former Husky Nate Robinson, one of which explains why we haven't seen much of him around here this summer.
The first is this piece from Newsday detailing how Robinson elected to stay in New York this summer rather than return to Seattle to show the Knicks how serious he is about improving and keeping his place on the team.
There's also this overview of Nate's situation from AOL FanHouse which also includes a link to the same Newsday story.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:08 PM
Just in case you've read any of the stories on the fires raging through Greece and wondered if it would impact Washington's trip, the answer as of now is no.
A UW spokesman reported tonight that the trip is still on with the Huskies expected to leave for Greece early Monday morning. Their first game there will be Thursday morning our time.
Complete coverage of UW's games there will be available on GoHuskies.com.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:02 PM
Had a chance to watch the Huskies practice Friday afternoon and it was a fun one to see.
With just a couple of days left until UW leaves for Greece, the team held a scrimmage using international rules against a pretty formidable team of mostly former Huskies --- Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, Jamaal Williams, Donald Watts and UW assistant Cameron Dollar.
I actually saw only the second half of the game, and it was 39-28 for the Roy-led team at halftime. The Huskies came back to tie it at 55 early in the fourth quarter before Roy keyed another run with a couple of three-pointers (I can't believe anyone ever really thought his outside shooting would be a weakness at the NBA level) to give his team the lead for good. The "old guys'' ended up winning 78-71.
Only eight of the current Huskies played when I was watching as Artem Wallace sat out, though I think it was due to his hamstring injury and not the fact that he won't be making the trip to Greece due to passport problems.
Quincy Pondexter, who has been struggling with some knee soreness of late, also played limited minutes and didn't do much while I was watching.
But Joe Wolfinger did play about eight minutes or so, a good sign as he apparently played 30 minutes of a scrimmage on Thursday. That he was able to play significant minutes back-to-back days is a good sign for his recovery.
And he'll definitely make a difference if he can get healthy. I didn't keep complete stats, but he had at least four rebounds while I was watching, including a rebound-putback for a basket over Roy. Wolfinger won't win any races for getting up-and-down the court, but he was doing a nice job rebounding, keeping his hands held high and seeming to know where to go with outlet passes, or immediately putting it back up on the offensive side. He also is a definite presence on defense.
I was impressed by Justin Dentmon, whose body change is evident and has been noted here and elsewhere before. But he also seemed more in control of things, not forcing as much stuff on offense. That said, he also scored six points in the late going on some smart moves to the hoop, once passing up a three-pointer to drive passt Watts and get fouled.
Joel Smith and Tim Morris played quite a bit -- guess that's dumb to say when there are only eight players --- and it is apparent they could make a big difference next season, especially on the defensive end. Each will give the Huskies a bigger and more physical and athletic presence on the perimeter this season.
I talked to each of them for a while, and Smith said his foot gets sore at times but isn't hampering his ability to play.
Smith made a nice play at the end of the third quarter, stepping inside of Dollar to make a jumper as the buzzer went off.
Word around the team is that Adrian Oliver has been one of the more improved players during these practices, especially with his outside shooting. "He's more assertive,'' said one observer.
I saw evidence of that in the time I watched, though Oliver was a little off-target during the half I saw and was probably 1-4 or so.
Jon Brockman did about what you'd expect, banging inside and getting some points around the bucket while also stepping out for one about 12-foot jumper at one point, while also sporting some new facial hair.
Ryan Appleby, who has had a little back issue, didn't seem to play as much as he might have normally, but did make a nice move to hit about a 10-footer at one point.
One negative was some late-game sloppiness as the Huskies twice threw the ball out-of-bounds simply trying to get it in late in the game. But again, that was pretty top-flight competition they were going against. Roy seemed to be taking it pretty seriously, getting in an animated conversation with Jamaal Williams at one point when it was obvious Williams hadn't done what Roy wanted him to do on a certain play.
It was a good warmup for Roy, who will head to Portland for some early training camp work next week.
CONROY SPEAKS: Speaking of beginning a new season, I talked for a little while afterward with Conroy, who said he leaves Monday for his new gig playing in the Italian League, where he will play with Vitrus Bologna.
Conroy said he decided to take a guaranteed six-figure deal to spend eight months playing in the Italian League rather than another season of trying to make it in the NBA, where he didn't have a guaranteed contract.
Conroy had previously resisted going overseas, saying he thought it was better for his NBA future to stay in this country and play in the NBA Developmental League. But he also said it was time to get some guaranteed money.
Conroy said that doesn't mean he's giving up on the NBA, saying he thinks the Italian League "is a good avenue for getting back to the league. If I go do there what I was doing in the D-League they say I'll get a guaranteed contract to come back here someday,'' he said.
Conroy said the decision took some long thought, adding that "I'm a little nervous, I ain't going to lie about that. It's a long way.''
As for the Huskies, Conroy said "they're going to be okay. Once they get it going and start believing in one another, they'll be all right.''
He said he was particularly impressed by Morris, saying "he brings a lot of toughness to them'' and that he thought Dentmon will bounce back from last year. "His teammates looked like they were believing in him,'' he said.
Williams is also apparently headed overseas to play, as well.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:25 PM
UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today that sophomore center Artem Wallace will not make the trip to Greece with the Huskies due to passport problems.
Wallace was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and while he is now a U.S. citizen as well as a Russian citizen, Romar said that Wallace's Russian heritage was at the heart of the passport issues. Wallace came to the United States while in high school.
"It's so confusing,'' he said. "But the bottom line is that he won't be making the trip.''
UW officials knew of some issues with Wallace's passport situation for a while but thought it would clear up and he had been listed on the official roster. But delays continued into the last few days, and Friday passed without it getting cleared up.
"It's too late now,'' said Romar noting the Huskies leave early Monday morning.
Just to make clear, this has nothing to do with the incident in May involving Wallace at Alki Beach.
Wallace's absence will leave the Huskies with just eight players for their trip to Greece, which begins Monday.
Making the situation worse for Wallace is that he has been hampered by hamstring problems of late and had mostly been unable to practice with the Huskies the last week.
However, the good news is that Joe Wolfinger has been able to go regularly. Romar said Wolfinger, who didn't play last year while battling a foot injury, took part in every minute of a 30-minute scrimmage Thursday and had a double-double.
"That's very promising,'' Romar said. "We're not out of the woods yet because we haven't talked about back-to-back days and all that but at this point his progress has been very good.''
The rest of the team's health is fine, Romar said, with players such as Quincy Pondexter and Ryan Appleby having returned from some minor ailments earlier in the week.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:06 PM
Abdul Gaddy, a 6-3 guard from Bellarmine Prep High in Tacoma who was a 2009 recruiting target of the Huskies, will instead play at Arizona.
Gaddy committed today to the Wildcats, according to this story from Scout.com.
The story quotes Gary Ward, Gaddy's AAU coach, as saying that Arizona and UW were even in Gaddy's mind but that the Wildcats finally got the edge because "he's always dreamed about playing for the Arizona Wildcats.''
It will be interesting to see if Gaddy's decision has any impact on the future of Franklin High guard Peyton Siva, who has also been considering both UW and Arizona.
Both are point guards and considered among the top prospects in the nation at that position.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:42 PM
One sharp-eyed reader noticed today that the Concordia exhibition game was no longer listed on UW's 2007-08 schedule.
And it isn't a misprint.
Official word today is that the game has indeed been taken off the schedule.
Actually, the game will be played, it just won't be available to the public.
The NCAA does not allow public exhibition games to be played as early as UW wanted to play the game, Oct., 28, and apparently it can't be rescheduled later.
So the two teams will play on Oct. 28 but it won't be open to the public or the media. UW has held a closed scrimmage the last few years with St. Mary's but wanted to have an open game this year with a lower-division team --- Concordia is an NAIA team located in Irvine, Calif.
So the first game open to the public is Nov. 5 against Seattle Pacific at Edmundson Pavilion.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:54 PM
Here are a few news and notes concering the UW basketball team:
--- The Huskies have been practicing since Friday and will do so the rest of the week before leaving Monday for Greece. Unfortunately, UW has been down to six players for full-out practice on a few occassions as Joe Wolfinger is still limited while Ryan Appleby (back) and Quincy Pondexter (knee) have had to sit out a few times with minor ailments. Goods news is sounds as if will will be able to play in Greece, though as we've noted here before, Wolfinger isn't going to just suddenly emerge as a 30-minute-a-game guy. This is the beginning of what could be a lengthy process to get him back.
--- With those three limited, former Huskies Spencer Hawes, Brandon Roy and Jamaal Williams have been working out with the team on occassion. One person who has seen Hawes play this summer said he seems so much more relaxed than he did last season and said he wondered if we won't all look back in a few years and contemplate how much the NBA decision weighed on Hawes throughout his one year with the Huskies. His point was that Hawes might have always been so distracted and worried by his future that he never really was able to devote everything to the Huskies.
--- One player said to look pretty improved so far is Adrian Oliver, who has apparently become a more consistent three-point shooter. That's good news for the Huskies, who will need some added outside shooting this year; and for Oliver, who needs to create a decisive role on the team with so many guards coming in the next few years.
--- Also told that Joel Smith has looked good adding athleticism and toughness on the perimeter, things that were lacking a year ago, especially on the defensive end.
--- Concerning Venoy Overton, I talked with him briefly today and he confirmed other reports that he has finished up his summer course work and got the grades he needed. "I feel real good about it,'' he said. However, there are still some steps before he gets eligible as his academic work now has to be approved by the NCAA, and he also apparently has to meet before a committee. Overton said he hopes to know in a week or two, but we also all know that it's often impossible to predict when the NCAA is involved. So while it sounds promising, it's also not a done deal yet.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:16 AM
A few of you have sent me these or posted them on your own, but thought I'd put these out here for better visibility:
Conroy has previously resisted heading overseas because he's wanted to make it to the NBA, even though the guaranteed money he's been offered has been better out of the country. He made it last year with both Memphis and the Clippers but apparently finally decided his options were better heading overseas.
We'll try to catch up with Conroy at some point and get his thoughts on this.
Lastly, here's info on the Dan Dickau Classic that will include Brandon Roy.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:20 AM
Some good off-season discussion on here that I'll try to address:
--- On comparing UW's Class of 2008 to WSU's and Gonzaga's. I wish I had the ability to see all of these players in person, but I don't, so any analysis I would give you would just be cribbing that of people who do see them. Just going by the stars each recruit is given on Scout.com, you'd put Gonzaga's and UW's classes ahead of WSU's.
But then, that would almost always be the case and we saw last year that WSU went 4-0 against those two teams. It's always more about making sense to what your program needs. I know the concern out there is that the Huskies will need another big guy or two down the road, especially depending on whatever happens to Joe Wolfinger.
I will say that UW coach Lornenzo Romar doesn't seem that concerned about the makeup of his team. He spent a portion of his Friday meeting with the press talking about how the Sweet 16 teams of 2005-06 often had what were basically four guards on the floor --- Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson. Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Tre Simmons, etc. I would think that UW would try to get a big man or two with whatever it does next in recruiting, but it's not as if the Huskies are barren in the front court with Jon Brockman, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, etc..
--- As for the discussion on the coaches of those three schools, all the arguments stated here have some merit. Romar seems to be getting the reputation out there of just a recruiter who rolls the ball out. I think that's a little unfair considering he took over a program that had three straight losing seasons and within a year led it to one that had three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The end result is what matters most and his record speaks pretty loudly.
That said, you'd have to give the overall edge to Few since he's done it the longest with the most turnover in personnel. Romar himself has told me on a number of occassions that that is the best way to judge a program --- consistency over time. That's the next step for the Huskies, and while they faltered a bit last season, I think they are on the right track in that regard. But until the Huskies get back to the tournament with a totally different crew, that will be the one thing left undone by Romar here and the one thing separating him from coaches like Few. Leaving Pepperdine and Saint Louis after three years each also gives somewhat Romar of an incomplete mark in that regard at those schools, as well, though he was on the right track at each place. Remember that at Saint Louis, he had signed Ryan Hollins before leaving, with Hollins then getting out of his LOI to go to UCLA instead.
I see the argument often that Romar didn't recruit well for his style last year. The only player that can really be referring to is Spencer Hawes since I don't know who else doesn't fit their style. And I don't know how anyone can say they shouldn't have recruited Hawes. Obviously, the Hawes Era, such as it was, didn't go the way anyone planned. And I don't think there's any question it altered the style of the team's play a bit, and as the results indicate, not for the better. But how could they have not gone after Hawes,a Parade All-American attending high school about 30 feet away? It's ridiculous to even think that. And the recruits since since then all seem great fits for what you would regard as the Husky style under Romar.
Bennett has obviously done an amazing job at WSU but the trick for him now will be to continue it once this current group of seniors leaves. It's unrealistic to expect the Cougars to remain among the top three or so in the Pac-10 on a yearly basis. But getting to a point of at least contending for a post-season berth every year could be done there. It will be much more accurate to judge Bennett against those two --- and especially Few, who has the longer one-school track record --- in a few more years.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:39 AM
I went to Friday's first day of practice for UW's trip to Greece intending to write a general update on the team.
But after talking to Quincy Pondexter for a while, I found what he was saying more interesting than anything else, so that's what I went with in this story here.
Pondexter candidly admits that "I was real young and dumb last year'' in how he approached the season and how he handled what came to him. In essence, he thought things could come a little easier for him, and when they didn't he sulked a bit.
Included in his "young and dumb'' attitude a year ago, he said, were his statements late in the season that he was considering leaving early for the NBA.
Now, he says, that's not even in his thought process.
This could all be great news for the Huskies as a more mature Pondexter could be the X-factor for UW this season. He is an immensely talented player whose numbers could jump significantly this season, something UW may need to combat the loss of Spencer Hawes.
And the irony there, of course, is that a more mature Pondexter could have the kind of year that could just mean turning pro would be a legitimate option for him after this season.
For now, UW fans should take heart that Pondexter is back and ready to prove a lot of things after a freshman season that didn't quite go the way he wanted. Also interesting was his revelation that he had a staph infection late in the year that caused him to lose 10 pounds or so. I remember hearing at the time that he was a little under-the-weather, but sounds as if it was more serious than let on.
He also battled an ankle injury at mid-season.
All things worth taking into account when considering how much better of a player he could be this season.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:38 AM
The UW basketball team held court with reporters this morning before hitting the court for their first of 10 practices in preparation for their trip to Greece.
The Huskies will play five games against Greek professional teams:
Here's the schedule:
Aug. 30 --- vs. Ment Vassilakis, Thessaloniki
All are teams that are in training camp preparation for their pro seasons. It's not expected that any will have Americans on their teams, though the rosters can fluctuate quickly over there.
"We'll be facing teams that are older, all grown men who have played together, so it will be a challenge,'' said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
The games will be played with International rules, meaning a wider lane, a longer three-point line and a few other quirks (though they will be played with two 20-minute halves like here).
Only the nine returning vets for UW can make the trip. The freshmen are all at home for a vacation before coming back to school since there's nothing they can do with the team.
The Huskies hope to make the trip educational as well as good preparation for the season, and details on that can be found in this story here.
As for the team, Romar said there are no new health issues. Joe Wolfinger will begin by practicing an hour a day and then doing more if he shows he can handle it.
The rest of the team is fine. Joel Smith said he still feels some pain in his foot, but that he should have no limitations and is anxious to play some games again.
Justin Dentmon said he actually only lost three or four pounds (he's listed at 185) but that it was more an issue of resculpting his body. "It wasn't that I was too big but too buff,'' he said. "I needed to get more toned, lighter on my feet.''
Dentmon said he can feel a big difference, saying he feels sometimes now like he's been "shot out of a cannon'' when he's on the court as opposed to last year. "I feel very light,'' he said.
With just nine players, Romar said the obvious --- that everyone will get to play a lot. Other than Jon Brockman, he said no one has a starting job locked up, and that it's likely that there will be a lot of different lineups during this trip as the Huskies are likely to experiment quite a bit to see how different combinations work.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:56 AM
As the Huskies prepare for their trip to Greece, I've sensed a lot of interest about the status of Joe Wolfinger, so I talked to him the other day and wrote this story for today's paper.
As this story indicates, Wolfinger was pretty positive about things overall. He said he played some fullcourt games last week without any pain in his foot, and that he thinks he should be able to go an hour or so when practices start today, maybe gradually increasing as the trip wears on.
But he warned not to look in the box scores from Greece and read much into it, saying "I'm not expecting much.'' He says he just wants to get out on the floor again and see what he can do and go from there. You have to realize that not only is he trying to recover from this injury but he also still has never played a game at the D-I level other than one exhibition almost two years ago. So he's still got a ways to go.
Word around the team seems to be that the most realistic thing to expect is that Wolfinger could become about a 15-minute a game type player, spelling the other big men.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar will meet the media today to discuss the Greece trip so look for some updates here later.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:01 PM
The final, official schedule for the 2007-08 season is finally out.
Here it is:
Day Date Opponent Location Time
Sat. Dec. 1 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Ok. TBA
Sat. Jan. 5 * WASHINGTON STATE Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Feb. 2 * CALIFORNIA Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat. Mar. 1 * at California Berkeley, Calif. TBA
The * means a Pac-10 game.
Here, also, are Lorenzo Romar's thoughts on the schedule:
"Our schedule has turned out to be one with a lot of balance. We have some
"It will be close to being up there with the schedule we had when we were a
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:02 AM
Just got off the phone with Ron Suggs, the father of Scott Suggs, who confirmed that his son has indeed decided to commit to Washington.
"He gave Lorenzo (Romar) a call this morning and made it official,'' said Ron Suggs. "He's pretty excited about it.''
Scott Suggs is a 6-5 shooting guard from Washington, Mo., who is the fourth commit for UW's Class of 2008.
Ron Suggs said one of the key factors in his son's choosing UW over Missouri and Illinois was his close relationship with Romar.
The two families have known each other for years as one of Romar's best friends growing up, Herb Anderson, later became a good friend of the Suggs' family.
"He's known him since he was 9-10 years old,'' Ron Suggs said. "And when he took that visit up there in March he got a really warm receptioni from the fans, and he liked the atmosphere around the team, the team camaderie. You can literally see that it's a close-knit team and they have solid leadership.
"The toughtest thing for Scott was leaving home, and that was a big decision for him. But he realized that his passion to play for Lorenzo (was bigger than his concerns over leaving home).
"He's really understood and kept in touch with what has been going on at Washington --- it's not like he just discovered them. We've stayed up and watched games the last four years, and taped games, and it's just a great atmosphere.''
Ron Suggs said one of the clinching moments came in a phone call with Romar recently when Scott Suggs said he got off the phone and realize they had talked for 40 minutes and not once had they talked about basketball.
"Lorenzo is a very good teacher and Scott is just like a sponge,'' Ron Suggs said.
Ron Suggs added that Scott made his decision a few days ago but wanted to make sure before telling anybody. He made those calls today.
UPDATE: Talked to one person who has seen all four of UW's incoming recruits and he told me that Suggs may be the best of the bunch.
"He's a really good get for them,'' the person said. "He might have the best chance to be an NBA player someday because he's a big guard.''
Also worth noting is that of the incoming recruits, Suggs and Tyreese Breshers have qualified while Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner Jr., have yet to do so.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:40 AM
Is Scott Suggs a Husky?
Apparently so as there are now several reports out there saying that the 6-5 shooting guard from Washington, Mo., has committed to UW.
He also, obviously, would give UW 15 players for the 2008-09 season assuming the roster stay intact and all committed players sign and get into school, which raise all the obvious questions. I'm not sure there's any set plan in place on that other than just the normal assuming that some things could happen (Quincy Pondexter maybe leaving early, etc.) and deciding to plan as if something definitely will happen that will open up some spots. So we'll see how that plays out.
For now, if Suggs does indeed come, this figures to go down as yet another pretty highly ranked UW recruiting class. If Suggs is in, I think you can assume UW is done for now.
CONROY TO ITALY?: Thanks to those of you who passed along this from HoopsHype.com about Will Conroy possibly deciding to play in Italy, or at least having the option.
We'll see what we can find out on this one as well.
This story from the Orange County Register Tuesday, however, indicated that Conroy was still expected to be in camp with the Clippers this fall.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:44 PM
The Huskies have finally completed their non-conference schedule for the 2007-08 season, adding Cal State-Northridge as the final opponent.
That game will be Dec. 22 at Hec Ed.
The school is still waiting for some final word from the Pac-10 on the possible changing of dates for some conference games before releasing an official schedule. But here's what the non-conference schedule looks like:
Day Date Opponent Location Time
Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Regional Site
Sun. Nov. 18 EASTERN WASHINGTON
Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Mon. Nov. 26 LONG BEACH STATE
As for Cal State-Northridge, the Matadors went 14-17 overall last season and 5-9 in the Big West Conference.
And if UW fans need any ammo against WSU and Oregon fans chiding that this is further proof of the Huskies scheduling overmatched foes, you can point out that both the Ducks and Cougars played the Matadors last season.
As for the final product, we've pointed this out before, but there could be five failry big-time games --- Oklahoma State, Pitt and LSU (two on the road) --- as well as two in the semis and finals of the NIT should the Huskies make it that far, as they will certainly be favored to do. Ohio State, Texas A&M and Syracuse are among the teams UW could face in New York.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:08 PM
Here's ESPN's Pac-10 summer preview, which a few of you sent along my way, and it's awful darn complimentary of the conference.
In the piece, analyst Doug Gottlieb says that the conference "is the best league (in the country) by a sizable margin.''
Of course, Gottlieb also then says that USC could be headed to the Final Four, something that seems like a rather out-there pick, though also obviously showing a lot of confidence in O.J. Mayo.
Gottlieb also strains credibility a bit by saying this is UW's most-experienced team since the No. 1 seed three years ago. Not quite true since it was the year after that when the Huskies started four seniors, including some guy named Brandon Roy. Probably just a slip-of-the-keystroke but the kind of thing that always makes you wonder how much anyone is really paying attention to what's going on out here.
Gottlieb also includes Chamberlain Oguchi as a sure-fire returnee at Oregon. Maybe he's heard something that hasn't been reported yet as all the most recent word is that Oguchi is thinking of returning but hadn't yet officially decided (unless I've missed something in the last few days). Oguchi had said after the season he was leaving Oregon, but apparently had trouble deciding where else he might want to go and was considering just staying in Eugene. If he does stay, that will obviously make Oregon that much deeper in the backcourt.
In another part of the piece, ESPN mentions UW's improved schedule for this season, and that is right on the mark. What kind of misses the point, however, is the assertion that it was done as a reaction to what happened a year ago. In reality, most of this year's schedule was put in place before last season began as both the Pitt and LSU games are return dates, and the NIT and Big 12 Challenge were in the works long ago. Certainly, it will look a case of UW beefing up the schedule as a result of what happened last season, but it's really not the case. It's mostly just how things worked out.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:08 PM
I know a lot of you think ESPN's Andy Katz never has anything good to say about the Huskies, but he's trying.
Here's his story this week on some of the top non-conference schedules for next season, and he rightly gives the Huskies credit for putting together a slate that will be more than worthy of getting an NCAA tourney bid should UW be able to win a few.
I don't think anybody can really criticize UW's schedule this year, though it would be nice to get Gonzaga back on there at some point. By the way, UW doesn't deserve any criticism for the two home opponents in the NIT as those were selected by the tournament committee and not the Huskies.
IN OTHER NEWS, word I've heard is that Scott Suggs is due to announce his decision early next week, maybe by Monday.
The 6-5 guard from Washington, Mo., is said to have narrowed his choices to UW, Missouri and Illinois.
Yes, if he commits it will give UW 15 players for the 2008-09 season if the roster stays as currently constructed. For now, we'll put off that discussion and see what Suggs does, first.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:48 PM
A few quick notes that will hopefully answer some of the questions posed recently:
--- The official, final schedule should be released sometime next week, possibly early in the week. The Huskies are close to an agreement to fill one last opening for a home game in the non-conference schedule (it won't be a big name) and are also waiting to hear from the Pac-10 on a few changes to the conference slate. Specifically, the order of the teams for a few of the home conference weekends could be switched for TV purposes and the date of a game could be changed from the tentative schedule that has been on the Pac-10's website.
--- The Huskies will begin practice late next week for the trip to Greece. To make clear to those who have asked, the incoming freshmen are not allowed to participate by NCAA rules and cannot practice. It's possible they may not even be around since it would be a good chance for them to go home for a little while before the start of school. The NCAA does not allow freshmen to participate in such trips to eliminate their use as a possible inducement in recruiting.
--- The Huskies hope Joe Wolfinger will be able to participate fully in the games in Greece. But word is that he has yet to be cleared to play five-on-five so just how ready he will be is uncertain. As we've written here a few times, the Greece trip figures to be a real telltale sign of where Wolfinger is on his recovery and how much is realistic to expect from him this season.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:56 PM
Former Husky center Lars Hansen, who played for some of the great Marv Harshman teams of the mid-1970s, was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame last month.
Hansen not only played for the Huskies but was also briefly a member of the Sonics during their NBA title season of 1978-79.
He recently sent along this note with a message that he said he wanted to share with all Seattle fans, so I'll just pass it along as is:
On July 19th, 2007, I was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of
PS --- The Husky t-shirt, Coach Romar gifted to me for the Hall of Fame
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:28 AM
Well know you can as his 2006 Dodge Charger is for sale on E-Bay.
I really don't have much else to add other than that I sure as heck can't afford it --- and I'm not sure I like the color.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:11 PM
One thing we didn't pass along yesterday in writing about Lorenzo Romar's new contract was his buyout. That information was released today, so here it is:
If UW terminates Romar at any point during the life of the contract, he receives $700,000 for every year remaining on the contract, plus all deferred compensation.
If Romar leaves UW before the end of the deal, it's a little trickier. He would have had to pay $600,000 plus forfeiting all deferred income if he left during the first year, which has already passed.
In the second year, it's $500,000 plus all deferred money; the third year it's $400,000 plus deferred money.
For the fourth through 10th years, it's an amount equal to the base salary at the time of termination plus all deferred income.
If he leaves for a Pac-10 school, UW would receive $1 million (in lieu of, not in addition to the scale above).
All in all, it seems to be weighted a little in Romar's advantage, yet another sign that this contract appears to give him a boatload of security at UW.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:38 AM
Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was interviewed on KJR-AM this morning on Softy's show in the wake of signing his new contract.
Here are some of the more newsworthy things he said (I tried to transcribe it as it happened so I may have missed a word or two here or there but this is pretty close):
On how the new contract came about: "Well as you know, it was agreed to last fall and I think the thing that really has me excited amongst a lot of things is this not something I went in and demanded at all. (UW Athletic Director) Todd Turner approached me and as we talked he said this is what we are going to do. In so many cases, people will say 'look, until you get some offer out there, we are not going to come to you and tell you how much we appreciate you.' This just shows they are showing us they have a lot of confidence in what we are doing and they appreciate what we are doing.''
Softy then asked if it is fair to say that this contract means this will be Romar's last coaching stop: "That's totally fair. I have said that from day one, I've never wavered from that. When I say that (that he wants to end his career at UW), people look at me like 'sure, you do. That's a standard line.' But it's not a standard line.''
On the pre-season NIT: "We are excited about that. We knew we had a chance to be in the pre-season NIT and it came to fruition. It's going to happen. And we just have to do a good job so we can advance to the Garden and be on the big stage. Our guys are already looking forward to it.''
Softy then asked what the program has to do to take the next step: "It's just a matter of us regrouping. The first wave of guys that we had (mentioned Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, etc.) all those guys were able to get to two Sweet 16's and we had a very good chance to ge to the Final Four two years ago. The next step is for this group to grow older. Maybe this year we can have enough experience to do that. That's what's the next step for these guys, to grow up so we can get there.
"I keep reminding people that that group (with Roy, Robinson, etc.) won 11 games its first season. This group won 19, so it's just a matter of maturation taking its place and then we'll have an opportunity to do those things.''
Romar was also asked about the eligibility of Venoy Overton and said "I can say that he is working very hard and we are optimistic.'' Asked if there is a cutoff date for Overton being eligible, Romar said "not really. I remember when Brandon Roy was a freshman, he became eligible the second quarter.''
(As we wrote here yesterday, nothing figures to be certain for a month or so until Overton completes some on-line summer school courses).
After Softy was ready to wrap up the interview, Romar stopped and asked if he had another minute and that he wanted to "make sure you understand'' that his new contract couldn't have happened without the work and support of all of his players and assistants.
"My name is out there as the coach who got the contract extension, but it doesn't happen without any of them. They have made this happen. You can't do this type of thing by yourself.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:40 PM
Lorenzo Romar's new contract with Washington, which was agreed on last October, is expected to be officially announced on Friday.
Here's the story on the new deal that we'll run in tomorrow's paper:
As you can read, Romar may be the highest-paid coach in the Pac-10.
Arizona's Lute Olson makes a reported $1.47 million per year and UCLA's Ben Howland $1.3 million, but I'm unsure if that includes all incentives or is just the guaranteed money.
Either way, Romar appears to be in the top three among Pac-10 coaches along with Olson and Howland.
As far as I can tell, no one else in the Pac-10 makes more than $1 million --- Oregon's Ernie Kent and Arizona State's Herb Sendek are each reported to make exactly $1 million, though it's worth pointing out that the salaries for USC's Tim Floyd and Stanford's Trent Johnson are not available since each is a private school and doesn't have to divulge such numbers.
Cal's Ben Braun makes a reported $982,000, while WSU's Tony Bennett is at $800,000 and Oregon State's Jay John $325,000 (though I have to believe the latter is really a little higher).
For what it's worth, Gonzaga's Mark Few is reported to make $590,000 per year.
As you can also read in the story, the buyout clauses in Romar's new deal have yet to be announced.
His old contract called for Romar to pay UW $600,000 and forfeit all deferred income if he left in the first year, decreasing to $500,000 in the second year, $400,000 in the third year and then the base salary for the remainder of the contract.
It also called for him to pay UW $1 million plus forfeiting all deferred money if he left for another Pac-10 school at any time during the life of the deal.
UW's payout for firing Romar was pretty hefty in the old deal ---- it would have to pay him all deferred money plus $700,000 for every year remaining, due in a lump sum within 30 days. If the new deal has similar (or likely more favorable) terms, Romar will be pretty darn secure for quite a while.
The story also gives a comparison of Romar's new deal to that of football coach Tyrone Willingham. Romar is creeping up on Willingham, but the football coach is still making more, both in guaranteed money and total potential compensation.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:35 PM
No sooner had I posted the other entry and stepped away from the computer for a little while than the NIT finally announced the field for the pre-season Tip-Off Tournament.
As we've written here before, UW will be the host for the first two rounds of the West Region.
As announced today, the Huskies will host New Jersey Institute of Technology in the first game of the West Region on Nov. 13 at Hec Ed while the University of Utah takes on High Point University in the second contest.
The championship and consolation game will take place on November 14. The winner of region championship will advance to the semi-finals and finals in New York on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23.
Obviously this is set up to be a UW-Utah regional final, and that would be a decent test for the Huskies.
The Utes weren't a great team last season and fired coach Ray Giacoletti, a former Husky assistant.
But Utah did beat Washington State at home early in the season fairly easily and has three of its top four scorers returning from the team that finished 11-19 last season, including leading scorer Johnnie Bryant, a 6-foot guard who scored 16.1 points per game last season. Also back is 7-1 center Luke Nevill, who was the star of the win over the Cougars with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Like UW is doing with its trip to Greece later this month, Utah will be going to Australia to get acclimated to the system of new coach Jim Boylen. Utah has two Australians on its roster, including Nevill.
First, UW will have to get past New Jersey Tech, a Division-I independent team located in Newark. Last year was NJIT's first season in Division-I and it was a predictable struggle as the Highlanders finished 5-24.
New Jersey Tech has an enrollment of about 8,000 and its most famous alums all appear to be really rich people I've never heard of.
I'd heard earlier that the NIT was having a little trouble filling some of the slots in its tournament after switching to on-campus sites from neutral sites --- some teams dropped out after that switch, preferring not to play true road games. That UW ends up with New Jersey Tech seems to indicate that was true.
Still, overall this is nothing but a positive for the Huskies as if they can advance to New York, they are assured of two more games, likely against either Ohio State, Syracuse or Texas A&M. the other three first-round host teams.
Here's the entire bracket.
UPDATE (4:05 p.m.): Here are some quotes from UW coach Lorenzo Romar in a statement from UW:
"We are very excited to be a participant in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. There are some very good basketball teams in this tournament. Whenever you have a chance to play in a tournament as prestigious as this, it is great for your program. Hopefully, we can play well enough to get to Madison Square Garden and make our presence felt."
"I think this is a great reward to our fans. Our fans support us as well as anyone in the country. To be able to bring the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament right here in front of our people is a big, big plus for us."
When asked if he knows anything about New Jersey Institute of Technology, Romar said:
"By the time we play them, we will."
Here's more explaining the rest of the field:
NEW YORK -- The 16-team field for the 2007 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament was announced today.
"We are quite pleased with the caliber of teams in this year's event and we look forward to another exciting start to college basketball with the NIT," commented C.M. Newton, chair of the NIT Committee. The NIT Season Tip-Off, founded in 1985, will feature all first- and second-round contests at campus sites. All teams in the tournament are guaranteed at least two games. ESPN will provide coverage of the event, televising games on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU.
The East Regional will take place on November 12 and 13 at Syracuse University. The first round doubleheader will showcase the Syracuse Orangemen against the Saints of Siena College while St. Joseph's University will square off against Fairleigh Dickinson University. The championship and consolation games follow the next day.
The Midwest Regional will take place at Ohio State University on November 12 when the Buckeyes play the University of Wisconsin Green-Bay and Columbia University faces Delaware State University. The championship and consolation game will take place on November 13.
In the South Regional, Oral Roberts University will visit Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, El Paso will play Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. The South region will play on November 13 and 14.
The Tournament will culminate in New York's Madison Square Garden with the semi final doubleheader tipping at 7 p.m. ET on November 21 (ESPN2). The championship doubleheader will be played on November 23, with the consolation game starting at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN with the championship game tipping at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The post season NIT was founded in 1938 by a group of New York City sportswriters while the NIT Season Tip-Off, formerly known as the preseason NIT, started in 1985. An independent at-large committee chooses the field for both events. Since the inception of the two Tournaments, tens of thousands of student-athletes and coaches have participated. Visit www.nit.org for more details on Tournament history, selection committee and procedures.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:33 AM
I'm pretty much done with commitments to other areas of the newspaper (specifically, writing hydroplane stories) so I'll try to start paying more attention to the blogs now.
One thing to address is that the Huskies apparently have lost out on big man Terrence Jennings, who according to this story is headed to Maryland.
That appears to leave shooting guard Scott Suggs as the top target left for UW"s Class of 2008.
UW already has three commits for the Class of 2008 in forward Tyreese Breshers and guards Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner, Jr. Turner, by the way, will play his senior year of basketball in Houston after his father recently got a job with the Rockets.
The commitments of those three mean UW is already at 14 committed scholarships for the 2008-09 season, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the Huskies didn't get any other players.
Here's a review of where things stand for 08-09:
A FEW OTHER ITEMS: Several of you have wondered how the team is looking in the informal summer workouts. I haven't done much with those this year because since the team is going to Greece, we'll have a great chance to see them in organized fashion. Practices start Aug. 17 with the team playing in Greece from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 (incoming freshmen, however, cannot participate).
With the Greece trip looming, not much is going on with the team right now. Some players are still home for a little break and others are working at Lorenzo Romar's camps at UW.
--- Also, no new word on Venoy Overton's situation and there won't be for a while. He's taking some summer school extension courses and his eligibility won't be determined until those are completed, which could be another month or two.
--- There is nothing new on UW's schedule for next season other than what I have previously reported. The Huskies have yet to hear of confirmed opponents for the NIT and are still attempting to schedule one more non-conference home game.
--- And speaking of Thomas, he played well over the weekend at the Nike Global Challenge making the all-tournament team after averaging 26 points per game. Sounds as if it has been nothing but a positive summer for him.