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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 10:57 AM
Had a chance to talk with Joel Smith the other day and he says he's raring to go for this season after missing last year with a foot injury.
"I'm a lot stronger, more aggressive when I'm close to the rim and my defense has definitely picked up,'' Smith said late last week. "Everything else is pretty much the same.''
Smith said he weighs about 212 pounds compared to about 200 during his sophomore season two years ago.
"It's just lifting and gaining weight and learning how to use that weight,'' he said.
One of Smith's trademarks back then were his high-flying dunks, and he said he's "still got it. My legs aren't all the way back just yet. I'm still getting used to this being able to go all day, every day. It gets you a little bit. I never had to sit down and do nothing for so long, so I'm just getting back in the flow with my legs and go, go, go. But I'm getting used to it.''
UW coaches say Smith has emerged as a leader during this training camp, which makes sense since he is the most veteran player on the team, the last one who played on the team with Nate Robinson that went to the Sweet 16 in 2005 (Ryan Appleby was a redshirt that season).
"I'm definitely leading by example and vocally,'' he said. "I like it a lot. It's not a bit adjustment or nothing like that. I talk a lot anyways, so it's a good deal to be able to have been here for a while and at least help these guys out, especially the young guys, with some of the things I've seen and been through.''
Smith likes the look of the team's four freshmen, saying "they are coming in and willing to sacrifice and work together. Everybody is down with the team concept.''
As for how the team will look on the floor, Smith says it'll be back to how it was when he was last on the floor.
"We are definitely a lot more uptempo,'' he said. "Last year we really didn't have that push and defensive presence. We'll definitely be more of a defensive team this year than last year with a few more guys with atleticism and strength. It'll definitely be a little different.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:38 PM
The Huskies played Concordia in a practice game on Sunday. (Not Occidental, sorry about that).
As I wrote earlier, NCAA rules prohibited it from being open, or from the school publicizing it. What information I got was rather second-hand and sketchy for those reasons, but word is it went well and that Jon Brockman was at his best, somewhere in the 21-9 area for the game.
Word is the starters were Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Tim Morris, Ryan Appleby and Joel Smith but that lineup was used in part for experience and matchup reasons, and that the lineup is sure to fluctuate greatly as the year progresses.
Rumor also is that Joe Wolfinger and Matthew Bryan-Amaning played well and did nothing to dissuade the notion that each will play key roles for this team this season.
The Huskies are practicing again today with about 40 former players on hand to watch.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:16 AM
The season is getting ever closer, and one annual landmark is Pac-10 basketball media day, which is Thursday in Los Angeles.
I will be attending and will blog all day, as well as filing other reports later.
What is often of most interest from media day is the unveiling of the official pre-season media poll.
Here are my picks:
1, UCLA--- With the Collison-Love tandem, definitely the team to beat.
2, Washington State --- With just about everyone back, the Cougars have their highest expectations ever. But they won't catch anyone napping this year.
3, Oregon --- Guess we'll see just how much Aaron Brooks meant to this team. But everyone else returns, and if Malik Hairston stays healthy, he could make the senior year jump like Brooks did.
4, Arizona --- The addition of assistant Kevin O'Neill to help with the defense could be a huge boost. There's always enough talent here.
5, Stanford --- But off to kind of a rocky start with the Brook Lopez deal and some other injuries.
6, Washington --- Too high for the home team? Guess I'm thinking all that returning experience, and the addition of seven new faces who could all play key roles, will make a difference.
7, USC --- O.J. Mayo seems to be saying and doing all the right things. But USC lost an awful lot from a year ago. This is one of those teams that you feel could finish anywhere from second to eighth.
8, Cal --- Another team that has a lot of potential and could finish higher. This may be the best pre-season No. 8 team in conference history.
9, Arizona State --- But these guys will be a lot better than last year and capable of pulling off all kinds of upsets.
10, Oregon State --- There's more talent here than there usually is for a last-place team. But can Jay John get a handle on all of it? The C.J. Giles thing already seems like it's off to a rocky start.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:11 AM
A player who seems to be making a strong early impression is freshman swingman Justin Holiday.
I wrote about him a little in this story Friday that had some glowing comments from UW coach Lorenzo Romar about his play.
I also talked a little with Holiday, who said he thinks he's fitting in just fine.
"It's going well,'' he said.
When I asked him to describe his playing style, he said "I do whatever it takes to win. Playing some defense or getting a loose ball, hustling, making good passes, finding someone.''
He's listed at 6-6, 170 but said he's up to 175 after adding 11 pounds over the summer.
"I need to get a little stronger,'' he said. "If I can get to 180 as soon as possible that would be good. I think I can get to more than that and still stay fast.''
Justin said he thinks the entire freshman class will make an impact this season.
"We brought in some good players,'' he said. "They might not seem like they are ranked that high, but we have good players who are all athletic and long and made for this offense and this defense.''
I also asked Justin about his brother, Jrue. he said Jrue is still planning to sign with UCLA next month but that the two "don't talk much about that.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:35 PM
Twelve, to be exact, as the first of the two major polls is out with its pre-season rankings.
Those votes put the Huskies technically at 39th, and seventh among Pac-10 teams --- UCLA is No. 2, followed by WSU (10), Oregon (13), Arizona (17), USC (18) and Stanford (21).
And no, UW's 12 votes didn't come from Lorenzo Romar. You can see the list of the coaches at the bottom of this link here and Romar isn't a voter.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:17 AM
That was the headline of our story today in which UW coach Lorenzo Romar gaves some initial impressions of the four-member Class of 2007.
I thought it was a pretty telling comment by Romar about how devoted the entire group is to the betterment of the team.
There is also a quote from Romar about each player, plus his thought that as of now, all four will play this season with none of them likely to redshirt. Worth remembering that only one player has redshirted a freshman season strictly for basketball reasons, that being Joe Wolfinger.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:13 PM
Had a chance to talk with Lorenzo Romar for a little while today, and a lot of that is for a story that will run in the next day or two. But here are a few notes and quotes from that conversation
--- He's really happy with the way the freshmen are playing, and more importantly, the attitude they are bringing. He says the plan right now is that all four will play this season, with no plans to redshirt anyone. Justin Holiday has been playing particularly well, though he was slowed for a day or so by a knee infection this week.
--- Romar always raves about the play of Jon Brockman and today was no different as Brockman was the first player he mentioned when I asked how the "veterans'' of the team were doing.
--- Others Romar said have played well or late are Tim Morris, Justin Dentmon, Ryan Appleby and Joel Smith. Dentmon, he said, "has done really well the last few days'' and has been cutting down on turnovers. Appleby "has been very consistent.'' Morris was bothered for a little while by a leg injury but has been fine the last few days.
--- Joe Wolfinger is still limited to 90 minutes a day but Romar said he is doing well.
--- Romar said there is "probably more emphasis'' on defense in this pre-season than any of his others at UW. "That's what we've got to get better at,'' he said.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:00 PM
There have been a few stories about how Nate Robinson is finally maturing --- and just in time to secure his role with the Knicks in what looked like a make or break year.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:13 PM
UW forward Jon Brockman has been named to the 50-man Wooden Award pre-season All-America list.
Brockman is one of 10 Pac-10 players on the list.
The others are: Chase Budinger of Arizona, Ryan Anderson of Cal, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp of UCLA, Taj Gibson of USC, Malik Hairston of Oregon, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver of Washington State and Jeff Pendergraph of Arizona State.
--- Some of you have asked for detailed reports from early-season practices for UW. We've been told that is something we are not allowed to do so I won't have anything like that on here. UPDATE --- To make clear, our access to players is the same as always so we'll have interviews, etc., just trying to answer a question from some of you who have asked for practice reports that that is not something we're allowed to do.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:34 AM
Yahoo.com has published its power rankings of college basketball players by position. And no confererence landed more players on the list than the Pac-10 ---- 20 are listed at each spot.
The only Husky on the list is Jon Brockman, rated No. 7 among power forwards.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:45 PM
Watched a bit of practice today and what I saw was a team working heavily on defense.
There was a lot of work on the zone (which can obvioulsy help the offense, as well, as operating against the zone was a problem at times for UW last year), and a lot of footwork-type defensive drills, seeming to continue what has been the emphasis of the team so far.
Coaches view the key to the season as limiting turnovers and getting defensive stops, thinking that they will get enough scoring. So defense and taking care of the ball are the two big things the team is working on in the pre-season, and players who excel in those areas are the ones who are likely to get the most playing time.
The Huskies had an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday and word is the stars were Jon Brockman and Tim Morris.
Also said to be impressing early is Ryan Appleby, not only with his shooting but his ballhandling, understanding the offense and not turning the ball over.
The freshmen who are standing out the most are Venoy Overton and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Justin Holiday is also expected to help this season while just how much Darnell Gant may contribute is still a little uncertain.
Joe Wolfinger remains on a 90-minute limit but he has been steadily progressing.
Adrian Oliver continues to wear a mask to protect his nose.
The Huskies will have a closed practice game Sunday with Concordia University in Irvine, Calif. The team's coach is Ken Ammann who was an assistant for Lorenzo Romar at Pepperdine.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:17 PM
In case you've forgotten, former Husky Will Conroy is playing in Italy for Virtus Bolgona.
Here's the team's official web site with a picture of Conroy in action (bottom right).
As far as I can tell he scored 15 points in their last game this weekend so he must be doing all right.
Here's my blog entry on Aug. 25 shortly when I talked to Conroy a few days before he left.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:50 PM
Here's a nice Q-and-A with Brandon Roy from NBA.com.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:23 AM
Lorenzo Romar was on KJR-AM this morning, and unfortunately, I only got to hear the tail end of it.
What I did hear was some good news on Adrian Oliver, whom Romar said returned to full-contact practice on Wednesday after recovering from surgery on his nose.
But because Oliver has been out, Romar said "it's been hard to gague'' his improvement as a player.
Romar was more effusive in talking about Quincy Pondexter saying that "he has taken the next step'' and is "in very good condition. He's doing more of the kinds of things we'd like to see him do. He's definitely made progress. You can see coming in this year he doesn't have that deer-in-the-headlights look and he's trying to help others do the right thing.''
UPDATE --- Here's a link to the audio of that interview.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:39 AM
Former Husky Bobby Jones is off to a really nice start to the pre-season in Denver, scoring 26 points last night, including 14 in one third-quarter stretch.
Here's a story from the Denver Post another from the Rocky Mountain News and another from Hoops World calling him the biggest surprise of Denver's camp.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:45 PM
Had a chance to talk a little bit with Joe Wolfinger at media day last week.
He said he can practice for about 80 minutes before he is shut down so as not to overwork his foot.
Having to limit his work is a new thing for him as he has always been known as one of the team's hardest workers, though that's likely what helped cause his injury in the first place.
But he's happy just to be back out on the floor consistently.
"I was out for so long,'' he said of missing last season with the foot stress fracture. "I never had an injury before, so I'm just trying to get my leg stronger and get my quickness back.''
He said he weighs about 257 pounds, about two more than the team wants him playing at this season. He got up to about 285 last winter when he was unable to do much due to the injury.
"I lost all that weight so that's good,'' he said.
That's still significantly more than the 235 he weighed when he came to UW. Remember, putting on weight and strength was much of the reason for his redshirt season two years ago.
"I can push people around more now,'' he said.
Wolfinger got people excited when he scored 17 points in the opener of UW's trip to Greece. He said he scored his points on "midrange shots, a few threes, and I got fouled and got to the line a couple of times.''
Asked what it was like finally playing after almost two years away, he said "the quickness of the game was something I've got to get used to And I've got to get my leg stronger.''
Wolfinger said he doesn't feel any pressure to have to take over for the vacancy left by the departure of Spencer Hawes.
"Not really,'' he said. "We have a bunch of good posts on our teamm. Just because I'm 7-feet doesn't mean I've got to be the next Spencer Hawes or whatever. But I learned a lot from him, a lot about hook shots. It was good watching him play last year.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:08 PM
The national TV schedule for the Pac-10 conference this season is out. Here it is.
The Huskies are slated for six guaranteed games this season --- one on ESPN (against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Challenge) and five on FSN (Pitt at home, Oregon State, at UCLA, at Arizona and Arizona State at home).
Four other games could be on national TV, including the semi-final and finals of the pre-season NIT, which will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2, but which obvioulsy UW has to qualify for first.
Two other games are potential selections for national TV broadcast, including the season finale at WSU.
Again, this is only the national TV games. Many, if not almost all, the rest of the games will be televised regionally, most on FSN-NW.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:26 AM
Brandon Roy says his troublesome heel is getting better and he wants to try it out in a game on Friday.
Here are the details from the Oregonian.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:08 PM
We linked to it here a few months ago when CBS Sportsline.com columnist Gary Parrish ranked UW No. 17 in his pre-season poll, so only fair to link to him again now that he has decided the Huskies no longer deserve ranking.
Can't say I disagree with his ultimate conclusion, that UW isn't deserving right now of a top 25 ranking.
But I'm not sure to what make of his reasoning for doing so as I don't know how you can conclude anything based on five games in Greece that nobody saw and that apparently were played in about 100-degree temperatures and with refs who were said to be not exactly hospitable.
Not to mention that two key players didn't participate in Greece --- Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Venoy Overton. MBA could start and Overton could be a 15-20-25-minute a game guy depending on how it all works out.
And that 1998 team he refenced actually made it to the NCAA Tournament, something this team would be love to do.
But hey, it's all just interesting conjecture this time of year, anyway.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:55 PM
That's what NBADraft.net thinks, listing Pondexter as the No. 27 selection for that year, which would be after Pondexter's junior season.
This is the same site that listed Pondexter as a first-round pick in 2008 much of last year, but seems to now go with the conventional wisdom that Pondexter is likely to stick around for a while now.
Just as interesting is that Jon Brockman isn't listed after what would be his senior year (no, he's not listed in 2008, either). Speaking of that 2008 mock, there are nine Pac-10 players listed, a sign of how good the conference is going to be this season.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:30 PM
A couple of you asked for an update of how things went during the team's weekend in Lacey.
Word is all went fine, with no significant injuries or anything of that sort, though Tim Morris has apparently been limited a little by a leg injury.
Joel Smith was said to be one of the best performing players, having shown some notable improvement from a year ago and adding to the hopes that he will be a key player for the team this year, especially in adding some defense on the perimeter.
And of the freshmen, word is that Venoy Overton and Matthew Bryan-Amaning did nothing to dissuade the notion that they will be key contributors this season.
The team was off Monday but will resume practice on Tuesday.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:33 AM
Meant to get this in the paper today but didn't make it.
Venoy Overton said Thursday that he thinks his former Franklin High teammate Peyton Siva will become a Husky eventually.
"I think he'll end up here,'' Overton said.
But Overton also said he isn't doing much pressuring of Siva, saying he hasn't talked to him much about that of late.
Siva is one of UW's top targets for the Class of 2009 and already has offers from the likes of Arizona, Gonzaga and Miami as well as UW, according to Scout.com.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:40 AM
I'm told the link I provided yesterday for a picture of the new uniforms didn't work.
You can now see the entire team wearing the uniforms in a team picture on GoHuskies.com.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:44 PM
UW players and coach Lorenzo Romar met the media today to preview the beginning of practice tomorrow.
Here are a few highlights:
--- Romar said the only two players who basically have starting jobs locked up are Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter. Everything else is open.
--- The general theme is that this team is focused on defense like never before. In fact, asked what the emphasis will be the first few weeks of practice, Romar said simply "defense.'' Guard Adrian Oliver said he's never worked on defense like he has this year, one of just many such comments.
--- Speaking of Oliver, he won't be allowed to have contact until Wednesday due to his nose, which was broken in four places during the last game of the Greece trip. He had surgery a few weeks ago, initially hoping it would heal without it but then deciding to go under the knife due to breathing problems. The surgery went just fine, he said. He'll wear a mask for a while as a precaution.
--- The only other player limited in any way is center Joe Wolfinger, who is not allowed to practice longer than an hour-and-a-half (Wolfinger actually said 80 minutes). But he said his conditioning is just fine and he doesn't think he will be limited in minutes once the season starts. He said he's weighing about 257 pounds, right about where he wants to be.
--- Romar said center Artem Wallace is a little out of shape due to missing the Greece trip and then suffering a pulled hamstring that didn't allow him to practice the way he wanted. "He's running it off now, though,'' Romar said. Wallace said he's at about 254 --- he's listed at 250 --- and said he thinks he's getting close to where he wants to be.
--- Speaking of weight, Pondexter said he's at about 214. He was under 200 at times last season, particularly after suffering a staph infection in January.
--- The team unveiled the new uniforms and I thought they looked fine. They are a NIKE creation and may last a year or two --- the team changes its look fairly often so if you don't like it, just wait a while and it will likely change. Here's a look at the new unis. That's Bryan-Amaning in the picture.
--- Romar said all of the four freshmen have "looked good'' early on and that all have the ability to help the team this season. But the coaches are going to be somewhat cautious in what they say there until they see those guys in full-squad workouts for a while.
--- The team will practice for the first time today at St. Martin's College in Lacey, then twice more on Saturday and again on Sunday before returning home. The team will also go bowling one night, a tradition of its pre-season getaways.
--- Asked about the preponderance of guards on the roster this year compared to last year, Romar said "it's night and day.'' The backcourt figures to be the most competitive area of the team.
--- Romar said he thinks Justin Dentmon is quicker than he was a year ago and that his confidence is just fine after last season. Dentmon says he weighs about 183 pounds compared to about 188 last season, saying the change is more in how his body is sculpted than the actual weight itself.
--- There are no walk-ons on the roster as of yet. Romar said a few are likely to be added later but stressed they aren't players who will be expected to play. "Iit would help if we had one or two bodies for practice,'' he said. "That's it.''
--- Romar talked about the addition of Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Darnell Gant and their shot blocking ability and said "that's a dimension we've never where we have multiple guys on the floor who can block shots.'' Romar said Justin Holiday has also shown good shot blocking ability, blocking as many as any player on the team in some of the early workouts.
I'll try to post some more stuff from the interviews today down the road, as well.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:09 AM
Official practices are almost here, so thought I'd lay out a little of what is to come:
--- The Huskies will meet the media tomorrow to kick off the season, so expect some news and notes from that.
--- The team will then head to St. Martin's College in Lacey for a weekend "training camp.'' The first day it can officially practice is Friday. These workouts aren't open to the public or media as the point is to get away and start off the season in privacy. This is what UW did the first four years of Lorenzo Romar's tenure. The Huskies didn't do it last year to accomodate Midnight Madness, but decided to scrap Madness this year to again get away for the weekend.
--- Pac-10 media day is Nov. 1 in Los Angeles. That is when the official media poll is announced. I haven't done my yet (I'll post it when I do) but I'm doubting UW will be much higher than No. 6 in the official poll, and could conceivably be as low as No. 8 depending on how highly people think of Cal.
--- Here's UW's schedule, which as you can see, has the Huskies hitting the floor for the first time on Nov. 5 against Seattle Pacific in an exhibition game. The first regular season game is Nov. 13 in the pre-season NIT against New Jersey Tech.
--- Think if I had to name a starting lineup for UW today it would be Justin Dentmon, Tim Morris, Quincy Pondexter, Jon Brockman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. I don't think they will want to rush Joe Wolfinger that much to start in the middle and as noted last week, not sure Artem Wallace is going to be that guy, either. But I think this is a season when you could see a lot of experimenting with the lineups, especially early on and especially in the backcourt.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:06 PM
That's what our NBA writer Percy Allen is reporting today as the Sacramento Kings announced that Spencer Hawes will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
As Percy details, the recovery time could be 2-4 weeks. But given Hawes' history of knee problems, the Kings figure to be cautious and it's uncertain when he'll be back.
And for anyone wondering why Hawes decided last spring to enter the draft, this might have been the biggest reason of all, though Hawes never really publicly stated it quite that directly. This is apparently surgery number five for Hawes before what would have been his sophomore season.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:14 PM
Mike DeCourcy at The Sporting News lists UW's Jon Brockman as the No. 7 power forward in the country.
DeCourcy writes that if Brockman were one or two inches taller he would have already been an NBA lottery pick and that he's the best rebounder in Division-I.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM
. .... that hopefully are of interest.
--- Stanford's Brook Lopez is academically ineligible for the fall quarter. But as the story states, he could be back by Dec. 19, so this shouldn't impact Stanford come Pac-10 time.
--- Here's a preview of the Huskies from collegehoopsnet.com. I don't think Artem Wallace will be starting (I'd figure Matthew Bryan-Amaning, probably) but the rest of that lineup could hold up.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:28 PM
So as noted earlier, I watched the Huskies for an hour or so today, taking in the end of their conditioning work and then a 25-minute open gym run.
Coaches are allowed to work with the players during the conditioning period and the part I saw had a special emphasis on defense, ending with a brutal five-minute drill that consisted mostly of things like defensive steps and slides, diving on the ground, and falling backwards to take charges.
They did it first for about two-and-a-half minutes before coaches told them it wasn't good enough and they started over. It's a drill I'm told they began doing this spring after last season as a way to try to improve the team defense.
Joel Smith was the leader of the drill, facing the rest of the players and guiding them through the paces. Joel isn't an official team captain (Jon Brockman, Tim Morris and Ryan Appleby are) but it's obvious that as a fourth-year player who turned 23 on Wednesday that he is more than capable of adding a lot of leadership this season.
Didn't get to see Adrian Oliver at all as he is still sidelined for a few more days while recovering from surgery to fix the broken nose he suffered in Greece, and as I mentioned earlier, Venoy Overton pulled himself out early on complaining of back trouble. Overton did do all the conditioning work.
When Overton went out, Darnell Gant went in to guard Ryan Appleby and that proved to be a mismatch as Appleby hit at least four long-range threes with Gant unable to get out there quickly enough.
As for some general observations:
--- The two freshmen who are most likely to help this team are Overton and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (called MBA the rest of the way here to save my typing fingers). Word is Overton has made quite an impression quickly and will definitely play a big role in the backcourt this season. MBA already looks physically ready for D-I ball and runs the court well --- he had a quick drive down the baseline for a dunk at one point, the kind of play UW didn't have a lot last season.
--- Gant has some mannerisms that reminded me of Bobby Jones. And he's aggressive and seemed surprisingly assertive for a true freshmen. But I'm not sure how much he'll contribute this season as he weighs roughly 210 and needs to get a little bigger to really contribute inside.
--- Didn't see a lot of Justin Holiday, as he wasn't out there for the scrimmage part, but he also looks like he may need some more time to physically develop before really becoming a big contributor (he's listed at 180 and like Gant, looks pretty slender out there).
--- Everything with Joe Wolfinger has the caveat of "if he can stay healthy.'' But he's stayed healthy to participate fully for about six weeks now, beginning with practices the week before the Greece trip. If they can get 15-20 minutes out of him this season, he'll make an impact. He got at least three tip-ins while I was watching, as he has good hands and does a nice job of keeping them high to get at balls around the rim. He's not real fleet of foot, however, and that may mean the team will have to pick its spots to use him. But as of now, he looms as a key contributor this season.
--- Artem Wallace frankly looked a little out of shape and with MBA and Wolfinger coming on, is in danger of falling behind in the rotation up front pretty quickly.
--- Justin Dentmon still looks a lot better physically out there, but it's hard to really judge much about any improvement in his game from this short of time in a pickup situation. But he seems to be assertive on the floor and I don't see any indications that what happened last year has zapped his confidence much, if any. But I think the jury on how much he has improved has to remain out until the team plays a few games.
--- The Huskies will really need Quincy Pondexter to step up and be a big-time scorer this season, and I didn't see enough today to render a verdict either way on that. But he looked in good shape, and his on- and off-court body language indicated he's a lot more comfortable out there right now than a year ago.
--- Appleby has a close-cropped hairdo these days so he simply looks a little different out there. But his shooting touch remains as solid as ever, something this team will really need this season having lost Phil Nelson and not really gained anyone new whose forte is outside shooting. However, the return of Joel Smith and the addition of Tim Morris should help that. We all know how good of a shooter Smith can be, and Morris has improved greatly on his scoring. And it's obvious watching this team what a leader Morris is going to be, as well.
--- Jon Brockman looks steady as ever and will be the ultimate leader of this team on and off the court. He's been working on his perimeter game this off-season but I didn't really get to see enough to judge where he is on that.
--- As I wrote earlier, the team will begin practice a week from Friday, going out of town for the weekend in sort of a mini-camp to kick things off. So the season's not that far away.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:36 PM
I checked out the Huskies for a bit this afternoon, watching some of their organized workout with coaches and then their open run afterward.
I'll have some thoughts on all of that a little later, though the one disappointment was that I was unable to see nuch of Venoy Overton, who appeared to be suffering with a little bit of a back problem. He did a lot of stuff early but not the scrimmaging.
So check back a little later tonight for some of that.
Also, interesting story out of Washington State where Taylor Rochestie says he will voluntarily give up his scholarship next year to open up a spot for another player. I'll let you guys comment on whether this is something we might see down the road at UW given the Huskies' apparent scholarship jam in future seasons.
Also, on Devin Aguilar and basketball, word is that there's a chance he could walk-on down the road and that UW basketball coaches did talk to him about that during recruiting. UW assistant Cameron Dollar has seen Aguilar play.
But for now, he can't do anything until January and his first priority will be to the football program since that is there his scholarship is. He hasn't been doing anything with the basketball team informally since having moved up here a month or so ago as far as I know.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:52 PM
Some of you (okay, one of you) asked about rumors that C.J. Giles had been kicked off the team at Oregon State.
The official word is no, he has not, though he is not working out with the team right now to concentrate on academics.
Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:15 AM
In our continuing review of what the pre-season magazines have to say about the Huskies, we'll look today at Lindy's, which picks UW eighth.
(Full disclosure: I write some stories for Lindy's, including the Husky preview, but I don't have any input into the conference selections).
Here's how Lindy's sees the Pac-10:
Lindy's also picks UCLA No. 1 in the nation and also has WSU (7), Stanford (12), Arizona (15) and Oregon (22) in the top 25.
Here are some of Lindy's pre-season awards:
Player of the Year: Darren Collinson, UCLA.
Lindy's also names three five-man all-conference teams --- first, second and third --- as the Pac-10 will to this year. Brockman is the only Husky named to any of the three.
Brockman is on the first team with Collison, Weaver, Chase Budinger of Arizona and Lawrence Hill of Stanford.
The second team is Derrick Low (WSU), Mayo, Ryan Anderson (Cal), Lopez andn Love. (And I'm thinking by the end of the season that second team might be able to beat that first team).
The third team is Josh Shipp (UCLA), Bryce Taylor (Oregon), Taj Gibson (USC), Jeff Pendergraph (Arizona State) and Maarty Leunen (Oregon).
Of UW, Lindy's says "An upper-division finish is quite possible if the guards can play on an even keel.''
Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:32 PM
Know I haven't been spending as much time here with football going on, but I'll try to update what is going on with the basketball.
--- Practice starts Oct. 12 and the Huskies will be going out of town somewhere for the weekend to begin practice in sort of a camp-like setting. Those practices aren't open to the media or public --- getting away and beginning practice in private is kind of the point of it all --- so I won't be able to report on those. The team is doing that in lieu of having a Midnight Madness-type deal this year.
--- The team has an informal run most afternoons these days as well as some structured work with the coaches. Up to two hours a week with the coaches is allowed under NCAA rules. Most of the players have been participating though Tim Morris and Justin Holiday have been slowed with minor injuries and have been in-and-out of action. Both are expected to be ready for the start of practice.
--- The early word on Venoy Overton is pretty positive. One observer of a practice said he really makes a difference with his athleticism and his competitiveness --- he brings a fiery attitude ala Nate Robinson or Will Conroy that will be an interesting dimension to the season.
--- Elston Turner Jr., and Tyreese Breshers
--- Speaking of recruiting, here's a good overview of the Pac-10's prospective Class of 2008. The Huskies' class is rated fifth by noted recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons.