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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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November 30, 2007

Huskies in Oklahoma

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:43 AM

The Huskies are making their way to Stillwater today for tomorrow's game against the Cowboys.

Here's a good overview of how the Cowboys head into that game from the Stillwater NewsPress.

As for the Huskies, it sounds like they will be down one more player, though due to injury only. Apparently, guard Adrian Oliver is unlikely to play while battling a back injury. Some of you have asked about Oliver given that he hasn't been playing much.

I talked to him on Wednesday and he said he was still struggling to get past the knee injury he suffered against Utah. Throw a back injury in, and this has been a tough season for Oliver so far. He continues to wear a mask due to the broken nose he suffered in Greece. It's mostly by choice now, but he said he's had several occasions where balls have hit hit nose and it has hurt quite a bit, so he wants to keep wearing the mask. He said the mask doesn't bother him.

As for not playing as much as he would have liked, he said he understands that the team is deeper in the backcourt this year than it was last season.

"Whoever coach Romar puts on the court is whoever he thinks has a good chance to win that game,'' Oliver said Wednesday. "Of course there's going to be more competition and more guys battling in the backcourt for minutes, but that's what you want. We are a better team than we were last year and that's all we can ask for. It's not about any individual's pride or stats, it's about us getting more wins than we got last year.''

November 28, 2007

Holiday out, Appleby to suit up

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:46 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today that guard Justin Holiday is suffering from a viral infection and is unlikely to make the trip to Oklahoma State this weekend.

He is not practicing while trying to recover from a systemic viral infection. He's expected to recover in time for the Pitt game Dec. 8.

Romar also said that Ryan Appleby is getting his cast off today and will make the trip to OSU and suit up, but it's still unlikely that he will play.

Romar said the starting lineup is likely to stay the same though with a few practices left before that contest, things could change.


November 27, 2007

Huskies playing faster

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:29 PM

I'm always leery of reading too much into early season college basketball stats given the nature of scheduling this time of year.

But I did find looking at some of Ken Pomeroy's numbers on Washington interesting today, specifically his raw tempo rating of UW's offense showing that the Huskies are averaging 76.8 possessions per 40 minutes, ranking 21st in the nation.

That number proves that so far, the Huskies are definitely playing at a faster pace than a year ago, when they averaged 70.2 possessions per game, which ranked 73rd.

As you can see looking at the 2008 numbers, UW isn't ranking well in some categories --- 324th in free throw shooting, for instance.

Overall, Pomeroy has UW ranked 124th in the nation and ninth in the Pac-10, ahead of only Oregon State. That's based in part on a strength of schedule that still lags despite the NIT appearance, ranking 239th in the nation and ninth in the Pac-10, again ahead of only Oregon State.

UW plays next Saturday at Oklahoma State in the Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge, against a Cowboys team that has been struggling, having won just two of its first five games.

November 26, 2007

Long Beach post-game thoughts

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:39 PM

Kind of a strange game here tonight as UW hit 11-19 from the three-point line but just 9-26 from the three throw line.

How to explain that? Maybe a team rather weary from the trip to New York for the NIT last week.

"Sometimes, you may not be tired but you can be mentally tired,'' said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

Here are the game details.

Some other notes and thoughts:

--- Justin Dentmon had his best shooting night of the season going 9-15 with 22 points despite injuring his thumb in practice Sunday. He said thinking about his thumb might be why he was an onimously 0-4 at the free throw line --- he was 17-23 for the year coming in.

--- Venoy Overton was 2-6 at the line and Jon Brockman 1-5, both guys who were .667 shooters coming in, so a lot of this is surely just an off night.

--- The rotation definitely appears to be winnowing as just eight Huskies played more than five minutes. Artem Wallace didn't play at all and has just 13 minutes for the season, which makes you wonder what the future holds for him here, while Justin Holiday played just three minutes and Adrian Oliver five. Romar says Oliver is healthy now, so that apparently wasn't the issue tonight. Holiday is obviously a freshman who wasn't expected to play major minutes every game. But Oliver had a chance to create a real role for himself with Ryan Appleby out but hasn't been able to so far, due in part to injuries, and time may be even harder to come by once Appleby returns in a week or so.

--- Matthew Bryan-Amaning had a career-high 11 points in getting his second start and Romar said a key was that he is slowing down on offense and not trying "to score 20 points in one possession. We are trying to get him to slow down and he did that tonight.''

--- Overton had six turnovers but Romar pointed out that Overton resmebles Nate Robinson in that both players are often at their best when they seem on the edge of being out of control and that trying to reign that in can negate what makes them good. Overton still has a 32-19 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season which is quite good for a true frosh.

Long Beach State thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:10 PM

HUSKIES PULLING AWAY --- UW leads 82-67 now and this will look like an easy one in the paper tomorrow, though it was still a four-point game with about seven minutes left. I'll have more after the game.

HUSKIES 7-23 ON FREE THROWS --- Really a bad night at the line for the Huskies, who haven't been good all year, making just 61.8 percent coming in.

UW HANGING ON --- UW leads 67-61 now with Dentmon having hit five straight shots.

DENTMON GOING OFF --- Dentmon has scored 10 straight points for UW, hitting two three-pointers, to help UW regain a five-point lead. He has 17 for the game, closing in on his career-high of 24.

NOW UW IN A ZONE --- Now it's UW's turn to adjust, going to a zone defense after playing man all game. Seems like UW is more willing to go zone this year than in past seasons.

LB KEEPING IT CLOSE --- Ever since switching to a man defense, LB State has gotten into this one, cutting the lead now to 46-43 with 16:31 left.

UW UP 41-33 AT HALF --- UW's shooting cooled a bit, they are now at 16-33, and they lost four turnovers near the end of the half to let the 49ers climb back into it a bit. Bryan-Amaning has had a decent half already tying his career-high with eight points along with two rebounds. Smith leads UW with nine points. Dentmon has seven and Brockman six. Every UW player except Artem Wallace has played though Holiday didn't play much and Oliver was in for only a few minutes. LB has missed a lot of inside shots in hitting just 12-33 overall and might actually really be in this game if they could make some of those.

HUSKIES UP 32-18 --- UW has hit 13-22 shots in its best sustained outside shooting of the season (not that LB is guarding all that well). UW has four turnovers, two of which are travels by big guys, so the passing has been okay so far.

HUSKIES UP 27-15 --- With 10:11 to play. LB stayed in a 2-3 zone while UW hit 10 of its first 15 shots. So LB is now playing man, though that didn't help on the first try as Joel Smith hit another three. He's 3-3.

12-9 UW AT THE 14:23 MARK --- Long Beach State is playing mostly a zone and UW has taken four threes and a couple of jumpers among nine shots. UW has hit two threes and five shots overall.

STARTING LINEUP THE SAME --- As it was for the Syracuse game with Bryan-Amaning at center.

PRE-GAME --- We're about 20 minutes to tipoff against Long Beach State.

In case you missed it, here's my story today LB State coach Dan Monson, the former coach at Gonzaga who turned down the UW job in 2002.

November 25, 2007

Quick update

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:43 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar briefed the media quickly today before practice, to talk about tomorrow night's game with Long Beach State.

Romar said the team is healthy with guard Adrian Oliver continuing to recover from a knee injury suffered against Utah that limited his minutes in the NIT.

"He's getting better,'' Romar said. "His knee is getting better.''

Also getting better is guard Ryan Appleby, who has been out the past three weeks with a broken thumb.

Appleby told reporters at the NIT in New York that he hoped to be back in time for Saturday's game at Oklahoma State.

But Romar sounded a more cautious tone saying that Appleby has to get clearance that he can return to play without fear of re-injury.

"They've got to feel strongly that if he gets hit again that he won't get reinjured immediately the first time he gets hit,'' Romar said, noting the initial prognosis was six weeks, which would put him at mid-December.

November 24, 2007

Syracuse aftermath

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:50 AM

As part of our coverage today, Steve Kelley wrote this column about Quincy Pondexter finally breaking out.

Here's the view from Syracuse.

The hope was that the NIT would help boost UW's RPI. And while it's still really early, the Huskies aren't in great shape there at the moment, standing at 171 after yesterday's game with a 162 strength of schedule.

But then you really wonder about the RPI this time of year when you see that Sam Houston State is No. 1 (it beat Texas Tech which just beat Gonzaga). Still, interesting to look at.

Up next for UW is Long Beach State on Monday night. The 49ers fell to 1-3 with an overtime loss to Pepperdine Wednesday. Long Beach is coached by former Gonzaga coach Dan Monson a job he got last spring. Among the other candidates at the time was UW assistant Cameron Dollar.

November 23, 2007

Kelley comments from N.Y.

Posted by blog at 6:25 PM

Random thoughts after Washington's 91-85 loss to Syracuse in the consolaton game of the NIT tournament:

Coach Lorenzo Romar made the right move changing the starting lineup, replacing 6-foot-4 Joel Smith with 6-9 freshman Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Washington needs more size up front to take some pressure off Jon Brockman and, although Brockman played with foul problems and Bryan-Amaning had only eight points and five rebounds, the move gave sophomore Quincy Pondexter more touches and more confidence.

Bryan-Amaning is raw, but I think, by February, he's going to be a force inside.

Still, Washington didn't answer any questions on this 0-2 trip to New York. They're still turning over the ball too much. They had 15 turnovers in the first half against Syracuse and 21 for the game. Smith had six, including three in a key stretch in the first half, when Washington was outscored 15-0 and fell behind 31-25.

Washington still is committing too many silly fouls. The Huskies committed 35 fouls to Syracuse's 17. Three starters - Pondexter, Brockman and Venoy Overton - and backup big man Joel Wolfinger fouled out. Brockman got his second less than five minutes into the game and played only 21 minutes. For the Huskies to win, Brockman and Overton have to be on the floor 35-plus minutes.

Romar received his first technical foul call of the year, objecting to the fourth foul call on Brockman with 17:48 left and the Huskies trailing 52-46. "Yes, I deserved it," Romar said of the T. "If raising my voice at an official asking him, or saying loudly, 'Come on,' or something, with the new rules, I probably deserved it."

If he can stay out of foul trouble,Wolfinger can become an offensive threat, both inside and out. That, however is a big if.

The freshman point guard duel between Overton and Syracuse's Jonny Flynn should be declared a draw. Overton had 11 points, four assists and a turnover in 27 minutes. Flynn had 16 points, two assists and two turnovers in 29 minutes.

Among those impressed with Overton was former Huskies quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who was wearing purple behind the UW bench. Tuiasosopo is the New York Jets' No. 3 quarterback and, although he said the 2-9 season on the bench has been discouraging, "I still love this game and I'm going to keep playing it until somebody tells me, enough. I'm just waiting for another chance somewhere. A lot of this is timing."

Representing Syracuse was HBO and NBC's Bob Costas, a Syracuse alum who sat in back of the Orange bench.

Asked what he learned about his team from this trip to New York, Romar said, "I'm encouraged. How in the world can you be encouraged when we didn't win a game? Because I think that things that we didn't do well to allow us to win the games are fixable. And there are some other things that we were able to do here in these two games that we can go play against anybody and I think we'll have a chance to win. So that's encouraging."

Romar still is trying to figure out substitution rotations before conference play begins in Janary, but the team does have an important RPI stretch in December with games at Oklahoma State and LSU and at home against Pitt. The Huskies learned last year that they can't depend on their conference's strength to get them into the NCAA tournament. And they're going to have to win games on the road.

The Huskies will be much better when Ryan Appleby and his three-point shooting return in mid- December.

"He's a big piece off what we do," said Brockman, who was limited to 10 points and nine rebounds because of foul trouble. "Defenses have to respect him. Tonight the [Syracuse] lead was three points and five points and when you've got a shooter like Ryan, who shoots threes like they're layups, those leads can go away real quick."

Syracuse game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:28 PM

FORTIER COMMENTS --- Here are a few quick comments from assistant Paul Fortier from the radio:

"You don't want to come back this far and get two losses, especially in that fashion.''

He said the transition game hurt UW "especially early and when we got back in the game in the second half, another time when we were right there they would break and get a dunk ... take those out and even with all the free throws they had in the first half we are in the game, we are up.''

On Quincy Pondexter getting 20 points and 13 rebounds: "We've been waiting for that. We know Quincy is a good player and he stepped up big time. He had (13) rebounds and we've been on him for that.''

On Venoy Overton: He's just a freshman, and that's no excuse there but at the same time he gets going and it's tough to turn him down a little bit. But he opnes up so many things. Just have to (eliminate) the key fouls, especially away from the basket. Once he gets that he is going to be good.''

Overall: "We'll be happier that we went through this expeience later on in the season. Right now the guys know we could have had that game. But it was a learning experience.''

Here's a box score of the game that shows UW with a 52-26 rebounding edge, but also a 50-19 disadvantage at the free throw line. Hard to overcome that.

MBA MAKES A POINTABOUT APPLEBY --- Bryan-Amaning said in the post-game interview that "as soon as Appleby gets back that will open up a lot of things for the big men.''

SYRACUSE HOLDS ON FOR THE WIN ---- The good --- a breakout game from Quincy Pondexter, with 20 points; a 54-33 rebounding edge.
The bad --- 19 turnovers and 6-22 shooting from the 3-point line signifying even more clearly the need for Ryan Appleby.

THAT GOT UGLY IN A HURRY --- 13 turnovers for UW has undone having a 26-16 rebounding advantage in the first half, and Jon Brockman has just one point going up against some quick, athletic big men for Syracuse. Joel Smith has four TOs and Brockman three, so it's not just the young kids turning it over, as well. UW needs a good first five minutes of the second half to stay in this one.

HUSKIES OFF TO NICE START --- 3-4 on threes and 16-5 edge in rebounds, two things UW struggled with against A&M. That's added up to a 23-16 lead.

UW 10-1 IN REBOUNDS EARLY --- Sounds like a message got through on that after UW was outrebounded the other night.

INTERESTING LINEUP SWITCH --- So it's Bryan-Amaning starting in place of Joel Smith, but Pondexter still in there.

PRE-GAME --- The game is getting ready to begin.

Once again, I'm not there, with Steve Kelley covering. He'll add some stuff later.

But for those who want to comment as the game goes on, you can do so here, and I'll check in from time to time as well.

November 22, 2007

Romar takes blame

Posted by blog at 5:22 PM

Steve Kelley here, still sittin' in for Condotta in New York.

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar took the blame for the Huskies going away from junior forward Jon Brockman in the second half of Wednesday's loss to Texas A&M in the semifinals of the NIT Preseason Tipoff.

"We need somebody else to come in and help him," Romar said. "Texas A&M did a lot to keep him out of the game, but we went away from Jon a little bit and you can blame me for that. They were concentrating on Jon so much and [Joe] Wolfinger knocked down a couple of shots, but we probably should have gone back to Jon even though they were very effective doubling him and fronting him."

The Huskies struggled again from three-point range. Wolfinger was 2 for 6. The rest of the team was 0 for 7. In the early season, Washington has made 19 of 55.

Kelley sittin' in

Posted by blog at 5:11 PM

Because of the writer's strike, Bob Condotta won't be blogging from the NIT. (Just kidding).

But here are some thoughts heading into Friday's NIT consolation game between Washington and Syracuse, which will air on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. This is the first time Washington and Syracuse have played in basketball.

One other broadcast note, Mike Gastineau, will do the game on KJR. Regular play-by-play broadcaster Bob Rondeau left New York Friday morning to call Saturday's Apple Cup. Gastineau also will do the Oklahoma State game on Dec. 1 when the football team is in Hawaii.

Steve Lavin, who is the NIT analyst for ESPN, was an assistant coach with Lorenzo Romar at UCLA when the Bruins won the national championship in Seattle in 1995. His thoughts on Washington head coach Romar's team:
"I think they played very well (against Texas A&M) except for about a 10 or 12 minute stretch in the second half," said Lavin. "Unfortunately that was the determing factor in their [79-63] loss. In their zone defense they lost some of the Texas A&M players who got high percentage looks. And then offensively they seemed to lose their way and they didn't get [Jon] Brockman enough touches. Part of it was A&M's defense. Brockman doesn't have to shoot the ball every time, but they have to make a concerted effort to play through him. He's so unselfish that when the defense collapses, he'll kick it. And when he's got single coverage, he'll go to work."

In the loss in the NIT semifinal, A&M's experience and Washington's youth were apparent. The Huskies (3-1) miss the outside shooting of Ryan Appleby, whose broken right thumb still is in a cast. He is expected to be back in mid-December. Another three-pointer shooter, Adrian Oliver, played only five minutes and is bothered by a sore knee.

"Washington has a lot of new parts and so they're transitioning early in the season here to find a rhythm and to find the right fit, in terms of their substitution patterns and their offensive and defensive alignments" Lavin said. "But I think the personnel they have is a much better fit for the way Coach Romar wants to play. Defensively with the pressure and offensively looking to push the ball.
"If I was on their staff, I'd be very encouraged at this stage of the season for what the prospects are come conference and the prospects of the postseason tournament. Last year, they never were able to find a comfort level with the way they played. Partly because of the illness of Spencer Hawes and partly because they wanted him to be a factor at both ends of the floor, and that inhibited the way Coach Romar wants to play, which is pushing the tempo more. But I will be very surprised if they don't wind up as an NCAA tournamment team, if they can avoid injuries and their young players continue to improve. Once they establish a set rotation in terms substitutions, I think they'll play with a better rhythm across the board.

"This is the time of the year where you explore and determine who's going to earn those minutes; who you're going to settle on; who are the best fits for your chemistry. Pete Newell used to say that November and December were for show and March was for dough. That's changed a little bit now, because you have to build your tournament resume, but you still have to have the big picture in mind in terms of how you build the team. And the only way you can find out about your team is to give your kids minutes so they can either play their way in or play their way out of the rotation. I think eventually Lorenzo will settle on eight or nine kids."


In the loss to Texas A&M, the Huskies were outrebonded 48-39 and rebounding is a concern for Romar. "Right now Jon [Brockman] is carrying too much of the rebounding load," Romar said of the junior forward, who had 15 rebounds. "It's like the players are going about it as if they think Jon is going to get the ball so the rest of us don't have to go after it that much."

Sophomore Quincy Pondexter played only 10 minutes in the Wednesday loss and has had trouble getting started this season, averaging only 7.7 points. "He hasn't had the start he would like," Romar said. "We're trying to get him where he's playing with confidence. Right now he's just not playing. He's thinking too much."

The matchup of the day could be the first meeting of freshmen guards Venoy Overton of Washington and Jonny Flynn of Syracuse. Two summers ago Flynn, along with Spencer Hawes, played for Romar on the U.S. under-18 national team that won the 2006 FIBA Americas championship.

"I loved him playing the point for our team," Romar said of Flynn. "I liked his competitive spirit. He absolutely could go out and get 25 points, but he also could get the ball to his teammates and play great defense. Most of all I liked his infectious attitude. He had a great disposition about him.

"Venoy," Romar said, "was outstanding at times [against A&M]. But he's still growing up and learning the college game."

Lavin on Overton: "He's right up there with the top freshman point guards in the country. Based on his performance compared to Flynn's [against Ohio State], he clearly separted himself. But with freshmen you're going to have stretches of up and down.

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:03 AM

Here's our coverage of the game last night courtesy of Steve Kelley, who says that Jon Brockman has to get more help.

Here's a Newsday story on the Husky game saying that defense was the key for the Aggies; here's the AP account with much the same theme; and here's a good overview of the whole tournament from The New York Times.

Once again, a Husky team will face a Syrcause team this season on a Friday on ESPN. UW fans have to hope this turns out as well as the football game did well.

Here's a good look at what happened to Syracuse last night from our old friends Syracuse.com, who we linked a lot prior to the football game.

You see that the general theme is that the Orange is a young, inexperienced and building team. Here's a good season overview of Syracuse here. I'm thinking the matchup of Syracuse forward Donte Green and Brockman will be worth the price of admission. I'm also intrigued to see how UW matches up with Paul Harris, a 6-5 guard averaging 11.8 rebounds a game.

Here are Syracuse's team stats and one thing that jumps out is that the Orange is averaging 17.3 turnovers a game so far. The Huskies are losing 17 per game themselves so the difference could be which team can keep that in check.

As I wrote on the football wrote, this may be it here for today as we celebrate Thanksgiving. But I'd like take the occasion of the holiday to thank everyone who contributes to this blog, be it as an avid poster or just a regular reader. This has become one of the more popular blogs at The Seattle Times and it wouldn't be possible without you and your interest in the Huskies.

November 21, 2007

Texas A&M game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:07 PM

WRAPPING IT UP: I'm signing off for now. Here's a game story that recaps what happened as the Huskies lost 77-63 to Texas A&M in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off tonight.

DOLLAR COMMENTS: Assistant Cameron Dollar was the guest on the radio. Here are some highlights:

Overall thoughts: --- "Experience definitely won out. It's early in the year, they are very seasoned, a Sweet 16 last year. Their two guards played very well, they pretty much did whatever they wanted to do, Kirk and Sloan, we didn't do a good job of guarding them or pressuring them or containing them at all.''

On what went right in the first half: "We were very active early, got some stuff done and they went away from what they normally do which is pound it inside.''

On the Aggies packing it in in the second half and making UW shoot jumpers: --- "We definitely went dry, especially shooting quick and not really getting a lot of ball movement and playing inside out. We really would have been able to get easier shots but when you're taking tough ones and not the greatest anyway, that's a bad combination.''

On the team getting experience: "You want to grow and learn from these games this atmosphere, so we definitely want to make sure we get our share of it.''

On Brockman seeming to wear down late: --- We wore down. If we can execute and swing the ball side to side and be able to play off of Jon when he's not scoring, the easier it will be for us on offense. ... They came into the game they wanted to wear him down they put multiple bodies on him and frankly being the only rebounder, grinding it out, you wear down. We've got to get him more help, more rest.''

On what the game made him think about the team: --- "We knew that other than Jon we needed someone to hit that glass hard, we knew our guard play with Overton looking spectacular at times but still being a pup, it's going to take time to mature, and not having Appleby is a key to not being able to stretch the defense. It more solidified what we thought. We played well in stretches and defended well in stretches but we did not rebound at all, when you do that, you get what you get.''

On when Appleby may be back: --- "Around mid-December he will be back.''

DENTMON COMMENTS AFTER THE GAME: Justin Dentmon was the player guest on the radio and these were some of his comments:

On the final six minutes: --- "Their guards went off and made some big shots and we couldn't seem to find the hole on the basket. ... I think the leadership of their seniors came into play we didn't step up our level of play when adversity hit and that's something we need to work on.''

On going to the zone: --- "The zone was really to get more rebounds because they were beating us up on the boards. Their guards hit some big shots. We didn't think they were shooters but they knocked some big shots down.''

On getting early turnovers: "We were making their bigs bring it up when, their point guard couldn't bring it up made them run a different offense than they wanted to.''

On the inability to get the ball to Brockman in the second half: "We tried to get it to him but they were doubling, when they were doubling that left us shooting jumpers and we weren't converting.''

UW LOSES 77-63 ---- Brockman had 13 points in the first half, eight in the second.

--- UW was outscored 45-27 in the second half.

--- The Huskies were 10-42 shooting in the second half and 2-13 on three-pointers.

--- UW also forced just three turnovers in the second half after getting 12 in the first half.

UW MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT FIELD GOAL --- UW scored its 54th point on a three-pointer by Wolfinger at the 7:17 mark. They didn't get another FG until the 1:42 mark from Dentmon.

MISSING APPLEBY --- I think the Huskies are really missing him in this second half. Joe Wolfinger has all, well both, of UW's three-pointers so far.

THE 30-30 UPDATE SHOULD BE BANNED --- Don't shrink a live game, ever, should be written into the Constitution.

AGGIES TAKE LEAD --- The Aggies used an 8-0 lead to take the lead in part on the strength of a 28-22 rebounding edge. UW outrebounded teams an average of 38-29 last year.

UW LEADS 36-32 AT THE HALF --- All the talk about UW being quicker, more athletic and better defensively on the perimeter was on evidence in the first half of this one. Twice, Venoy Overton stopped fast breaks with his defense, once leading a fast break the other way (the huge slam by Brockman).

--- This is by far the best Matthew Bryan-Amaning has looked with six points on 3-3 shooting, and simply looking more comfortable out there.

-- Pondexter has two points and one rebound if the stats I'm seeing are correct, each coming on the same play when he got a rebound putback.

LAVIN SAYS HE'D BE SURPRISED IF UW NOT IN FIELD OF 65 --- Analyst Steve Lavin is really impressed with the Huskies saying the personnel is a much better fit this year for what Romar wants to do.

HUSKIES REGAINING CONTROL --- A lot of players contributing for UW in this one so far, given evidence again to the thought that this will be a deeper team.

A&M'S SIZE MAKING IMPACT --- The Aggies have a 14-8 rebounding edge as I write this, the kind of disadvantage UW rarely has.

WOLFINGER AND WALLACE TOGETHER --- The two are on the floor for some significant time midway through the first half and doing the inside-out game well with Wolfinger hitting a J.

A&M COLD EARLY --- 1-9 shooting with nine turnovers in the early going for the Aggies. But UW has just a 9-3 lead out of that.

UW HAS 6-0 LEAD IN TURNOVERS -- That's a good sign.

SLOPPY EARLY --- UW missed its first five shots, and this game definitely has that early-season feeling-out feel to it doesn't it?

I'm not there, but I'm watching the game on TV and happy to chat a little as the game goes on, so I'll start it here.

Steve Kelley chimes in from Madison Square Garden

Posted by blog at 4:03 PM

We welcome our first guest to the Bob Condotta blog, Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley:

Thanks Bob, and what a pleasure it is to be sitting here at Madison Square Garden moments before tipoff.

Here are a couple of pregame items before the opening tip of Washington's first trip of the season away from Hec Ed, against 15th-ranked Texas A&M:

Only two Huskies have ever played a game at this self-proclaimed, "World's Most Famous Arena." Junior Jon Brockman played in the 2005 Jordan Classic and, last spring, freshman center Matthew Bryan-Amaning played in the All-American Jordan Classic regional game, which is the first game of the Jordan Classic doubleheader.

The players got a taste of the Garden on Tuesday night when they went to the New York Knicks' loss to the Golden State Warriors. Former Husky and present Knick Nate Robinson, whose team plays at Detroit tonight, said he will be at the Garden for Washington's game Friday. Also in attendance at Tuesday's game were Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and assistant coach Paul Fortier.

Thursday morning, the Huskies will have a perfect view of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, during an NIT brunch on the ninth floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. They will eat Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel following practice.

More on A&M

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:03 PM

Here's a good story on Texas A&M's burly forward Joseph Jones, who figures to be quite the handful for the Huskies tonight.

Other stories I've read have said that 7-footer DeAndre Jordan is likely to get the first crack at guarding Jon Brockman tonight. But I've got to think Jones will get a few looks at Brockman, as well.

Going up against Jones and Jordan will obviously be a great early-season test for Brockman, who is off to a roaring start but has done so against teams that don't have big men like this.

Figure we may see Brockman put some of that improved perimeter game to use even more tonight.

This also may mean more minutes for UW's other big men, who will likely be needed for some major minutes on defense, if nothing else.

But with Brockman likely to have a tougher go of it offensively tonight, someone else is going to have to pick up their offensive game (Quincy Pondexter being an obvious candidate).

This could be a game where UW might really miss Ryan Appleby, the one Husky most capable of really stretching a defense.

Here's more on the Aggies from Scout.com.

Kelley on Overton

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:45 AM

Steve Kelley, who is covering UW in New York for us, wrote a nice column today on Venoy Overton.

--- I also found this preview from The Sports Network.

--- There's also this brief look at the game with the news on how the Aggies want to try to defend Jon Brockman.

--- Here's another short preview with Lorenzo Romar saying the starting lineup will be the same tonight as it has been for the first three games.

PROGAMMING NOTE --- I'm obviously not in New York for the game, but plan to watch it tonight and so some blogging during the game.

November 20, 2007

Some NIT links

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:36 PM

UW is in New York for the NIT today, and Steve Kelley will have some coverage in our paper tomorrow.

Here's a few notes I've found along the way:

--- Texas A&M has been installed as a four-point favorite.

--- ESPN's Weekly Watch calls Jon Brockman a "Hidden Gem.'' The description of "hidden'' could start to be less applicable if Brockman has some good games in New York.

--- Here's a preview from the Texas A&M perspective.

--- Utah, which looked like a vastly improved team when it pushed UW to the edge last week, got beaten soundly at home by Santa Clara last night.

Pondexter on scoring, EWU aftermath

Posted by Bob Condotta at 11:04 AM

The Huskies are in New York today preparing for tomorrow's game against Texas A&M in the NIT.

We'll have coverage from Steve Kelley, who is there covering it, and he is expected at some point to contribute some to the blog.

One UW player worth paying particular attention to there will be forward Quincy Pondexter, who is an obvious candidate to be a breakout player for the Huskies this year but has been a little muted so far.

Pondexter is averaging 9.7 points so far, shooting 10-23 from the field. He has 11 points, nine and nine in UW's three games, going 3-10 from the field against Eastern Washington.

Pondexter, however, says he's just waiting for his time to shine.

"It's going great,'' he said after the EWU game. "I'm sticking to what they want me to do at this point in time. We've had a lot of mismatches with Jon (Brockman) in the post so we've really wanted to exploit them. So until I'm needed as a scorer I'd much rather have my teammates score.

"When my teammates need me to score, I'll do it. But in terms of trying to come out and score 20 every night, if my team doesn't need it, then whatever it takes to win, that's what I'll do.''

Like the rest of the Huskies, Pondexter is excited about playing in Madison Square Garden.

"It's going to be a great experience,'' he said. "I've always dreamed of playing in the Garden.''

COUGS AND HUSKIES EVEN?: That was the opinion of Eastern's Kellen Williams, a graduate of Franklin High. The Eagles have already played both WSU and UW this season and Williams said he didn't see much difference in the abilities of the two teams.

"They are about the same,'' he said. "(UW) is just more offensive orientated, but I think they play defense hard, just like Wazzu.''

When I asked which team is better, he said "it'd be even right now, I guess.''

November 19, 2007

Info on Texas A&M

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:17 PM

A few of you asked for a look ahead to the Texas A&M game so I tried to find a little info.

I didn't find a line on the game yet, however, as basketball lines tend to be different than football lines and usually aren't posted until a day or two ahead of time.

As for th Aggies, here's a good season preview of the Aggies from the Bryan/College Station Eagle.

Here's the Texas A&M team page from ESPN.com that has its up-to-date stats and results.

And here's a story on their most recent game Saturday.

Brockman named Pac-10 Player of the Week

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:51 PM

Simple enough, Jon Brockman is the first honoree this year by the Pac-10 for averaging 23 points and 11.7 rebounds in three games last week.

Here's the official release from the Pac-10.

EWU stories

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM

Here are my stories from the Eastern Washington game:

--- First, the game story which includes some of the player reaction to the lackluster second half;

--- and the notebook, with a lead item on Tre Simmons being back home for a few days following that recent firecracker incident in Israel.

The Huskies leave for New York today and will practice there tomorrow at the New York Athletic Club before taking the floor Wednesday night.

November 18, 2007

Eastern post-game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:01 PM

Sorry for the delay, but had some complicating factors today.

The basic theme after this one was that the Huskies didn't play their best game, and while UW coach Lorenzo Romar said he didn't think his players were distracted by the impending trip to New York, Jon Brockman thought they might have been.

"I think there is a lot of excitement amongst our team looking forward to going to New York, looking forward to playing in the NIT,'' Brockman said. "That makes it difficult to play in a game like this when you're already thinking about something that's coming up, but it's not an excuse at all. Basketball is basketball; you should be ready to play whenever."

So maybe that explains the the sometimes sloppy affair --- UW had 19 turnovers and is averaging 17 for the season in what may be the biggest negative to date.

Brockman was the star with 26 points and eight rebounds and Justin Dentmon had another solid game with 16 points and seven assists. Asked about his new role playing alongside Venoy Overton, which allows him more time at shooting guard, Dentmon said "I'm loving it.''

Romar also praised the play of Tim Morris (eight points, five assists in 22 minutes) while Joe Wolfinger also had a pretty productive nine minutes with eight points and an assist and a rebound. He hit two three-pointers that were sure-as-silk with the crowd seeming to rise its voice in anticipation of the second one.

Here are a few quotes from Romar, including an explainer of Adrian Oliver's situation:

General Statement: "I was asked before to talk a little bit about Eastern Washington and I think I described them as quick and scrappy and they were. I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half and I thought, without discounting Eastern Washington at all, we lost a little concentration in the second half. That was disappointing but it's behind us and now we've got a big challenge in front of us in New York."

On letting the lead get cut down to 10: "We played a few more guys that hadn't played that many minutes just to let them play through their mistakes tonight. If you want to point to anything maybe that's what happened in the second half, but you don't want to say that. Everyone's in there and is making a case that they believe they should be a starter."

On Adrian Oliver: "He didn't practice the last few days because he had strained his knee. He'll be fine for New York."

On Justin Dentmon and Brockman's chemistry: "They've played a lot of games together, so you'd hope at this point that would start to happen with those guys. I think Justin playing off the ball has helped him tremendously and that he doesn't have the entire company in his hands, like he's able to delegate now. Other people can do some things and he can concentrate in some other areas.

As I wrote earlier, Oliver said he sprained his MCL and also hurt some tendons in his hamstring, but should be fine for New York.

I see there's been some discussion on here about Artem Wallace, who played just two minutes. Eastern isn't a big team and one of its big guys played out at the perimeter a lot, so Romar might not have felt there were many matchups for Wallace. But there's also simply the fact that Matthew Bryan-Amaning played 24 minutes today --- those minutes come from somewhere, and right now, Wallace looks like the odd man out with both MBA and Wolfinger in the rotation ahead of him, two players who weren't on the active roster a year ago.

The team leaves for New York and the NIT tomorrow. I'm actually not going, staying home to tend to Apple Cup duties. Columnist Steve Kelley will cover the games in New York and has plans to fill in on the blog. But I will also chip in with some news, notes and observations throughout, as well.

Eastern game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:29 PM

OLIVER HAS SPRAINED MCL --- Adrian Oliver said he sprained his MCL in a knee and also hurt some tendons in his hamstring taking a charge against Utah so that's why he was out today.

HUSKIES WIN 82-68 --- I'll have more on the game later but UW has won this one 82-68. Oliver must obviously have been sick since he didn't play.

UW WAY AHEAD AT HALF --- This isn't a real work of art but after a slow start the Huskies are pulling away, ahead 45-27. Brockman has 14 on 7-8 shooting, picking up where he left off against Utah. Justin Dentmon continues to look comfortable in his new role with nine points and four assists.

So far, all have played except Adrian Oliver and Artem Wallace. Wallace, obviously, appears to be buried deep in the rotation right now. Wallace, by the way, is fine. When asked about him the other day Lorenzo Romar simply said other players were ahead of him in the rotation right now.

I'd expect both to get some minutes in the second half.

BTW --- I see Tre Simmons sitting courtside with the Romar family. Assuming he must be home from Israel after the incident of last week.

PRE GAME --- At the arena where it is about a half-hour until the Huskies tip off against Eastern Washington.

Here's the preview story I wrote for today's game, focusing on Lorenzo Romar saying that the Huskies won't be overlooking the Eagles even with the NIT on tap.

I welcome you to chime in here with your thoughts as the game progresses. I'll try to check in periodically, but may not be able to as often as usual.

November 17, 2007

Not a great night for the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:26 PM

Everybody might want to hurry up and get all those stories about how strong the Pac-10 is going to be this season in print because the conference is looking a little shaky.

The Pac-10 went just 2-3 today with Arizona losing at home to Virginia, Stanford dropping one at Siena and Oregon State losing to D-II Alaska-Fairbanks (not a good loss for Jay John).

Some of you might see this as good news, maybe showing some weakness in some of these teams that will open the door for UW down the road, and I guess you could argue that. I've always just figured it's better for the conference to play well early, since it tends to raise the reputation of everyone (and RPI, etc.)

That's a nice bounce-back win for USC, however, winning at South Carolina with O.J. Mayo scoring 29 points on 11-20 shooting.

UW plays the only game in the conference Sunday when it hosts Eastern Washington.

November 16, 2007

A look at Eastern Washington

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:03 AM

While everyone is excited about heading to New York, don't forget that UW has one more game to play until then against Eastern Washington on Sunday.

The Eagles beat UC-Riverside 59-51 in Cheney last night.

Sounds like the Eagles showed some grit in coming back from an early 20-6 deficit.

Here's the game story from EWU's official athletic site as well as a team roster. You can see that former Husky Grant Leep is still an assistant for EWU.

November 15, 2007

Some notes and links

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:32 PM

As the heading says. ....

--- One of you made a great point about the value of winning last night. Not only is it a great experience for the Huskies, but getting two games against the likes of Texas A&M and either Syrcause or Ohio State will do wonders for UW's strength of schedule. That is especially critical this year with the Pac-10 figuring to be so competitive. I think the Pac-10 will likely get six teams in, and maybe seven, but since getting a gaudy conference record will be harder than ever, doing well in the non-conference will be especially important. The two games in New York will only help UW's quest in all of those regards.

--- Sagarin has UW ranked 28th in the nation and fifth in the Pac-10 after last night. But beating Utah didn't help the SOS much as UW is at 277 after two games, further making the point above about how much getting to New York will help UW's schedule strength.

--- One really underrated stat from last night was UW's dominance on the boards in the second half. UW had a 17-16 edge in the first half but was at 23-10 for the game for an overall edge of 40-26 and it was almost all due to Jon Brockman. Brockman had 13 rebounds in the second half, which was just one shy of his career-high for a game. Strangely, no other Husky had more than three rebounds for the game.

--- Some of you have asked why Artem Wallace didn't play at all. I think UW coaches probably intended for him to at some point, given the challenges of defending Luke Nevill. But Brockman was able to play 37 minutes since he picked up only one foul all night --- he played all 20 minutes in the second half --- while Nevill fouled out and played just 13 minutes in the second half. There's no question Wallace is kind of on the far edges of the rotation right now with both Joe Wolfinger and Matthew Bryan-Amaning new to the team this year (in terms of being able to play) and having moved ahead of Wallace.

--- The UW sports information department passed along the note today that the Huskies played at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 30, 1941, their only appearance there. The Huskies won 72-38 over New York University on Dec. 30, 1941. Here's a lead paragraph from a NY Times story covering the event. "The University of Washington basketball forces struck unbeaten New York University with cyclone fury at Madison Square Garden last night, virtually swept the Violet off the court with the fastest-breaking attack seen hereabouts in many a moon and cracked three Garden scoring records in achieveing a 72-38 victory.''

--- Here's a pretty good pre-season overview of Texas A&M.

--- Here's the ESPN team page on A&M. As you can see, they have a freshman 7-footer in DeAndre Jordan who will pose problems inside. But the team's best player may be 6-7 forward Josh Carter. Here's a scouting report of Carter from NBADraft.net.

--- Here's a game story on A&M's win last night. And another.

--- Remember that UW has another game before leaving for New York, playing Eastern Washington Sunday at 3 p.m.

Reviewing last night

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:41 AM

Here's our story from last night, focusing on Jon Brockman's career game.

Here, also, is our story on UW's letters-of-intent.

The revelation of last might might have been Justin Holiday, who gave an early indication that he may live up to all those Bobby Jones comparisons with 11 solid minutes down the stretch.

In particular, Holiday played tough defense, shutting down Utah's Stephen Weigh.

I talked to Holiday about that afterward.

He said as Utah made that early second-half run that UW coach Lorenzo Romar "was going down the lineup saying 'we need somebody to play defense.' I was talking to Darnell (Gant) and saying 'I think I might actually play' and I said 'he should put me in, I think I cann do this. And he (Romar) came up to me and said 'Justin, we really need you to stop him.'''

Holiday did. Weigh scored on a three-point play on Holiday in the first minute he was in the game. But weigh scored just two more points in the final 10 minutes.

"I knew I would be able to guard,'' Holiday said. "I saw the way they were going through screens and stuff. What I didn't see at first, when I got burned that first time, was how they set the ball pick and how I should have stayed in my land. After that I changed that.''

It was a good debut for a player in what was his first real signicant college action against a top-flight team.

"I expect the best out of myself,'' he said. "I expect probably even more than I can do. We needed a win. Whatever it takes to win. If it's playing defense and playing hard, that's what I'm going to do.''

November 14, 2007

Utah post-game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:57 PM

Lots of heroes in this one.

The obvious is Jon Brockman, whose 31 points and 18 rebounds are each career-highs.

"I just don't know how much more he could have done,'' said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

Others who stood out were:

--- Justin Dentmon, scoring 16 points in seeming to thrive in his new two-guard role, including four in a row in the final two minutes to spark UW's 9-0 run that put the game away;

--- Justin Holiday, who played the last 11 minutes and helped shut down Utah's Stephen Weigh, who led the Utes with 21 but had just two in the final 10 minutes. Romar said afterward that Holiday would be "'the other guy to get a game ball. ... He came in the game and you could just tell his ultimate desire was for us to win and what he could do to help us win. It was 'how do I help win this game?'''

--- Venoy Overton, who had some foul trouble in the second half but got UW rolling in the first half when he had five of his six assists.

--- Joel Smith, who had 11 points, all seeming to come at key times when Utah was making a run.

The Huskies also showed some grit in rallying late after losing an 11-point lead early in the second half, pulling off the kind of late-game heroics that often eluded them a year ago.

"It was a really hard-fought battle and a hard-fought win for our team,'' Romar said. "When we got up 10 or 11 and it appeared that they were on the ropes, I felt like if we could've got a couple of stops and taken care of the ball we could have distanced ourselves. But that didn't happen. To their credit, they continued to play and continued to fight. But when it appeared that we might be on the ropes, we did the same thing.''

Here are a few quotes from Brockman:

On how he scored going against Utah's 7-1 Luke Nevill: "I knew I could reverse pivot and fake at him and get him leaning one way and kind of use my strength to keep him off. So I did that a little bit and he ended up sinking back and giving me room and I just kind of took the shot. ... I play as if I have the six inches, people are always well he's 6-7, lets play and go at it and see what happens.''

On the importance of getting to New York: "When it comes down to it, we wanted to go to New York. It was something that we had put on our calenders and wanted to do.''

Here are some quotes from Utah coach Jim Boylen.

First, on the last two minutes: "You've got to give Washington credit. They hung in there and they made plays at the end and we didn't. At this level, you've got to make the plays at the end. We missed seven free throws throughout the game and that hurt us. We had some shots at the end that you've got to make.

On rebounding: "We got killed on the boards, 14-2 on the offensive boards. You've got to give them credit for that. They played hard. But you know, you let the other team shoot 37 free throws on the road and you are going to have a hard time winning.


Utah game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:38 PM

OFF TO NEW YORK --- Enough time to check in and wrap up the game thread as UW goes on a 9-0 run to finally subdue the Utes and win this regional and advance to New York. Brockman has a career game with 31 points and 18 rebounds and was the difference in the game. Basketball is often about which team has the best player and that was Brockman tonight.

OFF FOR NOW --- Other duties will keep me away from here for a while but feel free to comment and I'll check back later.

ALL ABOUT BROCKMAN --- Brockman's 29 points are a career high. He had 25 twice before. He also has 13 rebounds --- his career-high is 14.

GETTING TIGHT --- Utah has fought back, slowing the game down a bit and hitting a few three-pointers to cut the lead to 56-55. Also has hurt UW that Overton has four fouls.

ON DENTMON --- Just read the comment about Dentmon not having to expend as much energy with Overton around. That's exactly what Dentmon himself said last week in a story I wrote, that this allowed him to stay fresher. Seems to be working so far as those two have 14 points, six assists and two TOs in the first half with three steals.

HUGE SWING TO END HALF --- Utah was at the line with a chance to cut the lead to two with 41.6 seconds left. Instead, UW now leads 44-35 at halftime thanks to some good plays by Overton. After Utah missed an FT, Overton made two at the other end. Then when Utah missed, Overton got the loose ball and fired up court to Brockman who made a lay-in and was fouled and sank the free throw.

Some other halftime observations:

--- UW's defense really does look better with Overton and Dentmon out front pressuring everything. Utah has 12 turnovers for the half and UW has six steals. Utah's guards don't seem that great, but UW seems to have a real purpose on defense. The backside help on the big guys has been pretty good.

--- Dentmon seems to like that two-guard role, scoring eight points.

--- Brockman is the steadiest player on the floor with 17 points and five rebounds.

OVERTON STEALING SHOW --- And the ball, as he unofficially has three steals along with four assists and four points leading UW to a 35-29 lead with 4:49 left. UW has forced 11 Utah turnovers and looks like the quicker team.

HUSKIES TAKE LEAD WITH 10-0 RUN --- UW is ahead 25-21 and Utah is cooling off. The Utes have hit just 3-9 since starting 6-6.

UTES AHEAD 18-15 --- Utah has made 8-12 shots and holding UW to 5-12. Brockman is 3-3 so the rest of the team is 2-9.

UTAH STARTS OUT 6-6 --- UW actually seems to be playing some decent defense, twice thwarting backdoor attempts by Utah. But the Utes have hit a couple of wide-open threes and gotten a couple shots inside from 7-1 Luke Nevill to take a 14-9 lead.

SAME STARTING LINEUP --- as last night for UW.

Tip off isn't actually until 7:50, so the game is still a few minutes away.

I'll try to check in here with some notes and observations as often as I can but deadlines will also mean I have to devote a lot of time to regular duties tonight, as well.

But feel free to chip in with your own comments and I'll chip in my own as much as I can.

New post-season tourney planned

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:51 PM

Interesting story today about yet another post-season tournament that will begin this season, and will take 16 teams after those selected for the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

Here's the story.

So this means that 112 teams will now make post-season of some kind, and would obviously have meant the Huskies would have had somewhere to go last season.

In fact, Andy Katz wrote today that Washington was among the schools the organizers of this tournament approached, asking if they would have played in it if it were available last year.

According to Katz, 15 of the 16 schools asked (including UW) said they would have gladly played in such a tournament last season.

So if you're a big-name school and you just get a winning record, there's probably a post-season berth of some sort waiting this year.

Romar on recruits

Posted by Bob Condotta at 4:23 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar met the media a little while ago to discuss his new recruits.

As expected, the Huskies signed former Curtis High guard Isaiah Thomas, who is now at South Kent (Ct.) School. The others expected to sign are 6-6 guard Scott Suggs of Washington High in Washington, Mo; 6-4 guard Elston Turner Jr. of Elkins High in Houston and 6-6, 260-pound forward Tyreese Breshers of Price High in Los Angeles.

Romar said the Huskies are done with this class and won't be signing any other players (so close the book on Matt Simpkins or anyone like that).

Of the class, Romar said: "We think these four as a group are special. I think what they all possess is a pretty cerebral feel for the game. They all know how to play basketball and they all obviously have things they need to learn at this level, but they come in with a pretty good understanding of how to play the game. The other thing about all four is they all can score.''

Romar broke down each player.

Of Breshers, he said: "He's 6-6, 6-7, but has really long arms. Some have compared him to Craig Smith from Boston College. Some compared him to a Charles Barkley. He is one of those guys that is big at 260 pounds, but he can really get up off the floor and really block shots. He plays much bigger than his height would indicate.''

Romar said Breshers is indeed 260 (he's been listed as low as 235 by some people) but said he isn't any more worried about his conditioning than he would be any other senior in high school.

Romar noted that Turner's dad is former NBA player Elston Turner and that his mom played college ball and said "he really understands how to play. He is the type of player who doesn't rush himself. He plays at his pace and can play with any other four guys you put out on the floor. He has a really nice stroke.''

Romar told a long story about getting to know Scott Suggs when he was 11 as Suggs' father was friends with one of Romar's best friends growing up (I detailed that relationship in this story here when Suggs committed). He said he played a pickup game with Suggs when Suggs was 11 and joked that "not bragging, but I beat him.'' Suggs' father told Romar --- who was then coach at Saint Louis --- at the time that if his son got to be good enough, he'd call him and let him know. Suggs' father did just that.

Of Suggs, Romar said: "He's one of those players who is already a good basketball player --- he has a chance to be the state player of the year in Missouri --- but please don't take this the wrong way, but they did say this about guys like Kevin Garnett, his best days are ahead of him. That's not to mean he's not any good now, but he still has so much room for improvement. He's long, long-limbed guy that is a guard and not really a wing. The difference is guards can handle the ball and pass the ball, wings sometimes can't handle it as well. (Suggs and Turner) give us guards with size in that class. Scott can score, he is another guy you can put him on the floor with any other four and he would not only do well but make them do better.''

Romar compared Thomas to Damon Stoudamire and tried to head off all questions about whether he is a point guard or a shooting guard by saying simply that "he is a guard. ... he's just a guard. He can get you into offense, he can provide you offense. He's really talented.''

Romar noted the state tournament a few years ago where opponents lined up to put the clamps on Thomas yet he still averaged 40 points a game.

"Regardless of the competition or the size of the guy guarding him, I've not seen him yet be in a situation where he couldn't get himself out of trouble. ... He really beleives he can go out and score on anybody.''

Of the group, Romar said that "I think that group (last yeaar) with this year's group puts us in a position where we can continue to get better as a program.''

Romar was asked about Thomas' academic situation and said that "he definitely is making progress'' and that the move to South Kent School has aided in that quest. "He's been forced to do the right thing,'' Romar said, adding that Thomas knew "he had to make some changes with himself'' and that so far, he has done that.

Romar said that after Thomas did not sign last year "we were going to wait and see'' if he still wanted to be a Husky. But he said Thomas remained steadfast on wanting to be a Husky.

The glass is guard-heavy, but Romar noted the presence of guys like Joe Wolfinger, Darnell Gant and Matthew Bryan-Amaning and said that "maybe we already have it so we didn't need to recruit it.''

All four letters are in

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:11 PM

Official word here is that all four letters are in.

We'll hear more from UW coach Lorenzo Romar later when he will talk about the four signees.

Thomas' letter in

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:37 PM

Word is Isaiah Thomas' LOI is in.

Signing day press conference available

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:42 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar will discuss his new recruits today at 3:30 p.m.

You can watch it here at GoHuskies.com if you'd like. And hey, if you all watch it, it'll save me the work of writing about it (though I'll do that as well, just in case).

Letter-of-intent day

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:36 AM

Today is the beginning of the early letter-of-intent signing period and UW is expected to sign four players:

--- former Curtis High guard Isaiah Thomas, who is now at South Kent (Ct.) School;

--- 6-6 guard Scott Suggs of Washington High in Washington, Mo;

--- 6-4 guard Elston Turner Jr. of Elkins High in Houston;

--- and 6-6, 235-pound forward Tyreese Breshers of Price High in Los Angeles.

There aren't expected to be any additions or surprises.

From what I can gather, Breshers and Suggs are already eligible and Turner is close enough that it's not a real concern. Thomas, however, apparently has a ways to go and his could be a Venoy Overton-type situation where his eligibility is uncertain until right before the season starts. So when counting the number of scholarships UW has awarded --- this is 15 right now for the 2008-09 season --- that's something to keep in mind.

Breshers was named this week to the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West list. The bio lists him as 6-6, 235 so that's what I'll go with for now, as well.

Turner was named recently to the All-Greater Houston Third Team.

Here's Thomas' roster at South Kent as well as a schedule. He scored 26 in South Kent's game on Friday.

TONIGHT'S GAME ON ESPN2 ---- Simple as that, that's the TV info for tonight. The official tipoff time is 7:45 p.m.

November 13, 2007

NJIT post-game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:39 PM

The general theme after tonight's 88-47 win over New Jersey Tech was that this was a step forward from the 86-77 win over Seattle Pacific last week.

"Tonight we had a lot more life in different areas,'' said Jon Brockman. "We were just flat and dead against SPU. We were a lot more of a team tonight right from the beginning as far as working the ball around and taking the open shot. It was good tonight to come out and show people that we aren't the team that played against SPU. Tonight was the team you are going to see.''

The big warning sign would be the 12 turnovers in the first half against a team using a bunch of mostly freshman guards. UW coach Lorenzo Romar acknowledged that saying that "we will have to be better tomorrow (against Utah). If we commit 12 turnovers in the first half tomorrow it will be a long first half and an uphill battle in the second half.''

The good news there is that UW finished with just 15 turnovers.

The Huskies were also just 10-21 on free throws with five different players missing at least two, something else it can't continue.

Maybe the biggest positive was the play of Tim Morris, who had 16 in his Husky debut and said later that "I felt really comfortable out there. I felt I was playing ball again.'' Morris hadn't felt quite that good against SPU, admitting he was rushing things in a game in which he had six points in just 12 minutes.

Morris was 5-5 in the first half tonight and 8-13 for the game.

Brockman was his usual solid self with 12 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes, obviously getting saved a bit for the Utah game.

Joel Smith had a nice re-introduction into real games with 12 points, hitting 5-7 shots and 2-4 three-pointers and Adrian Oliver also had a nice night with 11 points off the benchm, hitting 4-7 shots.

Venoy Overton showed some nice flashes, as well, with six assists in 20 minutes, two coming in a span of about a minute late in the first half that helped UW blow the game open.

Romar said he went with the starting lineup of Overton and Justin Dentmon, Smith, Quincy Pondexter and Brockman simply because "it's the five we feel gives us the best chance early in the game.''

There were also some nice moments from Joe Wolfinger (five points in 11 minutes and 1-1 on three-pointers), Justin Holiday (six rebounds, two assists and two points and a block in 11 minutes) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (eight points, two steals in 16 minutes).

Said Romar of Holiday: "He did a nice job. He got his hands on a lot of balls when he was in there.''

Having a game that was hard to read was Pondexter. He had only one point in the first half when he didn't take an official shot from the field, and didn't score his first field goal until there was 11 minutes left. But Romar said Pondexter was concentrating on defense in the first half, guarding NJIT's Nesho Milosevic, regarded as maybe the team's most dangerous scorer, holding him to three points for the game.

"One of the things we talked to Quincy about is being complete and having an impact on the game even if the ball doesn't come your way,'' Romar said. "Tonight he did that.''

ROMAR ON GANT: Here's what Romar had to say about the decision to redshirt Darnell Gant. "Darnell is going to be a heck of a basketball player. I think that he saw that there were going to be a couple of things that he could shore up on. He felt like taking a year to figure it out may not be in his best interest. Save that year while he is figuring it out then he'll still have four. He's going to be a very, very good player for this program.''

Romar said there was no chance that Gant would return to action later in the year saying this is a definitive decision to redshirt the season.

HERE'S WHAT NJIT INTERIM COACH WENDELL ALEXIS HAD TO SAY ABOUT UW: "We played against a very good Washington team. They pretty much did what they wanted to do against us. They shot over 60 percent from the field. ... They have a lot of weapons, defense, they shot the ball very well from the floor when we were in our 2-3 zone. We gave up too many offensive rebounds and that is basically what cost us the game. ... Tim Morris, especially in the first half (was a standout player for UW). Some threes that (Adrian Oliver) hit, that's basically what broke the game open and started to work for them. We wanted to play zone and make them shoot from the outside and they hit a couple of threes that especially made us come out of it.''

New Jersey Tech game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 7:54 PM

THE FINAL IS 88-47 HUSKIES --- I'll have some post-game stuff later.

IT'S NOW 84-40 --- With 2:24 left, and the fans are streaming out. Adrian Oliver is concluding a nice game, as he has 11 points which ties the second-best total of his career (14 last year against Eastern Washington).

UW NOW AHEAD 68-34 WITH 7:47 LEFT --- And UW has calmed down the TOs a little, with four in the second half for 16 for the game. NJIT has 26.

JUSTIN HOLIDAY IS CHECKING INTO THE GAME --- With 11:12 left, so that will mean every Husky has played other than Gant, who is now redshirting, and Appleby, who is hurt. The decision on Gant and the fact that Holiday is playing solidifies what team will look like this season.

UW NOW AHEAD 55-31 --- Still a little too much sloppy play, and one other negative is that Quincy Pondexter only has one point --- he didn't take a shot in the first half in 13 minutes.

UW SCORES LAST 10 OF THE FIRST HALF --- To make it a 45-24 game at halftime. Overton keyed the surge with two nice passes that turned into assists --- including an Oliver three-pointer --- and then scoring on a drive of his own. One stat Romar has to be happy with --- UW took at least three charges in the first half.

HUSKIES IN A LITTLE LULL --- It's 32-22 with five minutes left in the first half as UW has run into a little rut, losing nine turnovers already for the half.

THE HUSKIES ARE AHEAD 30-18 --- With 7:49 left in the first half. They have hit 5-6 three-pointers, including one by Joe Wolfinger. UW is wearing its gold uniforms tonight and these seem to look a little better than the white ones of the exhibition gam.

UW MISSED ITS FIRST SIX FREE THROWS --- Before finally hitting one. UW also forced nine turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game.

THE ROUT IS ALREADY ON --- As UW leads 17-3. NJIT opened in a zone and the Huskies hit 3-4 three-pointers --- one each by Joel Smith, Adrian Oliver and Justin Dentmon.

PRE-GAME --- Having some computer troubles up here, but I'll try to do a running thread for this game, especially since it is not on TV.

Utah beat High Point pretty easily in the first game and the Utes will be a challenge for UW tomorrow night (assuming UW avoids the mammoth upset in this game). Utah has some size and some good shooters and is a heady team that seems to play good defense. But UW figures to have more quickness and athleticism and maybe the depth up front to at least throw a lot of fouls at 7-1 center Luke Nevill.

First on the agenda to watch tonight is how well the Dentmon-Overton backcourt works. UW coach Lorenzo Romar showed Overton a lot of confidence by starting him in his first game here.

Gant to redshirt UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:22 PM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar has announced that freshman forward Darnell Gant will redshirt this season.

Gant, a 6-8 forward from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, said he initiated the decision after thinking about it for the last week or so.

"I decided to do it for personal reasons to make myself a better player,'' Gant said. "To take a whole year off and just work hard and season myself.''

Another consideration is to put on weight and strength. Gant said he weighs about 206 pounds and would like to get up to 220, if not a little more, by next season.

"I want to get bigger and stronger and get in the weight room and just do everything I can do to better myself,'' Gant said.

Gant said Romar was "behind me 100 percent'' in his decision.

His decision leaves UW with 12 active players for the season, but just 11 on the current roster with senior guard Ryan Appleby out for another month or so with a broken thumb.

Gant played six minutes in UW's 86-77 exhibition win over Seattle Pacific last week, going 1-3 from the field with two points, one rebound, one foul and one turnover.

He becomes the first Husky to redshirt for non-injury reasons since Joe Wolfinger during the 2005-06 season. Wolfinger also redshirted primarily for an extra year of physical development. Wolfinger and Gant are the only two UW players during Romar's tenure to redshirt for non-injury reasons.

BY THE WAY --- The game tonight is not on television and the school cannot webcast it due to licensing rules. It is available on the Husky Radio Network and through GoHuskies.com.

Season begins tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:40 PM

The Huskies tip off the season in the NIT tonight.

Here's our preview story today as well as a capsule look at the games tonight.

Couldn't find much on New Jersey Tech, but here are a couple of stories on Utah --- from the Salt Lake Tribune from a Utah blog, the Deseret News, and the Utah student paper.

Also, a columnist for CSTV includes UW as a team that could surprise this season.

November 12, 2007

Interesting Tre Simmons story

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:47 PM

Here's an intersting story about Tre Simmons' adventures playing basketball in Israel from Seth Kolloen's blog.

Tuesday night starters announced

Posted by Bob Condotta at 1:38 PM

Here is the projected starting lineup for tomorrow night's season opener as announced today by UW coach Lorenzo Romar.

F: Quincy Pondexter
F: Jon Brockman
G: Joel Smith
G: Venoy Overton
G: Justin Dentmon

As you can see, this lineup includes both Overton and Dentmon, something we wrote about here last week.

November 11, 2007

New Jersey Tech coach takes leave

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:29 PM

Some news today about New Jersey Tech, the team the Huskies will play Tuesday in the first round of the NIT.

Here it is, straight from the school.

New Jersey Institute of Technology athletics director Lenny Kaplan announced tonight that head men's basketball coach Jim Casciano has requested and will take a temporary leave of absence for personal health reasons.

At the same time, Kaplan announced that assistant coach Wendell Alexis will serve as NJIT's interim head coach in Casciano's absence. Casciano was beginning his seventh season as head coach of the Highlanders.

"We are behind Jim 100 percent," said Kaplan. "The most important thing is that he can take care of himself and get through this difficult time. We are looking forward to having him return to our sidelines as soon as he is able."

Alexis, who will handle Casciano's duties during the leave of absence, joined the NJIT staff as an assistant coach in August 2005. Prior to becoming a coach, Alexis was a star player, spending close to 20 seasons in Europe's top professional leagues.

"I am confident in Wendell's ability to lead the program," said Kaplan. "He has special insight into the game having played so many years as a great player. And he has earned everyone's respect as a first-class person."

A product of Queens, NY, Alexis amassed more than 1,200 points and over 400 rebounds in his career as a star at Syracuse University. Drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1986, he was Most Valuable Player of the top professional leagues in Italy, Israel and Germany (three times). In 1998, he played for Team USA in the World Basketball Championships.

NJIT, which opened the season on Saturday, November 10, is next scheduled to play on Tuesday at the University of Washington in the opening round of the 2007 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off tournament. That game is scheduled for an 8 pm (PST) start in Seattle.

November 10, 2007

New Jersey Tech gets pounded in opener

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:10 PM

Or, as the school web site says it a little more politely "Manhattan Takes Season Opener at NJIT.'' You can read about it here and the only reason to care is that UW will open its season Tuesday against New Jersey Tech in the first round of the NIT at Edmundson Pavilion.

A 42-point loss usually qualifies as more than a "takes'' in my book, but then it's understandable trying to be kind about a New Jersey Tech program in its second year at the I-A level.

As the story details, Manhattan won 70-28 with no NJIT player scoring more than eight points.

On paper, this looms as more of an exhibition game for UW than did the Seattle Pacific contest, and maybe it will serve as the confidence boost UW needs before it would have to play High Point or Utah on Wednesday night.

Both of those teams opened their seasons Friday night.

High Point lost its opener Friday night at Charlotte 61-55.

High Point is regarded as the favorite in the Big South this year. That's the same league Winthrop won last year.

Charlotte was picked 10th in the 14-team Atlantic 10 Conference.

Utah beat somebody called South Carolina-Upstate 86-52 Friday night. As this story details, SC-Upstate is in its first year of D-I basketball. Utah won easily despite foul trouble to its best player, 7-2 center Luke Nevill, and did so primarily by playing some pretty good defense, holding SC-Upstate to 28 percent shooting. Should it be a UW-Utah final, that could be a real handful for the Huskies.

November 9, 2007

Overton and Dentmon together?

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:19 AM

Those of you who attended the SPU game saw that the Huskies were often at their best with Justin Dentmon and Venoy Overton together.

It's a pairing that the Huskies liked, as well, and I explored in a story today the possibility that the two could start together.

Obviously, two 5-11 players would create some defensive problems at times. But it would also create some matchup problems the other way, as well, and would be a way to improve UW's ballhandling.

The upshot, however, is that it definitely seems like Dentmon and Overton aren't an either/or proposition, one only getting minutes at the other's expense..

IN OTHER NEWS:

--- Arizona survived a sluggish start before winning an exhibition game last night.

--- Speaking of Arizona, here's a column demanding that Lute Olson shed some light on his reasons for leaving.

--- Cal clubbed Alaska-Fairbanks last night with sophomore guard Patrick Christopher pouring in 32 points. That could be a pretty significant development for the Bears as Cal needs some guards to emerge.

--- Three Pac-10 teams play their first regular season games tonight as UCLA hosts Portland State, Stanford hosts Harvard and Washington State hosts Eastern Washington.

November 8, 2007

Basketball notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:36 PM

The Huskies held a media day today to officially kick off the season as well as publicize the upcoming NIT.

UW will play New Jersey Tech Tuesday at Hec Ed and either Utah or High Point Wednesday. Win both and UW will head to New York for the semi-finals the following week.

No big news but lots of interesting notes. Here are some highlights:

--- Ryan Appleby said his surgery on hit thumb last Friday went well and he will have the full cast taken off Tuesday, replaced by a soft cast. He said he was able to begin running full out on Wednesday and thinks that "I feel like I'm ahead of schedule.'' He said he plans to be back for sure for the Dec. 29 game at LSU but that he plans on being back sooner than that. He had a plate and some pins put in it "to add some extra strength'' and said he thinks the thumb will be as good as new once he's back. He suffered a fractured thumb and the bone connecting to it was moved 40 percent to the left. Appleby said he thinks it was Venoy Overton whose elbow he slammed into during a rebounding drill. "It was just a freak accident,'' he said.

--- The general theme was disappointment over the close shave with SPU the other night. UW coach Lorenzo Romar said "that wasn't Husky basketball'' citing the lack of defense and the 22 turnovers. "We're not as far along as I thought we'd be defensively,'' he said, saying "I have not done a good enough job or else we'd be doing it.'' Romar said there were a number of factors that contributed to the problems against SPU --- youth, some players still trying to sort it all out and understand where they are supposed to be, and it being the first-game of the season.

--- As for the turnovers, Romar said his biggest concern was that there were "too many unforced turnovers, too many careless turnovers.'' He later said turnovers have been a problem throughout practice. "It's an ongoing issue we've got to get under control,'' he said.

--- Romar said that he envisions having an 8-9-player rotation of players who will see 15-18 or more minutes a game. He said the team could play as many as 11 regularly. But he said again he doesn't anticipate any redshirts this season.

--- Romar was very laudatory of the play of Overton. "When he was in the game, I felt we had a better offensive flow,'' Romar said. He cited a play where Overton got the ball in backcourt, took one dribble, and found Joel Smith streak for a dunk. He called it the kind of play missing since Brandon Roy was a Husky. He said he liked the pairing of Overton and Justin Dentmon and said those two could start together. Overton and Dentmon also said they liked playing together, as well, with Overton taking the point and Dentmon playing at shooting guard. Romar said Overton "makes the game easier'' for his teammates and "takes a little stress off the scorers because he sees. He's constantly looking up the floor and makes things easier for guys.''

--- Asked if Overton was ahead of where he thought he'd be, Romar said no, but said that "seeing it up close is more exciting than I thought it would be.''

--- Romar said Adrian Oliver is beginning to get back into things even though he is still wearing a mask to protect his nose. "Of late he has done a prety good job for us,'' Romar said.

--- Joe Wolfinger said his foot is fine but that he is still limited to 80 minutes a day of practice. Wolfinger said "I thought I played soft'' against SPU and was disappointed in his performance.

--- Darnell Gant said he weighs about 206 pounds and would like to get to about 220.

--- Overall, Romar admitted that the Huskies didn't have a great night against SPU. "We weren't a team that had jelled at all,'' Romar said.

College basketball section out today

Posted by Bob Condotta at 8:42 AM

Especially if you live locally, hope you can catch our 10-page college basketball section today.

It includes all kinds of good stuff on the local, Pac-10 and national scene.

You can find a general overview of the section here.

I'll also highlight some of the sections most pertinent to readers of this blog:

--- Bud Withers authored a column on the unprecedented strength of college basketball in the state;

--- I wrote a story on Quincy Pondexter in which he was pretty frank about his struggles last season on and off the court;

--- Jerry Brewer contributed a column on Matthew Bryan-Amaning;

--- Here's my look at the rest of the Pac-10 (UW and WSU excluded since they are detailed elsewhere in the section).

--- There is also this overview of the Huskies, and a look at the team's rotation, and this section of news and notes.

November 7, 2007

NIT regional final on ESPN

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:00 PM

ESPN is expected to televise the NIT West Regional Championship game at Edmundson Pavilion next Wednesday.

Should the Huskes beat New Jersey Tech on Tuesday, they will play in that game against either Utah or High Point.

Utah is the most likely opponent, and the Utes have apparently had a couple of good exhibition wins under new coach Jim Boylen. The Utes beat Northwest Nazarene 88-43 on Tuesday after beating Montana Tech 83-40 last week.

NJ Tech plays its first game Saturday against Manhattan.

November 6, 2007

Tuesday morning notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:40 AM

First, here's my story on last night's game, which includes a lot on Rod Diederichs (remember that SPU is a local team for our newspaper, as well).

Diederichs came out briefly near the end of the game with cramps, he said, so he was fine. He went down with about five minutes to go chasing a ball and was out for a few minutes, during which time UW began to pull away a bit.

Many of you have mentioned Joe Wolfinger, who played just 12 minutes overall and only one in the second half --- he started the half, then came out a minute in and never played again.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said later that "it was a tough game for Wolf'' the way SPU did a lot of backdoor cuts and all of that. "It was not a tailor-made game for Wolf.''

Artem Wallace took Wolfinger's minutes in the second half and played pretty well, witih six points and three rebounds in seven minutes. Wallace was the only Husky who didn't play in the first half, but that was strictly coach's decision, for anyone wondering.

As mentioned last night, Romar was disappointed in the 22 turnovers.

"We'd like to push the ball up,'' he said. "But we need to make better decisions.''

And I think we definitely saw how valuable Ryan Appleby will be to this team as UW was just 4-11 on three-pointers.

"Ryan does so much to a defense, stretching it out,'' said Jon Brockman. "They have to respect the guy. He'll hit a three all the way from halfcourt. We don't have him for six weeks so we've got to suck it up and someone has to step up.''


A COUPLE OTHER NOTES:

--- Letter-of-intent day is next Wednesday, and CSTV recently examined the classes Pac-10 teams are expected to sign. Nothing really new here, but a good overview.

--- That story mentioned DeAngelo Casto, and as we reported today, he has moved back to play this year at Ferris High in Spokane.

--- C.J. Giles is apparently back in good standing at Oregon State, having returned to practice. He won't be eligible until Dec. 8.

November 5, 2007

SPU post-game

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:02 PM

This is why they have exhibition games, UW coach Lorenzo Romar said tonight after the Huskies beat Seattle Pacific 86-77 in a surprisingly competitive contest at Edmundson Pavilion.

SPU had a one-point lead twice at about the seven-minute mark of the second half before the Huskies rallied, which not so coincidentally was about the same time that Jon Brockman re-enetered the lineup. Brockman sat for about 11 minutes of the second half after picking up his fourth foul.

"That's one of the worst feelings in the world,'' Brockman said. "You feel like an idiot, first of all, for making stupid fouls. It's nobody's fault but my own. I've just got to be smarter with my fouls.''

Brockman scored 10 points once he returned to allow UW to pull away and avoid what would have been an embarassing start to the season.

He also showed again that he is the one sure thing about this Husky team.

But the rest of the game showed that the Huskies have a ways to go to make that No. 8 pick in the Pac-10 pre-season media poll look bad.

The Huskies have talked about playing better defense and decreasing turnovers, but neither was really evident tonight. UW had 22 turnovers, and while some were the result of new guys playing their first game --- the four true freshmen combined for nine --- there were still simply too many.

"We've got to treat the ball like it's our prized possession,'' Brockman said.

Said Romar: "I think we were so anxious to play, come out and do a good job, that a lot of our guys wanted to do it themselves. We didn't share the ball like we needed to share the ball. We weren't patient. We tried to make the home run play too fast, too early. And that hurt us. Our best basketball tonight was when we shared the ball and moved the ball and went inside to Jon Brockman. It's part of learning what we've got to do to be successful.''

Defensively, UW allowed SPU forward Rob Diederichs to score 36 points on 15-23 shooting, the highest total for any UW opponent since Adam Morrison's memorable 43 in 2005.

"That's a lot of points to give up to one guy,'' Romar said.

SPU seemed to catch UW off-guard a few times with its Princeton-style offense. But Brockman also commented that "we've got to tighten up our defense everywhere and we've got to do a better job of crashing the boards. I don't know what the rebound margin was but with our length and athleticism, it's got to be more than that.'' UW had a 42-34 rebounding edge.

A FEW OTHER NOTES AND THOUGHTS:

--- Romar said the Huskies had a lot of combinations of players on the floor that won't be out there for counting games. Judging by the minutes played, guys who may be on the outside are Artem Wallace, Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday, though the latter two are obviously true freshmen growing into their roles.

--- SPU coach Jeff Hironaka sounded a few notes of caution about the Huskies: "They're young. It's going to depend on their perimeter guys and how well they can handle the pressure themselves. I know they are going to put pressure on but at the same time, they are goigin to have to handle teams that are way more athletic than us and probably put a little bit more heat on them. I think they are solid with Jon in there, but after him, those other guys are pretty young. They are a young squad, so who knows. If they get it going, they could be fine. But if they don't, it just depends on where their confidence is. At some point, if they happen to lose a couple, can they sustain and what can they do?''

--- Overton and Justin Dentmon played quite a bit together in the backcourt and Hironaka liked the looks of that. "Venoy showed some brilliance there at times, just running the show and not doing too much. Having him and Dentmon there at least will give them another guy to run the point. I think the one thing they are missing is Appley. They need that three-point shooter.''

--- Romar said the fact that Overton played 33 minutes said all you needed to know of what they thought of his play. "Venoy makes things happen with the basketball. He's constantly looking up the floor. Did he make mistakes? Yes/ But at the same time, he helped us in a lot of ways. I thought he did a good job.''

--- On the other freshmen, Romar said: "Justin (Holiday) didn't play a lot tonight so it's hard to talk about what he did. Matthew (Bryan-Amaning) has an array of moves. Sometimes he tries to use them all in one possession. The trick is just to get Matthew to slow down and pick his spots because he's very talented. Darnell Gant I thought did a good job while he was in there.''

--- Diederichs told some good stories afterward of how he's a big-time Husky fan who attends every football game he can in the east end zone and was once a ball boy for the UW hoops team back in the Todd MacCulloch-Donald Watts era. "I didn't want to score 36, I just wanted to play well,'' he said. "It's definitely fun.''

--- Apparently Holiday's brother Jrue, who has committed to UCLA, was there as well. I'm told not to read anything into it. Justin Holiday said recently he had no indication his brother was thinking of changing his mind.

Running SPU game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:51 PM

HUSKIES HOLD ON --- UW leads by eight with 20 seconds left as I write this, so I think UW will get the win here. Attendance was 8,057 and most are now filing out. I have some immediate post-game responsibilities so this will be it for the running blog. But a quick impression is that Overton was UW's second-best player all night after Brockman. UW has 22 turnovers as I type this, and that number won't be pleasing to the coaches I wouldn't think.

STILL A GAME --- With 3:48 left, UW leads 77-72 after a Brockman lay-in (he also has a free throw coming). UW sorely missed JC as he has scored eight points since returning to keep UW in the lead. SPU took a 68-67 lead but the Huskies came right back and are hanging on. Overton continues to impress and has 16 points, four rebound, four assists. Diedrichs for SPU has 33 points but suffered some sort of minor injury chasing a ball OB and has been out the last few minutes.

SPU RALLIES --- SPU has cut the lead to 65-63 and will be shooting two free throws. A small contingtent of fans is chanting "SPU'' in the upper reaches here. UW was hurt when Brockman picked up his fourth foul with 18:48 left. He's due to come back in the game here with 7:47 left. Wolfinger has also been out quite a while with three fouls but Wallace has played well in his place with six points and three rebounds. Each team has 20 turnovers.


HUSKIES UP 59-51 --- With 11:32 left. Overton continues to be about UW's best player, as he leads the team in scoring (10) and assists (four) and just had a nice feed to Adrian Oliver for another three-pointer to key a 7-0 run that allowed UW to retake command a bit. SPU cut the lead to 50-49 but missed a wide-open three-pointer to take the lead. Artem Wallace has finally got in the game and has four points.

TWO BIG RUNS --- SPU scored the first six points of the second half to take a 40-39 lead, but UW responded with an 8-0 run to retake the lead. Joel Smith scored four points to spark the run, two coming off a nice pass from Overton in transition.

UW LEADS 39-34 AT HALF --- SPU scored the last six points of the half to make this one close. Some thoughts:

--- UW has 12 turnovers, way too many.

--- Overton, Pondexter and Brockman lead UW with eight points each.

--- Besides Overton, the other three frosh all look like freshmen playing their first college game. All have committed turnovers and have between the three of them.

--- UW is 2-7 on 3-pointers obviously missing Ryan Appleby.

--- No doubt, UW is more experienced this year. But the Huskies in the first half had a lot of lineups out there with a lot of young guys who haven't played much together at all.

--- Joe Wolfinger is 0-2 with three boards and two fouls in 11 minutes.

HUSKIES OPENING IT UP A BIT --- UW leads 36-24 with 3:53 left, scoring the last nine in a row. Venoy Overton looks really good, with six points on 3-5 shooting as well as two assists. He keyed this surge with a nice drive into the lane and then a dish out to Adrian Oliver for a three-pointer, then getting a rebound and driving into the lane setting up a lay-in two passes later.

IT'S 25-21 --- With 7:56 left and the best player on the floor so far is SPU's Rob Diedrichs, a 6-8 forward from Shorewood who has 15 points on 7-11 shooting. One ominous sign for UW is eight turnovers, obviously a pace for more than 20 and way too high. Some early-game jitters are part of it, however --- true frosh Matthew Bryan-Amaning had two unforced TOs in the span of about a minute then was taken out, though he's back on the floor now.

PEYTON SIVA HERE --- And sitting behind the UW bench. He was at many games last year, as well. He's generally considered a heavy Husky lean and Venoy Overton said recently he expects Siva to come here.

RAGGED START --- The two teams are a combined 5-16 as UW leads 9-6 at the first media time out. Pondexter looks good with four points. The Huskies are wearing the new home white uniforms and I'm curious to hear what those who are here think of them.

PRE-GAME --- Gametime is about 10 minutes away, and this is the usual exhibition-type atmosphere --- a late-arriving crowd, a lot of open seats and not much buzz.

Still, I remember when these games used to feel like this and they were. Tonight, everyone is paying $10 to see a game that doesn't count, so things have definitely changed.

Anyway, I'll try to do for basketball this year what I've done for football, setting up a running game thread. Having never done this for basketball, not sure exactly how much I'll be able to post, but I'll try to keep it updated and see how it works.

Debut tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:07 AM

Here's my story on the Huskies making their debut tonight with an exhibition game against Seattle Pacific.

There is no live TV for the game. But click here to find out how you can watch it on-line at GoHuskies.com.

I will also provide lots of coverage here, as well.

November 4, 2007

Probable starting lineup set

Posted by Bob Condotta at 5:08 PM

The Huskies have announced a probable starting lineup for tomorrow night's exhibition game against Seattle Pacific. Here it is:

F -- Quincy Pondexter
F -- Jon Brockman
C -- Joe Wolfinger
G -- Joel Smith
G -- Justin Dentmon

One thing I would say is don't read a ton into it. Lorenzo Romar told us at media day that the lineup would indicate players who are playing well. But he also anticipates that there could be a lot of changing of the lineup as the year progresses. So this is far from rock solid going forward.

Probably the biggest news in this is the progress Wolfinger has made since last season to now be a starter in the first outing of the year, exhibition or otherwise. Given that even Wolfinger admits he had a few thoughts that he might not be able to play again this has to feel good for him to get a starting role. He is still limited to about 90 minutes of practice a day, something that figures to last into Janurary or February. But he obviously is showing a lot in practice.

It was interesting on Thursday when Romar announced the news on Ryan Appleby and was asked who the best three-point shooters would be in his absence and he mentioned Wolfinger and Adrian Oliver. Wolfinger figures to present a lot of matchup problems if he can hit that shot consistently in games this season.

Romar said Appleby would have been a starter if not injured, so figure he would have been where Smith is. Dentmon is getting the nod at PG, but Romar said that is a close battle with Venoy Overton, who will obviously play a lot as well.


News around the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta at 12:44 PM

Now that Pac-10 teams are beginning to play games, I'll try to put some regular links here to interesting stories around the conference.

One big one today as Ariziona has announced that Lute Olson will take an indefinite leave of absence to handle a personal matter. However, the ESPN.com story says it's not health related and he's expected to be back soon. I would like it if we could keep the discussion of this as classy as possible.

In other news:

--- Oregon State plays its first exhibition game today against Warner Pacific;

--- UCLA guard Michael Roll is out 3-5 weeks with a foot injury;

--- Here's an update on Oregon's new arena;

--- A pretty good overview of the conference from DraftExpress.com;

--- http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/news?slug=jn-pac10notes110107&prov=yhoo&type=lgns with news and notes from media day.

Remember, UW plays its first (and only) exhibition game Monday night against Seattle Pacific at Edmundson Pavilion at 7 p.m. We'll have a preview of the game in the paper and on-line Monday. That game might not be too easy. http://www.spufalcons.com/News/mbball/2007/11/3/SPUHangsWithNevadaIn80-73Loss.asp?path=mbball.


November 2, 2007

Sagarin likes Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta at 3:24 PM

I couldn't find it on-line, but I was reading the Sagarin ratings in USA Today's college basketball section and have to admit they were pretty eye-catching.

Sagarin has the Huskies No. 34 in the nation and fourth among Pac-10 teams behind UCLA (7), Arizona (14) and Oregon (29).

Among Pac-10 teams it then drops to USC (49), Stanford (51) and Washington State (59).

And not trying to cast a negative not here, but I'm also wondering if he got UW and WSU confused somehow to have the Cougars that low. Or maybe his computer knows something everyone else doesn't.

L.A. stories

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:01 AM

Here are our two stories from media day:

--- A notebook leading off with Ryan Appleby's injury;

--- And a general story on the strength of the Pac-10 this year.

November 1, 2007

Brockman hanging around

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:56 PM

Among the things Jon Brockman was asked today was whether he's planning on staying at UW for four years. It was a big topic with guys like Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo already answering questions about whether they will stay longer than one season.

"Yeah,'' Brockman said of staying four years. "I mean, who knows for sure. I could get hurt tomorrow and not be able to play anymore. But I'm just loving college. I have no rush, no need to leave right away. It's a goal of mine (to get to the NBA) and something I want to do. I would never say that differently --- who doesn't want to play in the NBA? But I'm loving college right now. I love where I'm at, love my coaches, love my teammates. I think it's just that you only get four years of it, you only get one chance, so you might as well enjoy it.''

Pac-10 notes

Posted by Bob Condotta at 2:09 PM

Some notes and obsesrvations from Pac-10 media day:

--- UW coach Lorenzo Romar said the starting lineup for the Huskies remains up in the air, especially now with Ryan Appleby out for six weeks with a broken thumb. Jon Brockman is certain to be one starter and Quincy Pondexter is likely to be another. But outside of that, he said it's pretty wide open. He said one of Justin Dentmon or Venoy Overton would likely start at point guard, with Tim Morris and/or Joel Smith at the other guard spot or spots (maybe even Adrian Oliver) depending on what kind of lineup the Huskies would go with. Joe Wolfinger or Matthew Bryan-Amaning could start up front as well. Romar said he could have given us one down here but that it could be totally different tomorrow based on how guys are playing. 'It's so close for some guys,'' he said.

--- Romar said the injury to Appleby shouldn't be a long-term concern. It should be decided today whether he needs surgery, Romar said. But Romar said with Appleby being a senior and having such a knowledge of what the team is doing, he shouldn't need much time to get back into things. He should also be able to stay in good shape since he'll be able to run and work out, etc.

--- One guy not really in the running for a starting job is Artem Wallace, whom Romar said has gotten into better shape but is still not exactly where he needs to be.

--- There hasn't been much mention of Oliver, but Romar said that's mostly due to the fact that he was slowed for a while recovering from his nose injury. Romar said he has played well of late and said that in Appleby's absence, his outside shooting could become even more important. Romar said Wolfinger and Oliver are the team's two best outside shooters so far outside of Appleby.

--- Brockman was UW's player representative here and he said he was "a little surprised'' the Huskies were picked eighth but he also kind of likes the fact that it is one more thing for the team to use to rally around. "That's a great spot for us to be in being the underdog, a team people don't expect much out of because we are going to bring it this year and surprise a lot of people,'' Brockman said.

--- O.J. Mayo was among USC's contingent here and he sure seems to be handling everything incredibly well. He answered every question very politely, often with a "yes, sir,'' and drew raves from coach Tim Floyd and teammate Taj Gibson for his teamwork and attitude.

--- Derrick Low was WSU's player representative here and he and Brockman sat together at a table for a while having lunch. Brockman said the two have become friends, in part due to playing together at the Pan-Am Games tryouts this summer, and sometimes send text messages to each other. Brockman playfully tried to cover up the "State'' on the WSU table.

--- Former Oregon guard Chamberlain Oguchi has transferred to Illinois State.

Appleby fractures thumb

Posted by Bob Condotta at 10:33 AM

UW coach Lorenzo Romar announced at Pac-10 media day today that guard Ryan Appleby fractured his thumb in practice yesterday and will be out six weeks.

"You hate for that to happen,'' Romar said. "But he should be back after that.''

Romar said Appleby was injured in a rebounding drill when Appleby tried to reach up and knock a ball away and jammed his thumb. Romar said the thumb is on Appleby's shooting hand.

"I somehow think he could still make threes in a cast,'' Romar said.

Six weeks would get Appleby back by mid-December.

If you recall, Appleby used his redshirt year in transferring so that wouldn't be an option.

UPDATE --- Romar said later that Appleby would have been a starter for Monday's exhibition game against Seattle Pacific. He said the good news is that this is a pretty simple break and it should be pretty cut-and-dried for him to be back in six weeks.

Asked for a starting lineup for Monday, Romar said Jon Brockman is about the only player assured of a spot, though Quincy Pondexter is close. He said one of either Justin Dentmon or Venoy Overton would likely start at point guard. But the rest of the lineup remains in flux for Monday, he said, owing largely to some very competitive battles at a number of spots.

Huskies eighth in Pac-10 media poll

Posted by Bob Condotta at 9:45 AM

I'm here in Los Angeles for Pac-10 basketball media day, and the first order of business is the pre-season poll, which has UW picked eighth.

UCLA was picked to win the league, getting 33 of 34 first-place votes.

Here is the order followed by total votes (10 for first place, nine for second, etc.).

1, UCLA, 339
2, WSU, 273
3, Oregon, 240
4, Arizona, 238
5, Stanford, 205
6, USC, 184
7, Cal, 140
8, Washington, 132
9, Arizona State, 81
10, Oregon State, 38

I'll check back in later with more from L.A.

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