Washington Husky Huddle for August 25th 2011 (Part Two)
The Dawgs lost a great guard in transfer Elston Turner Jr., but it appears that it made sense with the way that Ross, Suggs and Wilcox have performed and developed. Turner however has reportedly made the best of the situation and landed squarely on his feet at Texas A+M. According to a Tuesday tweet from Jon Rothstein of MSG Networks, Elston was one the best players during the Aggies exhibition tour of Europe last week. Turner is a nice guy and it is cool to see him do well.
“Elston Turner leads Texas A & M in scoring 4 third straight game. His presence could take a lot of scoring pressure off Khris Middleton.”
Another former Husky sharpshooter is building up an impressive hoops training web site. Ryan Appleby’s site at applebybasketball.com features training in shooting and ball handling and recently he has brought in a program that helps kids improve their vertical jump in order to be able to dunk and other basketball related training exercises. Ryan also introduced a blog on August 9th at the site. Watch it Apps, you’re gunning for my gig!! Former Husky guard Nate Robinson also debuted a reality video blog on August 9th, in which the Husky legend introduced a number of close friends and family. I thought that Nate’s blog was very uplifting and fun and I look forward to further episodes. I generally dislike reality TV, but this one was positive family entertainment.
Former Husky post legend Todd MacCulloch had a great career at Washington, where he was an unmovable force on the low block with shooting touch that was almost impossible to stop. Todd’s pro career was short but eventful, as he made it to the NBA Finals twice in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Both times he was brutalized by Shaq O’Neal, but who cares. Not many people can claim that they played with two different NBA teams in two NBA Finals series and literally no one can add to it the claim that they competed in the Pinball World Championships. Todd can. According to sbnation.com , MacCulloch is ranked 193rd in the world and in the running at the top level of competition.
Todd had his career cut short by injuries, but one former Husky coach competed in so many NBA Finals that it makes one’s head spin. Tex Winter was part of a very healthy chapter in Husky Hoops History when he took a solid group of mostly local
star recruits in the late 60’s and added some key pieces both locally, from California and elsewhere. Winter put together a good run from 1968-1971. He had one decent year in 1969-70 when the great center Steve Hawes, Stone and future ABA star and NBA GM George Irvine won their first seven games before Hawes and Stone both had season altering and identical knee injuries in the same game. Winter was in the process of building something great at Washington when he took the head coaching job with the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Tex recruited Hawes, as well as future NBA pros Nelson and Dudley, plus Ray “The Machine” Price and Steve’s brother Jeff who both played pro overseas. Tex made the right choice to move to the pros though, as his career there was one of a kind. Not a great NBA head coach, Winter found his niche as an X’s and O’s guy for the legendary Phil Jackson. With the “Zen Master” he sat on the bench for many years in Chicago and LA.
They won titles together in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998 for the Bulls and 2000, 2001, and 2002 for the Lakers (twice where the opposing center for his big man O’Neal was MacCulloch). Winter served as a consultant on the 2009 NBA champ Laker team.Gohuskies ran a story on August 14th when Winter was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield MA, that showed a picture of Tex as a young Husky coach with Irvine. Forty years of Husky basketball has come and gone since these greats of the game were getting their start then on the floor of Hec-Ed Pavilion. I would like to see Winter return some day, along with some of those great players and take a bow for his contributions to the team at that time. Winter set the table for another all-time great in Marv Harshman, providing the then first year coach with some solid talent. Harshman had a better year than any of Winter’s UW teams experienced, in his first year, but the 69-70 team of Tex’s could have been really good, had they not lost their starting center and PG, two of their best three players. That does not diminish the need for UW fans to recognize the tremendous and much wider contributions of Harshman to the UW team, but it would be nice to recognize the brief but very positive effect that Tex Winter brought the Husky program. If UW is going to establish itself as an elite program nationally, why not focus on the value Tex brought to Husky hoops?