Husky Players Look Impressive Early

Sep 30, 2010, 7:58 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

A promotional film for the 2010-2011 Husky Basketball Team shows the team to be a much more mature looking group overall than last season.

Having seen the team recently in workouts, I know that the way that the veterans look in this Youtube clip of the video to not be editing trickery. Darnell Gant looks much bigger and more mature and Justin Holiday, though he is not much bigger, looks older and more serious looking.

Venoy Overton, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Scott Suggs also look a size bigger and a few notches tougher as well. Aziz N’Diaye also makes the picture a little more imposing and Abdul Gaddy and C.J. Wilcox look much less wet behind the ears.

Both pure freshmen Terrence Ross and Desmond Simmons are not players that look like pushovers by any means and even walk-on Brendan Sherer looks bigger and more like a D1 post player. Fellow Walk-on Antoine Hosley is an impressive looking player that does not look out of his league in this group of players.

Fox Sports Jeff Goodman, ESPN’s Andy Katz and Chris Monter of College Basketball News, all of whom are veteran hoops analysts, published their top-50 Wooden Award Candidates and UW’s Isaiah Thomas made all three lists.

Matthew made Goodman’s list as well, while Katz named Ross in an additional 40 players that he singled out who were either 1st year players or 1st year transfers who could become part of the mid-season or final lists.

Gaddy was listed by as the #6 NBA prospect in the Pac-10, though the integrity of that list has to be wondered about. This same site stated that Gaddy in so many words has no NBA future, but then picks him above players with definite league potential like WSU’s Reggie Moore, Stanford’s Jeremy Green, UCLA’s Reeves Nelson and WSU’s DeAngelo Casto.

My point here is that this site was too hard on Abdul and are now backtracking. Gaddy has a lot of potential and I believe that UW fans will start to see a lot of that come together this year. I still feel that Abdul will need at least 3 years at Washington, but he is a very worthwhile player for this emerging program on the national scene.

Lorenzo Romar’s long but intersting series of interviews with Percy Allen continued with Part 3 on Monday.

This one was probably the biggest eye opener for Husky fans, as the coach talked about the new players and how they are looking early on.

“We recruited Aziz (N’Diaye) to come in and contribute this year. And now with Tyreese Breshers (retired) it’s even more imperative that he comes out and provides us with some presence inside. I have all the confidence in the world that he’s going to do that.”

“On the first day when we could get out with the players on the floor, we just let the guys play a little and Desmond was the leading scorer. And he didn’t do it because he wowed you with dunks. He just was here and there. A three-pointer there. A steal here.”

“Terrence Ross is just an amazing talent. You watch him play and right away you go wow. He’s going to make his mark on this program in not too long.”

“C.J. Wilcox was a red-shirt for us last year. He’s not new, but it’s the first time he’ll wear a uniform in a real game. It’s well documented about his ability to shoot. He’s got quick feet.”

Romar also seemed to look at the depth on the wing with Holiday, Suggs, Ross and Wilcox as a plus and not a problem.

“Guys will be able to come in and kind of like tag team…I don’t know if we can play every one of them, but the majority of them will play.”

In connection with answering the question as to why Hosley was given a walk-on spot, Romar revealed quite a bit about what it is like to manage a group of ballplayers.

“(Players who feel they should be given more PT) those people aren’t realistic and accepting to where they are. And their parents are probably a little more unrealistic then they are. Someone who is not going to play, they need to have the attitude of they’re trying to get better and not be concerned about playing time.”

Lorenzo went on to speak at length about Isaiah then confirmed that UW is looking to fill 5 spots from the class of 2011.When asked if there would be spots saved for the Spring Signing Period, Romar rebuffed that notion.

“I think we’ll get the majority of them in early.”

Another interesting thing said by Romar was when he was asked if the majority of the recruits would be local.

“With the guys that we’re recruiting, there’s a good chance that there will be some that are local. So I think there will be a mix.”

Appropriately evasive way of putting it, but revealing in that of the players known to have committed, two are local in Hikeem Stewart and Kevin Davis. The only other local player being considered, as far as I can tell from everything that I’ve been able to discover though exhaustive research is Tony Wroten.

Which leads us to the question. Can two also mean “some”? Enough splitting hairs, but I would think that some would mean more than two. Normally a person would say a couple, but then again it is probably not in the coach’s best interest to be specific.

What is known at this point is that the Huskies will be on national television at least 13 times and according to the UW official site, “most all other games will be carried on the Huskies’ television partner FSN Northwest”.

Scheduling has been in the news a lot lately as many are starting to speculate, based on half statements and sources, about the way that the new Pac-12 will set up their schedule in 2011-2012. Andy Katz of ESPN stated that he had heard from sources that the conference “Round Robin” schedule would be replaced.

“More than likely, the men’s basketball schedule will have 11 games against every other team, the 12th game would be against the natural rival and then the other six games would be chosen at random, leaving four schools that a team would play only once a season.”

He added further that there was a strong movement to make it so all 10 teams outside the LA and Bay areas would have at least one road trip there, “For recruiting and Alumni purposes”.

Bruce Paskow of the Arizona Daily Star explored what could be the template that the Pac-12 could make the most sense following, but nothing official has been announced, other than statements from league commissioner Larry Scott which have been somewhat vague.

Even with Pascow’s model, UW would have to skip their trip to LA and the Bay once every 5 years. It’s just not possible to do those trips every year for every school without there being an unequal number of home games for the California schools.

If that isn’t nerdy hoops talk I don’t know what is, but one former Dawg that is much more humorous is definitely Nate Robinson, whose high-jinx are becoming known the world over. In a blog post for Boston Celtics fan site Nate is shown putting what looks like a pickle in Shaquille O’Neal’s mouth.

The fun doesn’t end there though as another post from the same site shows Nate putting salt in Shaq’s water in a video filmed by the legendary Paul Pierce.

Redhawks Being Seriously Considered by the WAC

Since BYU joined the WCC for all sports other than football, the thought that Seattle U might join that league has somewhat diminished. Could the league that features Gonzaga almost every year in the NCAA tournament and has recently become a much better league overall, have room for two new members?

The WAC however has a much different feel than the WCC, but it seems as if recent defections from some of its top schools have possibly changed that template. WAC schools are generally from secondary markets and the WCC are generally from the major west coast markets and unlike Brigham Young are all Jesuit schools.

But conference realignment seem to be redefining the rules and the WAC is now looking at a number of schools, including Seattle U, Denver, Montana, Texas San-Antonio and Texas State, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

Condotta speculated that Seattle U’s opportunity to join the WAC, may come after the league brings in enough schools with football to meet NCAA minimums for that sport.

“It is expected the invitations could come in waves, with the WAC attempting to fill its football vacancies first, then move on to Seattle U. and Denver (who don’t play football), which is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.”

ESPN Blogger Diamond Leung remarked that Cameron Dollar had a big day on Wednesday as the Redhawks made their presentation to the WAC and he and his staff had an in-home with Garfield High School in Seattle star Tony Wroten.

Husky Recruiting Corner

The news for the Dawgs on the recruiting trail seemed to focus around 2011 UW guard recruits Tony “Tone” Wroten Jr. and Jabari Brown.

Paul Biancardi of ESPNU tweeted on Monday that Tone was very impressed with his visit this past weekend to the ‘Ville and that Tony will once again visit UW, I assume meaning officially. Wroten has been on UW’s campus unofficially dozens, if not hundreds of times with his dad being a Husky Football legend and having grown up very close to the campus.

“PG Tony Wroten JR- back from L’ville really like it. Been to NOVA and will visit UW. Making his announcement on OCT 7 at Garfield HS”

Biancardi followed that tweet with Tone’s latest and what could be his last final five.

“ToneTone13 has a final five – Louisville, Washington, Villanova, Connecticut and Seattle University. SU? ‘They’ve come on the last month.'”

Percy Allen included highlights from an update from Scout that included one liners on each of Tone’s 5 finalists and the predictable news that Peyton Siva was his host on the Louisville trip.

For this Chris Fetters and Kim Grinolds of Scout complained on their message boards that their precious premium content was poached. To this I say wah, wah, wah. These guys do not do much with UW hoops. Dawgman is the oldest and most marketed UW site on the net and for that reason alone they have a lot of subscribers.

People are creatures of habit and tend to go with the flock. The truth is that other sites, Husky Digest included, do a better job on UW sports. For hoops, Husky Digest is really good, as far as pay sites go.

For football Realdawg does a better job than Dawgman despite the support of KJR-AM and a huge staff, mostly made up of interns but anchored by Fetters who is full time and Grinolds who works tirelessly. Montlake Madness and of course this blog are two free sites worthy of praise for UW hoops.

Most of what Dawgman does provide in hoops inside info comes from the Scout national analyst Dave Telep, with assistance from Kentucky based (who I have often noticed has a Kentucky agenda) Evan Daniels and LA based Greg Hicks (who multiple sources have alerted to me has a UCLA agenda).

Fetters does a solid job of covering Husky Football, but is consistently beaten to the punch on inside info by Ruth Robbins of Realdawg despite his full time position and tireless hours spent down at Montlake.

Grinolds does his best to make sure that the behind the scenes agenda of Dawgman is served, spending countless hours on the site’s premium boards, making sure that there appears to be plenty of activity.

Sources have informed us on numerous occasions that interns and others are paid pennies per post to contribute to conversations on those boards, A.K.A. “threads” under numerous fake internet identities A.K.A. “Sock puppets”. Dawgman was the first in the world of the internet to mine this territory, but this kind of work has negated that karma in my book.

Meanwhile Wroten continues to create drama on his twitter account on Tuesday stating that he is, “Really liking Louisville right now”.

Tony Sr., who accompanied Jr. on the trip to Louisville was appropriately gracious in describing what happened on the visit to Coast 2 Coast Recruiting.

“The facilities are incredible, and the living situation is also very nice. They have the best facilities that we have ever seen. It is also nice to have a practice gym available 24 hours a day. (Rick) Pitino is a great coach; one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. We also like that (Peyton) Siva is already there.”

I feel that Louisville gave it everything they had, but that Wroten will pick Washington on October 7th. We will be covering the event live at Husky Digest.

2011 UW guard recruit Jabari Brown continues his visit tour this weekend at ASU. This past weekend he went to UConn, while visiting UW the week before that. In an update for the ASU Rivals site, Drew Gooden Oakland Soliders AAU coach Mark Olivier (who seems to be speaking for Brown more and more about recruiting lauded Herb Sendek and the ASU program.

“ASU did a very impressive job in the (in-home) visit. It was clear to Jabari and to myself that they were extremely organized and the presentation they delivered was a powerful one. I think with coach Herb Sendek they do a great job with skill development and get a lot out of their talent, and that’s something that appeals to Jabari because player development is one of the most important aspects of the decision-making process.”

Husky Digest is reporting that Brown is seriously considering all of his final 5 that he is currently involved in visiting, but that UConn may be less in the picture than they were a few days ago after the visit. Brown was picked as the #2 player in the state in his class by who did a glowing profile on him three weeks ago.

2011 ASU guard commit and former UW recruit Jahii Carson is attempting to recruit Brown via twitter.

“Got jabari brown down here for a visit to ASU let’s see if I can get him to commit”

Husky Digest is reporting that according to sources Carson is actively recruiting Brown. Sources have also relayed that the sales pitch from Sendek includes a scenario where he and Carson would be the focus of epic battles with AAU team mates and recent ‘Zona commits Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner.

It remains to be seen who Brown will choose. Many analysts, including a number of good sources felt that Jabari would choose Washington, but this one is going to get interesting it seems. One source told us that Brown may decide shortly after Wroten makes his choice on October 7th, but until the ink is dry all bets are off.

UW 2011 post recruit Norvel Pelle has a new youtube highlight reel that is very impressive.

Though he will have a harder time against the bigger and taller players that he will face at the next level, these highlights are significant regardless because Norvel is so able to run the floor. At his height he is certainly a great prospect for UW basketball wise, though whether his grades or his personality are a good fit remains to be seen.

UW continues to recruit him, so they must be at least close to adequate. According to Zagsblog, Pelle had an in-home visit from Oregon on Monday night.

It has been speculated that Pelle would wait until spring to sign an LOI, but with all of the in-home visits, it may be that he pulls the trigger in November. also did a rave profile on Norvel, whom the chose as the #7 2011 player in-state.

2011 UW post recruit Angelo Chol from San Diego was chosen #6 on the same site.

Another San Diego player in 2011 guard Norman Powell was reportedly being recruited late in the game, but Powell reportedly ended that speculation on Sunday by committing to UCLA.

According to Powell when interviewed by the San Diego Union, UCLA Coach Ben Howland told him that the Bruins will be running a system that is mush better suited to his style than the physical and deliberate style that Howland is known for.

“I think UCLA will give me a chance to develop my skills to play at the next level. Coach (Ben) Howland said he wants to go back to the running game and that fits my style.”

I don’t believe that either Howland or Sendek, who promised to speed things up for Carson according to quotes when Jahii committed, are going to change their systems that radically for these kids. Chalk one up here for coaches that never do this to win recruits.

Husky Digest spoke to 2012 UW guard recruit Dominic Artis on Monday, Artis confirmed that UW is one of his favorites and that he would love to play with his former team mate at Richmond CA’s Salesian High Desmond Simmons at Washington and his former Salesian, as well as Soldiers team mate Jabari Brown.

Artis also confirmed that although UW has been watching him often, that he has yet to receive a UW offer. Artis will likely be the starting point guard next year for the Soldiers who will feature 2012 UW post recruits Brandon Ashley and Richard Longruss and 2013 UW post recruit Aaron Gordon.

Coast 2 Coast published the 2013 USA U-16 Team mini-camp roster and 2013 UW wing recruit Stephen Domingo and Gordon were included.

Pac-10 Round Up

WSU’s Klay Thompson was chosen as the #43 player in the nation by Rivals, who are counting down the top-50 players in a regular photo feature as the season approaches.

The feature, which works from the bottom up of course, has yet to choose another Pac-10 player and is currently at #38.

Rivals Jason King also wrote a full length feature on the Cougars which included numerous quotes from Klay.

Thompson sounded confident in describing the teams outlook for this season. I feel that some confidence is justified based on what the Cougs have coming back and the positive news on the new additions and off-season work outs, but the way that they played in the conference this past year should make leave only cautiously optimistic.

“We have a totally different mindset coming into this season. We honestly feel like we have the talent to compete with anyone.”

Colorado’s Buffs feature Alec Burks, the son of former UW guard Stevie Burks, who played with Romar at UW. I wonder if Lorenzo is kicking himself now that Alec is a huge story and an NBA 1st round prospect, for not bringing the barely recruited Burks to UW?

‘Zona was listed as the #5 team in the class of 2011 team recruiting rankings by Rivals. They were listed as the #3 team by ESPN in the last update and were dropped to #5 after the recent commitment of star guard Austin Rivers. Expect ‘Zona to drop in Rivals next rankings as well, but this class from Sean Miller is certainly proof that ‘Zona will be back soon.

Oregon may add an unnamed German post player to their roster, according to the Oregonian. The Ducks are in desperate need of post help with all of their defections, despite the NCAA’s granting of a medical hardship year fro Joevan Catron.

USC is a team that many feel will be at the bottom of the league with all of its losses through the self-imposed sanctions and the loss of nearly all of its star recruits in the time leading up to them. I think that USC will still be pretty good come conference play.

I think that six-foot-ten forward Nikola Vucevic is NBA bound and I’m not the only one. He may be the most impressive post player overall in the conference this year, including Derrick Williams, Reeves Nelson, DeAngelo Casto, “MBA” and Niko’s team mate Alex Stepheson.

The guy can flat out shoot and every year he has built up his play inside and Alex is a quality veteran. With those two, USC has without question, one of the top 2-3 starting front courts in the league.

The problem up front is lack of proven depth, but they will have at least have two big bodies in newcomer Curtis Washington and thus far little use sophomore Evan Smith.

Guard will be a bigger challenge and that is why USC will be on the low end of things of the middle of the pack teams in my opinion, but watch out for Jio Fontan.

When Fontan gains eligibility in December, like last year when Mike Gerrity did, I expect USC to look a lot better. They will struggle early without Fontan, but he could be a major factor in Pac-10 play.

USC will probably have to play a freshman in Bryce Jones (and he is good rookie) at the off-guard, but could go with veteran Donte Smith at the point and move Fontan to the 2.Also, watch out for little freshman Maurice Jones, a small man that ripped up Chicago in high school, which is no small task.

At the three is another veteran in Marcus Simmons, who will not kill on the offensive end, but is a tremendous defender.

Simmons will not hurt USC much by playing long minutes, as he will be able to slow the other teams top guy and allow young Bryce some breathing room.

Jones road should be a hard one next year against veteran guard units like Washington though.

The Trojans have some depth for Marcus in freshman Garrett Jackson from Portland. I agree that the Trojans are a program in rebuilding mode and they will hurt the conference RPI with a dismal November and early December.

Vucevic and Stepheson are going to be a load and that will win them games, but if Fontan is what I think he is they won’t have the talent or depth to contend, but they may have the beef inside to make some noise.

NW Hoops

The Zags landed a commit from 2011 Oklahoma post Ryan Spangler. Spangler is known as a banger and the six-foot-seven 220 pounder, according to Rivals, can really work the glass.

Jason King at Yahoo picked Gonzaga as one of the six top non-big 6 conferences top teams. The kings of the mid-majors, if you please.

That is an understatement, as the Zags will likely spend most of the year in the top-25, despite another tough out of conference schedule.

Is it fair to say that the tables are turning though, as to who is the top Dawg or ‘Dog in the state? Could it be that UW is finally taken the lead?

Well, that has yet to be settled on the court, but strangely enough perhaps it can be settled in toe shoes, as senior guard Steven Gray and sophomore forward Kelly Olynyk will appear with the schools theater arts production of “Romeo and Juliet”, just as Quincy Pondexter did last year for the Seattle Ballet.

I guess in true sports form, GU wins by a score of 2-1, but in the arts it is generally thought that quality and originality supersede quantity and imitation. To quote the musical comedy standard, “Anything you can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than you”.

NCAA Corruption

Kansas has yet to hear the results of the NCAA’s investigation of Josh Selby, who reportedly was in possession of a high priced Mercedes and whose family has had a suspicious relationship with a financier.

Though Kentucky and John Calipari have escaped the Eric Bledsoe investigation by the Alabama School Board unscathed, it was illuminating to read comments from the Birmingham that clearly infer that the incident was very suspicious.

“If you were the teacher who somehow inspired the school’s star athlete to achieve the first A he had ever received in a high school math class and thus allowed him to reach collegiate fame and NBA riches, wouldn’t you remember everything about it?”

Instead of seeing this as a sign that further investigation needs to be done on a much larger scale, ESPN blogger Eamon Brennan starts his blog post on the subject with a statement offering no hope of that happening.

“Make no mistake: The Eric Bledsoe saga is over.”

I give Brennan credit for linking the Birmingham News story, but is there a reason why he, as one of the most visible bloggers in the college hoops game, needs to lie down and play dead?

One of the publications that has made it the hottest for Kentucky PR wise in the Bledsoe case has been the NY Times. In this world of one ups man-ship, I find it amazing that the NY Daily News would write a pro-Caliapri editorial right after the NCAA dropped the Bledsoe case. Talk about choosing the wrong side just to be combative.

I believe that history is on the side of the NY Times in this case. ESPN’s Dana O’Neill (who seems to be the only ESPN staffer allowed to cover this beat with any free hand) wrote a very worthwhile piece on U.W. Clemon, who both “marched with Martin Luther King Jr.” according to O’Neill and “led the investigation into Eric Bledsoe’s grades”.

Clemon said, “Frankly I was surprised that the grade books were missing”. The article also brought up the fact that, “Alabama law requires that schools retain school records for three years”.

Can all of this incompetence be blamed solely on this poor school district being unable to keep good records. I wonder, but more importantly the whole story is so full of holes it makes Swiss cheese look like something to use to waterproof your basement.

The Charles Barkley comments about how he was paid by various agents while at Auburn University, also in Alabama, has stirred up controversy.

Paying players was the topic for a number of college sports columnists and CBS Sportsline’s Gregg Doyel took the negative side of the argument. Doyel feels that college athletes already have enough perks.

I agree, but I also see how much money they are making for others.

Players are getting money all of the time under the table in many different ways.

According to the San Diego Union, “A local Chinese high school basketball star has been the beneficiary of more than $30,000 in money and benefits provided by sports marketers formerly involved with Nike and Chinese NBA star Yao Ming.”

The piece went on to report that, “Chen Cai, a 6-foot-8 player for Maranatha Christian High, has been declared ineligible to play basketball this year as a result of an investigation into these and similar allegations”.

So much for basketball players posing as on the level exchange students in my opinion.

Dee Bost of Mississippi State remained in the draft, but was not chosen. For this his appeal was granted because he did not sign with an agent. Bost will serve a nine game suspension once the fall semester ends in December, as he has not been enrolled currently at the school because of academic ineligibility.

I’m all for this. If a kid doesn’t get drafted he should be able to come back to school. This is not really news, as USC’s Marcus Johnson did basically the same thing last year. Whatever the loss of the player does to the program when he enters the draft, it is also a big plus to get him back.

If a school fills his spot with someone and can’t get him back in with the numbers, that is also a good problem to have and a winner for some other school. the only lesson to be learned by all of this is to stay in school while the process is going on.

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