Pondexter: Next up New Orleans

Jun 27, 2010, 3:27 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

Quincy Pondexter was picked #26 in the 1st round of the NBA draft on Thursday by the Oklahoma City Thunder, but was traded to the New Orleans Hornets and will apparently start his pro career in Louisiana.

Everything was looking positive for last year’s Husky “Go-to-guy” Pondexter. Most analysts were projecting Quincy to be rising in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Rivals/Yahoo draft analyst Marc Spears said that Pondexter was going to make an “immediate impact on a team” and chose him as one of his top draft sleepers.

GoHuskies used some quotes that the Milwaukee Bucks passed along when Quincy came out to Wisconsin to work out for them. Pondexter showed himself as humble, yet confident in his abilities.

One funny anecdote that Q passed along was how the shot that he made against Marquette, which is in Milwaukee, had been the focus of a lot of fans on his trip.

“I heard that from the time I got off the plane yesterday and I told them ‘Hey, if it wasn’t for that I might not be here in your city working out for the Milwaukee Bucks’. But I’m sorry for making that shot. Even Lazar Hayward admits it was a lucky shot but hey, he should have double-teamed me. They could have tried a little bit better but Lazar said he went to double-team and I went the other way. It was a great shot, a shot that no one would forget.”

I doubt QPon is all that “Sorry” he made that bucket, which clinched a win over a Marquette team that few analysts thought Washington could achieve. Some have questioned Quincy’s size to play down low in the NBA, since he played a lot of the power forward spot as a Husky. Quincy skillfully deflected that like a weak cross-court pass, stating that he will be even more comfortable playing on the wing.

“I’m going to be a small forward in the NBA. I’m going to be a shooting guard in the NBA. At Washington I had to change my game a little bit, I had to play some four because of how our team was made. (It was because of) the look of our team and in order to win games. So when I get to the NBA it’s going to be my comfortable position, my natural position as a wing player.”

Bucks Scouting Director Billy McKinney compared Quincy’s drive and intensity to that of a “Pit bull”.

“He’s just has a pit bull mentality. When he gets out there on the court, he comes at you, he grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until after the game is over and sometimes when the game is over, he still has a hold of you.”

Bleacher Report picked Quincy as their #1 senior in the draft, stating that the experience of 4 years at Washington have made his game ready for prime time.

“His four years at Washington helped him mature, develop wisdom for the game, and become a leader. Pondexter is ready to step onto an NBA court and help instantly.”

It’s funny because I can remember Quincy talking before his freshman season about guys who stay 4 years in school. He said then that when they do it says something about their being not good enough, almost as if staying four years is not good PR if you want to be a high draft pick. I really feel that Quincy grew up at UW and I doubt that he feels that way at this point.

The class of kids he came in with was a rather narcissistic crew, led clearly by then super brat Spencer Hawes (just traded from Sacramento to Philadelphia) who did take the early entry route, but not to be outdone by Phil Nelson or Adrian Oliver who left to be “the man” at smaller schools rather than to raise their overall games by competing in the Pac-10 and on a team deep with star recruits at Washington. Quincy overcame all of that, while all three of the others have or are at least in the process of learning a few lessons that it seems they tried to avoid learning at UW.

Defense, rebounding, toughness, maturity, team work and overall game are ultimately what get someone playing time in the league and ultimately that is what makes or breaks whether you succeed there. I feel that Quincy has dealt head on with those concepts and his success in the draft should be a testimony to that.

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express did a huge article on the nationwide class of 2006 that really shows how deep a group it was.

Here are some interesting facts that I gleaned from the piece:

Pondexter was rated #27 by all of the services coming out of high school and that projection looks pretty good right now really. He actually may prove that he was underrated in the end, if you look at all of the guys ahead of him, many of which are guys with height or one good trick, but not Q’s overall game. After all of the talk amongst Pac-10 fans about Quincy being a “Bust”, etc. I feel this to be poetic justice. Spencer (picked #10 in 2007) was the #4 player in his class according to the experts and was drafted 10th highest to this point.

Of all of the players that stayed 4 years, only Ekpe Udoh of Baylor was picked higher than Spencer was picked at #6 and Udoh was projected at 153rd in his class. Another guy like Udoh was Arizona’s Jordan Hill who was projected at #137. Pac-10 Player of the Year Jerome Randle was projected by all of the experts at #125. Hill, who like Jon Brockman finished behind James Harden for Pac-10 Player of the Year in ’09, was selected at #8 in the 2009 draft and Randle, who beat out Quincy for that honor in 2010, was not drafted.

The only other Pac-10 player picked was Stanford’s Landry Fields with the 9th pick of the 2nd round. Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin and Seattle’s Charles Garcia were not picked. Randle’s former Cal Bear team mate Ryan Anderson was another of what seems to be a trend of 2006 Pac-10 guys that start out rated low and end up high in the draft. Add UCLA’s Russell Westbrook to that list of surprises. Anderson was projected at #150 and picked at #21 in 2008. Hasheem Thabeet of UConn was the #2 pick in 2009, but was projected at #64.

But when all is said and done, Pondexter’s story is a great one. He leaves UW as the player who played in the most games ever and the school’s 3rd All-Time leading scorer. I consider it a tribute to how early he got involved as a starter for much of his freshman year and how he stayed healthy and consistently contributed, through all of the moves.

Moves that were made back and forth between the wing and the post, between the starting line-up and the bench and those moves made by his team mates from that disappointing UW class of 2006, other than Pondexter whose performance has made it all worth while. Through it all Quincy stayed true to his dream and his commitment to the route that he took to get there through UW and Lorenzo Romar and it has paid off hugely. Another factor that has always remained in the picture was the shadow of Brandon Roy and those great UW teams of 2004-2006.

Quincy may not become the extremely special player that Roy has become as a pro, but I think he is going to be pretty good in his own right. Pondexter stepped out of that shadow, as well as the shadow of his dad, uncle and even Spencer Hawes to become the best player in the Pac-10 this past year and one of the best in this draft in helping a team win at the next level in the near term. Quincy Pondexter is a very valuable player.

The UW Athletic Department provided a press conference with Pondexter in person at Hec-Ed, including comments from Lorenzo Romar and Quincy stayed true to form.

Instead of sitting around watching TV the whole time, he shot hoops until the 19th pick when Boston chose former Bellarmine High School in Tacoma WA guard Avery Bradley. Quincy would have been a great choice for the Celtics at that spot, but his number came up at 26 and he was humble in his response to that news.

“I’m blessed to have gotten picked where I did.”

According to McClatchy, “The Hornets agreed to trade 11th overall draft pick Cole Aldrich and veteran shooting guard Morris Peterson to the Thunder during the first round of the draft on Thursday night in a deal that will give New Orleans the rights to the Thunder draft picks Pondexter and Iowa State’s Craig Brackins.

Coincidentally Brackins was recruited hard by Romar and UW in the class of 2007.

As the draft moves further into the rear view mirror, Andy Katz of ESPN took a look at next year’s draft. True to form Katz did nothing to show support for UW, as he chose no Husky senior from Venoy Overton, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday to be worthy of mention. He did choose Isaiah Thomas, who has stated emphatically that he is not going to be in the 2011 draft, which is at best ignorance on the part of Katz and at worst wishful thinking from a man that seems joined at the hip with Mark Few

To Andy’s credit he states that GU’s Elias Harris could be in the 1st round next June and that Klay Thompson needs to get bigger to hang in the NBA despite his amazing talents.

Two Dawgs Play for Their Countries

Abdul Gaddy continues to participate on the USA U-18 team and from all reports is doing well there, but little is really out there. Abdul is the only player on the squad to have played a game in college and there are 4 players who are as of yet uncommitted 2011 players. I’m sure UW fans must be asking one question. “Can you do some recruiting Mr. Gaddy?”

Meanwhile Matthew Bryan-Amaning (A.K.A. “MBA”) has been ripping it up for the Great Britain U-23 team. From Matt’s twitter and Facebook pages it seems as if his stats have been good to actually great. According to his tweet, “GB 90-61 luxemberg 25pts 8 rebs and 5 blocks”, Matt had an outstanding game against Luxembourg. UK site Hoopfix ran a game story with a photo of Matt and stated that he, “once again starred for GB”.

Great Britain won 83-68 over Belgium, according to Matt’s tweet, after losing to France. Matt tweeted that the Brits, “Played harder & better as a team & coach told me to be more aggressive than last night” and added that he “finished with 26pts 9rebs 7stls 2blks”.

The British lost to the French in France and Matt tweeted that the home cooking that the French received at the game was not an elegant pre-game meal from a French chef.

“I’m so mad we lost last night by 1” and he added, “These refs were horrible and gave them the game”. Matt then got a bit nationalistic by saying, “I guess that’s how it goes in FRANCE when you’re playing FRANCE”. Matt also tweeted that he had a much less impressive stat line against the French team.

“Oh yea by the way 16pts 6rebs and 2blks.”

According to numerous reports Matt will compete for a spot on the British National Team that will start playing qualifying games on August 2nd and will include “NBA players Luol Deng and Ben Gordon” according to Percy Allen of the Seattle Times. Deng is a close friend of Matt’s who he has spent quite a bit of time over his years at Washington visiting, according to sources close to the UW team.

Ray “The Machine” Price is a Great Husky

I had the great luck to talk at length with one of my first role models as a basketball player in Ray Price and it reminded me of a much different era of college basketball during the height of what is soon to become the Pac-12, 12-Pac or what ever they decide to call it. Ray came to Washington from then tiny Temple City CA, where he put up huge scoring and rebounding marks.

As a senior in Temple City Ray scored 36 points per game and averaged 17 rebounds per game. He was recruited for UCLA by the great John Wooden and his then top assistant Denny Crum. Crum went on to be a huge success at Louisville. He was also recruited by Bob Boyd of USC.

At the time USC was also one of the top teams in the nation. During what was Ray’s 1st year at Washington Boyd’s USC team was ranked #2 nationally by all of the polls, yet could not play in any post season tourney including the NCAA’s. The then Pac-8 only allowed it’s regular season league champ to participate in the NCAA’s and no team could play in the NIT, which back then featured a ton of elite teams and talent as the NCAA’s were limited to a very small field.

The Trojan’s back court was Paul Westphal and Gus Williams, both future Seattle Sonics, Williams being the big gun on the 1979 NBA champions, the only champs ever to come from any of the major (baseball, football or basketball) Seattle pro sports teams. Ray decided to choose the Huskies and then coach Tex Winter, who left Washington after Ray’s freshman year to coach the Houston Rockets.

Winter is better known for his success as the X’s and O’s guy for Phil Jackson through all of his legendary successes in Chicago and Los Angeles. Winter devised the “Triangle Offense” and other sets that allowed players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neill and Kobe Bryant to win what seems like countless championships. Price couldn’t play for Winter as freshmen were ineligible then.

Instead he played for the Husky Pups, a combination of scholarship freshmen and walk-ons that played the warm-up games at Hec-Ed on game nights. It was there that I watched Ray play as an 8th grader from what was then the student and faculty section (my dad worked there and took me to all the games). Often I would go to the games after playing down at the rec-center or practicing with my junior high school team. I was interested in learning the game and Price was a pure shooter who could really do it all.

At the frosh games there were usually not too big of crowds and it was easier to watch the players up close. He rebounded the ball, played defense and passed efficiently, often to Jeff Hawes, another UW frosh whose son Spencer later played as a freshman at UW at a time when “diaper dandies” are put up on a pedestal, rather than treated as if they had to learn something first.

Ray averaged 27 points per game on the Pups against teams like the WSU, Oregon and OSU freshmen, as well as other college frosh teams and local JC teams, many of whom had players that went on to success in college and the pros. After his dominant performance on the Pups where Ray shot well over 90% from the free throw line, he joined the “Varsity”, as all college teams were called then.

Winter was replaced by Marv Harshman, who had done a great job at WSU, then a very scary place to play on the road. The travel alone would have beaten many of today’s spoiled children that call themselves basketball players, more interested in how to position themselves for the pros than playing for their love of the game or for their school. It took tremendous focus for teams to travel all the way to play the Cougars, first by plane to either Seattle or Portland, then to Spokane or possibly a small propeller plane to Lewiston, followed by a bus ride down windy wheat fields to Pullman.

Washington and most of the NW teams rode the bus out there and back. Once you got there Marv’s team was made up of tough defense and team work first players that were very physical and disciplined. Marv coached one African-American player at WSU (Dennis Hogg) at the very end of his stay there and needless to say there were reports that it was not a very friendly place for players of color as well in that era.

The Pac-8 was by far the top league in the nation featuring Wooden’s Bruins (who were and still are in retrospect the top college program ever). Boyd’s Trojans, the “Kamikaze Kids” of Oregon (who featured another future NBA post playing dad of a future star post player in Kevin’s dad Stan Love) and Ralph Miller coached one of the nation’s top programs in Corvallis.

The Cal Bears always got some great players and were coached by Jim Padgett who went on to success at Nevada, but both of the bay area schools in that mecca of hippies and hedonism were really the weakest link in the conference. Stanford was the weakest hoops program in the league and during that era finished at or near the bottom, but their football team was one of the leagues best featuring the great Jim Plunkett and many other future NFL players and coaches.

That’s not to say that teams would always do well on San Francisco road trips though as the distractions had to be a factor. In Ray’s first year with the “Varsity”, Harshman had a number of future NBA players and guys that went on to successful pro careers overseas at what was then the highest levels. Jeff’s two year older brother Steve went on to play a 10 year long NBA career, as well as major success right after that last year of college in Italy.

Guard Louie Nelson, that year a junior, was a 1st team All-American as a senior and took his game to the then New Orleans Jazz where he played a supporting role to possibly the best high volume shooter/scorer the game has ever seen in “Pistol” Pete Maravich. The other guard was Charles Dudley, who went on to play a key role on the Golden State Warriors NBA Champion team as a defensive wiz. At Washington Dudley was a mismatch with his foot speed and quick hands.

The only thing I’ve ever seen that comes close to Dudley since at UW was Nate Robinson and Venoy Overton, but Charles was around six-foot-two. Dudley was never able to develop much of a long range jumper, unlike Nate and hopefully Venoy, but if he had he would probably be in the Hall of Fame. Price performed well as a sophomore and helped this group of future pros to a then rare 20 win season. Major college teams then usually played around 25 games and that year UW was 20-6.

In Ray’s junior year and Marv’s 2nd, the Dawgs were faced with a major rebuilding challenge after losing Steve and Charles. Without Hawes in the middle it was much harder for the Dawgs to rebound and defend. Back then big men played a much larger role and the Pac-8 had some of the best back to the basket post players in the college game including arguably the best pound for pound that the game has ever seen before his knee injury in UCLA’s Bill Walton.

Without the elder Hawes and the mercurial Dudley, who would have been a great fit for Lorenzo Romar’s system today and was way ahead of his time, UW fell from 2nd behind the Bruins to a tie for 5th in Price’s junior season with an overall record of 16-11. The team was good as it featured some great role players left over from the Winter era like wing Paul Tillman, power forward Reggie Ball and defensive minded post John Quigg, but it didn’t have the star power of the previous year.

In Ray’s senior year the addition of future NBA journeyman center James Edwards from Seattle, plus the real debut of future NBA player from Vancouver B.C. Lars Hansen. Ray’s junior year was the year that freshmen became eligible and Hansen was too raw to help much in his 1st year. The addition of a ton of young talent ushered in the beginnings of a strong era in Husky Hoops for Marv and allowed Ray to end his UW basketball career on a team that wasn’t dull. Price told me that there weren’t enough balls to go around though, as there were so many talented players that year.

Besides Ray, James and Lars there was freshman point guard Chester Dorsey (whose assist mark was finally broken by Will Conroy in 2005), a future journeyman European pro forward in JC transfer Larry Pounds, Dudley’s replacement in the starting line-up the year before in JC transfer Ron Williams and a long range marksman in freshman Clarence Ramsey from Tacoma. That group was too young to win much and only improved to 16-10 overall and 4th in the Pac-8.

Ray finished his UW career with a scoring average of 13 points per game and is still in the top-30 All-Time in UW scoring. He was also a successful baseball pitcher for UW and went on to play from 1974-77 in the minors, finishing up in AAA with the Columbus (OH) Clippers in the Cleveland Indian organization. At the same time he played pro hoops overseas despite being picked by the Jazz in ’74.

According to the Seattle P-I in 2005, “The Jazz made him a weak contract offer” and added that “instead, he played pro basketball for 10 years in Belgium, Argentina, Germany and England” The P-I piece also mentioned that Ray had, “A 79-point game in South America”. Ray left sports for a short career in the movies back in his original home of Southern California. He appeared in “Fletch”, “Brewster’s Millions” and other films, but then settled into a career in graphic art.

He also heads the Southern California Washington Alumni Association and occasionally helps coach AAU basketball. I mentioned to Price about all of the corruption in that world these days in the name of guys who broker players to shoe companies, agents and big time college hoops factories and he said that there is a lot of that going on, but that the guys he’s worked with have been the other side of the story that you don’t hear about.

Ray said that at least half if not more of the top AAU programs are run by folks that are honest and just want to help teach kids the game the right way. I have to believe that Ray is one of the good guys. He chose Washington over UCLA and USC, at the height of those schools fame and power. He is a true Husky to the core, mentioning the coaches he had at Washington when I spoke of what a great coach Wooden was.

Ray said that he always uses the great saying of Wooden’s to inspire kids, but that the guys at Washington in Winter and Harshman were also great and worthy of recognition. Ray sent me a ton of photos from over the years that I hope to use for a book about Husky Basketball that I’m working on, along with a ton of stuff from Harshman, Romar, Donald Watts, Paul Fortier, Doug Smart, Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, Jon Brockman, Alvin Vaughn, Ryan Appleby and many others that I have accumulated over the years.

Ray was a great one and his loyalty to and love for his Huskies is as high as there is out there among former UW athletes. The program hit a long dry spot in between the great years of Harshman and Winter and the magnificent run of Romar and company between Harshman’s supposed retirement in 1985 and Romar’s hiring in 2002. Many people feel that Husky basketball didn’t exist before Lorenzo, but it was really at a high level during those years and Price and the others that he played with really demonstrated that, despite the lack of NCAA appearances.

Had those teams been able to compete in the field of 64 and for 4 years Price would have likely played in a number of memorable NCAA tournament games.

More Early ESPN 2011 Predictions

It has taken a long time for Dick Vitale of ESPN to recognize the Huskies and his Top-40 teams going into next season makes one think that it is possible that he never will. Dick doesn’t seem to connect with the Dawgs and Romar and though he chose them 16th going into the year (the only Pac-10 team to receive mention), that may be the only thing coming through his megaphone-like voice about the Dawgs this coming year.

Vitale has to talk about the Dawgs, as they return so much from last year’s Sweet-16 team and he can’t appear to be out of touch with the game, though in my opinion he truly is.

Pat Forde at ESPN is my favorite commentator there and if you agree with me it should be encouraging for UW fans that he picks the Dawgs at #7. That projection was originally done back on May 12th when the possibility of Terrence Jones seemed plausible.

“Even after losing leading scorer Quincy Pondexter, the Huskies could be a signed letter of intent from vacillating Terrence Jones away from a breakthrough into the top 10. They return plenty of experience and talent and appear poised to dominate a Pac-10 that still is in regroup mode.”

Since Forde picked UW in the top-10 anyway, I guess that means that they are there, but without a “Breakthrough”. It may be a bigger break through that they avoided that head case.

Andy Katz plays the middle ground between Vitale (the guy that champions the corrupt career of John Calipari in the name of some sort of usually charming but in this case nauseating love of all things Italian) and Forde’s obvious dislike for “Teflon John”. Andy picks UW at #12, one ahead of Kentucky, mentioning Jones as the way for Washington to vault into the top-10.

It will be interesting where these characters at ESPN pick UW now that the Jones story is thankfully over. As much as I think that preseason polls, let alone any polls before March, mean anything this sideshow is interesting to watch from afar.

Husky Recruiting Corner

ESPN also updated its top-100 for the class of 2011 and a number of UW recruits were listed.

Though Austin Rivers has yet to talk about interest in UW to the media, Husky Digest has reported that there is interest in a UW visit from Rivers, despite his stated top-3 being announced in Florida, Duke and Kentucky. Rivers is at #2 on the ESPN rankings, followed by a number of other UW recruits. Jabari Brown is ranked #19, Tony Wroten Jr. at #24, Josiah Turner #36, Quinn Cook #37, Angelo Chol #42, Norvel Pelle #43 and Jahii Carson #54.

Wroten is thought by many that I speak with as a player that loves the recruiting coverage, but will end up at Washington, where both of his parents went, but it may be that Washington doesn’t have the stomach for another Susan Lucci like soap opera performance like Jones treated us all to and may not wait for Tony Jr., who was chosen for the USA U-17 team.

Tony continues to play the media game with his recruiting, telling Zagsblog that Kentucky is his leader. It would mean something if he hadn’t already said that about at least half a dozen schools before in his cavalcade of attention grabbing tweets and goofy recruiting updates in Rivals and Scout.

Wroten says that Washington follows Kentucky also on Zagsblog, but it may be that UW is able to land a pure point guard like Carson, Cook or Turner and a highly thought of shooting guard like Rivers or Brown and really don’t have room for Wroten by the time he gets done with all of his posturing and talk on the internet. As it is he needs to spend more time shooting the ball and less behind the computer, as ESPN seems to confirm by putting him in the “Slipping” category in their analysis of the changes in their 2011 top-100.

Kentucky fans continue to assert on message boards that if Wroten gets an offer from Calipari he will take it. An update in Rivals Kentucky site talked about his constant contact with Kentucky commits and their relentless pursuit of him.

“I talk to them every day. We talk about college. They try to talk to me about Kentucky. … They talk about me going to Kentucky.”

This stuff becomes pretty ridiculous when you realize that Tony is a teenager. It’s great that he’s learning to do PR, but all this PR doesn’t help much in a game which is based solely on hard work with the basketball. Even Dennis Rodman, the godfather of hoops headline chasers was a world class player before he made any gossip columns. Someone needs to tell Tony that this is not helping him.

Wroten didn’t fail to tell the local people what they want to hear though as he says in the Seattle Times that it’s really down to UW and Kentucky.

“Right now it’s between Kentucky and UW. Nova and UConn are still in the mix, but right now it’s either Kentucky or staying home. I’m going to see what the best fit is for me.”

Brown meanwhile is “Moving up” according to that same piece and was singled out for his performance at the NBPA Top-100 Camp by Rivals.

“A strong 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Brown would probably be the first to admit that his play had been a little below his usual standards. Friday night, Brown got it rolling, though, and buried a bunch of jumpers and scored on some slashes to the basket. His game isn’t fancy, but his right at you style is an easy one to like.”

ESPN also gave Jabari a strong write-up for his performances at the same event.

“This strong shooting guard is a scoring machine and was fantastic at making long-range jumpers and driving to the basket. Brown is very comfortable behind the arc in transition or in the half court. He launches from 3-point range with great confidence; however, he is more than just a shooter. He beats defenders with straight-line drives to the basket and on the perimeter, he possesses the instincts to back down smaller defenders using his strength and size to get in the lane old-school-style and score. Brown would be ideal for pick-and-roll situations because he reads the defense well and shows a high basketball IQ. On defense, he applies terrific pressure on the ball when committed.”

According to Scout Brown was the camp’s 18th highest scorer, but his performances obviously registered a higher number than that.

Brown swears that he is still wide open to suitors, but did talk about recruiting a bit in an update in Rivals on Wednesday.

“Josiah [Turner] and I are considering a couple of the same schools, so occasionally we say, ‘Oh that would be cool.’ Kiwi [Gardner] and I both like Washington, but [it is] not really [something I talk about much]. We make our own decisions. If I end up with people (I know) that would be great.”

Carson has also taken the west coast hoops world by storm. Rivals were mostly impressed by the speed of his game.

“What’s most impressive about Carson is his blazing speed, as he gets up and down the court as fast as anyone. Because he’s so small, he’s going to have to be a crafty scorer on the next level, but he has some nice weapons in his arsenal, including a floater that is tough to stop.”

Jahii is a terrific athlete who just registered a 44 ½ inch vertical and the five-foot-ten guard prides himself on his superior athleticism.

“People don’t think I can jump so every time there’s a dunk contest, I’ve got to step out and shut the whole thing down.”

Carson also got a great review from the Deron Williams Skills Academy.

“The faster the game, the more effective Carson plays. Although this lighting-quick point guard excels in transition, he can also execute in the half court. He pushes the ball with great pace and is always a threat in transition to make a play. Carson’s ability to play the game fast yet under control is impressive and rare for someone at such a young age. As a distributor, he is ready and willing to give it up to his open teammates. Although at a moments notice he is very efficient in penetrating the lane and scoring with his floater. He also has a solid mid-range jumper. In pick-and-roll action, he can deliver a nice pocket pass to his post players or get in the lane and score. On defense, he’s a pesky on-ball defender who changes the tempo of any game.”

Another 2011 point guard that is blowing up so far this summer is Turner, who has yet to talk much in the media bout his interest in Washington. Husky Digest sources have informed us that UW is in the mix for Turner.

Josiah had a very good camp at the NBPA. Rivals felt his performance on Friday was top notch.

“Bringing a physical presence to the court as a point guard, Turner makes plays on both sides of the ball with his athleticism. Most impressive Thursday afternoon was his numerous difficult finishes at the rim in transition. He had a couple and-ones and finished with both his right and left hand against contact.”

Rivals Jerry Meyer also agreed that Turner was right there at the top of the PG list at the NBPA camp.

“Along with (Myck) Kabongo, Turner has established himself as the best point guard in the camp. He has been unstoppable going to the basket and has defended with authority. Friday night, he also was knocking down jumpers.”

Rivals chose Turner at the conclusion of the event as one of the top performers.

“With his play over the weekend, Turner only cemented himself as one of the elite point guard prospects in the class of 2011. A steady performer who has outstanding size for his position, he’s an effortless driver who gets to the rim pretty much whenever he wants. A good midrange jump shooter, he could stand to be even more aggressive in hunting jumpers.”

Rivers is looking at a visit to UW, according to Husky Digest, but Zagsblog reported on Tuesday that his leaders were clearly Duke, UNC and Florida. Rivers said in regards to Kentucky and Kansas that he would consider giving them a look, but made it clear that his was deciding between just those three schools.

“I’m thinking about taking a visit out there just because of the success of those programs and it’s only fair to look at those schools, but right now it’s those three I named.”

Only time will tell if he chooses to do the same for UW.

There have been conflicting reports about 2011 guard Nick Johnson and UW. Some say that the Dawgs are still in the mix for him and others say that Washington has not made the list that he will select from. We will follow this story and try to get batter confirmation on Nick’s interest level in UW, but just to let you know, he is a very strong prospect.

ESPN feels that Johnson could develop into a point guard, but its clear that he is one of the top combo guards overall in 2011.

“Johnson, who is a very intense player, is presently a shooting guard but possesses plenty of room to grow into a point guard. Johnson handles it well in the open floor as he pushes the ball with great pace. He can score going to the rim or find an open teammate. In the half court, Johnson is comfortable in pick-and-roll action, creating separation between him and his defender and making the correct play. As he continues to learn the traits of the position, Johnson will continue to enhance his overall game.

Rivals is reporting that six-foot-one 165 lb. guard Zeke Chapman is interested in Washington, along with 7 other schools, most of them high majors. Zeke has not as of yet received an offer from any of them.

The class of 2012 has a large number of players being courted by UW. The Dawgs will lose Isaiah Thomas, Scott Suggs and Darnell Gant at the very least and 4-5 players are not out of the question. ESPN released an updated Top-60 for ’12 which included #4 Shabazz Muhammad, #6 Brandon Ashley, #19 Jordan Tebbutt, #25 Grant Jerrett, #33 Anrio Adams, #39 Kevin Ferrell and #52 Rosco Allen, all of which are on UW’s radar.

According to Rivals 2012 UW guard recruit Dominic Artis, a team mate of 2010 UW signee Desmond Simmons, is getting interest from a number of schools including, “The (Cal) Bears, Arizona, Arizona State, New Mexico, Oregon State, St. Mary’s, San Francisco, Stanford, UTEP, Washington and Washington State”.

Desmond has mentioned that Artis is very interested in playing with him at UW and that UW is watching him as well. Dominic seems to have a knack for well timed aggression and a lack of fear.

“If you don’t go strong, you’re going to get beat up. You’ve got to go down there with no fear.”

Ashley is the #10 player in the class of 2010 according to Rivals. Brandon has been getting great reviews for his work so far this camp season. The Rivals Bear site speculated that Cal has an advantage in landing Brandon, though they confirmed that Washington has offered.

“The five-star power forward holds scholarship offers from the Bears, Nevada, Washington, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona. But, with Cal being the hometown team and Montgomery’s reputation for coaching up big men, the Bears could have a bit of an advantage.”

The ‘Zona Rivals site however provided evidence to the contrary, as Ashley told them that he is very open and in no hurry to commit.

“I don’t have any favorites right now. I’m open to everybody right now. I’ve got a couple more years to decide and I’m going to take that time.”

ESPN marveled at Ashley’s versatility at such a young age.

“He is a versatile, long power forward who has jumped up to the No. 6 spot from No. 17. He runs the floor like a deer and handles the ball well for his size. Ashley scores in the lane with his great length and ability to elevate over defenders with ease. On defense, he is capable of defending on the perimeter and in the post.”

Another 2012 post in the mix for the UW is Landen Lucas of Portland OR. For his performance at the NBPA event Lucas was given positive praise by Rivals.

“Landen Lucas just keeps plugging along and picking up buckets where he can. The 6-foot-8 junior to be has a strong body, knows how to play in the paint and gives a consistent effort.”

ESPN also updated their Top-25 for 2013 and UW recruit Jabari Parker logged in at #6. Also mentioned were Tyree Robinson at #13, Aaron Gordon at #17, Isaac Hamilton at #19 and Roschon Prince at #24, all Husky recruits.

Former UW 2008 recruit Drew Gordon decided on UCLA after giving indications to numerous Husky Digest sources that he was going to announce for UW. His choice turned out to be a poor one, at least for him, as he then transferred at the end of fall quarter of his sophomore year to New Mexico. He will be joined there later by another Bruin transfer who also showed strong interest in Washington: in Mike Moser. Neither player could have transferred to UW without a more difficult time than transferring to UNM.

Drew’s younger brother Aaron is a 2013 UW post recruit. Youtube did an impressive highlight reel on Aaron and it will be interesting to see if the younger brother and the Drew’s family make a better choice this time around.

2013 UW wing recruit Stephen Domingo is starting to get coverage. Rivals Cal site reported that Stephen expects to get an offer from the Dawgs by the end of the summer and that UW is hard after him.

“With three potential offers coming by the end of summer from Princeton, Stanford and Washington, Domingo is getting a lot of early looks from the majority of the Pac-10. Right now, his most dedicated suitors in the conference are the Cardinal, the Huskies, the Bears and Washington State.”

Seattle U Coming Back With Optimism in 2010-2011

I spoke to Darren Talley, a former staff member at Washington and currently as assistant coach under Cameron Dollar at Seattle U. Talley and I discussed last years amazing 17-14 season in the Redhawks 1st in D1. We also discussed the kids that would be returning next fall, as well as some of the new faces that Seattle fans would be seeing at the Key Arena.

Talley was optimistic that Seattle will not suffer from a sophomore slump, after so many great high points in a year that’s success is basically unheard of for a team just entering the highest level of college basketball and yet to join a conference. It was worth noting that the Redhawks looked better down the stretch with their “One and done” NBA player in waiting Charles “Chuck” Garcia coming off the bench. Katz said that Garcia, who didn’t have his name called in Thursday’s NBA draft, may attempt to get on as a free agent. Europe may actually be better for his left out of the draft blues.

Chuck was conspicuous in his absence during a number of remarkable wins that Seattle racked up, either by foul trouble or coaches decision. Garcia also came through at important times for Dollar, but that fact bodes well for the upcoming season. Seattle returns most of their team and adds some very noteworthy pieces to this emerging team.

The Redhawks will return senior post Alex Jones and junior post Gavin Gilmore and though they lose Garcia and Mike Boxley, who also had a great year last season, they should be solid in the middle. According to Talley both Jones and Gilmore have great work ethics and have proven that they are ready to perform at the D1 level. Darren spoke glowingly about Brandon Durham, a JC transfer from the Eugene OR area that played high school ball in Bremerton WA.

Durham was recruited by some Pac-10 schools and got numerous looks from Big Sky and WCC programs before signing with Cal-State Irvine of the Big West. Things didn’t work out for Durham in Irvine, where for years had the most expensive student housing in America and he went the JC Route at Lane CC in the Willamette Valley.

Durham is a sturdy kid that can board and Talley mentioned him with confidence when asked who would help bolster Seattle U in the paint.

Another major pick-up for the Redhawks up front is Nkosi Asantewa Ali, a six-foot-ten post from Atlanta GA. Considered by many to be rawer than the JC transfer Durham, Ali received interesting praise from Dollar, when the Spring signees were announced.

“Nkosi is a 6’10” athletic post who is developing before our eyes. He is a good athlete that blocks shots, rebounds, and scores in a variety of ways.”

The front court spots will also receive support from six-foot-seven red-shirt freshman Adam Eakles, who will make his debut this season. On the wing Aaron Broussard returns for his junior year after a breakout year for him.

He will be joined there by a fellow Federal Way product in Jordan McCloud of Decatur High School. Six-foot-seven sophomore Chad Rasmussen (who played last year at Tacoma CC), Lonnie Pearson of Rainier Beach (who Scout’s Greg Hicks had particular praise for and is at worst a solid mid-major wing prospect), pure shooting six-foot-seven Taylor Stevens from Marysville and Mark McLaughlin (who left Baylor before practice last year in what would have been his freshman campaign) and possibly Eakles.

McLaughlin appears to be the guy to fill the shooting guard spot vacated by Chris Gweth or the wing spot, as he has grown to an impressive 200 lbs. and really improved his defense, as well as his trademark offensive skill set. There are concerns that the NCAA may not allow Mark to play right away as he enrolled at Baylor, before returning to Seattle to be close to his new born son, but one would hope that the NCAA would rule in his favor on that issue. If they do not, expect Mark to be eligible no later than Winter Quarter.

At guard the Redhawks have the luxury of returning not only one of their top players, but their starting point guard in junior Cervante Burrell. Garrett Lever and Ricky Berry will be seniors and certainly compete for the starting spot at off guard should McLaughlin win the starting wing spot over Broussard. Also in the mix for minutes at guard will be Jarell Flora and former Franklin Quaker Freddy Wilson. Also sitting on the bench will be another top level talent in Washington transfer Clarence Trent.

One fact that cannot be avoided when you look at the blue skies of optimism at Seattle this coming year is scholarship numbers. With all of these 17 players in the mix, something has to give. Expect announcements as to who is actually going to be able to wear the Seattle U jerseys this fall. Another major question for the Seattle program that goes way past Dollar’s innate ability to recruit or to coach wins is the Redhawks quest to join a conference. The WCC would be a great fit for Dollar’s crew, but they were turned down again earlier in June.

It appears to me that Cameron could have enough talent to make a very big splash this year. What league Seattle should move into seems to be the major hurdle, but when you win those things seem to take care of themselves.
Zags Schedule Taking Shape

Gonzaga will host Oklahoma State on New Years Eve (December 31st 2010). The Cowboys will host the Zags in the 2012-2013, according to AP. The Bulldogs will also face Illinois in Seattle on December 7th, for the annual “Battle of Seattle”.

Pac-10 Round Up

Utah became the 12th member of the reconfigured Pac-10 officially, as the Utah brass made the official announcement on Monday. According to many sources, but no official announcement, the Pac-10 will be divided into North and South for football and have no division for basketball. It will be interesting to see what actually ends up happening to the usual home and away format for hoops.

In Rivals, Cal’s Mike Montgomery showed a lot of concern about losing the Bears traditional match-ups with UCLA. Though some changes seem inevitable, at least for hoops it seems that the changes will be minimal.

ASU’s Herb Sendek talked in detail about his team and the turnover which resulted in 7 new players. Herb made one statement in explaining why it has been so hard for guys to buy in, despite the success that he has had in the Pac-10.

“We talk about Gen Y all the time being a lease rather than buy generation.”

The Colorado Buffs have not been known as a hoops power, despite great players like Chauncey Billups. Andy Katz of ESPN takes a look at the current state of the Buffalos and if their head coach Tad Boyle is the guy to get the job done in the Pac-10.

Oregon officially lost Kenny Payne to Kentucky. Payne will now be an assistant on Calipari’s staff. There has been speculation that Payne going to Kentucky may have influenced Terrence Jones decision, but up to now Jones or his family have not confirmed that. Don’t be surprised though if that does come out. It certainly sounds better than some of the reasons that they could give.

USC received a commitment from Alexis Moore, a 2011 shooting guard from famed Long Beach Poly High.

The Trojan football team got a commit from Arik Armstead, who the LA Times called a “6-foot-7, 270-pound two-sport standout”. Arik will play football and basketball for the Trojans according to the Times.

UCLA’s legendary coach John Wooden was honored in a public ceremony that was attended by among many notable names of the game, including Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar.

NW Hoops

Adrian Wojnarowski of Rivals/Yahoo picked Tacoma WA’s Avery Bradley as his top sleeper in the NBA draft, comparing Avery to Russell Westbrook in the success that he feels he will find in the league.

Prior to the draft many felt that Bradley may have made a mistake coming out after such an up and down season at Texas.

The concerns were not all that warranted though as Avery was picked with the 19th pick by Boston. Coincidentally the former Tacoma star will likely take the place of Washington legend Nate Robinson, who will be a free agent. Avery meanwhile will have ankle surgery, but according to the Patriot Ledger Bradley will likely be ready to compete in the Celts fall camp in September.

Corruption in College Hoops

William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley was the subject of what was mostly a rah-rah piece in ESPN.

Instead of really questioning what he does, which is kept completely in the shadows, the article stated how he was a necessary person to be on good terms with. That is trouble if you ask me if someone is extremely powerful and wealthy, but no one knows what he does or dares to ask. I believe it is symptomatic of the depth and strength of corruptive forces in the game.

In that spirit, ESPN blogger Eamonn Brennan states that the NCAA are looking for “Rats” as he report on expanded efforts by a new division in the governing body known as the “NCAA’s Basketball Focus Group” to investigate corruption in college hoops.

Brennan tries to make the point that this is a good idea, but to use the word “Rat” to describe a coach, player or anyone who attempted to help this group which will expand to 6 members later this summer is a rather tell-tale sign. The money has become huge in college hoops. Who would want to kill the golden goose, even if it does undermine the fairness of the game itself? I feel that people who care about the game would.

Many would argue that cheating and the presence of sleazy types around the game cannot be stopped and are no worse than they were 10, 20 and even 30 years ago. That doesn’t mean that is wrong to attempt to clean it up now and calling someone a “Rat” who tries to do so is wrong as well. What Brennan should have said is that those that serve to corrupt the sport will call them “Rats”, but they are the real “Rats” that mar a great game.

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