UCLA in Pauley is Scary for Dawgs
A whole lot has been said about the UCLA game in the media. Many analysts feel that UW’s best strategy is to pressure UCLA’s thin guard group which may not include Jerime Anderson. In his UCLA game preview Percy Allen of the Seattle Times reported that Anderson, “Has a hip flexor and missed practice on Tuesday” and that, “He’s a game-time decision”.
I feel that the best way to game plan the Bruins would be to deny seniors Mike Roll and Nikola Dragovic their three point looks and let the guard play take care of itself. Allen also reported that Dragovic, “Has a sore right knee that caused him to limp in last Saturday’s game” and that, “Reeves Nelson has the flu and is questionable”. Sophomore center J’mison Morgan is also out for the Bruins.
Washington is going to have to get a solid and heady game from its big men to counteract a bigger Bruin front court, because if Nelson plays, he could grind out a huge game in the paint if UW’s posts don’t really work hard and play smart. Reeves is one mismatch that favors the Bruins. Isaiah Thomas has done a terrific job on defense in the last week against the Bay Area schools and against Malcolm Lee, who could also be a very productive player and a possible mismatch at six-foot-five.
Isaiah will have to be just as good and slow down Lee, while Abdul Gaddy and Venoy Overton have to deal with Roll or six-foot-eight Tyler Honeycutt effectively. That is also not a great match-up for the Dawgs, if either or both of those guys get things rolling. UCLA is going to pullout all of the stops to try to steal the win for no other reason than a streak against the Dawgs that goes back for longer than the Pac-10 and even the Pac-8.
The Dawgs were able to get a win at Pauley in 2006 with Brandon Roy leading the way, but before that you have to go back to 1987 in a year that all-time Washington scoring leader Chris Welp, Eldridge Recasner and company last completed that task against a weakened Bruin team. Before that, UW has only won once there, going back to the early 60’s. 3 wins and 42 losses has been the record for the Dawgs in Pauley Pavilion and even this year Washington should not feel confident at all, despite the injury reports.
If something can go wrong for a Washington basketball team it will happen in this venue. Watch out for ladders, black cats and the like Dawg fans, this is one tough place for a Husky Basketball team, especially one that is feeling that the Bruins are down and perhaps easy pickings.
Isaiah Thomas has been a huge key for Washington, not just because of his scoring in the high teens, but for his defense and changed play distributing the ball. Isaiah and lone senior Quincy Pondexter must lead the Dawgs and keep them together if the road gets a little rocky against the Bruins as I believe it will. Former starting forward Darnell Gant told Percy that the Dawgs motto is “We all we got” from a song by Murphy Lee and the team seems to have adopted it.
Pondexter and Elias Harris of Gonzaga could be headed to the 1st round of the NBA draft this June. The Seattle P-I reports that this year’s draft could be another successful one in the state and next years mock drafts include UW’s Abdul Gaddy, UW commit Enes Kanter and the Zags Robert Sacre.
Husky Recruiting Corner
2010 UW forward recruit Terrence Jones was the only UW prospect to make the updated ESPN Top-100 for 2010, as Dwayne Polee bounced out for some undisclosed reason.
Why Enes Kanter did not make the list is beyond me. ESPN also offered this bit on conjecture, based on the report on Jones from Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer:
“Among all kinds of fun nuggets in Jerry Brewer’s latest at the Seattle Times is a tidbit on Portland, Oregon forward Terrence Jones’ potential issues with academic eligibility, suggesting that he may need to enroll in a prep school instead of at a big-time four-year university. Jones plans to wait until the spring to decide where he’s going, but reiterated over the holiday weekend that Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Kentucky were the finalists for his services. If the 6-foot-9, 215-pound Jones is going to have a tough time qualifying academically, perhaps UCLA and Washington, the two most difficult schools at which to qualify among those Jones is considering, may end up on the outside of his recruitment.”
That is pure conjecture in my opinion, as Washington is very actively recruiting Jones from all reports and sources.
Cougar and Zag Recruiting
According to a report in Scout 2010 WSU prospect guard LaBradford Franklin is looking to visit Pullman and Gonzaga in February.
Pac-10 Round Up
Rival’s Jason King is that latest college basketball journalist to venture forth his Pac-10 Power Rankings, this time as part of a monthly look at all of the power conferences with a few mentions of mid-majors. He puts Washington 1st in the conference and Oregon last, while naming the Dawgs and Ducks as his “Rising” and “Falling” teams.
The Cougs sit at #5, while placing the Zags at #2 in his “Non-Big Six” category. Gonzaga is also his team that is “Rising” under that heading. This sounds like a fun job, just weeding through basketball scores and stats and coming up with this stuff, but how and why these papers run this stuff is a mystery to me.
Jay Bilas states in his Chat on ESPN about the Pac-10 that, “I have seen every team in the league, and very few of them are good teams”. This guy has probably seen way too few Pac-10 games to make that statement, but this is what you get from “experts” that are on the east coast. Bilas is a smart hoops guy, but the Pac-10 does not get the kind of exposure that teams with better TV deals get with these east coast writers and commentators.
Former USC Coach Tim Floyd stated to ESPN that, “Why I left (resigned as head basketball coach) was not in any way an admission of guilt”. He added that, “It was a complete testament to a lack of support by my administration and how we were treated after four years of doing everything the right way and that is what I’ve gone on record as saying”. There seems to be a controversy brewing between Floyd and USC athletic director Mike Garrett and I’m not sure if its smoke or mirrors, but I could make a guess at it.