Huskies Prepare for Bruins
Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and this week’s Pac-10 Player of the Week Quincy Pondexter spoke to the media on Tuesday in anticipation of this weekend’s trip to LA to face UCLA on Thursday night and USC on Saturday night. Both games will be on FSN at 7:30 PM (PST).
Romar stated that his team was healthy, though Justin Holiday had received a slight concussion over this past weekend. Lorenzo confirmed that the starters will be the same in Tyreese Breshers, Pondexter, Holiday, Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy.
The weekend will be an opportunity for Breshers, Holiday and former starting forward Darnell Gant to play in front of friends and family as all three are natives of the LA area. Romar said that since the Arizona trip practices have been going very well.
Quincy added to that good news for Dawg fans by saying that the turnaround that his team showed over the weekend was not so much a matter of playing at home, but more about playing the right way. Both guys were reverent of the tradition of UCLA and Pauley Pavilion.
My feeling is that Washington needs to go hard after UCLA’s guards, much as they did against Stanford last Thursday. UCLA has Jerime Anderson at six-foot-two coming off the bench now, while six-foot-five Malcolm Lee is the starting PG, at the other two guard spots UCLA goes with six-foot-six senior Mike Roll and six-foot-eight freshman Tyler Honeycutt, both of which are not great ball handlers, but are tall players that can shoot the ball and use their height to their advantage, as they did against Cal in Haas Pavilion earlier this season.
Washington’s Isaiah Thomas needs to get so far into Lee’s face that he can not breath from baseline to baseline, while Holiday and either Gaddy or Venoy Overton need to do the same to Roll and Honeycutt. I would put Holiday on Roll, as he is the greatest offensive threat and a player with weaker ball handling skills than Honeycutt.
Putting Gaddy on Honeycutt means that you lose less of a height advantage, but UW probably does best running the oft-injured UCLA freshman up and down the court and Venoy’s speed and ability to deny his man the pass, the dribble and the ball would give him an advantage over the freshman. That said both guys going full bore for 40 minutes, with additional help from Scott Suggs, Elston Turner and possible minutes on the perimeter from Pondexter also serve to help UW run UCLA out of gas or into foul trouble.
UCLA has literally no depth beyond that on the outside, other than freshman Mike Moser and walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid who I believe the Dawgs would love to see come in the game. As far as USC, I have no interest in looking at that game until after the game on Thursday. UW season depends on being able to get some road wins and the game at UCLA is such a huge key that it is all that is worth looking at in regards to covering UW at this point. For WSU the game against the Trojans across town is of central importance, which we will discuss further in another post.
Washington has been jettisoned from the polls, but their stellar weekend brought their name back in the running for ESPN’s Bracketology as one of the 2nd 4 left out.
One sub-plot of this local hoop season has been the story of Charles Garcia, who was not admitted by UW admissions. Garcia said to Jeff Goodman at Fox Sports in no uncertain terms a couple of weeks ago that he felt that Washington didn’t go as far as they might have for other bigger name players.
“I was a no-name. I think if I had been a big-name guy, I’d probably be there right now, but coming out of junior college I just don’t think they wanted to take a chance on me”.
The reason that Chuck would have made such a difference for UW was the huge void left by Jon Brockman. No one could rebound the ball like Jon, but there is no question in my mind that Garcia could have helped in that department, as well as made up a ton of ground in the area of scoring that was left by the loss of Brockman and Justin Dentmon. Garcia is actually as good a shooter from three point range as just about everyone on the UW team.
He also leads the nation in foul shot attempts, which was an area that was a Husky key to their success last year in which they fouled opposing players out and won games at the free throw line. I look at the way things went with Garcia as the biggest hurdle that this year’s staff has had to overcome. This year’s staff did a very good job of doing just that in this past weekend, but the Dawgs have yet to show any back bone on the road. The game against UCLA presents a huge opportunity for them to address that problem.
Brockman is showing just why his loss has had such a profound effect on the Huskies. Jon is leading the NBA in Offensive Rebound Rate and it’s not even close. He is averaging 21.7 and is followed by Greg Oden and Kevin Love with 16.1. After them there is a gradual drop to Dejaun Blair with 16.0 and so on down the list, but if this trend continues it looks as if this statistical category is Jon Brockman and the other guys.
Washington is making the January 30th WSU game “Paint the Bank Black” to raise awareness for cancer. According to the UW Athletic Department,
“The UW will wear black uniforms as part of the event and all fans are encouraged to wear black to the 12:30 game to show support for cancer awareness”.
The press release about the event also specified that, “The American Cancer Society will have a table in the concourse to accept donations and will be holding a silent auction where fans can bid on Coach Romar’s shoes and an autographed Husky basketball”.
The press release added that, “The black jersey worn by Harry the Husky will be autographed by the entire team and auctioned off on GoHuskies.com on Monday, Feb. 1”.
Seattle U will face the CSUN Matadors tonight at the Key Arena at 7PM (PST) This is the same Cal State Northridge team that Washington beat at Hec-Ed 88-76 in a game in which Lenny Daniel set a career high with 24 points. Daniel was just awarded the Big West Player of the Week for his performances against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.
Seattle U was beaten in Northridge on Monday January 11th by the Matadors in a 98-90 game in which Garcia scored 34 points and grabbed 14 boards. Garcia spent only 15 minutes on the floor in both of the wins that Seattle U has had since an 82-81 win over UC Irvine at Key Arena, those being a sensational win over Oregon State in Corvallis and a three point win over Utah Valley this past Saturday night in Seattle.
This trend begs the question, does Chuck disrupt team chemistry? Cameron Dollar denied and deflected that notion when he was quoted by the Seattle Times.
“We’ve distributed the ball (well) with Chuck”, said Dollar and added that Garcia was sat down for “the same stuff that other guys do. It’s just that the spotlight shines pretty bright on him and when he makes a mistake, in some ways he doesn’t get the same margin for error from the outside”.
The King Holiday Hoopfest was a showcase for Terrence Jones, who is considered by many insiders to be UW’s top recruiting priority now that they have received a letter of intent from bay area forward Desmond Simmons and a verbal commitment from Turkish center Enes Kanter.
With the departure of Quincy and the loss of Chuck it would appear that UW has only two spots, but from the way that they are recruiting Jones still, as well as Westchester CA forward Dwayne Polee, Twin Falls ID center Aziz N’Diaye and others, there must be some way of bringing in at least one more player.
The MLK day event saw a number of well known players strut their stuff including Federal Way’s Cole Dickerson (headed to San Francisco), Bellevue’s Aaron Bright (Stanford) and Vashon’s Josh Gage (also Stanford), but the guy that brought out the crowd including a number of UW players was Jones. Terrence told the Times Jerry Brewer all the right things that the hometown fans would want to hear about a blue chip with interest in their favorite school and its coach.
“Every school doesn’t have a coach Romar. He’s such an incredible coach and person, on and off the court. For so many kids, he’s like a father figure. And when I came here for my visit, I realized it’s just a family atmosphere. The players are real close and joke around a lot.”
Percy Allen of the Times reported that Jones, “Said he was close with Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy” and added that “He plans to sign during the regular signing period, which begins April 14 and ends May 19”.
On the court Jones and a very good Jefferson team defeated the top team in the state in Federal Way by a score of 62-58. Terrence had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks. According to the Times Dickerson for Federal Way, “Showed the effects of the stomach flu that had forced him to miss five days of practice, although he finished strong with 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half”.
According to Scout’s Dave Telep the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield MA yesterday was attended by a Washington assistant coach, though we have yet to confirm which one it was. The only player from the class of 2010 that performed in the event who we are reasonably certain that the Huskies are following was Polee.
Former Big-time Recruit Poling Transfers Out of ‘Zaga
Andy Poling has transferred out of Gonzaga, according to the Spokesman-Review. He appears to be headed to Seattle Pacific University. In the article his former high school coach was quoted as saying that he also considered, “Portland State, Fresno State, Portland and Nevada before choosing SPU”.