Monday Thoughts

Jan 18, 2010, 3:22 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

Seattle U wins again with Garcia on the bench

Seattle U pulled out a 66-63 win over Utah Valley Sunday at the Key Arena in Seattle WA. Chris Gweth led a balanced attack for the Redhawks with 12 points, 6 in the last 3 minutes. Gavin Gilmore also scored 12 (a career-high).

Alex Jones kicked in 11 points and Mike Boxley another 10, while pro prospect Charles Garcia was benched after playing for 15 minutes in which he shot 1-6 from the field. Cameron Dollar explained his decision to not play Garcia by saying, “He had a couple of defensive miscues and he was a little bit out of it so we went with other guys”. The fact that Seattle won and looked good doing so without Garcia, just as they did against Oregon State in Corvallis in their top performance of the year, speaks well for their prospects as a program.

Great players make great plays and Chuck is certainly a great one, but teams win games. Charles should look at this as a great opportunity to show the world that he can be not only a world beating player, but a great team mate. You need to be both to make it at the next level and if you can’t do it at this level, why should anyone believe that you can do it up there. Garcia should stay another year in Seattle and help Dollar bring this fledgling program up by its bootstraps, while showing the world that he is all about the team.

He has had too many nights like the one against Utah Valley and though I know that all of the pro scouts are drooling over him, more than a few have commented that they are concerned about his ability to play with a team. Playing with UW, where he would not have been the only guy on his level skill, size and talent-wise, he would have had a great opportunity to show scouts a lot more about how he can play on a team.

The argument can be made that he took the game over at Seattle U, because the other guys were not as good of an option as he, but it seems that the Redhawks tend to play very well without him, perhaps more effectively and that is not a good sign. From the experience of Doug Wrenn, we know first hand that players that don’t put the team first are not what coaches like Lorenzo Romar and Cam Dollar look for and choose to play.

I hope that Chuck can take this experience and help Seattle U next year with Mark McLaughlin and a number of additions (see segment below) and bring this Redhawk team that much closer to the great legacy that Seattle U basketball was known for in the 60’s and 70’s. This is a perfect opportunity for Chuck. If Washington had him this year it could have been a very good thing for them, but “Defensive miscues” would have not worked there either.

Not only will Seattle U be bringing in McLaughlin next fall, but there are a number of other new faces that we’ll be seeing hoping it up at the Key. First of all McLaughlin is a solid pick-up and the perfect example of the type of kid that is perfect for Seattle U in their quest to build its program to a high level nationally. Mark is a great shooter who can create off the dribble. He is definitely a Pac-10 level SG and at six-foot-six and around 200 lbs. He is easily big enough to play on the wing at a high major level as well.

Though the Redhawks lose Gweth and Boxley, Mark could be able to do in a reasonably short time, what both can do for Cam Dollar. He is not as filled out as Boxley (who weighs in at 215), nor as much of a slasher perhaps as Gweth, but is close on both accounts and as great an outside marksman as Seattle U has seen since its’ glory years. Dollar has already gotten a commitment from former Franklin Quaker combo guard Freddy Wilson, who spent a 5th year in high school this past year at Westwind Academy in Phoenix AZ.

Wilson is a six-foot-three 200 lb. guard with multi-level skills that made his mark in a number of Washington 4-A state tournament on teams with the likes of Louisville’s Peyton Siva and Washington’s Venoy Overton. Freddy is currently averaging 7 points per game on a Westwind team loaded with D1 talent.

Two other players have committed to SU, per my conversations with Mark McLaughlin. Tyler Monroe and Bobby Evans are a couple of forwards from the Sacramento CA area that are currently playing for former Michigan Wolverine and Fairfax High School (LA, CA) star Sean Higgins at Edmonds C.C. The six-foot-seven Monroe is leading the Edmonds team in scoring, while Evans looks to be a solid six-foot-eight post player. We’ll be watching both this year and give you more of an opinion after seeing them play.

Husky Huddle

The Huskies got their ship righted a bit over the weekend against the bay area schools, but if I’m UW the only game I’m focused on is UCLA. If UW can win it down at famed Pauley Pavilion they may have turned a corner in being able to win on the road. If they lose to this very beatable (yet dangerous as Cal found out) Bruin team they will be in a huge hole to dig themselves out of.

This week should be all about preparing for the Bruins. Beat UCLA and USC will take care of itself. Before we get too far into analyzing the match-ups between the Dawgs and Bruins, let’s take our hats off to Quincy Pondexter for winning his 3rd Pac-10 Player of the Week award for his performance against Stanford and Cal.

Quincy or team mate Isaiah Thomas could have won this award, but it’s always good to see a senior go out in style and Quincy has been a loyal Husky through and through. There’s no question that he deserved the award as well with 52 points in two games that were more about his great team work than his (or Isaiah’s) scoring. Great job Quincy!!

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times spoke of the Dawgs as, “Not a team of former McDonald’s All-Americans, but one of overlooked and self-made players who compete with chips on their shoulders and must play scrappy basketball to excel”.

Jerry’s not exactly correct with that statement, but I like the essence of what he means by that statement. Abdul Gaddy was a McDonald’s AA, Matthew Bryan-Amaning played in the Nike Global Challenge and Pondexter was a 5-star recruit by a few analysts that played in a few major all-star games, so the “junk yard” Dawg label is not quite anatomically correct. In general the UW roster is made up of guys, other than those three, that were just slightly under the level of ‘High End Blue-Chips” or “Elite” players.

Isaiah was highly thought of by college coaches and much undervalued as a recruit by the “experts”. Thomas and Tyreese Breshers perhaps do play with a bit of a chip on their shoulders, as they are both undersized at their positions. Breshers and Darnell Gant are two players that were highly recruited, but just a little below being offered by UCLA, the “Elite” program in their hometown of Los Angeles. I wonder how those two, plus North Hollywood’s Justin Holiday feel about playing the Bruins at Pauley this Thursday?

Holiday could have the most to prove of any Dawg, having grown up in the shadow of his younger brother Jrue, and now of the Philadelphia 76ers. Junior Venoy Overton is a player that was recruited over by Tim Floyd at USC when he brought, or should I say bought, in O.J. Mayo. Venoy also comes off the bench for a freshman, a lesson in humility in itself.

Scott Suggs was “Mr. Show-Me Basketball” the overall state player of the year award in Missouri. It’s an honor that has been bestowed upon a number of big name NBA pros including Tyler Hansbrough, Kareem and Jaron Rush, Larry Hughes, Anthony Peeler and the list goes on.

Clarence Trent is the last guy on the bench despite his awesome physical skills and high rankings by recruiting “experts”. Trent is so talented, that Washington could use a few more walk-ons, so that when its garbage time as it was late in both games this past weekend, the deep reserves of Washington don’t do anything to humiliate the opponent any more than it has been. That said I’m sure that Clarence wishes he were playing more meaningful minutes.

Washington is two teams. It is the group of highly thought of, blue chips or just under the radar of elite players that sometimes plays down to its competition or worse yet loses to teams that it could beat. It is also the group that has the talent to beat anyone, if it plays hard, scrappy and with a “chip on their shoulders” as Brewer said. I really like watching the scrappy team and am always disappointed by the ‘Blue-Chip’ guys.

Hopefully we have seen the last of that close to “Elite” group, as close for UW, may as well be not at all. “Washington looked like Washington should in a romp of Cal” said Andy Katz in his Blog today and I agree with him.

This UW team is inconsistent in shooting the three and has really no post player that I would consider an elite level low-post scorer at the moment. To win they need to play really hard on both ends. Intense team defense to exploit their depth and quickness and sharing the ball on offense, as forcing up threes and pounding the ball into any of the post players is not going to work. The way they played against the Bay Area schools is not just the best way for the Huskies to play; it is the only way they can succeed at all this season.
Katz also stated in his “Weekly Watch” column that the USC/UW game on Saturday was one of his “Places to be” this coming week and sets up the game well as a clash of two strong conference contenders.

“If Washington wants to overtake Arizona State and win the Pac-10 then the Huskies might have to win at USC, which has decided it still wants to win the regular-season title despite the self-imposed postseason ban.”

Francis Williams went on Brock and Salk of 710 ESPN radio and talked about the Husky win against Stanford last Friday morning. He spoke eloquently of Justin Holiday’s contributions to Washington, comparing him to Bobby Jones.

Husky Recruiting Corner

The King Holiday Hoopfest is a great event, now currently underway at Hed-Ed Pavilion in the Bank of America Arena on the Washington campus. Today at 6PM 2010 forward Terrence Jones, who is a recruiting priority for the Huskies, will be in the limelight as his Jefferson Democrats face the Federal Way Eagles. Cole Dickerson leads a Federal Way team that features 4-6 guys that will play college ball and are nationally ranked. The Seattle Times published a full schedule of the MLK Day Event.

We are hearing that a number of Huskies will be there to cheer on their potential future team in Jones.

While I was looking around for info on Freddy Wilson in regards to Seattle U, I found a recent sentence in a game capsule for his Arizona prep team’s game against Stoneridge Prep on January 14th in regards to Enes Kanter.

“Stoneridge was led by University of Washington recruit, Enes Kanter, with 43 points and 16 rebounds.”

Kanter has put up stat lines like this all year and with the injuries to Josh Smith and the talk that he may feel that he would like to be “one and done”, could it be that Washington got a much better guy, especially for their system? If Kanter can make it to Montlake and all the word we’re getting is that he can, UW could have a gem in a guy that many pro evaluators are comparing to a young Dirk Nowitzki.

‘Zags beat San Diego on Saturday Night

Gonzaga rolled on in the WCC with another win over a team that was considered to be a conference contender in San Diego on Saturday night. GU beat the Toreros badly on their home floor 68-50 as Elias Harris scored 20 points and Steven Gray kicked in 17.

Demetri Goodson added 12 points and 5 assists, while Robert Sacre had 10 boards to go with his 6 points. Gonzaga has opened the conference season with three straight wins over the top-3 teams in its conference, other than themselves and all on the road. The ‘Zags now return home to Spokane for a 6PM (PST) tip-off against Pepperdine this Thursday.

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