Adrian Oliver Returns to Face His Old Team

Nov 20, 2009, 6:20 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

Tonight at the Bank of America Arena in Seattle WA, Adrian Oliver returns to the place that he started in college basketball. Oliver was one of the most heralded recruiting classes in school history, with Spencer Hawes (now of the resurgent Sacramento Kings), current lead Dawg Quincy Pondexter and Phil Nelson who transferred to Portland State.

Will Oliver’s 1st return to Montlake be as successful as Nelson’s was last year, when the big sharpshooter rained in threes down the stretch to give his former teams a near heart attack, or will it be like Phil’s second attempt which ended up a severe 111-55 humbling by his former team?

A number of local media members talked to Oliver to see how things are going and to ask him how he feels about what he did in Seattle, before moving home for, “Family reasons”. Oliver told Percy Allen of the Seattle Times in vague terms about these issues.

“I had some family issues back home that were on my mind a lot. It was constantly on my mind while I was playing. Should I be here right now or with my family back at home? It was a hard decision to make because I chose Washington for a reason, but it was an easy decision at the same time because my family had to come first.”

I don’t blame Adrian for being vague about personal stuff in a newspaper interview, but one has to wonder if there may have been basketball reasons for his move. He was getting his name called after Ryan Appleby, Justin Dentmon, Joel Smith and Tim Morris, at least in terms of total minutes played.

I for one didn’t understand that, as I felt at the time that his ability to shoot and score was needed and perhaps put together better than any of those four guys. It was his ability to play within the system, especially on the defensive end that seemed to be the reason his name was not called early in that difficult 16-17 year, one of only two losing seasons in Coach Lorenzo Romar’s tenure.

Adrian was always a likeable guy and though he was kind of cocky, a great player. That confidence works well in the hoop game for many, so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless it undermines team chemistry. One thing that I noticed about Oliver that I wasn’t real impressed with was when he won the starting spot over Appleby as a freshman in the early part of the year, he mentioned to the press that it was something that he felt was meant to happen, or something to that effect.

That is not real positive team affirming stuff, but paired with the incredibly dumb remarks that came from Spencer, as he discussed his NBA prospects in the middle of Pac-10 play, it was kind of par for the course for a team that really got what it deserved at the end when they were snubbed by the NCAA’s and the NIT, even with a 19-13 record.

Coach Romar acknowledged that Oliver has a right to be the go-to-guy and perhaps some of the inherent attitude that comes with it.

“Adrian’s been the man all his life and he should have been, he’s really good”.

There’s another piece on Oliver in the MNT with quotes for Lorenzo and Quincy. Oliver’s San Jose State Spartans are definitely his team as the junior leads them into battle almost every time out. There’s also a nice preview of the UW/SJSU game in Rivals.

Six-foot-nine forward C.J. Webster and six-foot-ten center Chris Oakes will be a challenge for Washington on the inside and I expect Oliver to put up a much greater fight than Nelson did last Sunday night. The Spartans may also catch this Husky team a little overconfident, perhaps wearing a “Cool jacket” or two after the blow out win against the Vikings.

Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Venoy Overton looked a little like they were enjoying their “15-minutes” last night in the crowd at the Seattle U game, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see tonight when the whistle blows.

Kevin McCarthy is the publisher of Parsing the WAC, an in depth WAC Basketball site. He wrote a very good preview of tonight’s game for the SJSU Scout site. His site also has a good analysis piece on the Seattle U/Fresno State game.

In Allen’s preview in the Times he brings up depth as a likely issue for SJSU against UW, which I think is a very good possibility for tonight’s game. I feel that UW should win this one by at least 15-20 points, but we’ll see if the Husky team that fans see is anything like the one that we saw last weekend. If it was the one that fans saw against PSU, between 25-30 points should be the winning margin for the Dawgs.

UW has too many guys with too much to prove at this stage in the season. If Isaiah, Matt and Quincy don’t shut the door, watch for Venoy, Darnell Gant, Elston Turner, Scott Suggs, Clarence Trent, Justin Holiday and Abdul Gaddy to step up.

Tyreese Breshers is still getting in shape and now with his finger wrapped up, it’s hard to guess what to expect from him, but anything could happen for him or the others who have yet to have their big break out game like the fist three and that is what is most exciting about the game tonight and UW’s season to this point.

Isaiah is the subject of a feature by Percy, which is a nice summary of some of the improvements in his game and some of his early accomplishments in this new season. Allen also ran a short interview in his blog in which Thomas talks about his friendship with a number of famous guards and his participation in camps this summer like the Deron Williams camp.

ESPN basketball recruiting expert Paul Biancardi commented on Terrence Jones in his live chat feature today. When asked where Jones would end up Paul said, “I believe T Jones will end up at KY, Wash or Oklahoma”.

Rivals meanwhile are reporting that another 2012 guard from the Midwest, Gary Harris, is interested in Washington. One would have to assume that Coach Raphael Chillious is the reason for most of these contacts out there.

Rivals said of Harris:

“He has offers from IUPUI and Xavier while hearing from Notre Dame, Alabama, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, Syracuse, Washington and West Virginia.”

Whether “Coach Chill”, who seems to be doing a very good job and logging huge frequent flyer miles without doubt, is going to win a recruiting battle against any of those big time east coast, mid-west or southeast schools remains to be seen. If Washington can play at a legitimate top-15 level nationally his chances are certainly increased. With Cal’s embarrassment at the hands of Syracuse fresh in the minds of many right now, one has to wonder if the Washington is really in a position to help the Pac-10 save face in their upcoming game with Georgetown.

More Redhawk Mania

Seattle U’s big win against Fresno State last night was doubly special with the return of Elgin Baylor and around two dozen famous Seattle U Chieftains of yesteryear. Today’s piece by the Times Bob Condotta gives interesting background on Baylor’s stay in Seattle, as well as on his storied career in the NBA. Condotta also wrote a full game story that included a memorable photo gallery.

Klay Thompson Scores 37 for WSU

WSU’s Klay Thompson had a career high 37 points as the formerly slow it down, low scoring Cougs are picking up the pace this year. In an 89-70 win over IPFW, the Klay was the only double figure scorer, but Reggie Moore continued to show consistency as 2nd leading scorer with 9 points. Xavier Thames showed signs of getting his game to the next level while tying DeAngelo Casto for 3rd in the scoring column with 7 points.

Thames also logged 20 minutes, more than even starter Abe Lodwick. Charlie Enquist led the Cougs on the boards with only 5. It was an easy win in which the Cougs always had an answer for the Mastodons and that answer was #1. Coug Center did a very nice analysis piece on the WSU win last night.

They made a very good point that if the Cougs are to be any kind of success this year they must rebound the ball better. They are smallish, young and inexperienced up front and if they can’t improve as a team this will be their downfall. Based on what I’ve seen thus far I would agree, though on the bright side the emergence of Thames, to go with Moore is a very big positive.

Around the Pac-10

Cal, though short-handed with Theo Robertson out, was no match for Syracuse last night, losing 95-73. If Cal is the premier team in the Pac-10, as I felt they would be this year, this was no way to demonstrate it. Theo is very important to the Bears success, but I think that this outing was just a bad one for Cal overall. Back to the drawing board for Mike Montgomery who faced Ohio State tonight in the consolation round and played better but again lost 76-70.

UW fans only need to think back one year to the lopsided beating that they took at the hands of Kansas, then the close loss to Florida to know that these games do not mean that Cal is not going to be a load come Pac-10 play.

ESPN’s Andy Katz led his column today with Cal, stating that Cal needs to get Robertson and PF Harper Kamp back to win the Pac-10. Kamp will not be back, from what our sources have been telling us down in Cali, and will red-shirt instead most likely. Robertson should be back, but if his injury is serious, Cal’s season will be impaired in some way.

Moving Christopher to the three and playing more Jorge Guttierez and D.J. Seeley is the likely answer until Theo gets back and that will only help Cal grow as a team going into the rest of the year, when Robertson likely returns.

‘Zona was impressive against a Rice team coached by an old Pac-10 foe Ben Braun, beating Rice 66-49. It was the veterans Nic Wise and Jamelle Horne who led the way for the ‘Cats with 15 and 13 points respectively, but Solomon Hill and Derrick Williams were right behind them with 12 and 10.

It was a nice home win for ‘Zona who now go to Maui and will face some very good competition more than likely. It will be interesting to see how they do. On the negative side Kreal Natyazhko has not really shown much yet. ‘Zona is a very young team, but there is reason for optimism as these freshmen and sophs get lots of PT in Coach Seam Miller’s 1st year. There’s a nice game story with good analysis from the Arizona Scout site.

ASU again blew out their opponent, beating the San Francisco Dons 104-65. It was that freshman, Trent Lockett, stepping into a very productive role for Herb Sendek’s team with 19 points and 5 rebounds. He also tied for tops in minutes with 26 off the bench. It is only a matter of time before he starts for ASU.

Lockett is clearly the guy that is going to be the best hope that Sendek has to make up for the lost ground of James Harden’s departure and Trent should make a very good duo with 2010 signee Keala King. If Lockett keeps gaining momentum and the Sun Devils continue to get good performances from their veterans, like Rihards Kuksiks red-hot 27 points tonight (also off the bench), ASU is going to find themselves on the top end of the middle of the Pac-10, rather than the bottom where most picked them.

Arizona and ASU are both looking pretty good at this stage, but neither has played anyone to speak of and how they do when challenged will say a lot more about what to expect in the conference, though the same could be said for every other team too.

Jason King of Yahoo offers his conference power rankings this week and picks UW 1st in the Pac-10. He picked ASU 3rd after Cal, so I can’t say that I agree with much of his logic as usual. One thing that I do agree with is his selection of UCLA as the #8 team. I think if you were just judging their recent performance that would actually be generous.

College Hoops

The dolt pictured above is Mark Emmert, former president of the University of Washington who is pre...

Danny O'Neil

Feds wasting time (and your money) on college hoops

Why in the world is the FBI worried about $10,000 that may have gone to the best player on a Washington team that won all of two conference games?

5 years ago


Eric Mandel

Gonzaga earns No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament

The Gonzaga men's basketball team earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and will face South Dakota State on Thursday.

6 years ago

Eric Mandel

Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss named to Wooden Award list

University of Washington freshman Markelle Fultz and Gonzaga junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss are among the 20 finalists for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award.

6 years ago

Kyle Wiltjer and Gonzaga are a win away from a second straight trip to the Elite Eight. (AP)...

Brent Stecker

Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16, but it’s not the same old Zags

The Zags have been up to their old antics with a pair of upset wins in the NCAA Tournament, but their strength is not the play of their guards like in previous years.

7 years ago

No Author

Washington men take control early, defeat Montana 92-62

Marquese Chriss scored 22 points and Dejounte Murray added 16 as Washington took control early and rolled to a 92-62 non-conference victory over Montana on Saturday.

8 years ago


No Author

Washington QB apologizes for off-field incident

Washington quarterback Cyler Miles apologized Wednesday for his involvement in an off-field incident after the Super Bowl that led to his suspension for the Huskies' season opener at Hawaii.

9 years ago

Adrian Oliver Returns to Face His Old Team