Hey Dawgs, if you want to beat Portland, stop playing pickup at the IMA

Dear Husky Men’s Basketball players (except Jon Brockman),

I know where many of you spent last offseason, and it wasn’t in the weight room, on the track (conditioning), or scrimmaging with current NBA players. Outside of Jon Brockman, most of you could be found on any given Spring day at the IMA (for those of you unfamiliar with the University of Washington campus, the IMA is the Intramural Athletics building, or basically the student gym; on a typical afternoon, the IMA hosts up to six full-court pickup basketball games at any given time, with continuous games running for a maybe three or four hours max), playing pickup with former junior varsity superstars just happy to play on the same court as a D-I athlete.

Justin Holiday, you were there. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, you too. Darnell Gant. Venoy Overton. Justin Dentmon. Five players on a team of 13. Which isn’t a majority until you consider the fact that four freshmen had yet to set foot on campus, and one guy, Artem Wallace, was incapable of playing on an injured knee. Which leaves eight healthy, present, and able individuals to participate in offseason workouts.

But what about your leader, Jon Brockman? Most days, Brock could be found at Hec Ed running with the likes of Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, Spencer Hawes, Will Conroy, Jamal Crawford, and more of Seattle’s elite ballers, improving his game against top competition. Back a few years ago, when Conroy, Roy, Jones and others were still playing for the Dawgs, the majority of Husky players would participate in open gyms with NBA guys, including Luke Ridnour, Jason Terry, and other local stars. Brockman still carries on the tradition, but apparently most of the rest of you don’t.

What do you get out of playing with rec-league All-Stars, intramural champions, and former prep benchwarmers? I’ve seen the way you match up in these so-called games and it’s straight bush league. You goof off until you start losing, then once panic sets in (“Oh my God, these frat boys might actually beat us!”) you forgo the dunk contest for actual basketball. You carry the cocky attitude that athletes of your caliber should have onto the court with you, only to have your egos deflated (but only very slightly) when a bunch of six-foot-and-under white boys playing their hearts out to prove something get within a few points of you. After a slight victory, your heads get big again and the laws of nature are restored to their rightful setting.

It’s a joke and it’s part of the reason why you couldn’t beat Portland Saturday night. Guess what, you haven’t done anything yet. None of you. Go out and beat somebody worth beating, then you can goof off all you want. Your lack of a personal work ethic and disrespect to a coaching staff that believes in you, a legacy of players that took the same floor as you, and a fan base that so loyally supports you is not only disappointing, it’s completely reprehensible. I only hope that a couple tough losses can help some of you get your heads on straight and realize what you need to do to become winners.

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