Because you know more about our opponent, Mississippi State, and have wasted countless hours reviewing and re-reviewing tapes of Duke, Connecticut, and North Carolina, we here at Seattle Sportsnet thought it in our best interest to help you get to know the University of Washington Huskies. We’re the champions of the Pac-10 (that’s Pacific-10) conference, owners of a 25-8 record (holy crap, I know), and our school colors are purple and gold (you had no idea on that one). Let’s get right to it.
Our starting SF is “Quincy Pondexter.” Note the spelling. There is no “I” in “Pondexter,” both literally and figuratively (although there is an “I” in “Quincy,” so take it for what it’s worth). He’s no “PoIndexter,” and those of you calling him that probably still refer to our state as “WaRshington,” which is a fictional, made-up place that doesn’t exist. Think of it this way: it’s kind of like how there’s no “L” in “Jay Bias.” Hope that helps.
Our starting PG is 5’8″ Isaiah Thomas, and he’s one of the five best freshmen in the country. You have no idea, however. All you care to know is how he got that peculiar name (his dad lost a bet), and I guarantee we will hear about it at least fifty times during the tournament. That’s fine, so long as Dickie V. refers to him as a “Diaper Dandy” just as many times, and so long as you lump him in with that group of Fab Frosh. I challenge you to name me five first-year players who are better than Thomas and his gaudy numbers: 15.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.5 APG. He’s also the Pac-10 FOY, and that’s saying something.
We’re not Washington State. Husky fans and Cougar fans alike would appreciate it if you refer to us as “Washington,” or “UW.” Washington State is a separate institution on the opposite side of our great state. Their colors are crimson and gray and yes, they also have a basketball team. In fact, we play each other every year. But that doesn’t mean we’re the same program. How do you think Ohio State fans would feel if you called them “Michigan?” That’s what it does to us. So be careful.
You’re going to want to keep an eye on #1. That’s Venoy Overton. By the end of our first game, you’ll want to know — nay, NEED to know — his name. Pronunciation guide: veh-NOY OH-ver-ton. He hails from Seattle (where the campus of the University of Washington is based, no less) and attended Franklin High School. He started for us last year, but made the transition to Sixth Man this season, and did so with grace and class. He’s a defensive stopper (some have called him a “pest”) and also one of the quickest players in the country, without a doubt.
OMG, Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson went where? Washington. That’s right. And they were on our tourney teams in ’03-’04 and ’04-’05. Remember? Well, you might not remember, but it’s true. Nate was the electrifying two-guard, and Brandon was the steady floor leader, a three in our three-guard rotation. No, really, look it up.
We’re better than Arizona State. All year long, until the final two weeks of the season, Arizona State outranked us in the media polls (which, ultimately, mean nothing). They hovered in the high teens all year, despite conference losses that should have dropped them down. They lost to Cal, then USC, then Washington State, then UW. Eventually they would lose to WSU and UW again, followed by one final conference loss to Stanford. And still they maintained their lofty ranking. All while the University of Washington was just trying to crack the Top 25. Now they’re a six-seed and we’re a four. We’ve beaten them two out of three times this year. You know James Harden, but you should be talking just as much about Justin Dentmon, first-team All-Pac-10. Recognize.
Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon are two players you need to appreciate. They’re both seniors, and both played significant minutes for our last NCAA Tournament team in 2006. They were freshmen then, and have evolved in that time to become the people they are today. Not just basketball players, but people. On and off the court, they’ve matured. They’ve had their rough patches, and been through their fair share of criticism, but are the heart and soul of this basketball team now. We love them, and appreciate all they’ve done for us, and we hope you’ll feel the same way, too.