Category Archives: Husky Basketball

Huskies victorious over Cleveland State

Naysayers will chalk this game up as a meaningless notch on the Huskies belt, but let’s not sell the Vikings of Cleveland State short. The Cleveland State team that was victimized Tuesday night by a rejuvenated Washington club is projected to win the Horizon League. Not impressed? The Horizon League is home to Butler, the little school that’s quickly displacing Gonzaga as the annual Cinderella come tourney time. If that’s not enough evidence in the Dawgs favor, the Valparaiso team that walked into Hec Ed last season and toppled the Huskies in the first round of the CBI Tournament lost to Cleveland State three times last season. So this victory is no small feat.

The Dawgs still have plenty to work on, with uninspired backcourt play for a second game in a row, as well as poor free-throw shooting yet again (though greatly improved from past showings at 62%). Jon Brockman finished with 23 points and 13 boards to remain consistent with his preseason second-team All-America honoring. Help came in the form of Quincy Pondexter (15 pts, 9 rebs) and Joe Wolfinger (12 pts, 5 rebs), two players who needed a game like this to boost their confidence.

Wolfinger and Pondexter were arguably the two most picked-on Huskies as far as fans are concerned, and did their best to quiet the critics for an evening at least.

The Huskies now take on a Florida International ballclub on Thursday that is a clear step down from the Viking team they saw Tuesday.

Dawg Pack Dirt: Cleveland State University

“Dawg Pack Dirt” is an idea that originated in 2004 when SSN writer Alex Akita began producing info sheets on Husky Men’s Basketball opponents for students in the Dawg Pack student section. Now in its fifth year of production, “Dawg Pack Dirt” is presently being produced and distributed by current UW students and Dawg Pack members Nate Taggart and Aaron Bean. “Dawg Pack Dirt” is meant to provide fans with points of emphasis for the game, including information on the team, as well as individual players. The section focusing on individual players is often geared towards the student section and facilitates creative chants and fan involvement throughout the game. We will posting the Dirt on the morning of each Husky home game for fans to enjoy.

Dawg Pack Dirt, Volume 5, Issue 2, Cleveland State University, November 18th, 2008
By Nate Taggart and Aaron Bean

The Game:

-Cleveland State University at University of Washington in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Tournament

-Tuesday November 18, 2008 @ 7:00 p.m.

-Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion

The Team:

-The Cleveland State Vikings make their home in the Horizon League which is home to teams like Butler and Valparaiso who made the NCAA and CBI tournaments last year, respectively.

-The 0-1 Dawgs face off against the 1-0 Cleveland State Vikings on Tuesday in the first game of the CBE Classic. The Vikings beat Oakland on Saturday night, rallying to a 58-55 win in the last 3 minutes after trailing the entire game.

-The Vikings are a coming off of a turnaround season with a 21-13 record and an RPI of 63 after losing 20 games the previous year and not breaking the 200 mark in RPI in the last 5 years. They received their first bid to a postseason tournament since 1988 last season when they were invited to the NIT where they lost in the first round to Dayton.

-Cleveland State is predicted by pretty much all of the experts to win the Horizon League this year over perennial favorite, Butler.

-The Vikings returned four of their starters for the 2008-2009 campaign and in those returners lies their two-man show of F J’Nathan Bullock and G Cedric Jackson. Both players averaged over 10 PPG last year with 14.8 and 13.9 PPG, respectively. Nobody else on the team nears the production numbers of their senior leaders.

Here are the ESPN Blue Ribbon Pre-Season Grades for both teams:

Washington:
Backcourt: B
Bench/Depth: B-
Frontcourt: B
Intangibles: B+

Cleveland State:
Backcourt: B+
Bench/Depth: B
Frontcourt: B+
Intangibles: A

The Players:

-So. G #2 Eric Schiele is the team’s garbage time player, scoring 1 point and going 0-5 from the field last year in 7 minutes of playing time.

-Fr. F #20 Charlie “C-Woods” Woods would like to be reached at cwoods_cwoods@yahoo.com. He claims that he is both right and left handed so when he’s missing shots in warm-ups, you know what to do.

-Fr. G #22 Josh McCoy does a really good Barack Obama as is evidenced by his pictures from Halloween. Ask him about it.

-RS. Fr. F #23 Daitwan “Twan” Eppinger would also like to be reached on his AIM at twanbasketball23.

-So. G #30 Norris Cole shot a blistering 24% from beyond the arc going 10-42 and 38% from the field last year but still earned the role of 6th Man and earned a lot of play time for his efforts.

-So. G #32 D’Aundray Brown must be friends with our buddy “Too Hard Too Guard” from last year as he calls himself “Best Kept Secret.” Seems pretty obsessed with the fact that he’s from the 330 (Youngstown, OH). I don’t really know anything bad about Youngstown but I’m sure we could find something.

-Sr. F #45 Renard Fields better be practicing his free throws during pre-game. He only shot 42% from the line last season.

-Fr. F #50 Ethan Anderson somehow finds himself on a collegiate basketball court after one year of high school basketball. Supposedly he is a very accomplished high school tennis player.

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.

In your face, Seattle: Two Husky losses on same day

Yep, by now I’m sure most of you are aware. The Husky football continued their dismal season by falling 27-7 to Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA Bruins, while the men’s basketball team kicked off their season with a 80-74 defeat at the hands of the Portland Pilots.

The Husky athletic program is setting new standards for loseability. The football team I can understand, because they’ve had nearly three months to flaunt their awfulness. But I figured the basketball team would give us something to root for, and last night that wasn’t the case. We expected an athletic team capable of running all over opponents and playing better defense than a year ago. What we got was a team making the same mistakes, playing similar D, and missing the same shots on the offensive end.

Continue reading In your face, Seattle: Two Husky losses on same day

Friday’s notes

-From the good news department, the Oklahoma City Thunder have lost five straight games and are now 1-7 on the season. On a side note, the Thunder have dubbed their dance team the “Thunder Girls.” Really? You couldn’t come up with something more creative than that? How about “Thunder Bolts,” or maybe “Thunder Cats?” Maybe the “Claymates” would work or “PJ’s BJ’s,” even. How about the “Harlot Globetrotters?” There are just so many unexplored avenues here.

-In case you haven’t heard, Rick Neuheisel comes to town tomorrow with his 3-6 UCLA Bruins. Neuheisel, who was on with KJR’s Mitch Levy earlier in the week, expects to receive a mixed reaction from the crowd and issued a sincere apology to Husky fans for the circumstances surrounding his ouster five years ago. On a personal note, for those of us that have met Rick Neuheisel in person, it’s no surprise really that he’s returned to coaching this quickly after such a messy situation. Neuheisel has the charm and likability factor that colleges seek in head coaches. Given the opportunity, I have no doubt that you could put Slick Rick at a tiny rural outpost (like Washington State perhaps) and watch him turn it into a winner.

-The Husky Men’s Basketball team opens the season tomorrow at the University of Portland. Unlike last year when the Dawgs didn’t play a true road game until 13 games into the season (12 home games and 1 game on a neutral floor), this year they’ll be getting things underway away from Montlake. Portland is led by Bellevue native Luke Sikma, a 2007 Bellevue High School grad and the son of former NBA player Jack Sikma.

-Wide Receiver Courtney Taylor has been signed off the practice squad and will rejoin the Seahawks this Sunday when they take on the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field. Taylor was plagued by a bout with the dropsies when he was cut a few weeks back by the team. He was able to clear waivers and had been practicing with the team until the release of WR Keary Colbert earlier in the week.

2008-2009 Husky Basketball Preview

With the season getting underway on Saturday at the University of Portland, it’s time for SSN’s 2008-2009 Husky Men’s Basketball preview. The Dawgs finished 16-17 last season (7-11 in the Pac-10) and ended their year with a first-round loss to Valparaiso in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational Tournament.

Who’s Back

The Dawgs return senior starting PF Jon Brockman, a 2009 Wooden Award candidate, who averaged a double-double last season (17.8 PPG, 11.6 RPG) and is the captain and spiritual leader of the ballclub.

Other returners include: PG/SG Justin Dentmon, Sr. (9.8 PPG, 2.3 APG); PF/C Artem Wallace, Sr. (3.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG); SF Quincy Pondexter, Jr. (9.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG); C Joe Wolfinger, Jr. (4.2 PPG, 40.4% 3-point shooting percentage); PF Matthew Bryan-Amaning, So. (4.2 PPG, team-high 18 blocked shots); PG Venoy Overton, So. (4.9 PPG, 3.2 APG); SF Justin Holiday, So. (0.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG).

Who’s New

Point guard Isaiah Thomas (5’8″, 180 pounds), a Tacoma native, is arguably the most-hyped of this year’s incoming players. Originally a member of the 2007 recruiting class, Thomas spent two years at South Kent Prep School in Massachusetts before arriving on Montlake this season. A prolific scorer in high school, Thomas backed up the hype with a 27-point performance in last week’s exhibition game versus Western Washington University. Other newcomers include: PF Darnell Gant, RS Fr. (6’8″, 215); PF Tyreese Breshers, Fr. (6’7″, 255); SG Scott Suggs, Fr. (6’6″, 190); SG Elston Turner, Fr. (6’4″, 205).

Who’s Out

A bulk of the scoring load will need to be distributed amongst the rotation with the departure of guard Ryan Appleby (11.2 PPG), a senior last season. Senior guard Tim Morris also saw his eligibility clock run out last year, while redshirt junior swingman Joel Smith transferred to Chaminade University in Maui, Hawaii. Adrian Oliver, a sophomore guard a year ago, left the program five games into the 2007-2008 season and is now at San Jose State University in California.

Coaching Staff

No changes on the staff this year as all the coaches return. Head Coach Lorenzo Romar enters his seventh season on Montlake, having compiled a 119-72 record at UW since 2002. The three assistant coaches are Cameron Dollar, Jim Shaw, and Paul Fortier, with Lance LaVetter as Director of Basketball Operations.

How they stack up: Backcourt

Though slightly undersized, the Husky guards bring a great deal of speed and quickness to the floor that opposing defenses will have a tough time containing. Starting point guard Isaiah Thomas (pictured left) has an explosive first-step and a knack for getting to the rim. Despite his short stature, Thomas has powerful hops and has thrown down in-game while in high school.

Starting backcourtmate Justin Dentmon has had a bumpy tenure on Montlake but spent the offseason working on his shot to become a reliable scoring option. As a freshman, Dentmon was counted on to distribute the ball to the likes of Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, and Jamaal Williams but watched as that role changed over the following seasons. Seemingly in limbo between the 1 and the 2, the 5’10” Dentmon seems to have found his niche as an undersized shooting guard in his senior season. He kicked off the ’08-’09 campaign by going 4-6 from beyond the arc in last week’s exhibition against WWU.

Sophomore point guard Venoy Overton, a starter a year ago, employs an erratic but effective style of play that allows him to out-quick the majority of defenders he matches up against. If Overton wants to regain his starting spot, he’ll need to show some consistency with his jumper (25% behind the arc last year) and improve on his ability to finish around the rim in order to leapfrog either Thomas or Dentmon. Overton did post a team-high 45 steals last season.

Freshmen Elston Turner and Scott Suggs will challenge for rotational playing time early on and could emerge as zone-busters with their shooting abilities. Neither Turner nor Suggs is afraid to pull the trigger on a deep ball, and both possess above-average range and accuracy. At 6’6″, 190 pounds, Suggs will likely need to bulk up over the course of the season in order to handle the rigors of the college game. Turner has the bloodlines to be successful; he is the son of former NBA player Elston Turner, Sr., now an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets.

How they stack up: Frontcourt

Senior captain Jon Brockman is arguably one of the best power forwards in the nation and has the numbers to back it up. In his three years on Montlake, Brockman has averaged a combined 13.5 PPG and 9.2 RPG and has seen his numbers increase steadily with each subsequent season. If the trend holds true this year, we should expect a 20/12-type season from the Wooden Award contender.

Junior Quincy Pondexter is entrenched at the starting small forward spot for the Dawgs after coming on strong late last season. Though he has displayed flashes of athletic brilliance in the previous two years, Pondexter’s tenure can best be described as “inconsistent” thus far. Pondexter registered a career-high 25 points on two occasions as a freshman (against Arizona and Idaho), but regressed in his sophomore campaign, failing to eclipse double-digits in scoring average (9.9 PPG). With the departure of Ryan Appleby, Pondexter should be given a greater role in the offense and be allowed to create off the dribble more frequently, which is what he does best. His biggest weakness is confidence, however, and Pondexter will need to overcome his mental demons before he’s fully able to unleash his on-court physical prowess.

Sophomore Matthew Bryan-Amaning (pictured right) and redshirt freshman Darnell Gant are the two primary contenders for the fifth starting spot in Lorenzo Romar’s lineup, with Gant taking a surprising early lead in the contest. After starting the exhibition opener versus Western, Gant managed a mere four points in 19 minutes of action, while committing three personal fouls. Bryan-Amaning, meanwhile, came off the bench to score 12 points in 18 minutes of work while committing no fouls. Gant’s emergence as a starter hinges on his ability to do the dirty work, which Coach Romar has a fondness for, despite the fact that Bryan-Amaning is the more polished scorer. The combination of Gant and Bryan-Amaning equates to one very complete player, and the two should push each other to improve upon their weaknesses as the season progresses.

Freshman Tyreese Breshers, junior Joe Wolfinger, and senior Artem Wallace are wildcards. Breshers (shin surgery) and Wallace (knee surgery) are currently limited by injuries, while the 7-footer Wolfinger will likely see a reduced role out of the gate in Romar’s uptempo offense. Should Breshers and Wallace return to health, there’s a good chance they might not see expanded playing time anyways, as the run-and-gun style of play the Dawgs are looking to employ doesn’t quite fit their individual games at this point. If pressed into duty, look for Wolfinger to spread defenses and suck big men onto the perimeter to defend his long-range shooting ability; he’ll collect the occasional rebound as well, but is little more than a foul-prone roadblock on the defensive end. The 6’8″ Wallace has established himself as a grit guy the past two seasons, providing the rebounding and defensive intensity needed when Jon Brockman is on the bench. His inability to extend his shot beyond ten feet has made him an offensive liability, however, and he should yield minutes to Gant and Bryan-Amaning as a result. Breshers, for all his potential, might be in line for a redshirt season if he can’t play catch-up and get up to speed with the rest of the team.

How they’ll finish

The Dawgs could arguably finish anywhere between second and sixth in the Pac-10, but should be amongst the top four if their on-paper credentials play out in games. Their success will depend greatly on the ability of the freshman Thomas to run the offense and provide a heavy dose of scoring. It’s no secret that the Huskies of late have struggled when they fail to push the tempo, so look for the team to revert back to the days of the Brandon Roy-led Dawgs and run opponents out of the gym. Improved athleticism and quickness from a year ago should ease that transition and take some of the burden off Brockman, who should continue to put up consistent numbers no matter the style of play. If this team can put all the pieces together, there’s no reason why they can’t end their two-year NCAA Tournament drought and return to the true postseason for the first time since 2006.