The Pride Of The Pac-10

It’s funny, because in high school I didn’t give two shits about the school or any of the sports we played in. I remember going to 1 football game in my 4 years (not counting the freshman football I played, that is) and 1 basketball game when we went to state and were allowed to go to that in lieu of going to class.

Pretty much, I hated school and almost everything about school; I’d go to class, do my time, and get the fuck out as soon as the bell rang (earlier if they tried to make us sit through a stupid Pep Rally).

So, what the fuck is it about college – and specifically the University of Washington – that has me all in a tizzy? Arguably, my high school teams saw more success (reached the state championship game in Football and men’s basketball in my senior year) … but whatever. Go Dawgs.

There’s an article on Some Website I’ve Never Heard Of Before that’s claiming the UW Men’s Basketball Team is “emerging as the top program in the Pac-10.” It goes on to make the point that indeed we’re not at the point where UCLA or Arizona have been in the past, but that we’re just starting what could be a nice little run of dominance.

Not for nothin’, but it also points out the Seattle/Tacoma hotbed of basketball talent that’s gone largely overlooked on the national scene. And the fact that we’re dominating recruiting in our home turf.

What do I think, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Granted, we’re unquestionably a better program than we were … probably ever in the school’s history. I think Romar is indeed one of the best coaches in college basketball – doing with the talent he brings in what he does and getting out of them the best possible results (Spencer Hawes year aside) – and I think Romar will without fail go down as the greatest Husky Basketball coach of all time.

But, that right there kinda says it all.

Yes, Romar is able to Coach Up his players, as it goes. Making guys like Overton, Holiday, MBA – and in years past guys like Justin Dentmon and Bobby Jones – into majorly productive role players. Adjusting the offensive and defensive schemes to the talent he brings in year after year … it’s all incredible work. But, he’s not necessarily bringing in the elite of the elite. That’s no knock against him, that’s just a fact of life. He’s not John Calipari, he’s not Mike Krzyzewski. This isn’t North Carolina or Syracuse or even Texas. This is the University of Washington tucked all the way up here in Seattle, Alaska. Nobody pays any mind to us unless we come out of nowhere to win the Pac-10 and make an unlikely tournament run into the Sweet 16. With all the other options at all the other huge basketball schools, Blue Chippers are unlikely to pick my alma mater over fucking Kentucky.

Or UCLA or Arizona for that matter. Because they still have the pedigree.

Surely we could always CONTEND for the Pac-10. Obviously there will be down years on occasion, but more often than not it’s Romar who’s going to ensure those down years don’t string together. Which is why he’ll go down as the greatest Husky basketball coach. That and because of the fact that it’s not like he’s up against stiff competition. Bob Bender?

Still, it’s big that we’re in the Sweet 16 this week. It’s also big that we’re the only Pac-10 team standing this late in the season. Get some national attention, get the eyes of future college basketball stars upon us, and who knows? We may not have the blue chippers of a Kentucky or a Syracuse or even a West Virginia, but a team can always gel at the right time. Things can start clicking when it counts. A team that was once shaky-at-best shooting behind the arc can find their shot. A last-second tip-in with the game tied can fall …

And a team from the Pacific Northwest can make a surprise Elite 8 run. And, dare I say it …

Let’s just hope for my well-being that all this national attention doesn’t result in one of those aforementioned big-time schools taking our Romar away. I can’t go back to the Bob Benders of the world.

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