Just know that the following post is coming to you completely, 100% snark-free. The spring and summer of 2013 – if it’s remembered for anything – will be remembered as a vast wasteland of Seattle Sports Hell. Dark, desolate, Mariners-filled … we don’t get to look forward to the Sonics returning, we likely won’t have pro hockey anytime soon, and the wait for Seahawks and Husky football is absolutely excruciating. It’s been a crappy last few months, and it’s going to continue to be a crappy next few months.
But, smack dab in the middle of our calendar year, an oasis in the endless desert that is Seattle sports, we had an event at Hec Ed yesterday afternoon that – for a few hungover hours – left me feeling like a kid again. With a smile plastered on my face like the first time I ever saw a pair of naked boobs in my face. And, truth be told, every time since.
For an idea that seems so much like a no-brainer, this was a first for Husky basketball. An All Star Game comprised exclusively of Husky players over the last 10 years or so. Split into two squads: pre-2009 and post-2009.
You’re talking about a who’s who Husky greats!
I had a feeling that the older guys would win the game, thinking that they SURELY would have wanted it more. Plus, you’ve got some wily vets on that team who can pull from a deeper bag of tricks. Couple things of note, though: the pre-2009 bench was MUCH leaner (indeed, there was even one fewer player on the pre-2009 roster), and the post-2009 team was flat-out stacked.
Post-2009 won the game 107-103, though for the most part it didn’t even feel all that close. You’re talking about an All Star Game, so defense wasn’t really the name of the game. Post-2009 generally held comfortable leads, while Pre-2009 would go on the occasional spurts to tie the game or hold brief, small leads.
The Spencer Hawes/Jon Brockman battle was epic. That was surely worth the price of admission by itself. Hawes was certainly the best player on his team, scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 boards, but Brockman was the only guy on the post-2009 team that could even come close to containing him.
Will Conroy looked like a man possessed; I think he wanted to win that game more than anyone. He didn’t come out of the game until midway in the second half after he’d picked up his 4th foul; I was sure he was going to just stay in the game until he fouled out (apparently, they were playing by NBA foul rules, as Conroy picked up his 5th late in the game, but stayed in). He didn’t appear to have off-the-charts numbers when I watched live, but apparently he ended up with a triple-double (16 points, 12 boards, 11 assists), with a quadruple-double if you count the 10 turnovers.
Tre Simmons led his team in scoring with 23, making 6 of 19 shots (5 of 16 from behind the arc). Nate Rob started each half, then left after about 11 minutes each time and never returned. He had a quiet 7 points even though he was jacking up shots practically from mid-court. Roy had a quiet game too, but started to pick it up in the second half; he finished with 13 points. Bobby Jones didn’t get into the game (I think) until the second half (for some reason; I blame Warren Moon’s erratic basketball coaching style) and was instant offense in the early going. Mike Jensen looked better in yesterday’s game than he did in his entire Husky career, making all five of his shots and remaining somewhat active on defense. Jamaal Williams is a big dude who provided a physical presence for the vets. As for Hans Gasser … he played five minutes and scored 0 points. So there’s that.
Isaiah Thomas was the MVP of the game, with 24 points on 10 of 20 shooting (4 of 11 from behind the arc). He simply took over in the second half and willed his team to victory (just as he did for us so many times in his Husky career). Q-Pon somehow managed to get to the free throw line 11 times, making 8. He had a quiet 17 points. Tony Wroten looked MUCH improved, both with his jumper and at the free throw line. It was pretty sweet to see how he and IT played off of one another. That 2011/2012 team really could’ve been a mad-dog with both of those guys playing in the back court.
Justin Dentmon continued his hot string of shooting, carrying it over from his final season in a Husky uniform. Holiday and Ross were fairly quiet, scoring a combined 17 points, but taking only a combined 17 shots. MBA was effective in limited duty (9 points & 8 boards in 15 minutes). Gant and Appleby were limited in a numbers crunch, as the rest of the squad was too good to sit for too long.
The whole event was a total victory. There was a Legends Game to kick things off, with some real old timers doing a short game with 10-minute halves. Lorenzo Romar won the MVP of that game as he jacked three 3-pointers in finishing with 11 points. There was a 3-point contest at halftime of the Alumni Game, with Dentmon beating out Simmons, Pondexter, Nate-Rob and Appleby. And, after the Alumni Game, they had a Dunk Contest with MBA, Holiday, Gant, and Ross. The latter two made it to the finals, with Gant winning it all thanks to a fan-vote on Twitter. Gant’s best dunk was a bounce off of the shot clock followed by a slam. Ross’s best dunk happened in the first round (and it was the best dunk of the whole day), where he had Tony Wroten go 15 rows into the stands, throw the ball into the court, and on a bounce Ross caught it and windmill’d it home. Each netted a 50 for their efforts on those two, but that’s what happens when you use your best dunk in the first round.
When I first heard about this event, I had it pegged as something that might draw 5,000 fans or so. Turns out, they sold out, with the Will Call line stretching all the way down the street to the New Husky Stadium. If they’re able to bring in the same crop of guys every year, I don’t see why they wouldn’t keep this tradition going! You’re talking about 10 NBA players on the same college basketball court putting on one hell of a show. I would very much go to this every year they’re able to put it on, no doubt about it.