SLOW GOD DAMN NEWS MONTH ALERT!
The Huskies finished their regular season on a 12-game losing streak to finish with a conference record of 2-16. For what it’s worth, 2-16 is the worst conference record in school history, so from a pure numbers standpoint, yeah, this would be the worst Husky basketball team of all time.
From a talent perspective, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I just know that this team has to rank somewhere near the bottom, even if it’s featured the #1 overall pick in the next NBA draft. Indeed, the last time the Huskies were this bad was in Bob Bender’s first season (1993/1994), when we finished 3-15 in conference and 5-22 overall.
Mercifully, the season ends tonight, in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. We get a repeat of our final regular season game, against USC, who just beat us by 16. Once again, Markelle Fultz is out with a knee injury. He’s missed 5 of the last 7 games, which I find interesting, because all five of those games were on the road. And, the two home games were against the Arizona schools, where you figure at least the game against the Wildcats featured a ton of NBA scouts.
Look, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but I’m not holding it against him. Why would you risk your professional career for this team that’s going nowhere? I’m sure if the Huskies were in a legitimate race for an NCAA Tournament spot, he’d be in the lineup tonight. But, even with him, there’s no way we’re beating USC, let alone the three other, better teams we’d have to beat for a miracle berth in the Tourney. When you’re as bad as the Huskies have been, you stop travelling, and you show up for the games against the primo opponents.
What’s more, Fultz can say he went out on a high note. He gets to tell everyone that he played hurt, so it looks like he was dedicated to his team. And, even though we’re terrible, we played Arizona tough in that game before free throws at the end extended their lead to 8 points. Nevertheless, Fultz showed up in that one, scoring 26 points, getting to the line 15 times, and racking up 6 assists. It was a nice capper to probably the best Freshman season in Husky basketball history.
The talk this week, of course, has settled on Romar. I’ve spent this entire season pretty convinced that he’d be back next year for one more shot at parlaying his Top 5 recruiting class into a Tourney berth, and some reports are floating around that my notion has been confirmed. The school is obviously denying this – saying no decision has been made – and the local reporters seem to be on board, if only because it’s one thing to have this type of bridge season where you weather a storm and come back strong the next year, but it’s quite another to win only 2 games in conference and close out the season on what will be a 13-game losing streak after tonight.
Ultimately, it comes back to that recruiting class and the $3 million buy-out of Romar’s contract. I know Husky alums and bigwigs hate to think of some stud recruits holding us hostage, but at the same time it’s not totally unprecedented for a program to have a massive, immediate turnaround in fortune from one year to the next. Besides, I hardly think that all five of our incoming recruits for next season are going to be One & Done! There’s a real opportunity for some sustained success here! I know I sound like an idiot, but I have to believe this stuff, if only because I want to see these talented guys come in here. I want to see what they can do. And, not for nothing, but I’d like to see Romar rise from the ashes and prove the haters wrong, if for no other reason than I like the guy and want him to do well in his Husky career.
The bottom line is, you can’t get rid of Romar without bringing in a HUGE head coaching “get”. I’m talking, like, on the level of Mark Few or some other HUGE name. Which, for one thing, would mean not only costing the school that $3 million buy-out, but on top of that would cost however many millions of dollars more to bring in the new guy. That’s money, quite frankly, I don’t think the school has. Beyond that, there is absolutely NO WAY IN HELL a Mark Few or anyone on his level would ever come to Washington. Not without making him the highest paid coach in all of college basketball, and even then that might not be enough. Washington just isn’t a draw for top head coaching talent; I don’t care what any of you homers say. It’s not Arizona, it’s not Duke, it’s not North Carolina or UCLA or Kansas or Kentucky. Hell, it’s not even Ohio State or Louisville or Florida or Texas.
So, we’re stuck with where we are right now. It would be an unthinkable disaster to fire Romar now and lose out on all those recruits, while bringing in an “up and coming” nobody head coach. Granted, it might still be an unthinkable disaster to keep Romar and watch this team continue to flounder under his leadership, but what’s the harm? If we keep him, get the recruits and still stink, then fire him next year! What will you have lost except for a year? That “up and coming” nobody head coach will still be around next year, I assure you. We can start the big program rebuild then. I mean, shit, it’s not like we’re ever going to win a national championship anyway. The only reason you root for a team like Washington is in hopes they’ll get to the Tournament, and once in a blue moon make a deep run. But, this school is never going to have the kind of national-level talent to go all the way, so what’s the point?