It’s incredibly difficult to keep up with all of this, but I’m going to try my damnedest to give a recap.
So, remember all that excitement when the Huskies hired Mike Hopkins away from Syracuse and we thought we were getting someone with the potential to be special? Well, I hope there’s some magic in that old silk hat he found, because the Huskies are hemorrhaging players, prospects, and even prospective assistant coaching candidates, with no relief in sight! Where do I even begin?
Jason Hart, an assistant at USC many believed would be coming over with Hopkins, decided to stay in Southern California (probably with a hefty raise attached to his contract), so there goes our California recruiting connection. Instead, the Huskies were able to hire unemployed Cameron Dollar – fresh off being fired by Seattle U for 8 years of head coaching mediocrity – so I guess that gives us maybe an “In” with the Seattle-area high schools. You know, in case Will Conroy wasn’t enough.
Know that I’m writing this tight-lipped and a little bit annoyed: we fired Romar … then we hired one of his top assistants from back in the Romar glory days? If the idea is We Need To Make A Change, how exactly is Dollar bringing about this change?
It’s obviously not helping us keep the players we have on roster, nor the recruits we tabbed coming in our 2017 class! The Huskies have officially lost 4 of the 5 recruits from our best-ever recruiting class, as Michael Porter Jr., Daejon Davis, Blake Harris, and Mamoudou Diarra have all de-committed/asked to be released from their LOI. On top of that, reserve big man Matthew Atewe and starting big man Noah Dickerson have both decided they’re going to transfer, which ultimately leaves the Husky program in shambles heading into the 2017/2018 season.
On the bright side, we’ve got re-commits from the likes of David Crisp, Dominic Green, Carlos Johnson, and Matisse Thybulle, which I guess is better than nothing. No word yet from Sam Timmins, Dan Kingma, or Devenir Duruisseau, but if you’re like me, you forgot Devenir Duruisseau was even on the roster (I thought he transferred ages ago!). And, also, no word on potential incoming recruit Jaylen Nowell, but it fucking feels like only a matter of time before he asks for his release as well.
There might be a couple of other guys on the roster, walk-ons or whatnot, but they’re not important. By my count, that’s 7 guys returning and 1 guy from our incoming Freshman class (for now). Considering how late it is in the recruiting period, and considering the coaching staff isn’t even fully formed yet, I don’t know what we’re supposed to expect out of the Huskies come this fall, but get ready for an overwhelmingly last place finish!
Even if we were able to keep Dickerson, Atewe, and just the two local recruits, next season would’ve been a struggle. But this is insanity times! I hate to say I told you so, but this is what happens when you fire a head coach that’s this beloved. When you sign on to join a university – particularly in basketball, because they’re such a close-knit unit – you sign because of a coach, not the school. These guys signed on to play for Lorenzo Romar, not the University of Washington, for better or for worse.
I shudder to think of what this will mean for the program going forward. I mean, if you thought last year was bad, get a load of 2018! If you thought we bottomed out before, you ain’t seen nothing yet! So, on top of having the stink of being the worst Pac-12 basketball team next year, we’ve got the stink of a school that fired a beloved, long-term head coach. So, you know, not for nothing but we all better hope Mike Hopkins can coach his ass off, or this year of “growing pains” or whatever could build into an entire tenure of utter humiliation.
Fancy that, it’s like Washington ISN’T a destination program for college basketball or something! Weird!