Are We Entering A Golden Age Of Husky Basketball?

I did the bare minimum amount of research yesterday, which is pretty rare for me, I know.  Mostly, this is just a forum for my random bitching and hare-brained theories.  But, seeing as this is Husky Basketball Week, Monday brought us a broad recap of events in the season so far, Tuesday brought us my case for Andrew Andrews to be Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Wednesday brought us my overview on the rest of the 7-man rotation.  What else is there really to talk about?

I’m not normally one who gets his jollies by keeping informed on college recruitment.  Especially in football, but even in basketball, there’s a lot of downside to this practice.  You’ve got highly-rated players who decommit, you’ve got highly-rated players who flame out, you’ve got guys who get injured, you’ve got guys who red shirt and you don’t hear about for a full year, and on and on and on.  I couldn’t possibly imagine how one could keep his head straight with all the names and all the rankings and all the comings and all the goings.

The way I usually go about my Husky fandom is:  I glean whatever I can from Twitter and sports radio and the like – not REALLY paying attention, but sometimes certain names and such seep in – and then I wait until the games are actually played, and wait for people to stand out.  THEN, I’ll dig into them a little deeper to find out the story.  That way, there’s no surprises.  I’m not reading about an incoming recruit for six months, and then all of a sudden he decides to go play for Kentucky or something.

Did Terrence Jones ruin me on the recruitment side of college sports?  Ehh, maybe it’s for the best.

Anyway, I wanted to take a look at who the Huskies might be bringing in for future classes.  With the promise of this 2015/2016 season, and with the possibility that we can bring most of these guys back for at least a second season, I wondered if this would be a minor blip in an otherwise flatlining program, or if this could be the start of something major.

As a cool little quick reference, pull up this link and scroll down to the Basketball Recruiting Scholarship Chart.  It’s got all the guys currently on the roster, what class they’re in, and some essential facts about them when you scroll over their names.  It’s also got all the players who WOULD have been here, but transferred, or otherwise are no longer in the program.  I mean, Jesus, just look at the rest of that senior class under Andrews; what a crap sandwich!

Then, over there, to the right of the Freshmen, you get our future commits, either verbally or the regular kind, as well as the players we have offers out to (you’ll notice them in the royal blue, or also known as: “medium interest prospects”).

You’ll notice for 2016, not a lot of names.  That’s because, let’s be honest, Lorenzo Romar went hog-wild for this 2015 incoming class, so there just isn’t that much room.  We’ll lose Andrews for sure, and beyond that, you just never know who’s going to transfer (maybe guys who didn’t get the playing time they thought they were going to get; or guys looking at their futures and wondering where the minutes are going to come from with more exciting prospects on the way).

The 2016 guys with offers don’t look to be all that amazing.  But, the two guys who appear to be on their way to Washington certainly raise some eyebrows.

Sam Timmins is a 6’10, 250 pound center out of New Zealand, who looks like he could be the real deal.  He’s in for sure.  Only a 3-star prospect, but I feel like if he’s able to play right away – even off the bench at first – he’s going to REALLY help our depth among our bigs, while also help us tangle with the beefy center types on other teams (I know Arizona and Utah come immediately to mind as two teams who dominated us with their bigs, and I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting).  Pair Timmins with Dime, and you’ve got some shot-blocking maniacs.  And, if he comes in with the type of skills on the block that they’re saying he has, it shouldn’t take him long to move up the ranks of quality centers in the Pac-12.

The real find is Markelle Fultz, a 6’5, 5-star guard from the D.C. area, with no ties whatsoever to the Pacific Northwest.  I highly encourage you to read this post on what his committment means to the Husky program.  I know it’s only a verbal committment, and like Terrence Jones, he could just as easily be swayed by a last-ditch effort from a bigger program.  But, I’d like to think with the way we’ve been playing of late, and the renewed excitement for the Husky basketball program, he knows he’s coming into a good thing.

Obviously, there are downsides, like we know without a shadow of a doubt, barring injury, Fultz is a 1 & Done player, no question.  It would be a waste of breath or finger strength to try to argue otherwise.  But, the big upside here is that the Huskies are FINALLY starting to become a national player for big-name prospects.

THIS is where our patience with Lorenzo Romar has paid off, my friends.  And THIS is where our patience with all the down seasons of late has paid off.  Even though the Huskies have been struggling, Romar has still been able to mold college athletes into NBA players.  The official list can be found here, ten players in a decade – most recently C.J. Wilcox – have been drafted, with a few others here and there cracking rosters.  So, Romar has that pedigree.  Also, not for nothing, but the stability has to be pretty nice.  Romar’s in his 14th year, and to be honest, his recruiting skills are better than ever!

Also, this might be an underrated aspect that doesn’t get enough press, but I have to think that his being not only one of the few African American head coaches of a major college program, but also one of the longest-tenured African American head coaches, plays a pretty sizable role in developing relationships with some of the African American players he’s able to bring in.  That combined with the fact that, by all accounts, Lorenzo Romar is just a fantastic human being, and I think Washington offers a unique advantage over most other schools in the country.  Romar’s going to work you hard, but he’s going to reward those who buy in.  He’s not going to stand there and berate you in front of thousands.  And, probably most importantly, he’s not out there looking for the next bigger, more high-profile job.  With guys like Calipari, or some of these younger coaches who recently flipped to a bigger school, you never know when the other shoe is going to drop.  They have no loyalty to a program, and quite frankly, the programs don’t really have a loyalty to them.  If a hot young coach goes to a bigger school and struggles, how long of a leash will he have before they cut ties and move on to the next hot young coach?

With Romar, like I said, you’ve got stability.  He is Washington, and Washington is Romar.  The fact that he’s doing some of his best work, 14 years into his time here, just goes to show he still has that fire, still has that desire to be great, and to see Washington be great.  High school kids are going to pick up on that for sure.  Once that’s ingrained, then it’s just a matter of Winning Begetting Winning.  The iron is hot right now, so it’s time for the Huskies to strike.  Enter:  Markelle Fultz.

He’s an immediate replacement for the outgoing Andrew Andrews next year.  Given his pedigree, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to match the type of production Andrews has given us this season.  If Dejounte Murray sticks around for another season, with all the other players from this year carrying over, we are looking at an absolute MONSTER of a team for the 2016/2017 season.  I’m talking about the Huskies picked to be 1st in the Pac-12, with a very good chance of the Huskies being ranked in the Top 25, even as high as the Top 10!  I mean, shit, look at this lineup for next year:

  • Fultz – G
  • Murray – G
  • Thybulle – G/F
  • Chriss – F
  • Dickerson – F
  • Dime – F/C
  • Crisp – G
  • Green – G/F
  • Timmins – C
  • Dorsey – G/F

That’s a roster 10-deep, with equal measure defense and scoring.  Guys who can shoot, guys who can dribble-drive, big men who can post up, big men who can hit the mid-range jumper.  Granted, nothing is set in stone, but the hope is, if we can keep it all together, that’s the type of talent that can carry this program to the Final Four.

Where does that leave us for 2017 and beyond?  Well, we’re a way out on that, but you figure the Huskies will lose Fultz and Murray, as well as Dime (who will have exhausted his eligibility).  With the usual rash of transfers and whatnot, you might consider 2017 something of a rebuild.

But, looking back at that Verbal Commits chart, you can see we have a verbal from a 4-star recruit at guard, Daejon Davis, with a number of other offers out to various 4-star and 5-star recruits.  Given a successful couple of years, you’d have to think we’d be able to lock more and more of those types down.

Then, WAAAAY out into the 2018 incoming class, there’s an early verbal commit from Jontay Porter, a 4-star power forward, whose older brother is a 5-star small forward who has yet to commit.  Mmm hmm.  Things could get really interesting around Montlake in the coming years.

Time will tell if this is the start of something big, or if it’s another instance of getting jerked around by high hopes.  The influx of Wroten, Ross, and the like were supposed to jumpstart this thing too, and look at what happened.  But, I dunno.  This time, it feels different.  Instead of coming OH SO CLOSE to landing some of these whales, Romar is actually getting them to sign on the line which is dotted.  This could be real.  This could be spectacular.

Of course, talk to me if these verbal commits start to renege.  I’ll be the guy lowering the noose around his neck.

C.J. Wilcox Is Yet Another Husky Drafted Into The NBA Under Lorenzo Romar

Last night, with the 28th overall pick, the Los Angeles Clippers selected C.J. Wilcox, shooting guard from the University of Washington.  That makes 7 first round draft picks – and 10 draft picks overall – in the Lorenzo Romar era.

Someone with MUCH more time on their hands than myself can go around the ranks of college basketball and see where that ranks among the other head coaches out there right now.  I’m sure he’s a step or two behind Calipari and the like, but he HAS to be in the top ten of active college basketball coaches, right?

Here’s the breakdown (remember, Romar has been with us since 2002):

  • Nate Rob – 2005, first round (21st overall)
  • Brandon Roy – 2006, first round (6th overall)
  • Bobby Jones – 2006, second round (37th overall)
  • Spencer Hawes – 2007, first round (10th overall)
  • Jon Brockman – 2009, second round (38th overall)
  • Quincy Pondexter – 2010, first round (26th overall)
  • Isaiah Thomas – 2011, second round (60th overall)
  • Terrence Ross – 2012, first round (8th overall)
  • Tony Wroten – 2012, first round (25th overall)
  • C.J. Wilcox – 2014, first round (28th overall)

Anybody else remember Bobby Jones getting drafted?  Yeah, neither did I.

A lot of special players on that list.  A lot of potential that, for whatever reason, wasn’t fully realized.  Nevertheless, a good number of them are still in the league, and putting up productive careers.  I.T. has been a rock for the Kings.  T-Ross has showed flashes of greatness up in Toronto.  Q-Pon is a valued contributor for the Grizzlies.  Tony Wroten has dramatically improved his shooting touch, to go along with all of his other, more impressive qualities he featured in college.  Hawes is a solid big man who has yet to really find a home in the league.  And, of course, Nate Rob is the guy who won’t say die.

Lorenzo Romar has been living life on the hot seat the last couple years.  His gift is his curse:  he helped Husky fans grow accustomed to contending for Pac-10/12 championships and reaching the NCAA Tournament on an almost-yearly basis.  We didn’t have NEARLY the kind of success we’ve had recently, prior to Romar … you have to go back to the mid 80s, and then back again to the God damned 40’s & 50’s!  Now that we’re three seasons removed from the Tourney, the same guy who elevated the program is seeing himself torn down by the fans and in the press.

And yet, he can sit here and point to the fact that he has had ten players drafted into The League.  And a few more undrafted guys have had cups of coffee.  On an almost-yearly basis, we’ve seen another Husky infiltrate the league.  And, if they manage to stay healthy, the Romar kids generally produce at a high level, while remaining hard working and incredibly easy to coach.  Lorenzo Romar’s basketball legacy is out there, doing great things, and C.J. Wilcox continues the trend.

Wilcox is the greatest shooter we’ve ever seen.  It’s just too bad we couldn’t get a team around him that was competitive.  When I saw that he was drafted by the Clippers, I couldn’t have been happier.  For starters, because he’s not playing for OKC.  But, more importantly, because he’s on a good team that’s still on the rise, with a good head coach, and now a good owner who will hopefully do what it takes to win.  It’ll be nice to hear sporadic great things about Wilcox when he does well in the years ahead.  Here’s to hoping he’s the piece that pushes the Clippers over the top.

What’s Got Me Down About Seattle Sports NOW?

We’ve got a big ol’ Pity Party Alert on this one, so if you’re not in the mood – if, indeed, you’re still reveling in the bounty that is the Seattle Seahawks:  Best Team In All Of Football – then you may want to take a step back from this and wait for a post that’s a little more uplifting (it’ll be here bright and early tomorrow morning).

Truth be told, I have no reason whatsoever to be complaining.  Without a doubt, I would settle for losing seasons out of every other one of the teams I root for if it meant the Seahawks won it all.  But, let’s just assume for a minute that I’m a rational human being who realizes that karma isn’t a thing that exists and superstitions are as pointless as a pencil with no sharpener (get it … point-less? … zing!).  If you take away the Seahawks, what are we left with?

  • Another brand-new NBA season with no NBA franchise in Seattle
  • A college football team whose head coach just abandoned it for another team in the same conference (who will likely take away all of his assistant coaches and primary recruiters)
  • A college basketball team that struggles to beat the worst teams on its non-conference schedule
  • A total disaster of a baseball franchise who couldn’t bring in quality players even if they spent Yankees or Dodgers money

THIS IS DEPRESSING AS SHIT!

Just to expand on these points, it was what – less than a year ago to be sure – that we were looking forward to the Sacramento Kings playing ball in KeyArena at this point.  The investors were set, the MOU was in place, the team was for sale, the offer was accepted … everything was in place.  Then, the NBA came in and butt-fucked us and left us sitting around waiting for Someday.  It’s always fucking Someday.  Seattle’s been waiting for Someday since I’ve fucking been born!

But, you know, this is now the fifth season I’ve lived without the NBA.  It’s really not so bad.  It’s not ideal, of course, but there’s usually something else going on.

Like … College Basketball!  Except, oh wait, the Huskies are terrible.  And, let’s face it, even if they were good, they still wouldn’t be anything to write home about.  They’re never going to be Duke or North Carolina or Michigan.  But, at least if they were good, we’d have something compelling to watch for the next few months!  Something to tide us over until baseball season …

Oh, wait.

You guys, I hate to break it to you, but the secret is out:  everyone knows how inept the Mariners organization is!  I always get a kick out of these pundits and insiders who say they’re envious of the position the Mariners are in right now.  Low payroll, young, “talented” roster, good farm system, new local TV deal that should pump millions upon millions into the team, beautiful stadium that’s been made more neutral for hitters, the only long-term deal being Felix Hernandez.  Why, we’re the belle of the fucking ball!  Any manager or GM would be ELATED to get a job with the Mariners!  To get a chance to run this organization into the ground further than it already is, to help mold these young players into superstars … I’m sure people were lining up around the block!  Trampling their fellow man like they were headed for the doorbuster of all doorbusters!  How these other GMs weren’t quitting their jobs at just the CHANCE to interview with the Seattle Mariners, I have no fucking idea!

And yet, somehow this fucking message never reached the free agents.  We have ALL this money to spend, we have our hands in seemingly every free agent’s jock trying to convince him to sign with Seattle … and yet, no one will come.  WEIRD, I KNOW!  It’s like, didn’t you get the memo?  The Mariners are on the rise!  Pay no mind to all those 90-loss seasons behind the curtain, though.  Or the fact that our last manager wouldn’t touch us with a 100-mile pole.  Just take our truck-fuls of cash and be happy!

Of course, the Mariners won’t go oh-fer the winter.  After all, Willie Fucking Bloomquist is back!  Two year deal!  WOOOO HOOOO MOTHERFUCKERS!  And, as soon as we over-pay Nelson Cruz to play 80 games a year (surrounded by a handful of DL stints), we’ll be all set.

Because the Mariners won’t get the A-Listers, we’ll have to settle for the D-Listers.  The guys who are over-the-hill, who were last good two or three years ago, who haven’t played injury-free at any point in recent history.  The Mariners – like they always do – will Febreze a few turds nobody else wants and try to pass it off that Someday could be closer than we think.  How many times have we heard that story before?

Then again, I guess we should be used to the greats not wanting to come to Seattle.  We can’t even get our home-grown Favorite Sons to return!  Jim Mora Jr., by all accounts, has signed a big, fat extension with the Bruins to stay as far a-fucking-way from the University of Washington as possible.  I’m not saying Mora would guarantee a return to the glory days, but it says quite a lot that we can’t even lure a guy over here when this job is ostensibly his “dream job” (per a radio interview while he was still coaching the Atlanta Falcons way back in the day).

Do you know how rejected that makes me feel?  I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if you’re a fan of some (or all) of these teams, and you hear that they’re struggling to bring in quality players and/or coaches, doesn’t it just feel like a huge slap in the face?  What does it mean when you can’t even OVER-PAY these guys to come here?

College is kind of a fucked institution anyway, but then again, if a place like Eugene can attract the cream of the football crop, why couldn’t Seattle?  Shit, weed is actually LEGAL here!  You’re telling me we can’t use that to our advantage somehow?  All we need is one great coach, with a great offensive mind, who has a scheme that no one else can stop.  A great scheme can make up for a lack of talent, and when it does, eventually it’ll attract that talent!  Then, you’ve really got something!

But, of course, the Huskies will probably go after some re-tread.  Thinking that we’ve made enough progress in the last five years that all it’ll take is some know-it-all head coach to put everything together (when all the while, we’ll slowly revert back to our also-ran ways).

In basketball, get ready, because a house-cleaning is coming.  If last season didn’t bring about Romar’s firing, then surely this will be the year.  At this point, I’m such a broken, beaten man that I don’t even care anymore.  Maybe we’ll hit the lottery and find the next John Calipari or something.  Of course, you know the odds of winning any lottery …

And as for the Mariners, not even the promise of seeing Felix pitch 30+ times can get me excited for this team anymore.  It’s all so fucked, I can’t even see straight.

Thank holy hell that we have the Seahawks.  We may only get to enjoy them for three hours a week, and there may only be two months left of the season (including playoffs), but by gar at least it’s something!

Don’t Be Stupid: The Huskies Should Never Fire Lorenzo Romar

This link was brought to my attention over the holidays thanks to Percy Allen’s blog.  I’ve been a little too under the weather to properly rage against this moron.  But, as I sit under a pile of snotty tissues, next to a bottomless glass of orange juice, I think I’m ready to give this asinine notion the respect it deserves.

Which is quite the shame, because this is the kind of opinionated, lack-of-facts, straight-from-the-gut type of blogging I tend to respect.  I don’t need a blog to tell me the fucking news stories of the day!  I want to know what you THINK!

Of course, this guy who writes for Rant Sports (seriously, who’s ever heard of Rant Sports?  Come on!  This gets picked up by the Seattle Times Husky Basketball Blog?), he’s entirely off-base.

Here, let me cherry-pick some of the stupidest lines:

The school itself has some of the best facilities in the conference and have a decent history. This isn’t some middling FCS program trying to go big time.

OK, first of all, these facilities were a JOKE before Romar got here.  You know why the school was able to improve those facilities?  Through Romar’s success.

Also?  “A decent history”?  You’re joking, right?  What history would that be?  You mean the TEN times we made it into the NCAA Tournament?  You mean that ONE time we made it to a Final Four?  I’ve known some middling programs in my day; the Washington Huskies before Romar were BOTTOM-FEEDERS.  Get your head out of Bob Bender’s ass, his teams weren’t that sweet either.

For the record, while the Huskies pre-Romar went to 10 total NCAA Tournaments in however many DECADES of existence, the Huskies with Romar have gone to the Tourney 6 times in 10 seasons.  Pretty fucking okay?  Pretty fucking okay.  Moving on.

Last year, he had two first round NBA draft picks and still couldn’t make the NCAA tournament. His teams racked up gaudy win numbers against the mediocre PAC-12 but were left out because they couldn’t win any of their big non conference games. Romar was part of the reason.

So, he had two first round picks in the NBA draft.  Let’s start with that nugget of information.  How many other schools had more than one player taken in the first round last year?  Let’s see, there was Kentucky, UConn, North Carolina, Syracuse, Duke, and Vanderbilt.  Now, if you ask my opinion, I’m going to tell you those are PROBABLY some of the best basketball programs in the fucking WORLD.  Again, just one man’s opinion.  But to have multiple first round picks come to your school at the same time … that’s pretty fucking impressive.  And, not for nothing, but Terrence Ross didn’t come out of high school a polished diamond.  It took him a year to get his feet wet.  A year of experience in Romar’s program.

But, you’re right.  Couldn’t make the NCAA Tournament.  Although, it’s not exactly our fault that the Pac-12 was at its lowest point in the conference’s history.  When you’ve got to try and bank on a small handful of non-conference games against quality opposition, you’re going to be at a disadvantage come At-Large time.  RPI is a bitch, know what I’m sayin’?

Still, I wouldn’t say Romar was the problem, at all.  He consistently, year after year, gets the very BEST out of his players.  Oftentimes, players other schools wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.  He doesn’t create the schedule.  He just gets his teams ready to compete.

Year in and year out, he’s one of the worst “X and O’s” coaches in college basketball.

I can’t argue with that.  Not because he’s right, but because it’s an impossible argument to prove.  Are you sitting there, watching every game at every school in ALL of college basketball?  Are you tracking the plays every single coach runs throughout the country?  You must have the best college basketball cable package in the known universe and one of the best time machines ever created.  Saying Romar is “one of the worst X and O’s coaches in college basketball” is like saying Uncle Rico’s tape is pretty much the worst video ever made.  Like anyone could even know that!

He’s survived solely on athletes and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Oh?  You mean like all those “athletes” on Kentucky, UConn, North Carolina, Syracuse, Duke, and Vanderbilt?  THOSE athletes?  Those athletes that every great basketball program needs to succeed?  Good programs have athletes, everybody!  It’s a fact of life!  Talented players who can run fast, jump high, and shoot basketballs.  Hell, it’s almost like Lorenzo Romar is trying to build a basketball program or something!

This year’s roster includes highly rated players in Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox.

Highly rated?  In what universe, exactly?  I know Abdul Gaddy was highly-rated coming out of high school, but he’s largely been a disappointment.  I wouldn’t blame Romar for that, though.  Romar has done the best he can with a kid who just isn’t elite.  It happens.  Sometimes the blue-chip, 4-star athletes don’t pan out.  Then again, this writer has something against athletes, so maybe that’s part of the problem?  As for Suggs and Wilcox, they are spot-up shooters at best.  They are role players being forced into a situation where they have to be stars; it’s a bad combo.

I will readily admit, this 2012/2013 team is not good.  This is certainly a down-year in every sense of the phrase.  The Huskies have no one who can post-up, the Huskies have no one who can drive the lane and score, the Huskies have no one who can consistently get to the free throw line (except Aziz, and he’s one of the worst free throw shooters in the country).  This team is a trainwreck!  It’s the same reason why the Pac-12/Pac-10 has been a trainwreck for the last few years:  all the talent has fled to the NBA.  The coffers are barren!  But, by all accounts, reinforcements are on the way.  Look out, though, the reinforcements might be … *shudder* … athletes!

Longtime head coach Lorenzo Romar is still living pretty on the Brandon Roy-Nate Robinson days. Problem is, this is 2012, and his team is going nowhere. The time is now for the Huskies to make a change at the top.

You’ve got me there.  Those Brandon Roy/Nate Rob days were pretty fucking glorious.  But, I would think if you’re going to bash Romar about ANYTHING, isn’t it pretty obvious where he has failed this University?  How about the fact that he has yet to get beyond the Sweet 16, in spite of the fact that he had some pretty fucking good teams back in those glory days?

Of course, I would argue some of his more recent teams (with Brockman and Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter) were pretty glorious too.  Again, he’s leading this university in NCAA Tourney appearances (good), but he’s not getting past the first game of the second weekend (bad).  There’s your free shot at Romar and you blew it!

I will say this again:  the Washington Huskies are not a nationally elite program.  The fact that Lorenzo Romar has brought in ANY of the talent he’s brought in is a testament to his abilities as a recruiter.  You come to Seattle, coach for a school with no history, and try to get 17 and 18 year old kids to come here from California and Florida and the Midwest!  When there are so many other schools (like those listed earlier, and like many others NOT listed) – even in our own conference – who are more desirable for their track record, their location, and their chances to make the NBA.  You let me know how you do!

Now, CAN the Washington Huskies be a nationally elite program?  Sure they can.  It’s going to take more than the recent decade of success, though.  It’s going to take many, many decades of success.  You know how you get that success?  Continuity.  What do some of the greatest schools of all time have in common?  Duke, Syracuse, UConn, North Carolina, Arizona for a while there … they all had or have head coaches who were with them FOREVER.  Those universities committed to their elite head coaches because they believed in what those men were trying to build.  They didn’t rip everything apart thanks to a down year here and there.  They waited.  They let their legendary head coaches work.  And in the end, they’ve been rewarded handsomely.

You know what the biggest problem is in sports?  Impatience.  When you have a great thing going – especially in college – you ride it out for as long as possible.  Oh, you’re upset that some other schools or professional teams might be sniffing around Coach Romar?

Finally, loyalty is a two way street. While the university signed him to a 10 year contract two seasons ago he has still flirted with the idea of leaving. The Illinois Fighting Illini and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were supposedly interested. I call his bluff and let him go.

Really?  You’d let him go, huh?  Before I get ahead of myself, just because someone else gives you a job offer (or even hints at a job offer) doesn’t mean you’re not loyal.  By the way, has Romar ACCEPTED any of these job offers?  If my understanding of basic logic is worth anything, I would venture a guess that he has not.  And therefore, Romar has been VERY loyal to this university.

I, for one, want other schools and professional teams after my head coach.  That means he’s doing a good job.  My biggest nightmare is the day some NFL team hires Steve Sarkisian away from the Husky football team.

It’s called “building a program” for a reason.  If you fire a local legend, only to replace him with some “up and coming young coach”, you’re not building anything.  You’re tearing everything down only to RE-build all over again.  That’s dumb.  Let Romar do his thing.  You’ll feel like a fool when he starts getting some real results.

Look back at all the players Romar has gotten into the NBA.  All the players who have improved from absolute DISASTERS when they were Freshman, to all-conference players as Seniors.  Brockman, Pondexter, Thomas, MBA; hell, look at where Brandon Roy was when he started vs. where he was when he finished!  Improvement, across the board.  Players enter the University of Washington as unmolded blobs of clay.  Nothing but swinging-dick athletes who are nothing but raw.  Lorenzo Romar molds them into stars.  He consistently challenges the best teams in the Pac-10/12 and finds the Huskies near the top more often than near the bottom.  If that’s not a great head coach, then I’ve got some news for you.

Not that I would ever advocate for what I’m about to say, but if you’re going to fire Lorenzo Romar just to bring in someone fresh, you don’t do it for some “up and coming young coach”.  You do it for John Calipari or Rick Pitino, or even Baylor head coach Scott Drew (who probably would’ve been the hottest head coaching commodity before the latest scandals).  You want to go that extra mile?  Sometimes, you gotta get your hands dirty.  How many schools has Calipari left in his wake with all his violations?  Is that what you’re after?  Because that’s probably what it would take if you decide to fire Romar.

My opinion:  you stick with Romar.  The man has earned a little confidence.  One bad season isn’t worth throwing away your entire program.  Let the man do his thing.

Suck It Kentucky Wildcats

Sour grapesmuch?

I’m not gonna blow this one out too much, but I thought I’d take a moment to revel in Kentucky’s failure.  After all, since my teams never actually WIN anything, the next best thing is to take delight in watching teams that I hate lose.  Of course, what bigger stage could there be to lose on than the Final Four (except MAYBE the BCS Championship game … suck it Ducks).

Let’s face it, Kentucky already has an advantage over most other teams because they cheat.  They (read:  John Calipari) break NCAA rules, they steal players who’ve committed to other teams, and they don’t really build a solid foundation of a program because they just reload with One-And-Done players every year.  They’re pathetic, and they don’t deserve to win a damn thing.

They NEEDED to lose.  Kentucky winning a championship is just another thing they can point to when they’re trying to steal recruits who’ve verbally committed to other schools.  As it is, it sickens me that they made it as far as the Final Four, but you know what?  The further you go, the farther you fall.

Losing on Saturday must have been simply heartbreaking, wasn’t it Kentucky?  Believing you had a team good enough to go all the way, getting OH SO CLOSE, and then choking at the end.  Boy, that must have been totally ruining your night, huh?

HA.  Fuck you Wildcats and Wildcats fans.  That goes for you too Arizona.  GLAD you lost too.

Now Terrence Jones can go off and make millions of dollars knowing he was a loser in his college basketball “career”.

We’re Lucky We Have Romar

Once the dust settles and the mourning stops, there’s going to be a central theme the media hits on for about a day or two.  It’s the same every year.  Newspaper columnists, desperate for something “shocking” or “controversial” to get their names on people’s minds, will write the obligatory, “Lorenzo Romar Can’t Get Past The Sweet 16” article.  Steve Kelly seems like a likely choice for such drivel.  Maybe he’ll even go so far as to call for Romar’s ouster, citing a need for a REAL bigtime head coach to get us past the hump of so-so-ness.

Well, yeah, I guess it would be nice if we had a John Calipari type guy ready and willing to move all the way to Seattle, bringing in all the nation’s top recruits by any slimy means necessary.  But, you know what?  I’m going to issue to the Steve Kelly’s of the world a pre-emptive Fuck Off!

Look, this is Seattle.  In the grand scheme of sporting things, we underachieve.  Losing in the Round of 32 is a nice microcosm of what Seattle Sports is all about.  Good enough to sometimes make the Tourney, but not so good that we’re going to do any REAL damage (see:  the Seahawks in this year’s NFL playoffs).

But, you know what?  In the grand scheme of Husky Basketball things?  We’re vastly VASTLY over-achieving.  And to fire someone simply because he hasn’t won a game in the Sweet 16 round is pretty ridiculous.  Remember where we were before Romar took over!  Look at the local coaching tree we’ve got with Seattle U and Wazzu both taking desciples.  Consider, if you will, the fun-to-watch, up-and-down pace Romar employs.  This IS a winning style of basketball.  It’s just unfortunate that we’ve always had flaws.

The fact of the matter is, we’re a better team when we DON’T have outside shooters.  We’re more steady in our offense because we’re attacking the rim and sending multiple guys after offensive rebounds.  Even without a real strong 3-point threat last year, we were still one of the highest scoring teams in the nation.  BUT, we didn’t quite have the bigs to bang down low and it cost us in a tough Sweet 16 matchup.

This year, we did have the shooters, but it’s the same deal.  Our bigs weren’t nearly as good as their bigs yesterday.  A byproduct of Romar’s style of play, I think, is that we absolutely do NOT feature the big man.  We DON’T feed the post time after time.  If you’re a highly-touted big man, why would you necessarily want to come here?  When Arizona is much more well-equipped to feature your talents more exclusively.

It’s a shame.  Because if we had ONE guy with even half the skills of a Derrick Williams on the team yesterday, maybe we wouldn’t have had to look at the bevy of missed lay-ins by You Know Who.

What those kids need to realize is, once you get ON our team, Romar’s the best coach you could ever hope for.  He’s taken mediocre teams and made them good; taken good teams and made them great.  He’s a guy who’s ALWAYS going to coach UP his basketball team, round them into shape come playoff time, and make sure you go into any situation with the appropriate game plan.  With the way UNC was playing yesterday, we had no business being anywhere NEAR winning that game.  But, under Romar, we kept it close all day.

An elite big man will always be an elite big man, even on a team like Washington.  You will still get your numbers if you come here, and you’ll get a chance to win.  With the elite-level guard talent we pull year after year after year, what more could you ask for?

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.