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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Top Dawg

With the verbal commitment of Seattle Prep's Spencer Hawes last week, Head Coach Lorenzo Romar solidified the fact that he is the University of Washington's Top Dawg on campus!

With the success of last years run and number 1 seed in the tournament,

Lorenzo Romar seemed to say to us all that Husky basketball was on the rise. But we have been duped before into thinking that long time success was right around the corner. When the Huskies hired Bob Bender away from Illinois State in the early 90's, we were promised a new regime, out with the old and in with the new. And except for a great play by UConn's Richard Hamilton, our beloved Huskies may have been playing in the Final Four. But Bobby couldn't make it happen. He began to be criticized for not keeping the local talent and letting the likes of Michael Dickerson, Jason Terry, and Luke Ridnour go to rival Pac-10 schools. So out with Bobby. Insert Romar.

Interestingly enough, Coach Romar wasn't even the school's first choice. Maybe local hero Quinn Snyder would take the job? He had local roots and the Duke pedigree to his name. But he declined and decided to stay at Missouri. Well what about cross state success Mark Few? Gonzaga couldn't possibly continue to be good and the lure of the of being in the Pac-10 might just be enough. Sadly, he too turned us down. So then lets look at Don Monson, the former Zag and current Gopher. Maybe he would take us to the promised land! And lo and behold he took the job. Great for the Huskies and a return of a successful coach to the northwest. But something just wasn't right and before he could schedule his press conference to say yes to the UW, he was saying yes, again, to the University of Minnesota. So Barbara Hedges turned to what appeared as her 4th choice, former Husky Romar. What he has done in 3 short years is turn a football crazy school into one of the top PROGRAMS in the nation. Last year he lands a top twenty class headlined by the commitments of Martell Webster and Jon Brockman. Even though Martell went pro, he still saw enough in Romar to say yes to the Huskies. Now he has just backed up last years class with what many say is the best or 2nd best class in the country. Pac 10 Champs, #1 seed in the tourney and another top recruiting class. Not bad for 4th choice?

List of Romar's Recruiting classes

Bobby Jones - California
Nate Robinson - Rainer Beach, Wa
Brandon Roy - Garfield, Wa

Hakeem Rollins - JC - Arizona
Hans Gasser - Issaquah, Wa
Tre Simmons - Garfield, Wa

Zach Johnson - California
Joel Smith - Prep School

Joe Wolfinger - Aloha, Or
Martell Webster - Seattle Prep, Wa
John Brockman - Snohomish, Wa
Justin Dentmon - Illinois
Harvey Perry - Nevada
Roburt Sallie - Prep School
Artem Wallace - Toledo, Wa

Spencer Hawes - Seattle Prep, Wa
Phil Nelson - Kaizer, Or
Quincy Pondexter - California
Adrian Oliver - California

Zoom on...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Husky Hope-ful

Despite having their butts handed to them in a take-out box by Cal and having their hearts torn from their chests by both Air Force and UCLA, there are reasons to be happy in Husky-Land. Good things are happening, and I'm not just talking about "moral victories." Consier the following:

1. Washington football is taking on a new image. A program marked by scandal and deception is showing signs of integrity. Shelton Sampson's departure earlier this week would undoubtedly have raised some eyebrows during the Neuheisel regime. But the new image, inspired by coach Tyrone Willingham, is a welcome change. Willingham's comment on Sampson's exit? "The good news is hopefully he will stay [in school] and get his degree."

2. The kids are buying in. Willingham has been urging the team to practice with excellence. Not only are players articulating this in interviews and press conferences, it's showing up on the field. A Washington team that had no business being on the same field as UCLA gave them a legitimate scare and proved that strides are being made on both sides of the football, especially in the running game.

3. Isaiah Stanback is becoming a solid quarterback. Husky coaches believe in Stanback and are developing him as both a player and a leader. He's always had a great arm, good feet, and an intelligent mind. For the first time in his career, he's starting to put it all together. More importantly, he's not making the types of mistakes that cost teams games.

4. The '06 recruiting class is shaping up nicely. Jake Locker, the 57th rated player on Rivals.com's top list, is the leading quarterback prospect on the West Coast and has already made a verbal commitment to Washington. Other four-star prospects committing to the Huskies are running back James Montgomery and defensive tackle Cameron Elisara.

5. The Huskies have the weekend off. With games looming against Oregon, USC, and Arizona State, there's no break in the forseeable future. The bye week can only help as Washington prepares for this nasty three week stretch.

Don't get me wrong. The Huskies are still a couple seasons away from getting back to the top of the heap in the Pac-10. But things are moving in the right direction.
Zoom on...