Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Huskies land two four-star recruit WR's and OL Brostek

By  Kshell

The Washington Huskies recruiting class was looking like a disaster with 48 hours to go until the official signing day begins. Now Steve Sarkisian is looking like the man as his staff is closing the deal on some big time recruits. Sarkisian isn't a dumb individual was hearing the critism about his defense and recruiting. He made some changes on his staff to help out with both. The main hires were defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi who is regarded as the top recruiter on the west coast. Lupoi has lived up to his billing as the Huskies who were ranked 46th on scout.com just 27 hours ago are now ranked 19th in the country(were 9th in Pac-12 now 3rd) while the California Golden Bears who once had a top five recruiting class as of four days ago now sit at 42nd in the nation good for 9th in the conference.

In keeping up with last night the Huskies landed four-star Jordan Payton. Payton is the 15th rated wide receiver who like Shaq Thompson was a California Golden Bears commit at the Army All-American game. Like Thompson he followed Lupoi to Washington. Payton who played at Nick Montana's and Erik Kohler's old high school Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California is your prototypical Sarkisian receiver as he is 6'2" 205 pounds. Payton chose the Huskies over Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State and of course California. Payton really enjoyed his visit up to Seattle a few weeks ago during the basketball game against Stanford the student body even started to chant to his name. Huskies sophomore soon to be junior quarterback Keith Price showed him around. Having Price back for two more years and with Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar graduating being a wide receiver in this offense was an easy sell for Sarkisian. Payton will try to crack into the rotation that will already feature Kasen Williams(5 star), James Johnson(3 star), Kevin Smith(4 star) and Cody Bruns(4 star). Not mention the Huskies also landed a four-star wide receiver later on in the day. With Payton the Huskies have a terrific receiver from a high school they are starting to develope a nice pipeline with.

Sarkisian followed up the signing of Payton with Shane Brostek. Brostek is a three star recruit and 71st offensive guard in the country. He is from Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, Hawaii. He is also the son of former Husky great Ber Brostek who also played in the NFL. Brostek is the fourth offensive lineman to commit to the Huskies this year. The Huskies beat out Colorado, UCLA, home state Hawaii and the Oregon Ducks for him. Brostek is a big body standing at 6'3" 300 pounds. He'll fit in with Jake Eldrenkamp of Bellevue High School. Eldrenkamp also a three star recruit is the 60th rated guard in the country. Eldrenkamp is 6'5" and weighs 295 pounds. He chose the Huskies over Yale, Brown, Utah, Purdue, Oregon State and cross state rival Washington State Cougars. Although Sarkisian missed on the two big in state offensive lineman he is doing a decent job of getting lineman in the program. The day wasn't over yet for Sarkisian who pulled off the hat trick of recruits a day before the big national signing day.

The final snag for Sarkisian was four-star wide receiver Jaydon Mickens who had originally committed to the USC Trojans. Mickens is the 46th rated wide receiver in the nation but stands only 5'9" 175 pounds. Mickens who is electric speed with the ball comes from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California. Mickens had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Hawaii, SMU, UCLA and USC. For his hat announcment it was down to Washington, Washington State and Oklahoma State. He immediately faked putting on the Cougars hat then tossed it away before choosing the Huskies hat. For Keith Price his head coach just gained him two four-star wide receivers in the same day which has to make him happy. The Huskies will be loaded at the wide receiver spot in this upcoming season and beyond.

These last 24 hours has to feel special for Sarkisian as people including myself were doubting his recruiting ability. Now it appears Sarkisian will have his third straight ranked recruiting class something the Huskies haven't done since the early part of the 2000's which was also the last time they were a bowl team. The Huskies sitll have five scholarships left meaning Sarkisian still has some tricks up his sleeve to pull in some other big recruits who suddenly decommitt from a rival school. Last few years people have questioned Sarkisian's closing ability on recruits(This wasn't me actually try Dawgman and Jim Lambright) well I think he has proven that myth to be false. Whether it is actually Sarkisian or Lupoi doesn't matter. As head coach you receive the blame when things go wrong on your staff you also receive praise when things go right as well. For Sarkisian this was about as good of a 24 hour stretch any coach could have had in the offseason.

Huskies land #1 safety in country Shaq Thompson!

By Kshell

In sports one player can truly make the difference in the perception of your team. That point was further proven tonight when Grant Union High School star Shaq Thompson tweeted he was going to the Washington Huskies. On the same day the Huskies recruiting hit rock bottom in the Sarkisian era as they landed just one of five recruits in state the Huskies landed the biggest recruit since Reggie Williams. Shaq Thompson is a five star safety from out of state(Sacramento, California) who is the #1 ranked safety in the nation. He is also the #3 overall player in the entire country. For Sarkisian this is the third five star recruit he has landed in the last two years. For the Huskies they moved up from 46th to 34th in the country according to scout.com and moved up to 26th according to rivals. com. The Huskies aren't done recruiting yet as they plan to steal another highly recruited player from the California Golden Bears four star wide receiver Jordan Payton. The California Golden Bears who once had a top five class in the country have lost the #2 and #3 overall players in the country in a span of 36 hours to conference foes. This move for Sarkisian was a giant move for this recruiting class as he still has one more day to land some key kids.

The Huskies are landing the #1 safety in the country from out of state which is very significant. Thompson who was originally a Golden Bear commit chose the Huskies over the Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Florida Gators, Arizona State Sun Devils, Oregon Ducks and of course the California Golden Bears. Thompson is a great athlete who can play both safety positions as well as both corner positions. He can and will play some receiver/running back this season too so expect some trick plays with Thompson. Thompson is electric in the open field so expect him to return kicks and when he has an interception he is looking to score. Thompson will also play baseball like another Huskies safety who was a legend Lawyer Milloy. Thompson along with teammates Sean Parker and James Sample(Thompson's cousin) form a great trio of safeties for the Huskies bringing them back to the days of Safety U.

There was a time when the Huskies were safety university starting with Shane Pahukoa and highly recruited Tommie Smith from California. That tandem helped the Huskies to three Rose Bowls and a national championship. Following that terrific tandem was the greatest safety in Huskies history Lawyer Milloy who was first team all pac-10 twice and an all-american. Milloy like Thompson also played baseball and led the team in tackles in 1994 and 1995. Milloy would go on to the NFL where he won a super bowl and made several Pro Bowl appearances. In fact Milloy on twitter was very influential in landing Thompson as those two were tweeting back and forth. Following up Milloy was another future NFL player in Tony Parish who was also first team all Pac-10 as well. After Parish the Huskies enjoyed the tandem of Hakim Akbar and the late Curtis Williams who helped the Huskies earn a Rose Bowl title in 2000. After that there was a drop off until 2006 when C.J. Wallace was named first team all Pac-10 and eventually made the NFL. The Huskies now with Parker, Sample and Thompson are returning back to that era of greatness with the safety play. Milloy wasn't the only one who recruited Thompson hard. Instead the man that athletic director Scott Woodward paid a lot of money towards came through right off the bat.

After the defense let the Huskies down in the Alamo Bowl Sarkisian and Woodward recognized changes needed to be made. They hired former Oregon Ducks players Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon as coaches. Then the Huskies stole former California coach and player Tosh Lupoi to their staff. Lupoi was named the recruiter of the year in 2010 and was a big reason why the Golden Bears had a top five recruiting class. The Huskies finished second on Thompson originally to California but when hiring Wilcox(coached Thompson's brother) and Lupoi(played with Thompson's brother and is very close to Thompson) that changed everything. Lupoi is a big reason why many expect the Huskies to land four star wide receiver Jordan Payton tomorrow. Lupoi has been on the job less than a month and has already made an impact on this recruiting class. As CEO of this program Sarkisian deserves a lot of credit as well for scouting out Lupoi. Woodward who is basically the owner of this program spent enough money to convince Lupoi to leave his alma matter for Washington. Lupoi will truly make his name with the Huskies next season when he has a whole season to recruit. Remember this year the Golden Bears were ranked in the top five then Lupoi leaves and they are now ranked 33rd while Washington is up to 34th. Lupoi is the Mariano Rivera of this staff which is what they needed. The knock on Sarkisian is that he can get guys interested in the Huskies that the Huskies have no business being in the running for but can't close. Well he has his closer now so look out Pac-12 here comes the Dawgs!

This was a huge land by the Sarkisian staff on the same day he lost out on Banner. Tomorrow's headlines won't care about losing out on Banner as Sarkisian went out of state and landed a top five player in the nation to decommit and come to Washington. For the third straight year now it is looking like the Huskies will have a ranked recruiting class. Unlike last two years where Sarkisian wrapped up the classes early this year was at the very last second and there are more recruits to be had in the next 48 hours. Sarkisian stepped up and replaced his staff admitting he couldn't do it alone. Whether Lupoi or Sarkisian landed Thompson doesn't matter. What matters is the Huskies got a premiere defensive player for the first time in a very long time. Recruiting matters and the Huskies just knocked one out of the ball park with two outs in the ninth inning when everyone had counted them out for the dead this recruiting season including myself.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What happened to the fence Sark?

By Kshell

When Steve Sarkisian became the head coach of the Washington Huskies he promised to keep a fence around the state of Washington. During the 2010 and 2011 recruiting seasons Sarkisian did a good job upholding that promise as he kept 9 of 11 blue chip recruits here at Washington. Last year he was a perfect six for six showing that he had put up a fence. Then this year happened and someone busted that fence down as this state produced five blue chip players. The Huskies will only land one of those five. Sarkisian's fence is no longer up anymore showing a changing of the times. Not even during the Tyrone Willingham days did the Huskies recruit this poorly in state. Sarkisian who is known for being a good recruiter struck out on this state and has his work cut out for him in the next 36 hours.

The state of Washington had five blue chip recruits with Joshua Garnett(5 star recruit, #3 guard in the nation) from Puyallup High School, Zach Banner(4 star recruit, #13 tackle in nation) from Lakes High School, Cedric Dozier(4 star recruit at either receiver or defensive back) also from Lakes High School, Keivarae Russell(4 star recruit, #24 running back in nation) from Mariner High School in Everett, and Jeff Lindquist(4 star recruit, #8 quarterback in nation) from Mercer Island. Sarkisian started off this recruiting season nicely landing Lindquist back in May. After that it was downhill as Dozier immediately eliminated the Huskies choosing the California Golden Bears(he has no considered going to in state rival Washington State Cougars). Then Russell chose Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the day the Huskies lost to the Baylor Bears in the Alamo Bowl. The Huskies then recently lost Garnett who eliminated the Huskies rather quickly to divisional rival Stanford Cardinal. Now today Zach Banner who is the bioligical son of the greatest Huskies offensive lineman in history Lincoln Kennedy. Banner is going to conference rival USC Trojans meaning Sarkisian went just one for five on the big in state recruits which is good for 20.0% which isn't going to get the job done at all. This recruiting year is bringing up memories of the "Lazy Recruiter" also known as Tyrone Willingham.

When Tyrone Willingham was the Huskies head coach he had a reputation as being a lazy recruiter who spent too much time on his golf game and not enough time recruiting. One of the main reasons Sarkisian was hired was his love for recruiting and supposedly being a great recruiter. During Willingham's career with the Huskies his recruiting classes were ranked 55th, 35th, 29th and 14th while at Washington. His average class was ranked 33.25 nationally and 5.7 in the Pac-10. Which isn't that good but still better than Sarkisian who has seen his classes ranked 66th, 11th, 22nd and currently 46th. Sarkisian's average class ranking is 35.75 and 6.5 in the conference. Sarkisian is actually recruiting at a slightly worse clip than the lazy recruiter did. Luckily for Sarkisian signing day is a day away meaning he still has time(be it very short) to salvage this recruiting class as he has his eyes set out on some major recruits from out of conference.

If you believe the reports the Huskies are trying to poach two California recruits with the recent hires of Tosh Lupoi and Justin Wilcox. Sarkisian is after Shaq Thompson from Grant Union High School in Sacramento, California. Thompson is the #1 overall safety in the nation and a five star recruit. In fact Thompson is the #3 player overall out of all positions in the nation. The Huskies are also in on Jordan Payton of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California. Payton is a four star recruit and #15 wide receiver in the nation. The Huskies are also hoping to close the deal on Brandon Beaver from Dominguez High School in Compton, California. Beaver is a three star recruit #27 cornerback in the nation. If the Huskies can land those three to go along with Jeff Lindquist and quarterback Cyler Miles(4 star quarterback, #13th in the country) from Mullen High School in Denver Colorado that is a pretty solid class. The key is since Sarkisian let the fence get broken for the state is to steal from other opponents backyards like what had happened to him.

This is a big time for Sarkisian to steal other recruits as his own state has turned on him. If he can salvage this class with what just happened that would be huge. The state of Washington no longer has a fence around it like Sarkisian had promised. Perhaps he can make up for it with some big out of state recruits which would be nice. I haven't given up on Sarksian as a recruiter yet just this year far as this state is concerned was pretty bad.




As I finished this post Sarkisian did just land Shaq Thompson so feel free to mock this post as this post is really outdated.

Huskies win thriller over Arizona 69-67; first win at Arizona since 2006

By Kshell

With the game on the line the game came down to two five star recruit guards as Josiah Turner of the Arizona Wildcats(14-8,5-4) drove past C.J.Wilcox for the game tying bucket only to see fell five star recruit Tony Wroten of the Washington Huskies(14-7,7-2) block his shot as time expired. That block by Wroten put the Huskies in first place and also clinched their first win at Arizona since 2006. For the Huskies who had blown an 11 point lead due to poor free throw shooting down the stretch this was by far their biggest win of the season. The Huskies-Wildcat rivalry just continues to produce great games as the last three games have been decided by just five points. In front of ESPN gameday and a whiteout by the Wildcats  crowd these young Huskies won a game which saw plenty of momentum changing runs by both teams. This is the type of win that can carry a team throughout the season and even into March Madness. As Lorenzo Romar told reporters after the game "this is a game we lose by 15-20 points just a month ago" meaning this team has grown up right in front of his eyes. This Huskies team overcame bad calls, overcame poor free throw shooting and overcame blowing a large lead to getting the win. Wroten who didn't have his best offensive game still made a difference when his team needed him most.


In the first half featured plenty of runs by both teams. The Huskies began the game up 14-7 as Aziz N'Diaye had scored six points for the Huskies. The Wildcats responded to that with a 10-0 run going up 17-14 as Darnell Gant had a tip in for the Huskies which stopped that run and sparked a run. The Huskies had gone on a 11-3 run to lead 25-20 before the Wildcats ended the half on a 9-2 run to lead 32-29 as Kevin Parron got away with offensive goaltending with a tip dunk at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a three point lead. The Wildcats shot 12-28(42.9%) from the field, three for seven(42.9%) from three point range and made five of eight(62.5%) free throws as they outrebounded the Huskies 19-15. They were led by Junior Solomon Hill who scored nine points on four for five shooting including a three pointer and five rebounds. Parrom scored seven points on two for three shooting but suffered an injury so he didn't return to the game and is out for the season. Freshman guard Joshiah Turner scored eight points on three for four shooting with three rebounds.

For the Huskies they shot 12-30(40.0%) from the field, three for six(50.0%) from three point range but made just two for five(40.0%) on free throws. They were led by N'Diaye scoring eight points on four for six shooting with three rebounds. Tony Wroten scored five points on just one for five shooting but did make a three pointer and both free throws. Terrence Ross scored five points on two for six shooting with a three pointer and four rebounds. The Huskies once again struggled scoring in the first half of a game but were right in it with the Wildcats in a hostile environment.

Despite the momentum shift at the end of the half it was the Huskies who came out in the second half on fire. The Huskies went on a 10-4 run to start the second half takeing a 39-36 lead. After the Huskies already leading 45-42 they went on a 8-2 run which saw C.J. Wilcox hit a three pointer to go up 50-44 and then with two seconds on the shot clock Wroten launched up a desperation three pointer to give the Huskies a 53-44 lead. The Wildcats went on a 4-0 run to cut it to 53-48 which the Huskeis then responded with a 7-1 run going up 60-49 which saw Terrence Ross hit a crucial three pointer. The Huskies would then be up 64-56 with a little over two minutes left in the game. The Wildcats due to the Huskies fouling and missing free throws would go on an 6-0 run to cut the lead to 64-62. Ross would hit a jumper to give the Huskies a 66-62 lead with 45 seconds left. After a Wildcats miss Wroten would make one of two free throws to go up 67-62. After a Wildcats bucket pulled them within 67-64 they fouled Wilcox who was a 91% free throw shooter. Wilcox shooting the one and one missed the front end so the Wildcats took over. Solomon Hill who was red hot all game was somehow open for a three pointer as he drilled the three tying the game at 67-67 as the Wildcats had just gone on a 11-3 run to tie the game. Josiah Turner went for the charge on Wilcox who was inbounded the ball instead was called for the blocking foul sending Wilcox back to the line. This time Wilcox made both free throws giving the Huskies a 69-67 lead with 5.4 seconds left. As Turner took the ball up court the Huskies switched on the screen as Turner blew by Wilcox for the game tying field goal but Wroten blocked his shot. Nick Johnson dunk the block shot as the ball landed to him but it was after the buzzer had clearly sounded as the Huskies won 69-67 due to Wroten's block shot at the end.

For the Wildcats this is the second straight game they have lost to the Huskies at the buzzer. The Wildcats shot 21-50(42.0%) from the field, 4-13(30.8%) from three point range and 21-29(72.4%) from the free throw line. They were led by Solomon Hill who scored a game high 28 points on 9-10 shooting including hitting both three pointers while also making eight for nine at the free throw line. He also grabbed 11 rebounds as well. Senior Jesse Perry scored 13 points on just 3-14 shooting but made 7-10 at the foul line while grabbing a game high 12 rebounds. Josiah Turner scored eight points on three for nine shooting but had the costly foul then had his shot blocked by Wroten. Senior Kyle Fogg scored seven points on two for four shooting all three pointers. Parrom also scored seven points but was lost for the season. For the Wildcats this was the third loss in the Pac-12 by two points or less as they are showing they can't close games down the stretch. This is the first loss for the Wildcats at home to the Huskies since 2006 when Brandon Roy was a senior.

For the Huskies facing an incredible environment this win shows just how far they have matured. The Huskies shot well making 28-63(44.4%) from the field, 6-14(42.9%) from three point range but the game became interesting due to 7-16(43.8%) free throw shooting. The Huskies were led by Tony Wroten who scored 17 points on 5-18 shooting including two for four from three pointers and five for seven on free throws. Wroten also added five rebounds, four assists, a steal and the game saving block. Terrence Ross stepped up with 16 points on 7-12 shooting with two three pointers, seven rebounds, three steals and three block shots. C.J.Wilcox looked fully healthy in scoring 15 points on 6-10 shooting including a three pointer and five rebounds plus the game winning free throws. Aziz N'Diaye scored 12 points on 6-11 shooting with eight rebounds including five offensive. Abdul Gaddy added just two points but did dish out five assists. Desmond Simmons scored three points with four rebounds. Darnell Gant added just two points and four rebounds. While football star Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored just two points with three rebounds in limited action. For the second straight game all eight Husky players who played scored.

This team has came along ways in the past month. This team who started off 0-5 away from home has now won three games in a row on the road. This team just won a close game in a hostile environment when everyone had picked them to lose. There was no panic for the Huskies this game everytime the Wildcats made a run the Huskies would answer right back. For the second straight year at halfway point the Huskies find themselves 7-2 and tied for first place in the conference. The Huskies will return home to host the UCLA Bruins a team they have beaten three straight games and seven in a row at home. Then they take on the USC Trojans a team who is in last place in the conference so the Huskies winners of three in a row and six of their last seven games could go on a run. This young group with only one senior is finally starting to come around. The rest of the Pac-12 had their chance to put the struggling Huskies away but now the Huskies are emerging as the best team in the conference.

Observations:

- This was a really strange game for Tony Wroten who normally shoots such a high percentage. This game he didn't shoot well making just 5-18 shots. Considering he is a poor three point shooter he actually shot well making two for four and he is also a poor free throw shooter yet made five of seven. Wroten despite shooting poorly still scoring 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and had four assists. He did turn the ball over five times which is what he'll do. He did however make the play of the game with the block on Turner to prevent overtime. Wroten despite his struggles appeared to have embraced the environment much like he did earlier in the year at Madison Square Garden.

Wroten just like Isaiah Thomas loves the big moments. This isn't going to be a freshman who struggles in the Pac-12 tournament or hopefully NCAA tournament because of stage fright. Wroten has a chance to be freshman all-american first team and should run away with Pac-12 freshman of the year joining Thomas who did that in 2008-09 season. Wroten for the year is averaging 17.1 ppg, 4.6 RPG, and 3.3 APG. He is also averaging 2.0 steals per game as he currently leads all freshman in scoring amongst the super six conferences. Wroten at this rate is in contention for Pac-12 player of the year as he is putting this program on his back.

- With the win over Arizona down in Arizona there was a little bit of history to be made. Darnell Gant and Abdul Gaddy became the first players to win a road game at every Pac-10 arena(lost to Colorado on the road who is Pac-12 but only played them once) since Jon Brockman, Artem Wallace and Justin Dentmon. Even though neither player had a particulary good game this is still quite a huge accomplishment for the Huskies upperclassman to achieve. With a road win over Oregon State, Washington State this year and Stanford next year Terrence Ross, Aziz N'Diaye and C.J.Wilcox can join them. With a win over Arizona next year Scott Suggs will be able to join that group as well.

- Sometimes in sports you hear the phrase "he is better than what the box score shows" well in this case regarding tight end now basketball player Austin Seferian-Jenkins that is the case. The Huskies are now 3-0 since he has been playing in the games. Seferian-Jenkins is a big strong physical body who racks up hard fouls while rebounding tough. Seferian-Jenkins against Arizona played a season low six minutes while scoring just two points. He did grab three rebounds and had two hard fouls. He was also more productive than four star recruit Angelo Chol who chose Arizona over Washington and many other schools. For the year Seferian-Jenkins in 12.7 minutes per game is averaging just 2.0 PPG but 5.0 RPG. He is also averaging 4.0 fouls a game and makes the other team earn their buckets. He does the little things that doesn't show up like when the Wildcats were going for a dunk he fouled the man hard. The Wildcats player made just one of two free throws which saved the Huskies a point which proved to be pretty big. Seferian-Jenkins also brings a toughness attitude to this team that they were lacking earlier in the year and also allows Lorenzo Romar to play eight quality players instead of throwing a stiff out there. Seferian-Jenkins has made a huge difference on this team even if the numbers say otherwise.

- In big games you need big time performances by your stars. Wroten shined at times but mainly Terrence Ross carried the Huskies once again down the stretch. Ross scored 16 points on 7-12 shooting with two three pointers. He also added seven rebounds with three steals and three blocks. Ross also hit some tough shots in the second half whenever the Wildcats started to take back momentum Ross would give momentum right to the Huskies. Ross minus the Washington State Cougars game has yet to really explode but he is consistently scoring double figures having scored in double figures in every game this year but one. On the other hand in 21 games this year he has scored over 20 points just twice.

For the year Ross is averaging 15.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG with 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He is shooting well making 44.5% of his field goals, 38.3% of his three pointers while making two full three pointers a game and shooting 72.4% at the free throw line. Ross is having a first team all Pac-12 season just with his talent you feel like he should be doing more. One these days hopefully soon Ross will start doing just more instead of showing you these flashes which he tends to do every game. Ross is the closer though on this team down the stretch there is no doubt about it.

- Lorenzo Romar has had a tough year this year with the expectations of the team while having to replace his three best players from last year and a fourth player who was a key part of the team as well. As I've stated in the last few weeks Romar has had to take a bigger leadership role on this team than he'd like.

 Romar has also handled the addition of football star Seferian-Jenkins into his rotation terrific like he did with Nate Robinson. Unlike Bob Bender who didn't really embrace the football players tyring to play basketball(Charles Frederick was a 4 star recruit in basketball and never left the bench) Romar plays the best guys. The one knock on Romar is his loyalty to older guys and this game really showed that. When Abdul Gaddy picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench the Huskies went on a run. When Gaddy returned the lead had disappeared. Going forward Romar has to sit Gaddy and start Wilcox. Your best five is Wroten at the point, Wilcox at the two, Ross at the three, Simmons at powerforward and N'Diaye at center. Romar now in his 10th year at Washington improves to 12-10(3-0 on neutral, 6-3 at home, 3-7 on road) against the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona has been the dominant team in this conference for a while and really dominated the Huskies. The fact the Huskies have a winning record against them in a 10 year stretch shows how much the Huskies have improved as a program.

This win was huge and especially for Romar. He has seen a team that was young, undisciplined, and at times appeared to care more about twitter than the game they are playing in. Every tournament team in the Romar era has had that gutcheck moment and this team just achieved that. Even the loss to Cal when they really only had six guys the effort was there. The Huskies have three big time players in Wroten, Ross and Wilcox probably the best three man trio they've had since Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy and Will Conroy. When you factor in they also have great big man play in N'Diaye, Simmons, Gant and now Seferian-Jenkins this team can make some noise in the tournament. This win right here will go along ways towards playing in March Madness for the seventh time in the last nine years. For coach Romar this win was huge for his program as he is seeing his team mature right in front of him which should all be credited to his leadership he has shown throughout the season.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wroten leads Huskies to road win over Sun Devils 60-54

By Kshell

Tony Wroten led the Washington Huskies(13-7,6-2) into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 win a road win over the struggling Arizona State Sun Devils(6-14,2-6) 60-54 down in Tempe, Arizona. After scoring a season low 22 points in the first half the Huskies overcame that with a strong second half that saw them go on a 13-1 run to begin the half. Wroten also excited everyone with the #1 play on Sportscenters top 10 plays with a dunk after the Sun Devils pulled within four points. Lorenzo Romar also saw his roster gain some depth as C.J. Wilcox returned from injury and football sensation Austin Seferian-Jenkins continued to give the Huskies good minutes. Despite making only one three pointer the entire game the Huskies once again won with defense and hustle which has always been a trademark for Romar teams who have made the NCAA tournament. The Huskies may have defeated a bad team but road wins especially for this young group is hard to come by. Just like that the Huskies have now won two road games in a row and despite everything that went wrong in the non-conference season they have positioned themselves in the first half of the season to be able to contend for a Pac-12 championship which is always the goal.

The first half was played at an ugly pace as both teams failed to shoot above 35.0% which played right into the Sun Devils hands as they tried to pull the upset. The Sun Devils led at halftime 24-22 as they scored a layup at the buzzer to take the lead. The Sun Devils shot 10-29(34.5%) from the field but were helped out by  making four for nine(44.4%) from three point range. They were led by Jonathan Gilling who scored eight points on three for seven shooting including two three pointers. Sophomore big man Jordan Bachynski provided a lift off bench for the Sun Devils scoring four points on two for six shooting while pullng down seven rebounds as the Sun Devils led in the first half.

For the Huskies they also shot 10-29(34.5%) from the field but failed to make a single three pointer in five attempts. They were also just two for six(33.3%) from the free throw line. The Huskies were led by Tony Wroten who scored nine points on four for five shooting while making one of two free throws. Wroten also had four rebounds in the process. Terrence Ross scored eight points on only 4-12 shooting and missed all three three point attemps. Abdul Gaddy also struggled scoring just one point while missing all five field goals including two three point attempts. Gaddy did add four assists as the Huskies offense was terrible in the first half.

In the second half you saw a much different Huskies team as Wroten took over the second half. The Huskies began the second half on a 13-1 run to extend their lead to 35-25. The Sun Devils then went on a 6-0 run to pull within 43-39 that is when Ton Wroten made sportscenter top play on the top 10 plays. Wroten took the ball dribbled left down the lane then throw down a one handed jam on Jonathan Gilling for the sensational dunk. To cap off the dunk Gilling was called for a blocking foul as Wroten sank the free throw giving the Huskies a 46-39 lead. With 1:39 left in the game the Sun Devils again pulled the game within four as the Huskies led 50-46. Once again Wroten bailed out the Huskies with another three point play giving them a 53-46 advantage. From there on out it was a free throw war as the Huskies held on for the important win. Despite shooting so poorly the Huskies found a way to win over the Sun Devils led by Tony Wroten. Wroten scored 22 points on 9-12 shooting with six rebounds and three assists. Ross scored 12 points on 4-13 shooting with seven rebounds. Darnell Gant scored eights points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench. Austin Seferian-Jenkins also scored four points off the bench while grabbing five rebounds. Aziz N'Diaye scored five points with eight rebounds and a block shot. C.J. Wilcox returned from injury to score four points sinking all four free throws in the final minute as he played just 10 minutes. Abdul Gaddy scored just five points with five assists as the Huskies are now tied for first place.

For a young team like these Huskies are this was a huge road win. They are now tied for first place in the conference despite their struggles a month ago. This team is starting to have an identity and is gaining some depth with Seferian-Jenkins joining the team. Now if the Huskies can pull off the shocker and defeat Arizona in Arizona(something they haven't done since Brandon Roy was a senior) they could be in the drivers seat for the conference crown. This has been an up and down season for this group. Hopefully winning five of their last six games is the turnaround this team needed moving forward.

Observations:

- Earlier in the year I had complained about the Huskies lack of depth on the team. Well that isn't the case anymore with freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins joining the team. C.J. Wilcox also returned from injury but played just 10 minutes. When he is healthy the Huskies will have eight quality players vs just six against California. Against Arizona State Seferian-Jenkins fouled out again like he did last game in 16 minutes. He also provided tough defense as you can see in this picture while scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds. In 32 minutes this year he has grabbed 12 rebounds which is 15 rebounds per 40 minutes.

When a player joins the team though that means someone's minutes are cut down. I figured Romar would take some from Gant, N'Diaye and Simmons. Instead Desmond Simmons appears to be the odd man out. Against Stanford Simmons scored six points but had just one rebound. Against Arizona State Simmons played just 10 minutes, scoring zero points and grabbing only two rebounds. Still with Seferian-Jenkins on the team that is huge as he is a quality big man unlike Bruenig or Kemp Jr who were just useless out there. With Seferian-Jenkins joining the team the Huskies now have a toughness to them that was left when Tyrese Breshers was forced to retire.

- Tony Wroten was big time once again as he appears to be running away with the freshman of the year award in the Pac-12. Wroten is going for a much bigger award which is Pac-12 player of the year. Twice when the Sun Devils had cut the game down to four points Wroten had a three point play to kill their momentum. Wroten also attacked that zone scoring 22 points on 9-12(75.0%) shooting which were all in the paint as he didn't attempt a single jumper. The previous game against Stanford Wroten scored 21 points on 9-14(64.3%) as he once again was attacking the rim. With Wilcox hurt teams are playing in a zone which at first frustrated Wroten as he was jacking up three pointers and that isn't his game. Now he is attacking the zone showing that he is most talented player in the conference already.

For the year Wroten is averaging 17.1 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He is shooting 49.6% from the field and he leads the entire Pac-12 in 7.6 free throw attempts per game(only making 54.6% of them). He is averaging a full two steals per game as well. Wroten has been as good as advertised for the Huskies.

-  Lorenzo Romar after winning his 300th game as a college coach started his quest to win  400 games. I liked how he used Wilcox in this game to get the rust off and it was nice having a good free throw shooter down the stretch. When Wilcox is fully healthy hopefully Romar inserts him into the starting lineup and finally benches Abdul Gaddy who has been holding this team back all season long. With Wroten, Wilcox, Ross, Simmons and N'Diaye everyone is playing their natural positions plus those are your five best players. With Gaddy, Gant and Seferian-Jenkins off the bench that is also a good bench to call on. This conference is wide open and typical Romar teams hit their stride during conference play like clockwork. This team is talented but as we've seen at times is immature so Romar has to do more leading than a head coach normally would have to do. Romar also improves to 17-5 all-time against the Sun Devils while being the Huskies head coach as he has just dominated the Sun Devils. Including going 8-2 down in Tempe which most of those wins were just like this one pretty ugly but Romar always finds a way to beat the Sun Devils.

Just like this Huskies team has found ways to win three of their last four games despite not shooting well at all in the first half of any of those games. They also won their of their last four conference games with Wilcox playing a combined 10 minutes and failing to make a single field goal. Ross carried them against the Cougars and Wroten has carried them the last two games. This team is starting to play defense which has to make Romar happy as his teams always play defense at least his NCAA tournament calibar teams do. The team that lost to South Dakota State at home in dominating fasion is now tied for first place in the Pac-12 with 10 more games to be played. This team has come a long ways in a month and can go even further in the next two months which is ultimately the goal.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romar wins 300th game as Huskies beat Stanford 76-63

By Kshell

Washington Huskies(12-7,5-2) head coach Lorenzo Romar won his 300th game in his career in defeating the Stanford Cardinal(15-5,5-3) 76-63 at home bouncing back from the tough loss to the Cal Bears. Led by freshman Tony Wroten's game high 21 points and a bounce back game off the bench by Darnell Gant the Huskies climbed back into the Pac-12 race. The Huskies also saw a new face help the team off the bench who has made his name so far playing football in Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Although Seferian-Jenkins didn't score he provided energy and tough rebounding which sparked the home crowd as the Huskies revenged their loss against the Golden Bears. For Romar this was his 300th career coach win, and 100th career Pac-12 victory. Earlier in the year Romar won his 200th game as Huskies head coach as well.

In the first half for the first time in a while the Huskies weren't  trailing instead they led at halftime 32-25 despite the third straight first half were Terrence Ross struggled. The Huskies played terrific defense holding the Cardinal to 9-35(25.7%) shooting from the field, making only one for eight(12.5%) from three point range. The only Cardinal to do anything was Josh Owens who had 10 points on 5-12 shooting with five rebounds.

For the Huskies they shot 12-34(35.3%) from the field but also only made one for eight(12.5%) from three point range while making just 7-12(58.3%) from the free throw line. The Huskies were led by their guards Tony Wroten and Abdul Gaddy. Wroten scored 11 points on four for nine shooting while making three for six from free throws. While Gaddy scored nine points on three for five shooting including a three pointer and perfect on two free throw attempts while grabbing three rebounds. Terrence Ross continued his first half struggles lately scoring just two points on one for eight shooting missing all five three point shots. Aziz N'Diaye scored three points on one for four shooting but had five rebounds. Then Seferian-Jenkins provided a boost off the bench grabbing five rebounds for the Huskies.

In the second half the Huskies outscored the Cardinal 44-38 cruising to a 76-63 lead which wasn't close most of the second half. The Huskies held the Cardinal to 23-64(35.9%) from the field, 3-19(15.8%) from three point range and 14-23(60.9%) on free throws.  The Huskies shot well making 30-59(50.8%) from the field, 5-14(35.7%) from three point range but just 11-24(45.8%) from free throws. The Huskies won the rebounding war 39-31 led six guys on the team with five or more rebounds. The Huskies were led by Wroten scoring 21 points on 9-14 shooting but just three for seven on free throws. Wroten also added five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Terrence Ross woke up again in the second half scoring 18 points on 6-17 shooting including two of eight from three point range with seven rebounds. Darnell Gant bounced back from his previous worst game with 17 points off the bench on 7-11 shooting including two of three from three point range while also grabbing seven rebounds. Abul Gaddy scored nine points on three for six shooting with a three pointer while grabbing six rebounds with three assists. Desmond Simmons scored six points for the Huskies on three for five shooting. N'Diaye fouled out scoring five points on two for five shooting while making just one of six free throws but did have six rebounds with a block shot. Seferian-Jenkins fouled out in only 16 minutes while grabbing seven rebounds. This was a solid team win for the Huskies who finally looked to have some depth.

This was a big win for the Huskies and coach Romar who are trying to survive without C.J.Wilcox. The Huskies are now 2-1 without Wilcox but all three games were at home and now the Huskies head on the road for four of the next six games. This will be a tough stretch for the Huskies who will most likely be missing Wilcox during this Arizona trip and possibly more. The energy that Seferian-Jenkins provided was crucial in giving the big men a break as no other big man had provided so much energy on this season. This was a big win for the Huskies basketball program and especially Romar who keeps achieving great milestones this year. The Huskies are back in the Pac-12 race as it appears nobody in this conference wants to take hold of this title.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When has stalking teens become acceptable?

By Kshell

Typically when an adult is texting a teen 40 times a day, messaging them on facebook non stop or tweeting to them all day that is something to be concerned about. What most people would think is that adult is a pedophile like former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Instead this is just your normal recruiting in today's era. With Facebook and Twitter plus back in the day myspace these site owners harass these kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year like clockwork. With twitter blowing up you also see so many sad fans trying to "sell" their favorite team to a recruit thinking that their opinion might actually matter. The saddest part in all this is that the stalking of teens during recruiting season has become too "normal" to most people since it has been going on for so long with no end in sight.

On twitter you'll see the Dawgman guys or Crazy Ruth Robbins especially stalking these teens. Always trying to break the story on where a kid is going. On Dave "Softy" Mahlers facebook page so many people are concerned about the mindset of a 17 year old kid that this time last year they had no clue who he was. I'll admit that the names Jordan Payton, Shaq Thompson, Cedric Dozier, Arik Armstread meant nothing to me as of three months ago. Then when LOI day finally arrives if that kid comes to your school he is the next great one, if he snubs your school then there must be something wrong with him. Adults don't care one bit about calling a 17 or 18 year old kid every name in the book behind a keyboard if he doesn't go to their particular school. Another thing these adults don't realize is there is a very good chance these kids are getting off on the attention. It reminds me of South Park where the kids are outsmarting the adults here. I'm sure these high recruits love to mess with these adults as it is just so easy to do.


Sometimes people forget what it was like to be in high school. Where all you cared about was sports, girls and how to steal alcohol from either your parents or a friends parents. They also forget just how immature these kids are and how their mind changes from day to day. That won't stop the adults from freaking out though if a five star recruit tweets "I had a cherry milkshake today" then everyone freaks out thinking oh he chose cherry because it's red then starts to figure out what it meant. These kids on twitter it's so obvious love messing with the adults and these sites like Dawgman, Realdawg and every other public figure who participates in this sad game eats it up every time. I just wish there was a hard rule stopping people from contacting recruits(I know there is a rule but never enforced) as I'm tired of people cluttering up my twitter feed with "@Stud5Star come to the dawgs(or cougs or ducks) and lead us to a Rose Bowl baby!". Try tweeting that to a 17 year old and CPS is all over your ass as you become the most popular person in your new "club" called Prison.

Social media has made the recruiting game into a giant joke and sadly this isn't going to stop. If you aren't reading up on the recruits you will be behind with old news and nobody wants to be left out. I just hope the adults stop badgering these recruits on facebook and twitter as it's super annoying plus pathetic. I'll be honest I want the stud recruits to come to Washington but I can care less about how they are as people. I don't want to "get to know" a high school kid seeing how I'm 26 years old. When we were in high school did we ever try to "get to know" a middle schooler? Hell no! I just think this stalking teens game is beyond sad and even worse most people have no problem with it. If you were doing that to any other high school kid you'd be in jail but hey he's good at sports so it must be all right.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cal defeats Huskies 69-66 as comeback falls just short

By Kshell

For the second straight game the Washington Huskies(11-7, 4-2) had a slow first half only this team they couldn't quite overcome it losing to the California Golden Bears(16-4,5-1) 69-66. The Huskies fell behind by 10 points at halftime as they scored only 25 points for the second straight game. In the second half Lorenzo Romar received another technical which sparked a Huskies comeback finally pulling within one possession. When senior captain Darnell Gant's three pointer was short at the buzzer the Golden Bears had survived with a win over the Huskies snapping the Huskies streak of three wins in a row and four out of five against the Golden Bears. The Huskies were again without C.J. Wilcox and this game it showed as they simply don't have enough guys ready to play quality minutes in this conference.


In the first half the Huskies struggled offensively. Neither team could hit a three point shot at all combining to hit 3-16 from three pointers. The Huskies only offense was actually Aziz N'Diaye in the first half as the Huskies just couldn't find any offense for the second straight game in the first half. The Golden Bears shot 13-26(50.0%) from the field, two for nine(22.2%) from three point range and 7-10(70.0%) from free throws. They were led by Allen Crabbe who scored 10 points on three for seven shooting including two three poitners. Robert Thurman off the bench who had only averaged less than three points per game coming into the game scored 12 points on five for seven shooting. Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs scored six points on two for four shooting.

For the Huskies they struggled in the first half shooting 10-29(34.5%) from the field, one for seven(14.3%) from three point range and four for eight(50.0%) from the free throw line. They were led by N'Diaye who scored eight points on four for five shooting while pulling down seven rebounds. Tony Wroten scored six points on two for seven shooting but made both of his free throw attempts. Terrence Ross for the second straight game would struggle in the first half scoring just two points on one for five shooting while missing both three point attempts.

For the second straight game Ross came alive in the second half for the Huskies. With under 10 seconds left in the game Ross hit a three pointer to pull the Huskies within two points. After the Golden Bears made just one of two free throws they took a timeout. Romar then designed the play to go to Darnell Gant who at that time was 0-8 shooting including 0-5 from three pointers. Abdul Gaddy took the ball up court and then passed to a trailing Gant who was open but missed the shot short like he had all game long. The Huskies missed out on a chance to be in first place and are instead tied with five other teams in conference with two losses.

The Bears won the game as they were led by Crabbe scoring 16 points on 5-11 shooting with two three pointers and grabbing 10 rebounds. Thurman scored 16 points on 7-11 shooting with seven rebounds. Cobbs scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting including a three pointer. Meanwhile for the Huskies they shot 26-64(40.6%) from the field, 5-21(23.8%) from three point range and just 9-14(64.3%) from free throws. They were led by Terrence Ross who scored 15 points on 6-15 shooting including three for eight from three point range with five rebounds. Aziz N'Diaye scored 14 points on 7-11 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Tony Wroten added 14 points on 4-11 shooting with a three pointer and was pefect on all five free throw attempts. He also added three steals. Abdul Gaddy scored 12 points on five for nine shooting with a three pointer. Desmond Simmons scored eight points on three for five shooting with three rebounds. Then Darnell Gant off the bench scored just one point on 0-9 shooting including 0-6 from three pointers while grabbing just two rebounds in 28 minutes. The Huskies need more production from him if they expect to win.

This was a tough loss for the Huskies who had a chance to be in first place in the conference despite being down two key players(Scott Suggs for the season and now C.J. Wilcox). Both those players are great three point shooters and when Gant is ice cold as he is that leaves only Terrence Ross to carry the load from the outside which makes it very easy to defend the Huskies. Despite having two future first round draft picks this team is struggling as Lorenzo Romar didn't recruit any depth. It is quite obvious that this latest recruiting class with the exception of Wroten has been a complete dud that is going to haunt this program for a while. The Huskies lack depth for the first time in the Romar years and this loss was a big reason for it.

Observations:

- The Huskies bench was terrible against the Cal Bears. They scored just three points on 1-13 shooting in 42 minutes played. With Wilcox down Gant is the only bench player that can play. Outside of Gant not other bench player is even averaging two points per game. Which makes Romar's decision to redshirt Scott Suggs even more perplexing. I understand Suggs wanted an entire senior year but by doing that the Huskies most likely won't make the NCAA tournament. This is a game the Huskies win with Suggs who would have been ready to play by now. This last game everyone knew the Golden Bears were going to cover Ross tightly on that last play so Romar went to a guy who hadn't made a shot all game. Also with a healthy Suggs you can rotate him in more with the guards so the Huskies aren't forced to play Gaddy 38 minutes a game.

- Speaking of Gaddy he is really holding this team back. He can't hit a shot from the outside, doesn't do any penetrating and doesn't bring much to the table on defense. Why Romar insists on playing him the most minutes on the team is a mystery to everyone. This past game if you look at the box score you'd think Gaddy had a good game scoring 12 points on five for nine shooting. What you don't see is that Gaddy miss two open layups that started a transition for the Golden Bears who went on a run. If he makes either layup the fans aren't riding Gant right now as the Huskies win the game.

Gaddy the former five-star recruit #2 point guard in the country is now a junior. With Suggs out and Gant being limited he was supposed to have the big season to carry the Huskies. Instead despite averaging 33.1 minutes per game he is only averaging 8.8 PPG and 4.7 APG. He is shooting a terrible 42.5% from the field and an even worse 32.7% from three point range. In Pac-12 play Gaddy is averaging 9.1 PPG, 4.0 APG in 33.5 minutes per game. Especially now with Wilcox out and already with Suggs redshirting Gaddy has to provide the leadership for this team. Hard to be a team leader when you are constantly holding the team back. He looks nothing like a guy who was once so hyped coming out of high school.

-  This loss summed up Romar as a coach really well I thought. The Huskies are playing a first place team who was picked to win the conference without their third best player in C.J. Wilcox and already out their fourth best player in Scott Suggs for the season. Despite that the Huskies battled and pulled within one possession showing heart which is a Romar trait. Then the final possession also summed up Romar as a coach. Instead of putting the ball in his best players hands Terrence Ross he decided to once again out think himself and put the ball in his senior's hands despite not making a shot all game.

Another Romar trait is he always goes with experience over talent. Gant played 28 minutes while missing all nine of his shots and grabbing just two rebounds while the younger Desmond Simmons played only 19 minutes despite scoring eight points with three rebounds. Gaddy played the most minutes with 38. Recruiting young studs like Ross and Wroten does you know good if you don't know how to use them properly. At Kentucky those two would be dominating while with Romar they take a back seat to guys like Gaddy and Gant. The Huskies program will never take the next step until Romar realizes college basketball has evolved and goes with talent over experience.

At the end of the day this was a tough loss for the Huskies because they played so hard. The Huskies had no business being in this game with the way Gant shot and being down Wilcox. The heart is there which earlier in the year it was not which is a good sign. Unfortunately the Huskies just aren't that good this year. They aren't very deep unlike last year when they could afford to lose Gaddy(back when he was good) and have Overton suspended for the Pac-10 tournament they still survived. Last year the Huskies going into the year had 10 guys on scholarship they liked a lot not counting Tyrese Breshers who was injured for his career. This year they have just seven guys so when Wilcox goes down, Gant isn't making a shot and Gaddy is still ineffective that leaves Romar to playing at least one struggling player all game. The decision to redshirt Suggs may have ruined this season more than we thought. Won't matter next year if he is back if that means both Ross and Wroten are gone. This was a great opportunity for the Huskies that came up just short which is probably how their season is going to end up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ross has career high 30 points to lead Huskies over Cougars 75-65

By Kshell

It was a tale of two halves for the Washington Huskies(11-6,4-1) who defeated cross state rival Washington State Cougars(9-8,1-4) 75-65 in front of the home crowd to improve to 10-1 on the season at home. The Huskies were led by a career high 30 points by Terrence Ross who caught fire in the second half scoring 26 points which was more than the entire team scored in the first half. The overcame a 10 point deficit with 10 minutes left in the game due to their 44-20 rebounding edge which includes 21-3 on the offensive glass. The Huskies game and perhaps season was on the line when head coach Lorenzo Romar got a technical to spark his team for the comeback. This was a tale of two different halves for Terrence Ross and the Huskies team in general.

The first half the Cougars dominated from the opening tip. The Cougars took an early 9-2 lead and never looked back due to the shooting of Brock Motum. The Cougars did let the Huskies hang around as they only led 31-25 at halftime. The Cougars shot 12-26(46.2%) from the field, 5-14(35.7%) from three point range and two for five(40.0%) from free throws. Brock Motum led the Cougars with 13 points on five for five shooting including hitting both three pointers. Freshman Devonte Lacy had six points on two for seven shooting with two three pointers. For the Huskies they struggled shooting just 9-33(27.3%) from the field, making 3-13(23.1%) from three pointers and 4-10(40.0%) from the free throw line. They were led by Tony Wroten who scored seven points on only two for eight shooting and just three for six at the free throw line. Abdul Gaddy had five points on two for five shooting with a three pointer. Terrence Ross struggled big time in the first half scoring just four points on 1-10 shooting including one for five from three pointers. He also made just one for four from the free throw line but did  pull down seven rebounds. Aziz N'Diaye had four points on two for three shooting with three rebounds while Darnell Gant provided the only bench points with three points on one for two shooting with a three pointer and five rebounds. The second half especially for Ross was a different half.

In the second half the Cougars extended their lead to 45-37 when a call that went against the Huskies got Lorenzo Romar to receive his first technical of the season. After the Cougars made both technical free throws to lead 47-37 over the Huskies that is when the Huskies would go on a run. The Huskies immediatly went on a 15-2 run to lead 52-49 over the Cougars led by Ross(scored 26 in the second half) and Gant(scored 10 in the second half) while dominating the glass. The Huskies run would eventually extend to 34-11 giving them a 71-58 lead before winning 75-65. The Huskies shot much better as a team shooting 15-30 in the second half including 7-13 on three pointers. They were led by Ross who in the second half scored 26 points on 8-11 shooting while making five of seven three pointers and made all five free throws. Darnell Gant also scored 10 points in the second half shooting four for five including two three pointers. It was a great win for the Huskies to improve to 4-1 in conference play while this was a devastating loss for the Cougars who dropped 1-4 in conference play. The Cougars who had won seven in a row against the Huskies from 2006-2008 have now lost six of their last eight games in this rivalry to the Huskies.

The Cougars for the game shot 23-51(45.1%) from the field, 7-24(29.2%) from three point range and 12-16(75.0%) on free throws. They were led by Faisel Aden who scored 18 points off the bench shooting 6-13 from the field with seven rebounds. Motum scored 17 points on 7-11 shooting including two three pointers. Devonte Lacy scored 10 points on 3-9 shooting including three for eight on three pointers. Reggie Moore scored just seven points on two for seven shooting including a three pointer but did dish out eight assists. The Cougars played the same in both halves just couldn't overcome the Huskies getting redhot after that technical foul.

It was a tale of two halves for the Huskies who scored only 25 points in the first half then scored 50 in the second half. The Huskies had more offensive rebounds(21) than the Cougars had rebounds(20). The glass was dominated by the Huskies 44-20 over the Cougars which was the story of this game. The Huskies shot poorly from the field 24-63(38.1%) from the field, 10-26(38.5%) from three point range and 17-28(60.7%) from the free throw line. The Huskies caught hot in the second half and dominated the glass is how they won. They were led by Pac-12 player of the week Terrence Ross who scored 30 points on 9-21 shooting including 6-12 from three point range and was six of nine at the free throw line. Ross also grabbed a career high 14 rebounds including five offensive. The next leading scorer was Darnell Gant off the bench scoring 13 points on five for seven shooting including three for five on three point range while grabbing eight rebounds with five being offensive. Tony Wroten struggled scoring only 13 points on 3-14 shooting including 7-13 from the free throw line. Wroten had four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Aziz N'Diaye had another strong game scoring 12 points on four for five shooting including making all four of his free throws. N'Diaye added eight rebounds and a block shot as well. Abdul Gaddy shot terribly from the field scoring only five points on 2-10 shooting with a three pointer but did have four rebounds and six assists. Desmond Simmons scored just two points on one for six shooting but did pull down seven rebounds including four offensive. The Huskies won this game by Ross getting hot and controlling the glass.

All in all, without C.J.Wilcox for a while the Huskies basically only have six scholarship guys who are contributing on their roster. This is the thinnest roster Romar has ever had and is lacking in maturity as his three best players are underclassman. Which is why Romar had to resort to getting a technical to wake up his team who was sleep walking in the first half. That technical appeared to have work but Romar can't be doing that every game. The key to this game was hopefully this is just the start of a breakout season for Ross who up to this point was having a solid season even if he is capable of so much more. The big man play dominated this game which was supposed to be a weakness heading into the year has slowly turned into a strength in conference only having one bad game(Colorado). With Wilcox hurt all six of those guys must step up their game as the rest of the team has shown they aren't ready yet at least this year anyways. This was a good win for the Huskies as it is always nice to defeat your rivals.

Observations:

- Terrence Ross will grab the headlines for this game and trust me I'll talk about him later. Another big factor in the Huskies win today was the play of their big men. Aziz N'Diaye scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Darnell Gant added 13 points with eight rebounds and Desmond Simmons added only two points but seven rebounds too. Combined the Huskies big man trio played 78 minutes scoring 27 points with 23 rebounds. The Huskies big men controlled the glass and also provided some scoring in the paint.

For the year now N'Diaye is actually having a pretty solid season now. In 23.5 minutes per game he is averaging 8.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG with 1.5 blocks per game. He is shooting 53.1% from the field as well. This past week both Husky wins N'Diaye averaged 13.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG with a block shot a game. He also shot 9-13(69.2%) from the field and 8-13(61.5%) from the free throw line. N'Diaye gives the Huskies a huge advantage as most teams don't have a seven footer and his improvement from last season has really helped the overall big man play for the Huskies this season.

Darnell Gant also had a great game playing a career high 33 minutes as he scored 13 points with eight rebounds. The senior captain has been recently benched but there will be no pouting from Gant who has started off and on his entire career. Gant for the season is averaging 7.6 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes. He is shooting 51.6% from the field and 40.7% from three point range making a little over half a three pointer a game.  Gant needs to continue having games like he did against the Cougars for the rest of the season if this team wants to play in the NCAA tournament.

- Tony Wroten probably had his worst game as a Husky against the Cougars. He struggled against the zone shooting only 3-14 and missing all three of his three point attempts. In fact Wroten should just stop shooting three pointers all together as he as only made 6-30(20.0%) from three point range. In his last seven games he has shot a miserable 1-15(6.6%) from three point range.

Wroten's game is driving to the basket as he has attempted 31 free throws the last two games. Unfortunately he has only made 19 of them which is good for 61.2%. Not all is bad with Wroten in fact he is having a first team all league season averaging 16.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.4 APG as well as 1.9 steals per game. Wroten is also only a true freshman who has shown great talent. He just needs to work on his fundamentals like free throws and stop shooting three pointers he should be unstoppable.

- The Huskies finally got that breakthrough game from Terrence Ross they had been looking for all season long. Ross who is projected by some draft sites to be a top 10 pick in this upcoming NBA draft. Ross as you saw in the second half is a good rebounder for his size, greater shooter, and super athletic(alley-oop dunks). Ross after shooting 1-10 in the first half shot 8-12 in the second half including five for seven on three pointers. Ross scored more points(26) in the second half than the Huskies did as a team in the first half(25). Ross finished the game scoring a career high 30 points and grabbing a career high 14 rebounds. Giving the Cougars a taste of their own medicine as Klay Thompson a lottery pick had done to them in all three games last season.

For the year now Ross is averaging 15.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG with 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He is shooting 45.6% from the field, 41.0% on three pointers making two a game and 72.3% from the free throw line. Lately Ross has been shooting really well from beyond the arc. In his last five games Ross has shot 15-29(51.7%) from three point range. In his last three games he has shot 11-19(57.8%) from three point range. Ross has all the talent in the world and nights like this should be more normal than the exception.

- Romar teams who make the NCAA tournament have always had upperclassman leadership. In the 2003-04 season you had a junior Will Conroy(3rd best player on team), in 2004-05 you had senior Conroy, juniors Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson all three where your best players, in 2005-06 it was Roy and Bobby Jones his two best players who were both seniors. Then next two years there wasn't much upperclassman so the Huskies failed to reach the dance then in 2008-09 season you had seniors Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon your two best players, in 2009-2010 you had senior Quincy Pondexter your best player then in 2010-11 you had seniors Justin Holiday and Matthew Bryan-Amaning along with junior Isaiah Thomas also known as your three best players.

This year the Huskies three best players are sophomores Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox and freshman Tony Wroten. Meaning there is no leadership  on this team. Which is why this team can go toe to toe with Duke and Marquette yet look uninterested at times vs South Dakota State at home. Romar was seeing the same thing in the first 30 minutes so he decided to fire his team up with a technical. The Huskies adjusted to the zone that former assistent Ken Bone had on them by attacking the glass. Without C.J. Wilcox for a while the Huskies will have to learn how to play against the zone as they'll be seeing a ton of it.

In conclusion, I've been highly critical of Romar this season but this game he won for his guys. He saw there was no leadership once again and did something about it by being a leader. Ross then finally realized he is the best player on the court by a mile and took over in the second half. The Huskies are tied for second place at 4-1 in conference play with two more home games left. The start of the schedule was kind to the Huskies who began conference play with five of their first seven at home which for a young immature team such as this group that is needed. This week against the Bay Area teams who the Huskies have historically done well against at home will be a big test for this group especially against a veteran team like California. This was a good win and it's always nice to defeat the Cougars which the Huskies have now done six of the last eight times.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do recruiting sites do more harm than good for their respective programs?

By Kshell


Never in the history of media as a single "WOOF!!! WOOF!!! WOOF!!!" cause so much controversy but that was the case last night on twitter. When Washington Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian tweeted that tweet that typically means he just signed a new recruit. Per NCAA rules Sarkisian isn't allowed to say who. There had been rumors for a few weeks now that three-star(was a four-star last week) cornerback Brandon Beaver from Dominguez high school from Compton, California was going to commit to the Huskies soon. So without even talking to him first Crazy Ruth Robbins of Realdawg reported that Beaver was a Husky. After Dave "Softy" Mahler of KJR had retweeted that she quickly backed off that report which started a giant twitter war. Soon after Dawgman.com had reported Beaver was also coming to the Huskies. Beaver who is only 18 years old about to embark on his biggest decision of his life had his moment taken away from him. Now Beaver is going on his trip to Oklahoma Sooners and the Arizona Wildcats. The Huskies could lose out on Beaver when it is all said and done considering 20 years ago this wouldn't have been a problem Beaver would be a Husky now he might be just another cautionary tale of yet another recruit lost at the hands of crazy Ruth Robbins. So you have to wonder do these recruiting sites do more harm for their school they represent than good?

When crazy Ruth(you can see she has killed Huskies recruiting in the past with this picture on James Montgomery's page) tweeted that Softy Mahler retweeted that. A day after blasting me saying he would only quote a credible source he had no problem quoting crazy Ruth despite her being known for jumping the gun. Immediately after crazy Ruth had said she hadn't spoke to Beaver. Then Softy was upset(rightfully so as he looks dumb by default) with Crazy Ruth which then proceeded to be the most entertaining 15 minutes of twitter war I've seen. In this case Softy was 100% correct in questioning crazy Ruth who in returned pissed off the "Husky commit" Brandon Beaver. He actually tweeted about Ruth saying "Ruth is something else...SMH...sad to say". Beaver wanted to let his family and friends know first hand. He wanted to enjoy this special moment of his life that he'll forever remember instead it was all ruined by crazy Ruth who is only in the business to help herself and herself only. She can care less about the Huskies program and the damage she has constantly done to this football program. She isn't the only guilty one in this mess as her rival recruiting site Dawgman.com also reported this. Then Softy Mahler had Chris Fetters on as a guest today and Fetters unintentionally took heat off crazy Ruth and put it on his site instead.

Today on Softy Mahler's show Dawgman writer Chris Fetters was on there. Fetters did more damage than good for his site today. The most telling quote was him saying "I'm only in this business to put Dick's burgers in my stomach and shoes on my feet" translation I'm in this for me and me only screw the program. Dawgman in the past has sat on their hands on key information such as Tyrone Willingham knowing that had they came out to say he needs to go good chance he would have been let go heading into 2008. Instead they protected him and the Huskies went 0-12 in the process. Fetters and crazy Ruth are showing that these recruiting sites don't give a shit about the Huskies, the kids involved or the people they hurt. They are in this business about themselves and themselves only. Kim Grinolds the site owner did his best politician act on Mahler's facebook page today trying to clean up the big steaming pile of crap that Fetters had put on his fanbase as subscribers are being lost by the minute. That is the problem when you have two sites targeting the same material to the same fanbase and those two absolutely hate each other. In the end once again the program and the fans are the ones who are hurt the most. Their level of selfishness may have cost the Huskies a talented cornerback which this program has been starving for since the 2000 Rose Bowl championship team.

In conclusion, this town isn't big enough for two recruiting sites. One has to go and while Dawgman looks bad today that option is clearly Crazy Ruth. Husky booster Bill Fleenor has stated Steve Sarkisian and Huskies athletic director Scott Woodward aren't happy with crazy Ruth and her credentials might be finally revoked which is a move that has been long overdue. At some point these guys need to have a soul and let these kids celebrate the moment. Unless these kids personally say to them they are going to their school they should remain quiet. Like Mahler has stated and I believe him he has sat on key information for the better of the school.  Fetters and crazy Ruth showed their true colors today and last night. They showed they care about their own personal gain than the team they supposedly cheer for on Saturday's. Hopefully Beaver still comes here after the damage Crazy Ruth did today. Sarkisian will do his best to separate himself from these clowns and hopefully Beaver realizes those groups don't represent the Husky fanbase at all.