For our main preview of the game against American tonight, check our newspaper or our main web site, but here are a few leftover items:
CAN’T DENT JUSTIN
One of the revelations to me of the Air Force game was the play of freshman point guard Justin Dentmon in the second half. Dentmon had two points and four turnovers in the first half as Washington trailed 46-40 at halftime.
But in the second half, Dentmon had 10 points, two assists and just one turnover in 18 minutes.
“He had to step up and make big plays in the second half and when we made our run, he made some big plays,” said coach Lorenzo Romar. “All freshmen have growing pains. But I haven’t sensed that he’s had a whole lot of growing pains. He’s done a pretty good job.”
Dentmon is leading the team in assists with five per game, while also scoring 8.3 points and grabbing 3.7 rebounds. He also has just seven turnovers in 75 minutes, a better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio that is more than acceptable for any guard and especially a true freshman.
Obviously, the tests will get a lot tougher, but it’s hard to argue with what he’s done so far.
What I thought was one of his more telling plays was a rebound in traffic in the second half when the Huskies made their run. Romar likes guards who rebound, and Dentmon appears to fit the prototype despie standing just 5 feet 11 much the way Nate Robinson did.
Asked to explain why he was so much better in the second half, Dentmon said it was largely the result of some pep talks from Romar and older players.
“They said to come out and show who wanted it the most,” Dentmon said. “I wanted to show them that I wanted it the most. I wanted to show them the Dawg in me.”
The American game will feature a reunion of a pair of teammates from Kingco schools – Washington’s Hans Gasser and American’s Garrison Carr of Issaquah and Washington’s Brandon Burmiester and America’s Brayden Billbe of American.
“That was definitely a heated rivalry when we played Issaquah,” Burmeister said recently.
Then, referring to the fact that Carr is generously listed at 5-11, Burmeister said with a laugh, “I remember Garrison Carr guarding me, running around at my ankles basically.”
– American is coached by Jeff Jones, who was the coach at Virginia for eight years before resigning nder pressure in 1998. He is in his sixth season at American and is 75-71.
– American is a member of the Patriot League, which was the subject of the John Feinstein book, The Last Amateurs. To me, that label is a little of a misnomer – it’s still D-I basketball, and the real Last Amateurs would be Division II or III or NAIA.
– American has never been to the NCAA tournament.
– American has also never beaten a Pac-10 team, going 0-1 against California, 0-2 against UCLA and 0-3 against Stanford.
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