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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 9, 2005 at 7:41 PM

WE’RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND

Actually, the Huskies aren’t, as far as I know.
But they darn sure could as the Arrowhead Pond, for anyone who doesn’t know, is about a Mickey Mouse ear away from Disneyland.
UW is staying at a hotel nearby but this jaunt to play New Mexico in the Wooden Classic here is a business trip and there were no plans for the team to get to the Magic Kingdom. Maybe next time.
The Huskies held a 9 a.m. practice at the Pond today, then had about a 15-minute meeting with the man who this event is named after, former UCLA coach John Wooden. He spoke to the team for a while and then players asked questions.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar, who got to know Wooden well during his years as an assistant at UCLA, then took part in a press conference. I wasn’t able to get there but I’m told he didn’t say much that was ultra newsworthy regarding personnel matters.
But obviously, there’s no real need for change with the Huskies off to the start that they are.
It will be interesting to observe the defensive matchups, however.
New Mexico’s most dangerous players are guard Mark Walters and forward David Chiotti. They seem like possible matchups for Bobby Jones and Brandon Roy, respectively. But given Roy’s foul trouble against Gonzaga, maybe Romar will give him a different assignment in this one and put Jon Brockman on Chiotti, who is UNM’s leading rebounder at 7.3 per game.
A Walters-Jones matchup would be fun to watch. Walters is a 6-2 swingman who averages 16.8 points per game and also leads the team in assists (14, tied with Chiotti), and steals (13) and is second in rebounds. He’s such a good athlete he was also recruited by New Mexico to play football – he grew up in Albuquerque. Walters is coming off a bad shooting game, however, going 3-13 from the 3-point line and 5-19 overall in a 67-61 loss at New Mexico State Saturday.
And Chiotti looks a lot like a lesser-heralded Brockman – he’s 6-9, 245 and averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and shot 54 percent from the floor this year. New Mexico State beat New Mexico last weekend by essentially taking Chiotti out of the game – he took just 5 shots in 32 minutes and finished with seven points and nine rebounds – and putting the pressure on UNM’s other big guys to come through. UW could use a similar strategy.
REUNITED
Much of the media attention this week was on Jamaal Williams again playing against the team he left three years ago.
Williams said he hasn’t kept in much contact with the three remaining players from his time, including Walters and Chiotti. Instead, he said he keeps in closer contact with several other UNM players who also transferred.
“We developed a close bond because we had something in common,” Williams said.
STAYING FOCUSED
Romar talked to the team this week about not getting caught up in the hype of the Gonzaga win. In my opinion, that’s not something the veterans on this team have ever really done. I thought last year they always did a good job of coming to play no matter who the opponent, and the big scores against bad teams this year seems to prove that is still the case.
Still, Justin Dentmon said Romar let the team know this week “to just realize we’ve got a bulls-eye on our back now. Coach said don’t get bored with success – just keep things in stride and keep doing what we’re doing.”
MORE ON TRE
I wrote about Tre Simmons the other day and then noticed a story in an Oregon paper that he has apparently signed to play with the Portland entry in the new International Basketball League. The story indicated that the team will begin play in March and that Simmons will join the team when he returns from playing overseas. I’ll look into this and try to get more info.
PHIL NELSON UPDATE
And finally, here’s a link to a story about the McNary High hoops team in Oregon that includes Husky signee Phil Nelson.
MORE COMING
We’ll try to update this space over the weekend as well with other news and notes from the Wooden Classic.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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