I guess we should come to expect nothing other than weirdness in the Pac-10 this season.
But Thursday seemed to take it to another level with Lute Olson saying that Chris Rodgers may be coming back to Arizona after all, Oregon winning with just 52 points in Pullman, and California beating Arizona State on the road by 30.
It was a strange day all around in Tucson as the Wildcats lost Jawann McClellan for the season with a wrist injury he suffered at Oregon last weekend, and decided to take the redshirt status off guard Fendi Onobun to take his place.
But it might have been strangest at Edmundson Pavilion, where the Huskies won despite shooting just 33 percent, their worst since a 31.1 percent outing against Gonzaga in 2003. In that infamous game, UW missed 22 straight shots.
The Huskies were eager to put that game behind them when they met with some of us before practice today, though they were also in good humor about it because they got the win.
Bobby Jones said that despite how it might have appeared “we were not point shaving or anything like that” a remark that made a nearby UW official cringe. Don’t worry, clearly Jones was smiling when he said it.
Lorenzo Romar said that in reviewing the film, he still liked the way his team played. He said many of the misses were shots his team normally makes. Washington didn’t even shoot free throws well, making just 16 of 28.
Romar said he considers the game an aberration and will focus instead on the Huskies still being able to win.
Added Jones: “I wouldn’t say I’m embarrassed, but it’s one of those things you don’t want to think about. But you know it’s not going to be like that in consecutive games. It’s a blessing that our defense was there to help us out.”
Jones agreed with Romar that the Huskies were taking good shots. He said he remembered the Gonzaga game with the 22 missed shots, and some other similarly bad nights from earlier in his career, and said that in a lot of those games “there were people being selfish,” leading to a lot of poor shots being taken.
But against Oregon State he said the Huskies “shot the same shots we normally do, we just didn’t make them. Nobody shot out of character.”
Here are a few other news and notes
No lineup changes are planned, but Romar continues to fiddle with his rotation off the bench. Against Oregon State, Brandon Burmeister and Hans Gasser got playing time in place of Joel Smith and Mike Jensen. Saturday against Oregon, it could be somebody else. Romar said a lot depends simply on matchups. Oregon is essentially a four-guard team with one big man, which favors someone like Smith seeing more time – though against Oregon State, he was also looking for players who would bring energy.
Brandon Roy revealed one reason for his subpar game against Oregon State – he injured his right wrist in practice Monday while boxing out Jamaal Williams. Roy said he wasn’t able to do as much shooting during the week as usual, which might have contributed to his 3-of-9 shooting with eight points against the Beavers. Roy said Friday the wrist was improving, but that he planned to do some extra shooting Friday night to attempt to rediscover his shot.
I talked with Oregon guard Aaron Brooks for a while before practice today. It’s been a somewhat rocky season for the Ducks, with rumors about Ernie Kent’s job status after losses to Portland and Portland State. That has led to Oregon slowing its offense down a bit, which I focus on in the story for Saturday’s paper. But Brooks also said the Ducks held a players’ retreat before the season to resolve to stick together no matter what happens. He credits that with keeping Oregon together so far.
Brooks, a Franklin High School graduate, was heavily recruited by UW but chose to go to Oregon at a time when Romar was in his first year attempting to turn Washington around and the Ducks were riding high. “It’s almost flipped now to where they stopped going to the tournament and we started going to the tournament,” Roy said. “He may never admit it, but he may be thinking in the back of his mind, he could be a part of that right now.”
Ernie Kent started a mini-furor a year ago when he called UW’s student section, the Dawg Pack “an embarrassment waiting to happen.” He later backtracked a bit, however, saying media blew it out of proportion. He wanted no part of that topic Friday when I asked him about it, saying he didn’t even want to discuss it.
Oregon forward Maarty Leunen, who has started 15 games, has been limited since spraining an ankle two weeks ago, but played one minute against Washington State and could see more time on Saturday.