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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 3, 2006 at 6:32 PM

Razing Arizona

As hot as it feels outside here — it’s just 75, but that feels like 100 after the winter we’ve been having — I imagine it’ll feel double that Saturday when the Huskies play Arizona at the McKale Center.
We can only hope for a game as good as the last one, which was a classic — a 96-95 Arizona win in double overtime Dec. 31 — though Washington fans would obviously have hoped for a different outcome.
What would make the game that much more enticing is if UCLA loses at Stanford, a game that tips off two hours before the UW game here. Husky fans can only hope Stanford is tied or behind a point or two late in the game and that Chris Hernandez has the ball in his hands. A foul on the opponent is almost assured to be called, though in what would be a Huskies nightmare come true, Hernandez would probably miss this time.
As for UW-Arizona, this could be a different game than the last one. As both coaches pointed out today when meeting the media, each team is a little bit different now.
The Huskies are starting Mike Jensen instead of Jamaal Williams, which has added a different dynamic to the offense and helped spearhead a three-point shooting turnaround for the Huskies. Washington has made 10 or more three-pointers in each of the last four games after making 10 or more only twice all season previously. Washington is 43 for 87 (49 percent) on threes the last four games.
“We are more of a team now than we were then in terms of knowing our roles,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said Friday.
Best evidence of that? Brandon Roy took 29 shots in the first game with Arizona, but hasn’t come within 10 of that since then.
Arizona, meanwhile, is now going with a bigger lineup. At the time of the first UW game, the Wildcats were going with a smaller lineup that had Chris Rodgers at guard alongside Hassan Adams and Mustafa Shakur.
Now, Rodgers is a reserve after having been suspended for more than a month. In that time, Arizona went with a bigger lineup that includes freshman Marcus Williams of Roosevelt High as a starter alongside Ivan Radenovic and Kirk Walters up front with Adams and Shakur in the backcourt.
The temporary loss of Rodgers and the later loss of Jawann McClellan due to injury also forced Arizona to become a deeper team. Freshman 6-foot-6 forward Fendi Onobun, for instance, was still redshirting when the teams played in Seattle, but now often plays double-digit minutes coming off the bench.
Add it up, and I expect another memorable game.
Here are a few more notes and quotes:
• Honors are starting to pour in for the Huskies. Sophomore guard Ryan Appleby was named the Pac-10’s Newcomer of the Year on Friday, which is selected by conference radio play-by-play announcers. The award is not to be confused with the Freshmen of the Year. Instead, Newcomer of the Year is for players who have transferred to a Pac-10 school from a junior college or another four-year school.
Appleby, who transferred from Florida, is averaging 8.1 points and is tied for third in the Pac-10 with Lodrick Stewart in three-point percentage at 42.1.
The only other Husky to win the award is Doug Wrenn in 2002.
• I received two e-mails today about Joe Wolfinger, who is listed in some places as having played a minute at Stanford. That was just a screwup by the Stanford sports-information department — Wolfinger wasn’t even in the building. He is redshirting this season and will have four years of eligibility beginning next year.
• With Harvey Perry now officially redshirting, the Huskies will have at least six new players next year — Perry, Wolfinger and the four incoming freshmen led by Spencer Hawes. Hard to imagine any team in the Pac-10, if not the country, will welcome as much talent next season.
• Arizona games are almost always sellouts and this one has been hotly anticipated for some time. Evidence of how hard a ticket it is? A major-league player (not a Mariner) who will be left unnamed called UW officials Friday wanting four tickets. He was told good luck, that he’d have to ask someone else.
• Olson said Friday he thinks there is little doubt that Roy is the Pac-10 Player of the Year. Olson said Roy “has more of a total effect on the game” than Cal’s Leon Powe.
• Olson spent a good share of his meeting with the media talking about how hard he recruited Roy out of Garfield High School, saying he watched Roy play summer league games at least 20 times. Olson said Roy isn’t doing anything now he didn’t expect then, but praised Romar for getting Roy to play at a consistently high level of intensity.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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