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Husky Men's Basketball

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

July 18, 2006 at 4:33 PM

Will Sonics move affect Huskies?

Get your season tickets now, because if the Sonics really do take off for Oklahoma City, the Huskies will be the only show in town for high-caliber men’s basketball.
And the initial reaction is that if the Sonics are on their way out, it will only help the Huskies.
They will get more media attention during the season, there will be less competition for fan dollars, and their players will have the potential to become even bigger icons in this city, all of which would only aid recruiting.
There are any numerous examples of how being the only show in town has helped a college basketball program reach an elite level — look no further east than Gonzaga or south than Arizona.
But as UW coach Lorenzo Romar said today “it can go both ways” having an NBA team in town.
An NBA team obviously deflects some attention,
But asked if there can be a direct recruiting benefit to having an NBA team, Romar said “Yeah, I think there is. … When you have a team, it’s great to know that you are in an NBA city and that teams will come through here [and practice] at our gyms and sometimes their guys come over and play with our guys. I think that’s all good.”
Romar also said he thinks there’s a connection between the fact that Seattle has had an NBA team for almost 40 years and the rise in the level of basketball being played at the high-school level in this city. That homegrown talent has obviously greatly aided UW’s rise to prominence under Romar.
Romar pointed to George Karl starting up the Friends of Hoops AAU program, which has produced the likes off Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes, Martell Webster and numerous other players. Karl obviously wouldn’t have been around to kickstart that program had the Sonics not existed.
“That all definitely sprang from the Sonics,” Romar said.
Romar didn’t want to get into how it might help the Huskies should the Sonics actually leave, saying that on a personal level “I would hate it. I would love for them to stay. I’ve always been a Sonics fans.”
That dates to his years as a player at UW from 1978 to 1980, which coincided with the Sonics’ only NBA title in 1979.
Romar said that he became friendly with many of the Sonics’ players.
My personal feeling is that ultimately, it’s probably a wash how the departure of the Sonics might impact the Huskies.
The Washington men’s basketball program has both thrived and, more often, suffered while playing alongside the Sonics.
And the reasons for both have usually had nothing at all to do with the Sonics.
Once UW had a good coach in Romar, along with a good facility for fans to watch the team — and one that appealed to recruits — the Huskies took off.
The necessity of having those things — both good coaching and good facilities — won’t change no matter what the Sonics do.

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