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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Q and A time

Lots of questions after this one, so I’ll try to provide a few answers (though answers are admittedly hard to find right now).
WHAT’S WITH JUSTIN DENTMON? For starters, I will point out to those of you saying he is young, in terms of age, he’s older than most as he is 21 years old — remember, he attended prep school for a year out of high school. It was hoped he would come to UW with a little added maturity because of that, and coaches cited that at times last year when Dentmon played well as a freshman.
His comments after the game last night really weren’t a lot different than what he has said at other times this year — he has said several times that he is struggling to adjust to a new role and at times confused by whether he’s supposed to be a playmaker or a scorer.
UW coaches want him to be both.
A few of you have asked why the Huskies have no “true” point guard. It’s largely a choice. Any of you who have read this for long know that Lorenzo Romar wants his guards to be able to do everything equally. He resists labels and would never refer to Conroy was the point, and Nate as the shooting guard, saying both were each equally, though obviously they settled into those roles as their careers progressed.
Romar feels point guards who aren’t good scorers are easier to defend, so in recruiting, they typically look for guards who can do both. Dentmon, for what it’s worth, was the No. 10-rated point guard in the country by Rivals.com in 2005, so the Huskies weren’t the only ones thinking he could play the point.
I still think a lot of this team’s problem down the stretch is a lack of familiarity with each other’s game, which is in part a product of the sporadic practice time they’ve had together this year, mostly due to Hawes’ various ailments. The Cougars, especially the four main guys, have been together for three years — that experience and cohesiveness showed down the stretch.
But as I wrote a few weeks ago, the Huskies tried to address point guard depth after the season by recruiting some JC players. They went hard after Blake Young, a JC transfer from Florida who instead landed at Kansas State where he was the starter early in the year before suffering a knee injury.
ARE THE HUSKIES TAKING A CHARTER TO PITTSBURGH? No. The Huskies fly commercial to regular season games and they are going through Minnesota on their way there and Chicago on their way back. They weren’t allowed to practice today due to NCAA rules that require one day off a week running Sunday-to-Saturday (travel doesn’t count, which does seem a little odd). Reporters don’t go on the team plane, per se, but since they are commercial flights, some of us often end up on the team planes just by chance. One of my better memories in that regard is having the same flight with the team a few years ago after it won the Pac-10 tournament in Los Angeles and seeing Will Conroy asleep in his seat holding the trophy.
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE THREE FRESHMEN OTHER THAN HAWES? I think it’s basically time to admit they weren’t as ready as eveyrone hoped to be big-time contributors at this level. To me, Pondexter is the real surprise in that regard. He was the team’s leading scorer through non-conference play and had seven straight games of 12 or more points. But he hasn’t scored more than eight in any of the last seven.
I think expectations were probably too high for Adrian Oliver and Phil Nelson. Each were highly-regarded recruits, but not to the point that impartial observers figured they would step right into starring roles. I think most viewed them as guys who will grow into real good players by the end of their careers. But they are each four-year players who it looks like will need some time to mature. It is somewhat of a surprise, however, that Nelson hasn’t done more offensively. His problems figured to be on the defensive end and I think most figured he would always at least add some shooting. But as I detailed earlier, he’s hit a big wall of late — he has scored zero points in five of UW’s last nine games.
WHY COULDN’T ROMAR DRAW UP BETTER PLAYS AT THE END? As someone else pointed out here, they were trying some different things at the end. If you noticed, when UW was down three at the end, Hawes popped out and was ready to take a three-pointer — the same play the Huskies used to tie up the USC game earlier this year. But the Cougars weren’t right on it (I can’t remember who but I think it was Clark) and Hawes had to give up the ball.
The play that got Oliver a wide open three-pointer with about 20 seconds couldn’t have been executed better other than the shot.
I’ve wondered if the Huskies don’t need to figure out their spacing better, especially when both Hawes and Brockman are in there. It seemed like the middle was really packed in a lot of the times, like the Cougars didn’t have to reach all that far to double-team those guys.
But that’s where shooting plays a huge role. The Huskies desperately needed someone to hit a few outside shots. For all the flak Dentmon has taken on here, he was the only Husky to hit a three-pointer in the second half, going 2-4.

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