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Husky Men's Basketball

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June 11, 2007 at 4:34 PM

Q and A with Jon Brockman

I had a chance recently to talk with Jon Brockman about last season, how off-season workouts are going, and what life might be like without
Spencer Hawes.
So here we go:
Question: What are your personal goals for the off-season?
Brockman: I want to work on my outside shot a lot and just being more comfortable with the ball dribbling-wise and driving to the hole, that kind of stuff. And there was a big emphasis this spring on defense. We really hammered that a lot and worked on that a lot.
Question: That (defense) was something that the coaches wanted you to do?
Brockman: Yes and it was tough. We really got after it. A lot of defensive slides, making sure we stay low, just being quicker on our feet. We were doing that every morning pretty early, at 7:30, which is tough for college kids.
Question: So you’re saying your personal focus is on expanding your perimeter game?
Brockman: I think it’s something I need to keep working on and make sure I keep the game that I have now and just keep expanding on it and just keep building.
Question: What is the attitude of the team like as you go through off-season stuff.
Brockman: We just want to get better and make sure we don’t leave anything in anyone else’s hands next year like what happened this year when we didn’t get selected for the NIT. We really feel like we can’t blame anyone but ourselves because we didn’t get the work done. If we had gotten the work done, there wouldn’t have been a question about making the NCAA Tournament. So I mean no one’s mad at anyone just more mad at ourselves. We realize we have to work a lot harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Question: How long did it take you to get over what happened with the NIT?
Brockman: It was a couple of weeks. And it’s like I still wish we had the opportunity to play in it. But it’s not like we can be mad at anyone else. We just need to carry that anger toward ourselves. Not in a negative way but just to use it as motivation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Question: So what do you think happened last year, anyway?
Brockman: It was just inconsistent play. I don’t think we ever played more than three games in a row where we were playing at our maximum potential. We started seeing signs of our maximum potential and being a good team toward the end of the year but we just never really put it fully together, which is frustrating, because for everyone on our team, it was almost like we wasted a pretty good opportunity. If we had just worked a little harder, been a little bit tougher, maybe we wouldn’t be saying what we are saying right now. We just have to suck it up and work harder this year, I guess.
Question: You mentioned being a little bit tougher. Do you think that was an issue for the Huskies last year?
Brockman: I don’t think we really understood the importance of every single possession. That in every single possession of every single game, be it offense or defense, you have to play as hard as you can. At the beginning of the year, I don’t think we were thinking that every single game was important in order to get into the NCAA Tournament. And all of the sudden we had put ourselves into a hole we couldn’t get out of. And that’s when games like at USC, at Cal, at Stanford, at Oregon State, those games were the ones that really came back and bit us. I think this year we need to really realize the importance of every single game and realize that what we are doing is working toward the NCAA Tournament.
Question: A lot of those games you mentioned were all close games. Why do you think you had trouble winning close games last season?
Brockman: I guess you could say we weren’t tough enough. Tough teams that are really tough can grind out those wins. You could say we were too young and had a lot of guys who hadn’t been in those situations, a lot of guys we were counting on for big minutes. But we are past the time where we can keep making excuses. We just have to suck it up and work a little bit harder to make sure it doesn’t happen next year.
Question: So who has been looking good during your off-season workouts?
Brockman: Quincy (Pondexter) has improved a lot. He’s been working really hard. I think Ryan (Appleby) is going to be one of the most-feared shooters in college basketball next year — he just doesn’t miss very often. And I think Justin (Dentmon) has gotten in great condition which has just taken his game to a new level, as well.
Question: Can you elaborate on Dentmon. He was obviously the focus of a lot of criticism last season.
Brockman: He’s improved a lot and just looks a lot better. His strength and his quickness and his shooting — he’s just a completely different player. He’s going to turn some heads next year. I’ve got a lot of faith in him. He’s working really hard right now.
Question: So how much have you seen Spencer Hawes since he made his announcement about exploring his NBA options.
Brockman: He plays open gym with us when he’s not on his own working out but he doesn’t really do any of the individual stuff with us. But he’s usually here.
Question: What did the team think of Hawes’ decision?
Brockman: Our team is so close that we all understood his situation and what he is trying to do. We know he is going to make a good decision. There was not really any anger or anything like that.
Question: How do you think the team will change next year if Hawes doesn’t return?
Brockman: I think if we don’t have Spencer we are definitely going to look to run the ball more and get more quick shots. Last year, if we got the ball inside, something good was going to happen so we slowed it up a little bit and gave him the ball. But I think we’ll look to run a little more if he doesn’t come back.
Question: What are your thoughts on your team’s trip to Greece in August.
Brockman: It will definitely give us a head start on next season. It’s kind of funny when you think about it — we’ve all grown up all of our lives playing games all summer and then you come to college and you play your last college game in March and you don’t play another game until the next season opener. So it will be nice to play a couple of games in the middle of the summer.
Question: And with you going to try out for the Pan-American games team, it sounds like it will be a busy summer for you. (Brockman will try out for the team in Pennsylvania in early July and if he makes it, will play in games in Rio de Janeiro in late July).
Brockman: It will definitely be a fun summer.



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