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Husky Men's Basketball

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

July 2, 2008 at 5:23 PM

Will Sonics move help Huskies?

In case you haven’t heard, the Sonics are gone.
That leaves the Huskies as the highest-level men’s basketball attraction in the city of Seattle and the question before you today is whether there is any positive in that for UW.
You won’t hear anyone at the school say that, certainly not publicly anyway, though I know some there think it could help. “There is some advantage to being the only game in town,” one person close to the program told me once.
I kind of have the belief that just about anything can be perceived to be good for a program if things are going well, and just about anything can be perceived as bad if things aren’t going well. In other words, if the coaches recruit the right players and coach them well, I’m not sure it matters much if there is an NBA team here or not. The Huskies went to their lone Final Four in 1953 back before Seattle was a pro town in any way, and have alternately had some of their best and worst seasons since the arrival of the Sonics in 1967.
The most notable impact could be some added media attention on the team, which often played second fiddle on night when the Sonics also were in action. I’m not sure how much it will help ticket sales as most around UW generally think the audiences for the Huskies and the pro teams are pretty different — and that UW’s crowds are impacted most by winning, just like anyone else’s.
But in the short term, there could be a bump as fans who need a fix for their Basketball Jones won’t have a lot of other options (although don’t forget that Seattle University is now going Division-I and certainly the timing for that move looks pretty fortuitous now).
But I’m curious to know what you think.
Mostly, I just feel sad that the first pro team I ever really followed is now just memories. Even if they bring another team here and call it the Sonics, it won’t be the same — I think there’s some value in the whole six degrees of separation thing, that you can trace Kevin Durant back to Bob Rule.
I’m glad, however, I took the whole family to the last home game against Dallas in April. We’d never done that before mostly because I have two young boys and it just hadn’t seemed time yet. They really enjoyed it and wanted to go back to games next year, a chance they won’t have now. They’ve already asked me who’s to blame and I just told them what I really feel —- everybody involved. They all blew it — Stern, Schultz, Bennett, Gregoire, Nickels. Anything they say today rings hallow to me.
It does, however, point out the one big advantage to selling your athletic fandom soul to a college team — for better or worse, they aren’t ever going to pack up and move to another city.



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