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Husky Men's Basketball

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October 29, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Off to Pac-10 media day

I’m off to Pac-10 men’s basketball media day tomorrrow in Los Angeles with a few (actually a lot, no traffic for once) minutes to kill at Sea-Tac.
Enough time to riff on a few things:
— I’m assuming that the hot topic at media day is going to be Arizona and just what the heck is happening with the Wildcats now that Lute Olson has retired.
The news only got worse for Arizona today as it was reported that freshman center Jeff Withey — who also seriously considered Washington — is apparently transferring. I was among those who thought that Arizona would at least remain good this season, but the loss of Withey won’t help any and only adds to the perception that Arizona is a sinking ship.
There are a lot of people who wonder about the stability of Arizona without Olson. McKale Center isn’t exactly a palace, the overall facilities are average, and there is really no tradition other than Olson. There is also no real recruiting natural base — one thing many at Arizona State have always pointed to for the lack of success of that program is that Phoenix area doesn’t seem to produce the level of talent that would be expected of an area that large.
This is a ship that could go down fast, creating an opportunity for schools like Washington to take UA’s place as the main competitor to UCLA for Pac-10 supremacy. UW has already taken advantage with Tuesday’s securing of a commitment from Abdul Gaddy.
— Speaking of Arizona, ESPN’s Andy Katz makes a good point in this story that the school is as much to blame as is Olson for the downfall that seems impending. As Katz points out, if UA had established a clear line of succession to Olson a lot of the recent uncertainty could have been avoided. But for whatever reason, the UA administration couldn’t get that figured out. Really, there’s nothing separating UA and UW in the grand scheme of things other than the fact that Olson was one of the game’s greatest coaches. Take him and his legacy out of the picture and what does UA have that UW doesn’t?
— I stopped by UW’s practice for a few minutes on my way out the door today following football reporting duties and what struck me again is how much of an impact Isaiah Thomas may make this year. On two straight possessions during a halfcourt drill he took give-and-go passes and lofted up running left-handed layups off the backboard for baskets. After one of those, one observer I know turned to me and mouthed “did you see that?”
What also stuck out is how active Matthew Bryan-Amaning was on the defensive end of the floor. He was all over the place, twice getting in front of entry passes from the wing for steals. No reason to think he won’t be much improved this season.
All for now but check back often tomorrow for reports from media day.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, UCLA

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