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March 1, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Fortier is bridge between championships

Had a chance to catch up with Paul Fortier after Saturday’s game.
The Washington assistant has a unique take on the Huskies’ securing at least a share of the Pac-10 conference title because he starred for the UW between 1983-86 and played on the co-championship teams in 1985 and ’84.
Fortier draws several comparisons between the Huskies and the 1984 team.
“We were pre-ranked before the (1984-85) season and we just came off a Sweet 16 appearance,” he said. “If anything, this reminds me of our ’84 team, the first time we won it because that’s when we had a freshman in Chris Welp and we got a new kid in Isaiah (Thomas). We were just .500 the year before (in the 1983-84 season) and last year we were below .500.
“Really we’re more alike to the first championship team. Nobody expected much from us. They didn’t know us. This season we were picked to finish about fifth or sixth, which was probably the same back then. we just kind of grew. We got better, we got better. We were resilient like this team is. We were a lot bigger whereas here, it’s the guards.”
Before Saturday’s 83-78 win against Arizona, Fortier considered digging into his closet to ferret his two championship rings and show them to the Huskies as motivation. After some thought, he decided against it.
“I spoke to some individuals, but I never spoke to them as a team because I was like we’re going good. I spoke to JD (Justin Dentmon) a little bit. I spoke to Jon (Brockman) a little bit. And I would just throw things out there even to Isaiah (Thomas). Like hey man, it’s been a long time, 24 years.
“I told this to JD after the UCLA game, I said when we did it, when we did the first one it was great and when we did the second one it was special, but it’s going to mean so much more even later.
“That’s what I was trying to explain to them. We can’t take any plays off. We did something big Thursday, but what’s the use of doing that and not finishing the job. Not to single anyone out, look at UCLA. They beat us and then lose to Washington State. We don’t want to be in that predicament and then it comes down to next week and we have to win.”
Fortier, who averaged 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds on the 1985 team, said he never expected it would take the Huskies 24 years to win another title. When he left in 1986, he played basketball overseas for 17 years. He returned to Washington in 2005 as an assistant.
“I knew they had some good teams,” he said. “I knew they went to the Sweet 16 and I thought maybe they won a co-championship or something. I didn’t realize that until I got back. I looked up there (at the championship banner hanging in Edmundson Pavilion) and said dang that’s still from my team in ’85 and that’s when it hit me.
“That’s what I was trying to tell the guys. How much it’s going to mean and you don’t know when it’s going to happen again.”
Clay Damon, another member of the ’85 team, was said to be in attendance on Saturday, but I didn’t have a chance to track him down.
One more thing from Saturday. Here’s Jon Brockman’s Twitter page from that day. Interesting stuff.
Clinch Pac-10 title and get to see Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley in concert all in one day… Just to much!
(about 16 hours ago)
Headed to Varlamos (best reasturant in seattle) then to Renton Western Wear to get gear for the Dierks Bentley Concert, Yayer
(4:49 PM Feb 27th)
Just like to say thank you for everyone cheering us on, the crowd pulled us through that one today… HUGE win… two more left! Lets go!
(3:05 AM Feb 27th)
Lets GOOOOOOO…….. yall better be loud if your coming to the game. even if your not where ever you watch it better be screaming at the tv
(2:44 PM Feb 26th)

Comments | Topics: UCLA


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