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

October 3, 2011 at 6:05 AM

Counting down the Huskies — No. 15 Alex Wegner

Alex Wegner.jpg
We’re less than two weeks from the start of training camp. And as a way of counting down the days, I figured I’d steal a good idea from Bob Condotta and count down the players on the roster — revealing one each day.
This is not a scientific poll. Nor is it a prediction of who’s going to lead the team in scoring. It’s just a quick list ranking players from 1-15 in reverse order.
I’m starting with freshman walk-on Alex Wegner.
The 6 foot 7, 190-pound forward led Vashon Island High to a third-place finish at state in 2010 Washington State 1A Tournament and the state championship in 2009
Wegner averaged 22.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.4 blocks per game as a senior. It’s unlikely he’ll equal those numbers at Washington where he’s expected to be a role player at the bottom of the bench. In time, Wegner may work his way up the depth chart, but this season figures to be a year in which he can learn the system, work on his body and improve fundamentally as a basketball player.
The Huskies became familiar with Wegner while recruiting his Vashon teammate John Gage.
Here’s the transcript from a recent interview with Wegner.
(You’ve got talent to play in college, why walk on at Washington?) “I’m here because I’ve been a lifelong Washington basketball fan. I got recruited by some smaller schools, but for me the place that I wanted to be was here under the program of coach (Lorenzo) Romar. It’s a great school academically. For me, I’m not like the other guys who are trying to get to the NBA, my final goal is I want to be a coach. And to be in a program like coach Romar has here it’s the perfect place for me. And being a lifelong Washington basketball fan, it’s a dream come true for me.”
(What other schools were you looking at?)

“I looked at some D-II schools in California, Central Washington and SPU. I was looking around here a little. But for me, once I had this opportunity I just really didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
(You were a big scorer in high school. Are you ready to give that up? It can be a difficult transition going from being the man to sitting on the bench and not getting much if any playing time.) “For me, I’ve always been more about winning and about the whole team. In high school, that was me. I had to score a lot. But for my AAU teams, all through the years I was kind of a role player. Somebody who could rebound and box out. So I’m here to do whatever it takes to win. This team there’s clearly more skilled athletes and better players than me. So I’m just doing everything I can to make the team as good as it can possibly be.”
(How long have you been around the guys?) “I’ve been here about four weeks or so. I’ve met some of them previously in the summer. I came in August and met some of them. A lot of them were still at home. The last three or so weeks has been a time that I’ve been working with them all day everyday.”
(What’s your thoughts of the team?) “We got a really talented group of guys. The talent level is so much higher than it was back in high school. The guys just running faster. They’re playing harder. They jump higher. You got to be so much more ready to go with this group of guys.”
(Was there one thing that stood out the most in terms of the difference between high school and college?) “The biggest difference is the speed. Everybody is just so much quicker. On my high school team, I was the quickest guy there. But here I’m definitely a step slower than a lot of these guys. They’re some of the quickest guys in the country I believe. Especially the style that we play. Coach Romar really likes to run up and down the floor and outrun our opponents. That’s something that I’m struggling with, but I’m going to work hard and try to get better at it.”
(Have you had a chance to talk to Brendan Sherrer about what it means to be a walk on at Washington?) “I’ve talked to Brendan a lot and I’ve talked to coach a lot about it. I think for me it’s working as hard as I can in practice. Obviously I know I’m not going to get a lot of playing time because there’s 15 guys on this team and they’re all really, really talented. And I know I’m at the bottom of that. So for now I want to work as hard as I can. Be as good as I can possibly be to try to make up some ground that I’m already kind of losing. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll see if I can get some playing time on the floor. If not, then I’m still trying to make the team as good as it can be.”
(For people who haven’t seen you play, how would you describe yourself as a basketball player?) “I’m kind of an all-around of player. I wouldn’t say I’m great at anything in particular, but I like to score in a lot of different spots. In high school I was playing point guard. In AAU I was playing kind of power forward and the 4 position and I can play anywhere in between. Here I’m kind of 3 or 4. I really need to find a solid position. I need to put on some more muscle really soon so I can hang with these guys.”
(Really?) “As soon as you get out here you realize that these guys are pushing you around. You try to come off a screen and they’re hitting you hard. As opposed to just standing there, they’re trying to give you one. So it’s something that I need to get bigger. I’m small right now, but I’ve been in the weight room every day trying to get bigger. Eating a lot and doing what I can.”
(Is that 4-5 meals a day?) “Yeah 4-5 meals a day. Then try to eat as much as I can between meals. Just constantly filling yourself with food and food that’s good for you. Not junk food. But stuff that will give you calories and a balanced diet.”
(Try late night peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.) “Yeah. I’ll try it.”
(Who has surprised you the most?) “There’s a lot of great players on this team. We have a great group of freshmen. Tony Wroten I didn’t know how quick he was. I hadn’t seen him play since my freshman year. He’s impressed me a lot. Terrence Ross is obviously a highly talented player. But as far as our team, we’re all a bunch a great players and everybody has a chance to compete for playing time right now.”
(You said you want to be a coach. Why?) “For me, I was always the kind of guy who would rather than just watch how a play happened, I wanted to know how it happened. I like to watch parts of the game and read books about the game. I like to see the formations in the offense and what works for some teams and what works for other teams. There’s so many different college teams. You look at a team like Duke and you look at a team like us. We have totally different recipes for success, but we’re both great programs. And the recruiting aspect, which I’m probably the least familiar with.”
(How old are you?) “I’m 18 years old.”
(And already you know what you want to do with your life. When did you make that decision?) “Sometime in high school. Probably around my junior year. I’d always just thought about it. My senior year I coached for a little kid team. It’s a different scenario. It’s during the summer. You teach (the kids) how to handle a ball and be able to shoot it with confidence. It’s something that I just really like doing.”
(Your parents are UW alums, right?) “Yeah both my parents went here. And my sister went here. She graduated last year. So again, I’ve been a lifelong Husky fan. My grandfather didn’t go here, but he’s also a huge fan. Growing up on the island 20-30 minutes away from here and watching the Huskies play on TV is a great memory.”
(Describe island life?) “Relaxed probably. We got our own community over there that supports one another. Everybody knows each other. I’ve known most of good friends since second or first grade. Friends that I went to preschool with I graduated (high school) with. Being able to come back is pretty cool. They all know who I am. They say congratulations on doing whatever. When we won a state championship a couple of years ago there was a big parade on the island. Everyone was talking about it. So it’s something that’s really cool. It’s a tight-knit community.”
(Now you’re in the big Seattle and living on a college campus?) “It’s different. It’s something to get used to, but at the same time it’s kind of exciting. As much as I love the island, it’s nice to get off of it and see the world a little bit. This school has 40,000-plus people compared to 10,000 on the island. It’s been a crazy experience, but I’ve been loving every minute of it.”



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