Had a chance to catch up with former Husky standout Quincy Pondexter and Hall of Famer Bill Walton who weighed in on Washington’s recent troubles.
Pondexter said: “They’re a work in progress. I think they have some guys that are learning how to be leaders and learning how to work hard. They just have to get through this time.”
He added: “You’ve got to deal with these down times and you’ve got to deal with the heartache to appreciate the good times. And I think it’s going to come. They’ll turn it around this year and if not this year, then next year for sure.”
Walton pins the Huskies’ demise on the absence of 7-foot center Robert Upshaw, who was kicked off the team, and 6-10 forward Jernard Jarreau, who is out with a knee injury.
“Take Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) off of UCLA and how would they have done?” Walton said while referring to Upshaw, who set a UW record with 85 blocks and averaged 10.9 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Walton responded to the Romar critics who are pushing the coach on the hot seat.
“It’s the nature of the business, but this year can’t really count because of the injuries,” said the Hall of Famer whose 10-year career was shortened due to injuries. “Look at my career. I’m the most injured player in the history of sports. Some of my greatest friends went down because I couldn’t play.
“Lenny Wilkens got fired in Portland because I couldn’t play. Paul Silas and Gene Shue got fired because of my inability to stay on the court. It’s a terrible burden that I live with. They’re fantastic human beings. They do a great job. The player gets hurt and the coach gets fired. It’s a sad commentary on who we are and what we have become when other people take the fall for what is caused by something that is not anywhere near their control.”
SUNDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Since 2004, Washington has owned Arizona State. The Huskies are 21-3 against the Sun Devils dating back to 2004. The teams meet Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
— Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a memorable game Friday at Washington.
— No. 11 Utah needs a win against the red-hot California Golden Bears to hold on to its lead in the Pac-12.
— The Utes enjoy a tremendous home-court advantage. They’re averaging 11,586, which is second best in the Pac-12 behind Arizona (14,571).
— Colorado’s struggles may be tied to Xavier Johnson’s struggles. Neither has played well lately.
— Former Washington State coach George Raveling was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition to the Cougars (1972-83), he also coached at Iowa (1983-86) and USC (1987-94).
— Norman Powell scored 23 points and Kevon Looney added 18 and UCLA defeated Oregon 72-63 at Pauley Pavilion to tie the Ducks in the Pac-12 standings with five games remaining. The Bruins (16-10, 8-5) won their second straight and fifth in their last six games while improving to 13-1 at home.
— Jalil Abdul-Bassit hit a career-high seven 3-pointers in scoring a career-best 24 points for the Ducks (18-8, 8-5), who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Joseph Young added 18 points and Elgin Cook 12.
— Elijah Stewart got the start Saturday against Oregon State because fellow freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin didn’t play due to injury. Stewart came up big while scoring 19 points, making a career-high five three-pointers, and leading the Trojans a 68-55 win that snapped their nine-game losing streak. He also had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks. Katin Reinhardt added 16 points, Julian Jacobs had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Nikola Jovanovic had eight points and five rebounds for USC (10-15, 2-11).
— The Beavers are wonderful at home where they have a 14-0 record, but on the road it’s a different story. Against the Trojans, Langston Morris-Walker scored 17 points and Gary Payton II had 11 points, eight rebounds, six steals and four assists to lead Oregon State (16-9, 7-6). Malcolm Duvivier and Daniel Gomis added 10 points apiece.
— In the “strange but true category” Oregon State’s flight out of Los Angeles was delayed because a passenger was stung by a scorpion.
— Here’s a look at the Pac-12 standings.
|TEAM||CONF W-L||TOTAL W-L|
|No. 7 Arizona||9-2||21-3|
|No. 11 Utah||9-2||19-4|
— And finally, Zach LaVine, the one-year UCLA standout, won the NBA slam dunk contest. The former Bothell High star could have been a Husky. He considered Washington before signing with the Bruins.