UW Hosts Western Washington Thursday in Men's Basketball

Nov. 6, 2001

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8 --
UW vs. Western Washington (Exhibition), 7:00 p.m. PST

Bank of America Arena (10,000), Seattle, Wash.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15-18 --
UW at Top of the World Classic

Carlson Center (5,703), Fairbanks, Ak.

Washington has one final exhibition tune-up before beginning the regular season next week in Alaska. The Huskies host NCAA Division II power Western Washington on Thursday, Nov. 8. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. Admission will be charged, $16 for reserved seating and $6 for general admission. The Vikings advanced to the division II Final Four last season, finishing with a 27-4 record. Washington has a 34-9 all-time record in exhibition games, including an 87-43 win over Brisbane (Australia) on Friday (Nov. 2). UW played an exhibition game against an NCAA Division II semifinalist last season and claimed an 83-81 overtime win at Seattle Pacific.

'We have the most athletic team that we've ever had at Washington. It's an athletic team that is more than capable of competing in the Pac-10 where athleticism has always been a necessity.'
-- Bob Bender, Washington head coach

A young team represents an old basketball program during the upcoming 2001-02 season. The Washington Huskies celebrate their 100th season of men's basketball competition this year with a collection of players the majority of which have never before worn a UW jersey. Nine new players fill the Husky roster, including a recruiting class that was ranked among the best in the nation. Only five athletes will play who were on last year's team that finished with a 10-20 record for the second straight season. The Huskies tied for ninth place in the Pacific-10 Conference standings with a 4-14 record.

100th Season
The University of Washington began playing basketball in 1896, but did not field a team during seven seasons in the late 1800s and early 1900s, making the 2001-02 campaign the 100th season in school history. Over 700 athletes have worn UW jerseys in 2,369 games during parts of three centuries. The Huskies rank 16th among all-time NCAA competitors with 1,423 victories against 946 defeats. Washington has produced 21 conference champions, 10 NCAA Tournament teams, five National Invitation Tournament teams and 15 consensus All-Americans. The one constant for 73 of those seasons was Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The Huskies moved into The Pavilion in 1927 and have played there ever since, with the exception of the 1999-2000 season during which the building was undergoing renovations and a name change to become Bank of America Arena at Edmundson Pavilion. The arena has been the site of 751 Washington wins, more than any other school has amassed in its current venue.

Season Preview
An infusion of talent that rivals any in Washington's history provides the spark that ninth-year Coach Bob Bender hopes will ignite a winning campaign. The Huskies are coming off back-to-back 10-20 seasons, but are just two years removed from a string of four consecutive postseason appearances. Two starters return for Washington, senior center David Dixon (4.7 ppg/3.2 rpg) and sophomore point guard Curtis Allen (7.0 ppg). Dixon, who has dropped more than 30 pounds from last season, now weighs 270. The lightning-quick Allen was an All-Pac-10 Freshmen Team selection in 2001. Sophomore C.J. Massingale, an honorable mention freshmen team pick, displayed his scoring ability in a 25-point outburst at UCLA. Sharpshooting senior forward Grant Leep is the team captain. Sophomore walk-on Sterling Brown is a capable scorer who will see more time.

Western Washington
The Vikings return all but one player from a team that posted a 27-4 record in 2001 and advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinals. Coach Brad Jackson's squad is picked No. 2 in the preseason poll. The Huskies won all 17 previous meetings with Western Washington. The two teams haven't met since 1983. This is the second straight season the Huskies have played an exhibition against an NCAA Division II foe. UW escaped Seattle Pacific's Brougham Pavilion with an 83-81 overtime win last year.

Last Husky Game
UW 87, Brisbane 43, exhibition (Nov. 2, 2001, Seattle)

Reserve guard C.J. Massingale led four double-figure scorers with 14 points and center David Dixon registered a double-double as the Washington men's basketball team opened the 2001-02 season with an 87-43 exhibition victory over the Brisbane Capitals at Bank of America Arena. The game was tight early on and Brisbane, a member of the Australian professional league, led by as many as six points six minutes into the contest. The Huskies overcame poor 2-for-15 shooting early in the game to take the lead. Capital guard Brendan Beak converted one of two free throws with 6:14 left in the first half to tie the score at 19. Washington outscored its foreign guests 23-6 the rest of the period to claim a commanding 42-25 halftime advantage. The run included points from eight different Huskies. Washington had a pair of 11-point runs along with a 10-0 surge to stretch the lead to as many as 46 points (85-39) after intermission. Dixon scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Huskies who had a 53-31 advantage on the boards. Sophomore Doug Wrenn, a transfer from Connecticut, totaled 12 points in his much-anticipated Husky debut while senior Grant Leep added 11 points. The Huskies shot a stunning 91 percent from the free throw line, hitting 21-of-23 attempts. That is a stark contrast from last year's squad that had the poorest accuracy rate in the Pac-10 at 58 percent. All eleven available players saw action for UW and 10 of them scored. Brisbane was led by Scotty Lloyd's 17 points and Rowan Gray's seven rebounds.

Returning Talent
Two starters and six total lettermen return from last year's team, including All-Pac-10 freshmen team guards Curtis Allen and C.J. Massingale. Allen started at point guard last season and is the top returning scorer with a 7.0-point average in 2001. Massingale will move to shooting guard full-time this season after backing up Allen at the point at times last season. He averaged 5.9 points per game, topped by a 25-point outburst at UCLA. Senior David Dixon returns in the starting center role in which he averaged 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 2001. He should be more effective this season while carrying 30 less pounds. Senior forward Grant Leep is arguably the team's best outside shooter. Another outstanding outside marksman is sophomore walk-on Sterling Brown who joined the team last season as a walk-on. Brown hit 38-percent of his 3-point shots in limited duty and should thrive with additional playing time.

Shelton Sidelined
Washington senior center Marlon Shelton re-injured his left knee and will miss the entire 2001-02 men's basketball season. Shelton suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee against USC on March 8 during the second-to-last game of the 2001 season. He had been rehabilitating his knee after undergoing surgery in April. Shelton re-injured his knee during mid-September had another surgery on Oct. 16 to repair his ACL and medial meniscus. Shelton is expected to utilize his red-shirt season and return next year as a fifth-year senior. A 6-10 product of Rochester (Mich.) High School, Shelton is a three-year letterman at Washington. He led the team with 38 blocked shots last season while averaging 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Shelton is planning to return for the 2002-03 season in what would be his fifth year with the program. He played 29 games last season and started 13 of them. Shelton shared the center position with 6-11 David Dixon who will now assume the starting role full time.

Doug's Debut
One of the most eagerly anticipated debuts in Husky history is that of sophomore Doug Wrenn, a supremely athletic 6-8 forward who red-shirted last season. Wrenn had 12 points and eight rebounds against Brisbane and finished a Curtis Allen lob with a devastating alley-oop slam dunk. A 1998 Parade All-American and Washington state prep Player of the Year, Wrenn sat out last season at UW after transferring from Connecticut. He was projected by Basketball News as the Pac-10's top newcomer. Wrenn, who prepped at Seattle's O'Dea High School, attended two East Coast prep schools in 1998-99 and played at UConn in 1999-2000.

'No school did a more thorough job of addressing its overall weakness and building for the future.'
-- Mike DeCourcy, The Sports News

Newcomers
Washington's recruiting class was ranked among the nation's best. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News ranked the Husky class as the nation's best recruiting haul with one of his primary criteria being 'which teams got the players they needed.' The celebrated class features three players who were among the 100 national finalists for the 2001 McDonald's All-American Game -- Charles Frederick, Mike Jensen and Erroll Knight. The signing class also includes junior college sharpshooter Josh Barnard (Tacoma CC) and 6-9 forward Jeffrey Day from 2000 state champion Seattle Prep. Jensen was rated the top power forward in the West by Pac-West Hoops which selected Knight as the No. 2 shooting guard. 'We accomplished what we wanted to do in a very big way,' said Coach Bob Bender. 'We are very proud of the fact they are all from right here in state. Every single player is a Washington player and that is our priority. We really emphasized how they could be the greatest class that we have ever had the opportunity to recruit and that coming in together would put them in position to be one of the top classes in the nation. They all are very, very talented, but collectively they're very special.' A consensus top-50 prep basketball player, Frederick signed a football scholarship and will join the basketball team after football season. He returns punts, including an 87-yard return for a touchdown against Michigan. Also joining the team is freshman point guard Will Conroy, a product of Seattle's Garfield High School. Conroy intended to walk-on, but was awarded a scholarship when one became available on Oct. 1. Rouning out the roster is sophomore walk-on Ian Gibbs (Sehome HS).

Departures
Seven players departed from last year's team, including five who were seniors. Those five left an indelible mark during the final game of the 2001 season as they all started and led Washington to a 96-94 home upset of 13th-ranked UCLA. Michael Johnson scored a career-high 29 points, including a 3-pointer as time expired. Johnson, Thalo Green and Will Perkins were full-time starters. Perkins led the Huskies in both scoring and rebounds in each of the last two seasons. He averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season with 10 double-doubles. Green ranked second on the team with 10.9 points per game and Johnson was third at 8.9. Bryan Brown started 21 games and led the team with 86 assists. Also gone are Ben Coffee and DeMarcus Williams. A reserve guard who averaged 1.6 points per game, Coffee transferred to Portland State. Williams, a red-shirt last year who never played at UW, transferred to Cal State Riverside and is no longer playing basketball.

Knight Out
Freshman guard Erroll Knight underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on Friday (Nov. 2). Knight had swelling in his knee during preseason practice and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on Oct. 30 that revealed a loose fragment of cartilage. The surgery to remove the fragment was successful and Knight is now rehabilitating. The anticipated rehab time was approximately three weeks. Knight has shown good progress and could possibly return as soon as next week for the regular-season opening games at the Top of the World Classic. 'It's disappointing that Erroll will miss the early part of the season because he has worked hard in practice and put himself in position to possibly start for us,' said Coach Bob Bender. 'This is certainly a setback, but the surgery is something we have to do now to correct the problem so that he will be ready for the rest of the season.' Knight was one of the nation's premier prep shooting guards last year. The athletic 6-7 swingman averaged 19.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a senior at Seattle's Chief Sealth High School. He was a consensus top-100 national prep pick by the recruiting services, including Pac-West Hoops which ranked him as the No. 2 shooting guard in the West.

Conroy Awaits the Clearinghouse
Freshman guard Will Conroy will be out of action for an undetermined time period until the NCAA Clearinghouse approves his high school transcript, Coach Bob Bender announced Nov. 1. The clearinghouse is examining a course that Conroy took at Seattle's Garfield High School to determine if it qualifies under its 'core course' criteria. At this time, Conroy is ineligible to practice with the Huskies. Washington is filing for a waiver that would enable Conroy to practice with the team, but he will not be allowed to participate in games until the clearinghouse makes a ruling on the course. 'We are working with the Clearinghouse to clear up this matter,' Bender explained. 'There is one class he had in high school that they are looking at and we are sure that once they review the information we presented they will approve the class and he will be back with the team.' A 6-foot-1 guard, Conroy intended to walk-on with the Huskies, but was awarded a scholarship when one became available on Oct. 1. He was rated the No. 15 point guard in the West by Pac-West Hoops. Conroy averaged 14.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game during his senior season, helping Garfield to a 27-2 record.

Notable
Nine of the 15 players on the roster had never played a game at Washington prior to this season ... The five returnees who will play this season have a combined 135 games of collegiate experience with 29 starts. The seven departed players combined for 456 games of collegiate experience with 197 starts ... Curtis Allen finished his rookie season ranked highly among the all-time Husky freshmen in steals (3rd, 29), assists (4th, 65) and points (11th, 209) ... Twelve of the 15 players on the Husky roster hail from the state of Washington ... Husky newcomers Erroll Knight, Mike Jensen and Charles Frederick were among the 100 finalists for the 2001 McDonald's High School All-America Game ... Washington's 2001-02 schedule features at least 12 games against 2001 postseason competitors, including nine with NCAA Sweet 16 teams from last spring.

Home Sweet Home
For the first time in two years, the Huskies will play all of their home games in their on-campus arena, the newly renovated Bank of America Arena at Edmundson Pavilion. The pavilion underwent a 19-month renovation from March of 1999 to November of 2000. The interior was completely redesigned while the building's exterior went unchanged. Despite an increased seating capacity from 7,900 to approximately 10,000, the arena will be more intimate with a basketball-only configuration. Washington has won 751 games in the Pavilion since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more victories than any other school in its current arena. The Huskies played their two exhibition games and the regular-season opener last year at different venues before playing the remaining games at The Pavilion.

TV/Radio Coverage
The first scheduled television appearance for Washington is Dec. 11 against Gonzaga. That game airs at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net. All Husky men's basketball regular-season games are broadcast live on KOMO Radio (AM 1000) and its affiliates. Paul Duckworth will call the first four games before regular play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau returns. Rondeau also calls the action for UW football games. The radio broadcasts can be accessed via the internet at: http://www.audionet.com/schools/washington/

2001 Review
The Huskies battled numerous injuries and the nation's 20th-toughest schedule en route to a 10-20 record in 2001. Eight losses came against teams that played in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Washington tied for ninth place in the Pac-10 with a 4-14 mark. The season was not without its highlights as UW had an 8-1 record in games decided by six or fewer points, posted three overtime victories and won four games on buzzer-beaters. The Huskies secured third place at the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic with an overtime win over Clemson that was capped by a last-second shot by Michael Johnson. Greg Clark hit the game-winning basket with 0:03 left at Florida International. Curtis Allen forced overtime with a last-second basket at Oregon and then nailed the game winner with 0:06 remaining in the extra session. Johnson hit another game-winner in the final game of the season, a 3-pointer from the right sideline that lifted UW to a 96-94 upset of 13th-ranked UCLA. Individually, Allen and C.J. Massingale were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen Team and senior forward Will Perkins ranked third among conference players with 10 double-doubles.

Tacoma Trio
The Husky roster features three players from Tacoma, Washington. Junior guard Josh Barnard (Bethel HS), a transfer from Tacoma Community College, joins sophomore guards Curtis Allen (Wilson HS) and C.J. Massingale (Mount Tahoma HS). Having three players from Tacoma is remarkable considering Washington went 21 years without a Tacoma native on the men's basketball roster. The last Tacoma native to play at UW was Steve Matzen (Lincoln HS) who lettered from 1977-80.

Top of the World Classic Field
Joining Washington in the Top of the World Classic field are 2001 NCAA Tournament participants Butler and Mississippi along with Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Delaware, Radford and Wichita State. For the fourth straight season, the Huskies will meet the host school in an eight-game tournament. The host Nanooks and UW square off on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Alaska Time). After a day off, the Huskies have a second-round matchup with either Bowling Green or Mississippi on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Ole Miss Rebels advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last spring.

Tournament Tested
The Top of the World Classic marks Washington's fourth regular-season tournament in as many years. The Huskies won the 1998 Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hi. with a 76-60 victory over Georgia Tech. They finished fifth at the 1999 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage and placed third last year at the 2000 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic by posting a 77-76 overtime win over Clemson in the final game. Michael Johnson hit the game-winning shot in the lane at the buzzer against the Tigers.

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