Third Season of Romar Era Begins at Washington
Nov. 2, 2004
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9 --
UW vs. Westmont College (Exhibition); 7:00 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash.
No TV or Radio
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19 --
UW vs. Seattle Pacific; 7:30 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash.
Husky Sports Radio Network / KJR (AM 950) in Puget Sound Area
The 24th-ranked Washington men's basketball team begins its most anticipated season in years with its only exhibition game, Tuesday, Nov. 9. The Huskies host Westmont College, an NAIA school from Santa Barbara, Calif. Admission is free for the exhibition game that tips off at 7 p.m. in Bank of America Arena. This is Washington's third season under head coach Lorenzo Romar, a two-year letterman point guard for the Huskies from 1978-80. Romar was hired April 3, 2002 as the school's first African-American basketball coach. He served three-year head coaching stints at Pepperdine (1997-99) and Saint Louis (2000-02) before returning to UW. Washington entertains Seattle Pacific, Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the regular-season opener.
All five Washington starters return from last season's NCAA Tournament team and Pac-10 runner-up. The Huskies' top seven scorers are back, including five players who averaged double-figure points. UW boasts one of the nation's best backcourts, led by Wooden Award candidate Nate Robinson. The athletic 5-9 junior, who led the team with a 13.2-point scoring average, applied for the 2004 NBA Draft. He excelled at the pre-draft camp, but withdrew his application after deciding to return to UW. Also back are junior all-district honoree Brandon Roy and senior point guard Will Conroy. Roy averaged 12.9 points and led the Huskies with 5.3 rebounds per game last year. Conroy distributed 142 assists in 2004, the second-highest single-season total in school history. Sensational sixth-man Tre Simmons led the team with 48 treys. The frontcourt features a trio of players who each contribute in a significant way. Junior Bobby Jones is arguably the best defender in the Pac-10. Junior Mike Jensen is a strong inside force who stepped out to hit a team-high 41 percent from 3-point range. Senior Hakeem Rollins led the Huskies with 38 blocked shots. That nucleus is enhanced by the addition of transfer Jamaal Williams, a strong inside presence who averaged 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2003 at New Mexico. The roster's lone freshman is athletic swingman Joel Smith who will vie for time in the playing rotation.
The 2004 Huskies posted a 19-12 record, were the Pac-10 runners-up and advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament. The Huskies rebounded from an 0-5 conference start to finish with a 12-6 Pac-10 record. UW vauled from last place to second over the final month and a half of the season. A 75-62 triumph over No. 1 Stanford on Mar. 6 clinched UW's first second-place finish since 1986. UW won 12 of its final 13 Pac-10 regular-season games, its best streak ever in conference play. Washington turned its season around in miraculous fashion, claiming an NCAA Tournament bid by winning 14 of its last 18 games. The remarkable run was ended by a 102-100 loss to UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Washington is one of only six teams from the 2004 NCAA Tournament that return all five players from its starting lineup. The other five are Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
Washington is ranked 24th in the preseason coaches' poll. That marks the Huskies first appearance in the preseason rankings since 1999 and only their second since 1985.
Washington has a 37-11 all-time record in exhibition games, including a split of two contests last season. UW defeated the EA Sports All-Stars 89-78 on Nov. 8, 2003 before losing 85-76 to Athletes in Action on Nov. 12, 2003. Tuesday marks only the fourth time UW meets a collegiate opponent in an exhibition. The Huskies won all three previous non-counters against college foes, defeating Seattle Pacific (2000), Western Washington (2001) and Central Washington (2002).
Westmont College is an NAIA member school located in Santa Barbara, Calif. with an enrollment of 1,200. Head coach John Moore begins his 11th year, having led the Warriors to six straight 20-win seasons from 1998-2003. That string was stopped last season despite a fine 18-10 record. Junior forward Nick Debban is the top returning scorer after averaging 12.3 points per game in 2004.
Coming off an appearance in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, Washington was ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in six years when the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll was released Oct. 28. The Huskies are listed 24th in the coaches' poll, one place ahead of defending conference champion Stanford. The only Pac-10 team ranked higher than UW is Arizona which holds down the No. 11 spot and received one first-place vote. That marks Washington's first mention in the preseason rankings since November of 1998 when they were coming off a berth in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. This is only the second time Washington appeared in the preseason national rankings since 1985. The Huskies opened the 1998-99 campaign ranked No. 14 in both the coaches' and Associated Press polls. They remained ranked for four weeks before dropping out of the polls after being ranked No. 22 on Dec. 8, 1998. That was UW's last appearance in the polls until now. That four-week run also marked UW's only national ranking since Jan. 5, 1985. Kansas topped the preseason coaches poll despite receiving only eight first-place votes. Wake Forest is second and led all schools with 12 first-place votes. North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Illinois round out the top five. Defending national champion Connecticut is No. 7. Three opponents on the UW schedule are ranked; No. 11 Arizona, No. 19 North Carolina State and No. 25 Stanford. The Huskies also have a potential matchup with No. 18 Alabama in the Great Alaska Shootout. Two other UW opponents, Gonzaga and Utah, also received votes along with prospective foe Oklahoma.
Romar on the Rankings
'I hear coaches ranked No. 1 say that what counts is where you are ranked at the end of the season. I agree with that part, but a lot of times coaches that say that are ranked every year,' third-year Washington coach Lorenzo Romar explained. 'We have not been ranked since we've been here, so that would be a compliment to our program at this point. It shows that things are moving in the right direction.'
Nate the Great
High-flying Nate Robinson garnered first-team All-Pac-10 accolades in 2004. He should be in line for even more honors in 2005. Robinson is a Wooden Award Nominee and received All-America accolades in several preseason publications. He led UW and ranked 13th among Pac-10 players with 13.2 points per game. Robinson led the team and was third among the conference leaders in steals (53) and free throw accuracy (85.3%). Robinson amassed a career-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and five steals during UW's 96-83 home win over No. 9 Arizona on Jan. 29. That effort helped him receive the Feb. 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week award. The 5-9 guard tallied 23 of his 25 points after halftime at Oregon State (Jan. 17), including a 3-pointer inside the final second that forced overtime in UW's 103-99 win.
The pivotal point in Washington's 2004 season came Jan. 17 in Corvallis, Ore. The Huskies were 0-5 in Pac-10 play and trailed Oregon State 70-54 with six minutes remaining. They rallied with Nate Robinson hitting a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and won 103-99 in overtime. That ignited a string of five consecutive victories that ended Feb. 7 at UCLA. The five-game winning streak was the longest for the Huskies since 1999.
Home Sweet Home
The Huskies play all of their home games in recently 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 features a more intimate, basketball-only configuration. The Huskies have won 776 games in the Pavilion since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more victories than any other school in its current arena. They registered an 11-3 home record last season.
Tickets are rapidly disappearing for Washington home games. As of Nov. 2, only 80 season tickets remained. Those are the only tickets remaining for seven games on the 15-game home schedule that are otherwise sold out. The Huskies' home games against North Carolina State, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington State are sold out with the exception of the few remaining season tickets. Fans can order tickets online at Husky Basketball Tickets or purchase in person through the Husky Ticket Office. The telephone number to order tickets is 206-543-2200.
Last year marked Washington's biggest turnaround in an NCAA Tournament season. The Huskies had a 5-8 record before winning 14 of their final 18 games. UW opened Pac-10 play 0-5 before winning 12 of its final 13 conference games, vaulting from last place to second. Only twice before did a UW team that earned an NCAA berth have a losing record at any point in the season. The 1984 and 1986 UW teams started the season with 1-2 records before maintaining winning ledgers the rest of the way.
Washington averaged 82.0 points per game last season, the highest scoring output since the 1972 Huskies finished with a school record 84.8-point average. UW ranked second among Pac-10 teams in scoring and was listed No. 6 among NCAA Division I teams at 82.0 points per game. UW's 100-point outburst against UAB (Mar. 19) was its highest total in a postseason game. The Huskies reached the 100-point plateau three times for the first time since the 1980-81 season. The 103-99 overtime decision at Oregon State (Jan. 17) matched the highest total ever for UW in an enemy arena. It equaled a 103-70 win at Washington State on Feb. 1, 1975. The 104-91 win over Eastern Washington (Nov. 29) marked UW's highest point total in 311 games, dating to a 130-67 win over Chico State on Dec. 1, 1992. It was UW's first 100-point effort in 159 games, dating to a 101-86 win at USC on Jan. 29, 1998. The Huskies reached the 90-point plateau 11 times last season, a figure they reached only once last year. That is the most 90-point plus performances for a Washington team since the 1972 squad registered 12.
Washington had five double-figure scorers in seven of the last eight games. UW featured a balanced offense with five players averaging double-figure points. All five return this season. The last time five Huskies finished a season in double figures was the 1975 campaign. Seven different players led UW in scoring during a game and five turned in a 20-point performance.
Producing Point Guards
UW point guards Will Conroy (Garfield HS) and Nate Robinson (Rainier Beach HS) both hail from the city of Seattle. The Emerald City has produced some jewels on the hardwood, a legacy of point guards that is highlighted by former Arizona standout Jason Terry and Michigan's Jamal Crawford. Three Pac-10 schools may start Seattle natives at the point this season, including Aaron Brooks (Franklin HS) at Oregon and Rodrick Stewart (Rainier Beach HS) at USC along with the UW duo. Other prominent point guards from the state of Washington include Husky sophomore Ryan Appleby (Stanwood) who will red-shirt after transferring from Florida, Gonzaga's John Stockton (Spokane) and Dan Dickau (Prairie) and Oregon's Luke Ridnour (Blaine).
Did You Know?
The state of Washington had three schools participate in the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time ever. The Huskies from Seattle were joined by Gonzaga (Spokane) and Eastern Washington (Cheney) in the 2004 field. The only division I school in the state that wasn't in last year's tournament was Washington State (Pullman). Only twice before had two teams from the state competed in the Tournament during the same year: 1999 (Gonzaga, UW) and 1953 (Seattle University, UW).
High School Reunion
Every time the Huskies take the floor it amounts to a reunion of alums from Seattle's Garfield High School. Three former prep teammates are listed on the Washington roster; seniors Will Conroy and Tre Simmons along with junior Brandon Roy. Last year UW had four former Garfield players, including Anthony Washington who transferred to Portland State prior to the 2004-05 season. That quartet of former Bulldogs combined to score 1,204 of UW's 2,543 points, an average of 38.8 points per game. They accounted for 47 percent of the Huskies' total offensive output. A Garfield grad led or tied the team in scoring during 19 games last season. Roy (12.9) and Conroy (12.7) were UW's No. 2 and No. 3 scorers. Their Garfield team also featured current USC guard Roydell Smiley and Isaiah Stanback a sophmore quarterback on the Husky football team.
The road had been unkind to Washington ... until last season. The Huskies registered a 6-7 overall record away from home, with a 5-4 conference ledger that marked their first winning Pac-10 road record since 1986 (6-3). The Huskies posted only one Pac-10 road win in each of the previous three seasons: at Oregon (2001), at Oregon State (2002) and at USC (2003). They had a 3-29 record in their previous 32 conference road contests before finishing last season with victories in five of their last six away contests. Last year's two wins at the Arizona schools marked UW's first sweep of a road trip since 1998 and the first sweep at Arizona and ASU since 1984. The 89-84 win at No. 17 Arizona stopped a streak of 24 straight UW road losses against ranked teams. The Arizona trip capped a trying 10-day span from Feb. 20-29 during which the Huskies traveled over 7,500 miles. That journey included a trip to 13th-ranked North Carolina State which rallied to edge UW 77-72 on Feb. 22 in Raleigh. UW matched its longest Pac-10 road winning streak with wins at Oregon State, Washington State and USC. UW had five previous three-game road winning streaks since Pac-10 play began in 1979.
Senior point guard Will Conroy has distributed 296 career assists. He enters the season ranked No. 5 among all-time Husky playmakers and needs 170 more to tie Chester Dorsey's (1974-77) school record of 466. Conroy is the sixth Husky to post back-to-back 100-assist seasons. He registered 142 assists in 2004 and 108 in 2003. Conroy ranked fifth among Pac-10 playmakers with 4.58 assists per game in 2004. He finished third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. He is the third product of Seattle's Garfield High School on the current UW roster.
Sophomore Brandon Roy is an all-around talent who was named to the National Basketball Writer's Association all-district team in 2004. The 6-6 swingman received the March 1 Pac-10 Player of the Week award after leading UW to a sweep in the state of Arizona. The last time the Huskies had a road sweep in Arizona was during January of 1984, six months before Roy was born. He led the 2004 Huskies in rebounds (5.3 rpg) and was second in scoring (12.9 ppg), figures that both rank No. 15 among Pac-10 players. Roy ranked second on UW in both assists (102) and steals (37). He amassed a career-high 30 points in 29 minutes at UCLA (Feb. 7), eclipsing his previous high of 22 points registered against UC Riverside (Nov. 24). At Houston on Dec. 20 Roy became the first player in UW history to lead the team in the five major statistics during a single game. Roy amassed 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. Roy was a consensus top-50 national recruit among the prep class of 2002, but was not declared eligible by the NCAA until Jan. 16, 2003. He played 13 games with two starts in 2003, averaging 6.1 points per game. Roy applied for the 2002 NBA Draft out of high school, but did not attend any pre-draft camps and withdrew his application prior to the draft. He is the third product of Seattle's Garfield High School on the current UW roster.
Lorenzo Romar is in his third year as head coach at Washington after directing a spectacular turnaround during his second season. UW posted a 19-12 record in 2004 and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. Romar guided the Huskies to their first second-place regular-season finish since 1986 and their first Pac-10 Tournament championship game appearance since 1987. After opening the conference campaign with an 0-5 record, UW reeled off 12 wins in its final 13 Pac-10 outings. Capping the run was a 75-62 triumph over No. 1 and previously undefeated Stanford in the final regular-season game. Romar's Huskies won all three meetings with highly ranked Arizona. The remarkable run was ended by a 102-100 loss to UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2003, Romar guided the Huskies to a 10-17 record, including victories over NCAA Tournament-bound Stanford and Oregon. He was named to head up the program at his alma mater on April 3, 2002. A point guard for the Huskies' 1978-79 and 1979-80 teams, he is the 18th head coach in UW's 103-year history and the first African-American to lead the program. In his ninth season overall, Romar has compiled a 122-117 record as a head coach, including a 29-29 mark in two years at Washington. In three years at Saint Louis from 1999-2002, he compiled a 51-44 (.537) mark. He led Pepperdine to a three-year record of 42-44 (.488) from 1996-99, including a pair of second-place finishes in the West Coast Conference and an NIT invitation in 1999. His first Saint Louis squad upset top-ranked Cincinnati en route to the Conference USA tournament title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Seattle was the site of one of Romar's greatest coaching moments. As an assistant coach, he helped guide UCLA to an 89-78 triumph over Arkansas in the Kingdome to win the 1995 NCAA Championship. Cameron Dollar, now a UW assistant coach, was one of the stars for the Bruins during that national title contest. Romar built a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters while an assistant at UCLA (1992-1996) and was credited with recruiting much of the talent that formed the core of the Bruins' title team. UCLA's record during Romar's four-year assistant coaching tenure was 97-28 (.776). A native of Compton, Calif., Romar graduated from Pius X High School. He earned his associate degree from Cerritos (Calif.) Community College in 1978 before studying at Washington from 1978-80. He completed his coursework at Cincinnati, receiving his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1992. After starting two seasons at UW for legendary coach Marv Harshman, Romar was selected in the seventh round of the 1980 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. His five-year NBA career included stints with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). Following the 1984-85 season, Romar joined Athletes in Action (AIA), a touring exhibition team on which he served as player-coach from 1989-1992. Romar is the second UW player to return as the head coach, joining Lynn Nance (1989-93).
Romar the Giant Killer
Washington has a 2-26 all-time record against top-ranked opponents and Lorenzo Romar played a part in both victories. He coached UW to a 75-62 over No. 1 Stanford, Mar. 6 in Seattle. On Feb. 22, 1979 the Huskies upset No. 1 UCLA 69-68 in Seattle. Romar was a Husky player then. He registered 10 points and six assists off the bench in 25 minutes against the Bruins. In his first season at Saint Louis, Romar's Billikens toppled No. 1 Cincinnati in the 2000 Conference USA Tournament.
Lorenzo Romar's staff is comprised of third-year assistant coaches Ken Bone and Cameron Dollar along with first-year assistant Jim Shaw. Bone was the head coach at perennial NCAA Division II championship contender Seattle Pacific during the previous 12 seasons. After a stellar playing career at UCLA (1994-97) that included the 1995 NCAA championship, Dollar served the previous three years as an assistant coach on Romar's Saint Louis staff. A native of Chimacum, Wash., Shaw joins the Husky staff after five years on Kelvin Sampson's Oklahoma staff that included a 2002 Final Four appearance.
Letter of Intent Period
High school seniors can officially declare their plans to attend their selected college during the early letter of intent signing period. The fall early period lasts one week, from Nov. 19 through 17. Student-athletes not signed during that time must wait for the spring signing period that begins April 13. Since verbal or other agreements made prior to the official signing periods are not binding, university personnel are not permitted to talk about prospective signees until a letter of intent has been signed and received by the school. Signing announcements will be released upon arrival of letters.