UW Men Play in Alaska Shootout Semifinals
Nov. 26, 2004
27th Annual Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout
Wed.-Sat, Nov. 24-27
Sullivan Arena (8,700); Anchorage, Ak.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26 --
#22 Washington vs. Oklahoma; 9:00 p.m. PST (8 AST)- ESPN2 TV
Husky Sports Radio Network / KKNW (AM 1150) in Puget Sound Area
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27 --
Winner vs. Alabama/Minnesota Winner; 7:00 p.m. PST (6 AST)
Loser vs. Alabama/Minnesota Loser; 4:30 p.m. PST (3:30 AST)
Husky Sports Radio Network / KJR (AM 950) in Puget Sound Area
The 22nd-ranked Washington Huskies (2-0) remain in Anchorage for the second of three consecutive games in the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena. Washington clashes with Oklahoma (2-0) for the first time in 51 years, meeting the Sooners in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. Pacific Time (8 p.m. Alaska Time). The game will be televised live on ESPN2. The winner plays for the tournament title, Saturday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. AST) against the victor of the Alabama-Minnesota game. The Huskies and OU last met on Dec. 28, 1953 in the Big Seven Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Washington's staff includes first-year assistant coach Jim Shaw who served the previous five seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma under Kelvin Sampson. The Huskies advanced into the Shootout winner's bracket with a 78-71 first-round win over Utah while Oklahoma defeated High Point 93-65.
Friday's game against Oklahoma will be televised live on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Pacific Time. If the Huskies win that game, they will play in the championship game which airs live on ESPN2, Saturday at 7 p.m. PST. Bob Carpenter and Jimmy Dykes call the action.
Friday's Washington game will air on the Husky Radio Network. Due to a scheduling conflict, the game will not air on flagship station KJR, but instead will be available in the Puget Sound area on KKNW (AM 1150). Saturday's game returns to KJR.
Who Measures Up?
Friday's game features a clash between two of the nation's premier little-men. Diminutive guards Nate Robinson of Washington and Drew Lavender of Oklahoma rarely get to look an opponent in the eye. They will in the Great Alaska Shootout semifinals as the 5-foot-9 Robinson is just two inches taller than 5-7 Lavender. Robinson is a 2004 first-team All-Pac-10 performer and 2005 Wooden Award candidate. Lavender was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season.
The Huskies defeated Utah 78-71 on Thanksgiving in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 25). Washington won its season opener with an 89-71 victory over Seattle Pacific (Nov. 19). The Huskies were victorious in their only exhibition game, a 92-52 decision over NAIA member Westmont College (Nov. 9).
North to Alaska
The trip north marks the Washington's third visit to Alaska in the last five seasons. UW finished fifth in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage during November of 1999 and was second at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks to start off the 2001-02 campaign. The Huskies are making their fourth appearance at the Shootout. They placed third in 1982, sixth in 1986 and fifth in 1999.
Alaska Shootout Field
Along with Washington, the Great Alaska Shootout field includes 2004 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Alabama and Utah. Alabama advanced to the elite eight last spring. UW's semifinal opponent, Oklahoma, was a 2004 NIT participant. Also competing in the Alaska Shootout tournament are host Alaska-Anchorage, Furman, High Point and Minnesota. The Huskies last trip to Anchorage came in November of 1999. They defeated Alaska-Anchorage 86-70 in the opening round before losing 82-65 to Georgia Tech and 81-65 to Xavier.
Washington will finally be at full strength Friday with the return of sharpshooting senior Tre Simmons who missed the first two games. The Huskies had only six scholarship players available for the Nov. 19 home opener as four players were suspended and two others, Ryan Appleby and Zach Johnson, are red-shirting. Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Jamaal Williams and Simmons were held out of the Nov. 19 game after being declared ineligible for a secondary NCAA rules infraction. Simmons missed UW's second game, Nov. 25 against Utah. Those four participated in an organized basketball competition in violation of the NCAA rule prohibiting Division I student-athletes from playing in outside competition during the academic year. They participated in one game during May in a league at a SeaTac area gym. Simmons participated in two games. The Washington coaching staff became aware of their players' participation in the unauthorized competition and immediately reported the incident to the UW compliance office. UW investigated the matter and self-reported the violation to the NCAA. The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff accepted UW's report and self-imposed penalties.
The Oklahoma Series
> Oklahoma won both previous meetings in the series with Washington that has been on hiatus for 51 years. Both games took place in Kansas City, Mo.
> The Sooners won the last meeting 87-77 on Dec. 28, 1953 at the Big Seven Tournament. OU defeated Washington 48-43 on Mar. 27, 1943 in the Western Regional third-place game of the NCAA Tournament.
> Current UW assistant Jim Shaw joined the Huskies this summer after serving on Kelvin Sampson's Sooner staff the previous five seasons. He helped lead Oklahoma to three Big 12 Tournament titles and a Final Four appearance in 2002.
> Kelvin Sampson is in his 11th year at Oklahoma after serving seven seasons as the head coach at Washington State from 1988-94. Sampson has a 7-7 all-time record against the Huskies, every meeting coming during his WSU tenure.
> Third-year Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has never competed against the Sooners in a head coaching capacity.
Coming off an appearance in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, Washington was ranked in the preseason polls for the first time in six years, opening at No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The rose to No. 23 in this week's ESPN rankings. The only Pac-10 team ranked higher than UW is Arizona which holds down the No. 18 AP spot and No. 17 in the coaches' poll. This year marks the Huskies' 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 UW 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 AP poll with 25 first-place votes. Wake Forest was second, followed by Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Illinois. Defending national champion Connecticut was No. 8 in the AP rankings. Three opponents on the UW schedule are ranked; No. 17 North Carolina State, No. 18 Arizona and No. 24 Gonzaga. The Huskies also have a potential matchup with No. 19 Alabama in the Great Alaska Shootout. Three other UW opponents, Stanford, Utah and Oregon, 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.'
Washington had five double-figure scorers in seven of the final eight games last season. UW featured a balanced offense in 2004 with five players averaging double-figure points. All five return this season. Previously, 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.
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 in 2003. That is the most 90-point plus performances for a Washington team since the 1972 squad registered 12.
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.
UW's Last Game
#22 UW 78, Utah 71 (Nov. 25, 2004; Anchorage, Ak.)
Nate Robinson scored 29 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2:40 left in 22nd-ranked Washington's 78-71 victory over Utah in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena. Washington (2-0) never trailed, jumping out to a 16-3 lead six minutes into the contest. UW led 42-31 at halftime on the strength of 19 points from Robinson. The Runnin' Utes (1-1) gradually trimmed the margin in the second half. They used a 10-4 run to even the score at 66-66 on a layup by Andrew Bogut with 2:56 remaining. Robinson answered with a driving layup that ignited a run of nine straight UW points the sealed the win. Brandon Roy capped the run with seven straight points, pushing his game total to 25. Bogut tallied 17 of his 23 points in the second half and led a 34-24 Utah rebounding advantage with 12 boards. Justin Hawkins added 18 points for the Utes, 13 of them in the first half. Will Conroy scored 10 points for UW, which was without the services of Tre Simmons who was completing a two-game suspension for a secondary NCAA violation. The Huskies forced 18 Utah turnovers, parlaying them into 31 points.
Tickets are rapidly disappearing for Washington home games. All of the ducats designated for season ticket sales have been sold. The Nov. 19 home opener against Seattle Pacific nearly sold out and 9,851 attended the game in 10,000-seat Bank of America Arena. At least 10 of the 14 remaining home games are already sold out. The only games with tickets left are against San Diego State, Sacred Heart, Houston and California. There are less than 900 tickets for each of those five games and less than 100 in some cases. Fans can order tickets online at www.gohuskies.com or purchase in person through the Husky Ticket Office. The telephone number to order tickets is 206-543-2200.
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 777 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.
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 vaulted 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 NCAAs.
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 acclaim in several preseason publications. He led UW and ranked 13th among Pac-10 players in 2004 with 13.2 points per game. Robinson topped 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. Robinson led all scorers with 27 points in the 2004 NCAA Tournament game against UAB. In his first season, Robinson was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team after leading the Huskies with a 13.0-point scoring average. He joined the basketball team after competing as a freshman in 2002 on the Husky football team. Robinson played in all 13 football games, including the Sun Bowl, and started the final six at cornerback.
Robinson applied to be eligible for the 2004 NBA Draft, but withdrew on June 17 to preserve his collegiate eligibility. Before withdrawing, he attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago from June 8-10 where he was evaluated by NBA scouts and general managers from whom he received feedback. At the pre-draft camp, Robinson had a 22-point performance on the first day. It was the highest single-game output by any of the 59 participants during the three-day playing sessions.
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.
Last year marked the Huskies' biggest turnaround in an NCAA Tournament season. They had a 5-8 record before winning 14 of their final 18 games. UW opened 0-5 in Pac-10 play before winning 12 of its final 13 conference games, vaulting from last place to second. Only twice before did a postseason-bound UW team have a losing record at any point in the season. The 1984 and 1986 teams started the season with 1-2 records before maintaining winning ledgers the rest of the way.
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. Two Pac-10 schools will start Seattle natives at the point this season; Aaron Brooks (Franklin HS) at Oregon and 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).
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 UW 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 UW in scoring during 19 games in 2004. 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 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.
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.
Junior forward Bobby Jones ranked second among Huskies in rebounds with 4.9 per game, a figure that ranked 19th among Pac-10 players. He ranked fourth among conference competitors with a team-leading field goal accuracy of 57.0 percent. Jones was third among UW players with 37 steals. He amassed a career-high 22 points, on 10-for-13 shooting, at North Carolina State (Feb. 22). Jones tallied 10 or more points in 21 games last season after reaching double figures just five times in 2003. A defensive specialist last season, Jones started the final 15 games in 2003 and ranked No. 7 on the team with 5.7 points per game. He nearly doubled that total to 11.2 points in 2004.
Senior point guard Will Conroy has distributed 301 career assists. He is currently ranked No. 5 among all-time Husky playmakers and needs 165 more assists 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.
There is no 'y' in his first name, but he is known for hitting the trey. Senior Tre Simmons led all Washington scorers seven times, tying Brandon Roy for the team lead. Simmons ranked eighth among Pac-10 players in 3-point percentage, hitting 40 percent (48-119) of his attempts beyond the arc. He amassed 14 treys in the final five games, including five during a Pac-10 Tournament semifinal win over Arizona. Simmons broke open a one-point game in the second half of the 75-62 win over No. 1 Stanford with three straight 3-pointers. Simmons hit at least one 3-pointer in nine of the last 11 games and had 14 multiple-trey outings last year. He poured in a career-high 22 points at Arizona (Feb. 26), including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
UW's First Regular-Season Game
#22 UW 89, Seattle Pacific 71 (Nov. 19, 2004; Seattle)
Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson combined for 45 points to help Washington defeat Seattle Pacific 89-71 in the season opener at Bank of America Arena. Roy finished with 23 points while Robinson scored 22. Two other Huskies scored in double-digits, freshman Joel Smith had 15 points in his collegiate debut and Mike Jensen posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. An NCAA Division I school, Seattle Pacific (0-1) kept the score close in the early going, but by halftime the Huskies held a commanding 38-23 lead. In the second half, UW's lead never dropped below 14 points and reached 26 points on two occasions. Taking advantage of 27 SPU personal fouls, the Huskies went 29-for-36 at the free throw line including 27-of-29 accuracy in the second half. The Falcons were 15-for-19 from the line. Washington (1-0) attempted just one 3-pointer in the second half after sinking 2-of-10 in the first half. The Huskies dominated inside, out-rebounding the Falcons 42-28 and outscoring them 44-26 in the paint. Jordan Lee led SPU (0-1) with 22 points including 6-of-7 from behind the three-point line. Jason Chivers added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Falcons. Washington played without the services of four core players; Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Tre Simmons, and Jamaal Williams. They were serving a suspension for playing in an outside league during the academic year. Their absence left UW with six available scholarship players.
UW 92, Westmont 52, exhibition (Nov. 9, 2004; Seattle)
Washington outscored Westmont College 49-23 in the second half of its exhibition game Tuesday en route to a 92-52 victory in front of approximately 3,300 spectators at Bank of America Arena. Junior Brandon Roy led all scorers with 22 points on 10-12 shooting from the floor. Taking a 43-29 lead into halftime, the Huskies came out hot in the second half, holding Westmont to just three points over the first 13:18 of the half while scoring 25 points of their own. Leading the charge was Roy who poured in 10 points during the Husky run. On the night, the Huskies outshot the Warriors 72-40 and finished the night shooting 51.4 percent from the floor as well as hitting on 7-15 from behind the three-point stripe. Westmont, an NAIA school from Santa Barbara, Calif., made 52.5 percent of its field goals in the game. UW's high-pressure defense proved to be frustrating for the Warriors who committed 30 turnovers, 12 due to Husky steals. Capitalizing on the miscues, Washington scoring 40 points off turnovers. Three other Huskies joined Roy in scoring double-digit points. Nate Robinson scored 15, Mike Jensen scored 11, and freshman Joel Smith scored 10 points in his first game as a Husky. With 9:13 left in the first half, the score was tied at 22-22, but the Huskies finished the half on a 21-7 run, which carried over into the second half. Pacing the Warriors in scoring and rebounding was Nick Debban who scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds on the night. Senior Will Conroy dished out seven assists to lead the Huskies while Robinson and Roy led Washington in rebounds with six. A solid contribution also came from sophomore Brandon Burmeister who added seven points with four rebounds and three assists.
Wooden Award Candidate
Washington junior Nate Robinson has been selected to the preseason list of candidates for the 2005 John R. Wooden All-America Team, Wooden Award chairman Duke Llewellyn announced. A national poll was conducted to choose the top 50 candidates who will be evaluated and considered for the mid-season top 30 list, the 10-man All-America Team and the Wooden Award that honors the nation's best player. A 5-foot-9 guard, Robinson is the first UW player on the Wooden Award preseason watch list since Todd MacCulloch in 1999. In mid-January, the Wooden Award committee will release the mid-season top 30 list, an announcement that will be televised on CBS Sports. On March 29, 2005 the 10-player Wooden Award All-America Team will be announced on CBS.