Husky Men Start Practice for 2007-08 Hoop Season
Oct. 12, 2007
SEATTLE - You'll have to wait until the exhibition game on Nov. 5 to view the 2007-08 Washington men's basketball team. The Huskies won't be on display during the hoopla of a Midnight Madness-type event like last season.
They will conduct their first official practice today in a closed-door session at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Wash. Similar get-aways served UW well in 2004-05 and 2005-06 when they earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances.
'It's just a way for us to get away, be together, concentrate, no distractions,' sixth-year Coach Lorenzo Romar said. 'We don't just practice together, but we eat together. It's like a retreat, so to speak. And I like that.'
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The Huskies return four starters from the 2007 team that registered a 19-13 record and capped the regular-season with a 61-51 victory over second-ranked UCLA on March 3. The Huskies finished seventh in the Pac-10 with in 8-10 record.
Heading the list of returnees is first-team All-Pac-10 selection Jon Brockman, a 6-foot-7 junior forward who led the conference last season with an average of 9.6 rebounds per game.
The returning Huskies got a head-start on the season when they ventured to Greece from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 for a five-game tour. The team sandwiched several sightseeing excursions and other bonding experiences around five games that yielded a 2-3 record against Greek pro teams.
The four incoming freshmen were not allowed on that trip, but three players who did not see game action last season did participate.
Senior Tim Morris, who sat out last season after transfering from Stanford, made the most of the games in Greece. He was second on the team with a 12.8-point scoring average and hit 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range.
Athletic junior Joel Smith returned after red-shirting last season due to a foot injury. Despite missing the entire season, Smith is still the most experienced Husky with a team-high 66 career games in a UW uniform.
Sophomore Joe Wolfinger played well in Greece after missing the previous two seasons with a foot injury. The 7-foot center is an excellent shooter, with range past the 3-point line.
An outstanding four-playing recriting class should offer immediate reinforcements to the veteran corps. Matthew Bryan-Amaning is a powerful 6-foot-9 forward, Justin Holiday is a 6-6 swingman, Darnell Gant is an athletic 6-8 forward and Venoy Overton is a 5-11 point guard.
The Huskies are still stinging from last year's snub by the postseason NIT committee. Ironically, the Huskies open the regular-season in the preseason event hosted by the same organization, the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Eight home games against NCAA Tournament teams and the NIT Season Tip-Off are featured in the 2007-08 Husky men's basketball schedule.
The Huskies play at least 14 games against 2007 NCAA Tournament competitors, including two meetings with Final Four qualifier UCLA. The defending Pac-10 champion Bruins visit Bank of America Arena, Feb. 10.
Eighteen regular-season games will be played at Bank of America Arena where UW posted a 17-2 record in 2007. Washington opens the season with a an exhibition game, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. against Seattle Pacific.
The regular season commences with back-to-back doubleheaders in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Bank of America Arena. The Huskies are hosting the West Regional that opens Nov. 13 with Utah vs. High Point at 5 p.m. Pacific Time followed by UW and New Jersey Tech at 8 p.m.
The winners clash at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14 following a consolation game between the first-day losers at 4:30 p.m.
The West Regional champion earns a trip to New York for a semifinal contest on Nov. 21 at Madison Square Garden. The consolation and championship games are slated for Nov. 23.
Highlighting the non-conference home slate are visits from NCAA Tournament participants Long Beach State (Nov. 26) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 8). The Panthers, from the Big East Conference, advanced to the Sweet 16.
Portland State plays in Seattle on Dec. 18. The Vikings are coached for the third season by Ken Bone, who served as an assistant for three years on the Washington staff from 2003-05.
Other non-conference home games include visits from Eastern Washington (Nov. 18), Portland (Dec. 15), Cal State Northridge (Dec. 22) and Idaho State (Dec. 31).
The Huskies venture away from Seattle twice for non-conference encounters. Both times they meet formidable foes. Washington visits Oklahoma State, a postseason NIT qualifier, on Dec. 1 as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood series. On Dec. 29, UW plays at LSU.
Washington begins Pac-10 play at home, Jan. 5 against Washington State.
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