UW Meets Butler in Top of the World Classic Title Tilt

Nov. 18, 2001

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

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

UW vs. Butler, 8 p.m. PST (7 p.m. AST) -- Championship Game

The Washington Huskies (2-0) meet the Butler Bulldogs on Sunday in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Ak. Tip-off is 8 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Alaska Time) at the Carlson Center. The Huskies finally had their entire team intact on Saturday when they defeated Bowling Green 81-74 in the semifinals. Washington won an 82-70 first-round decision over host Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday without the services of head coach Bob Bender or sophomore forward Doug Wrenn. During Thursday's opening game, Bender was in Seattle nursing a bruised rib while Wrenn was serving a one-game suspension for a minor NCAA violation. Butler advanced to the championship game by virtue of a 76-59 win over Delaware. Washington is in its 100th season of men's basketball competition. The UW improved to 73-27 in all-time season openers with a win Thursday.

Tournament Tested
Washington is bidding for its 10th regular-season tournament championship. The last tournament title for the Huskies was the 1998 Big Island Invitational. 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.

Bender is Back
Men's basketball coach Bob Bender returned to the Washington bench Saturday against Bowling Green. He missed Thursday's regular-season opening game at Alaska Fairbanks due to a bruised rib that kept him in Seattle. Bender arrived in Fairbanks on Friday afternoon, during an off-day for the Huskies. Bender was scheduled to fly to Fairbanks with the team on Wednesday morning, but was at University of Washington Medical Center instead undergoing tests. He had another flight scheduled for Thursday that would have arrived in time for him to attend the game, but he was unable to fly due to pain from the rib injury. Bender slipped and fell outside his house on Monday and developed severe pain. He attended practice on Tuesday despite the pain that increased in intensity throughout that night. He was diagnosed with a bruised rib on Wednesday and released that afternoon. No internal organs were bruised as originally suspected. The team arrived in Fairbanks on Wednesday afternoon. Bender spoke to the team via speakerphone on Thursday afternoon and expressed his regrets about missing the game. He also offered encouragement and assured the team they are in capable hands with Associate Head Coach Byron Boudreaux in charge along with assistant coaches Al Hairston and Eric Hughes. Bender is beginning his ninth season at Washington, having compiled a 106-124 record. His 106 victories rank No. 4 among all-time UW coaches.

TV/Radio Coverage
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 UW football games. Please note that due to conflicts with a Husky football broadcast, next Saturday's game (Nov. 24) against Santa Clara will air live on KVI (AM 570). The broadcasts can be accessed via the internet at: http://www.audionet.com/schools/washington/ The first scheduled television appearance for Washington is Dec. 11 against Gonzaga. That game airs at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.

The Butler Series
> Sunday marks the first ever meeting between Washington and the Butler Bulldogs of the Horizon League.

> The Huskies have never played a game against a Horizon League member.

> First-year Bulldog coach Todd Lickliter has never coached against Washington.

> In his ninth season at UW, Bob Bender has never coached against Butler.

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. The Ole Miss Rebels advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last spring. For the fourth straight season, the Huskies met and defeated the NCAA Division II host school in an eight-game tournament. UW beat the host Nanooks 82-70 on Thursday. Washington won three previous tournament openers, defeating Hawai'i-Hilo 81-47 (Nov. 27, 1998), Alaska-Anchorage 86-70 (Nov. 24, 1999) and American-Puerto Rico 67-47 (Dec. 20, 2000).

Frequent Flyers
The Huskies have accumulated thousands of air miles on lengthy road trips during the last four years. This year is no different as they will log over 10,000 miles during their non-conference schedule for the fifth straight season. Washington's non-conference slate includes a 3,336-mile round trip to Fairbanks, Alaska for the Top of the World Classic along with single-game tips to San Diego, Texas-El Paso, New Mexico State and St. Louis. Last season, the Huskies embarked on a 10-day, 7,758-mile round trip to Puerto Rico with a stopover in Miami, Fla. for one game against Florida International. Washington traveled nearly 10,000 air miles during a two-week span during the 1999-2000 season, flying from Seattle to Moraga, Calif., from Moraga to Anchorage, Ak. and from Alaska back to Seattle. After two days at home, the Huskies boarded a plane for Wilmington, N.C. where they took a bus to Norfolk, Va. and flew back to Seattle. During the 1998-99 season, UW amassed over 8,000 miles during a 10-day stretch, traveling from Seattle to Hawai'i to Chicago and back to Seattle. In 1998, Washington traveled to South Alabama for a single game. Later that year the Huskies criss-crossed the country twice during the 1998 NCAA Tournament. UW flew from Seattle to Washington, D.C. for the first two rounds, returned to Seattle for one day and flew to Greensboro, N.C. for the Sweet 16.

Washington reached the 80-point plateau in both games this season, only one time fewer than last season's team that scored 80 points on three occasions ... On Thursday Erroll Knight scored a UW freshman debut record 23 points. He topped the mark of 22 points set by Deon Luton on Nov. 26, 1996 in his collegiate debut against BYU ... The trip north marks the Huskies' second visit to Alaska in the last three seasons. UW finished fifth in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage during November of 1999 ... For the fourth straight season, Washington dispatched the host school in a tournament with Thursday's 82-70 win over Alaska Fairbanks. UW beat Hawaii-Hilo in the first round of the 1998 Big Island Invitational, defeated Alaska-Anchorage in the 1999 Great Alaska Shootout and topped American-Puerto Rico at the 2000 Holiday Classic ... Nine of the 15 players on the roster had never played a game at Washington prior to this season ... Point guard 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.

'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 2,371 games during parts of three centuries. The Huskies rank 16th among all-time NCAA competitors with 1,425 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.

Last Husky Game
UW 81, Bowling Green 74 (Nov. 17, 2001, Fairbanks, Ak.) -

Sophomore Doug Wrenn amassed 19 points and nine rebounds in his Washington debut, helping the Huskies advance to the championship game of the Top of the World Classic with an 81-74 semifinal victory over Bowling Green at the Carlson Center. The Falcons (1-1) posted an 82-78 overtime decision over Mississippi in the first round. A transfer from Connecticut, Wrenn made 6-of-12 shots from the field and hit 7-of-10 free throws. The product of Seattle's O'Dea High School was held out of Thursday's opening round 82-70 win over host Alaska Fairbanks while serving a one-game suspension due to a minor NCAA violation. The game marked the return to the bench of head coach Bob Bender who remained in Seattle during Thursday's game while nursing a bruised rib that he suffered on Monday. The Huskies scored the final five points of the first half, including a steal and layup at the buzzer by Curtis Allen that put them ahead 31-27. The score was tied 55-55 with 9:12 left to play when UW took the lead for good with an 8-2 run that included a steal and layup by Mike Jensen followed by an Allen trey. The Falcons drew within 73-70 on two free throws by Len Matela with 1:56 remaining, but UW converted 6-of-8 free throws to secure the win. David Dixon contributed 10 points and eight boards for the Huskies who outrebounded BGSU 36-28. Keith McLeod scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half to pace the Falcons. Matela finished with 15 points and Josh Almanson added 10.

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. 14 through 21. The spring signing period begins April 10.

Hoopsters Honor Erickson
The Washington basketball players are wearing a black patch on the front of their jerseys with the initials 'D.E.' They are wearing those in remembrance of Dick Erickson, a friend of the basketball program who died in July. Erickson was involved for nearly 50 years with UW athletics. He participated as an athlete then a coach with the Husky rowing team before serving as the Facilities Manager for the athletic department. Erickson was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame on two occasions, in 1984 as part of the 1958 national championship crew and in 1994 as the head coach of the men's crew from 1968-82.

Dynamic Debut
Freshman guard Erroll Knight's collegiate debut was delayed, but it was worth the wait. Knight amassed a team-high 23 points at Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, the highest point total for a freshman in a debut game at Washington. He eclipsed the record of 22 points set by Deon Luton against Brigham Young on Nov. 26, 1996. Knight underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee on Nov. 2. He 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 projected rehabilitation time was approximately three weeks, but Knight returned to practice on Monday (Nov. 12). He played 28 minutes in his inaugural collegiate outing, hitting 9-of-16 shots from the field that included 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. That was the collegiate debut for Knight who did not play in either of UW's exhibition games. 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.

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 after transferring from Connecticut. Wrenn fulfilled expectations with a 19-point, nine-rebound performance Saturday against Bowling Green in his inaugural Husky game. Wrenn did not participate in Thursday's regular-season opener while serving a one-game suspension due to a minor NCAA rules violation. He played in an unsanctioned competition during May in violation of an NCAA rule prohibiting Division I student-athletes from participating in outside competition during the academic year. Wrenn played three minutes in the Emerald City All-Star Tournament at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School. Three players from other NCAA Division I school participated in the same tournament and were held out of one game as well. Wrenn had 12 points and eight rebounds in UW's first exhibition against Brisbane and finished a Curtis Allen lob with a devastating alley-oop slam dunk. He scored 12 points against Western Washington in the final Husky exhibition contest before being held out of the regular-season opener. 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.

Conroy Declared Eligible
Freshman guard Will Conroy was ruled eligible to play on Nov. 14, one day before the season opener. On Wednesday the school received written confirmation that the NCAA Clearinghouse had approved Conroy's transcript. Conroy had been ruled ineligible on Nov. 1 by the NCAA Clearinghouse that was examining his high school transcript. He was unable to participate in games or practice with the team until the Clearinghouse determined that a course he took at Seattle's Garfield High School qualified under the 'core course' criteria.

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 spot duty and should thrive with additional playing time.

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

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. Rounding out the roster is sophomore walk-on Ian Gibbs (Sehome HS).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Now on Pac-12 Network
5:00 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network