Huskies Compete in Alaska Shootout Championship Game
Nov. 27, 2004
27th Annual Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout
Wed.-Sat, Nov. 24-27 / Sullivan Arena (8,700); Anchorage, Ak.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27 --
#22 Washington vs. #19 Alabama; 7:00 p.m. PST (6 AST)- ESPN2 TV
Husky Sports Radio Network / KJR (AM 950) in Puget Sound Area
The 22nd-ranked Washington Huskies (3-0) conclude their treacherous run through the Great Alaska Shootout bracket, meeting No. 19 Alabama (4-0) in the championship game on Saturday, Nov. 27. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Pacific Time (6 p.m. Alaska Time) at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. The game will be televised live on ESPN2. Washington thrived against the tournament's most difficult schedule, posting a 78-71 opening-round win over Utah before a 96-91 semifinal triumph over Oklahoma. UW's reward is a clash with a talented Crimson Tide squad that advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Alabama defeated host Alaska-Anchorage (90-55) and Minnesota (78-72) to reach the title game.
Saturday's Shootout championship game between the Huskies and Alabama will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time (6 p.m. Alaska Time). Bob Carpenter calls the action with color commentary from Jimmy Dykes.
The Washington-Alabama game will air on the Husky Radio Network. Flagship station KJR (AM 950) broadcasts the game throughout the Puget Sound area with Bob Rondeau calling the action.
The Huskies are seeking their first tournament championship since November of 1998 when they beat Georgia Tech for the Big Island Invitational title in Hilo, Hi. Washington also advanced to the championship game in its most recent regular-season tournament, but lost 67-64 to Butler in the 2001 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Ak.
North to Alaska
The trip north marks 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.
Nate Robinson distributed a career-high eight assists Friday vs. Oklahoma.
The Washington reserves outscored the Sooners 38-15 Friday, paced by Jamaal Williams' 18 points. One day earlier, UW was outscored 12-2 by the Utah bench.
Five Huskies had double-figure points vs. Oklahoma, a feat that occurred nine times in 2004.
UW has attempted 73 free throws, the same number as its opponents. The Huskies converted 84 percent (61) of those charity shots and opponents hit 78 percent (57).
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Huskies who visit 24th-ranked Gonzaga on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. The game will air on FSN Northwest.
Washington was finally at full strength Friday with the return of sharpshooting senior Tre Simmons who missed the first two games. That didn't last long as Brandon Roy played only 12 minutes before hyper-extending his right knee. Roy is questionable for Saturday's game vs. Oklahoma. 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 Alabama Series
> The Crimson Tide won the only previous meeting with Washington, a 69-60 decision on Dec. 21, 2000 in the semifinal round of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.
> UW has a 3-5 all-time record against Southeastern Conference opponents: Alabama (0-1), Florida (1-1), Kentucky (0-1), LSU (1-2) and Mississippi State (1-0).
> Seventh-year Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried was an assistant coach on Jim Harrick's UCLA staff along with Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. They helped lead the Bruins to the 1995 NCAA championship. The point guard on that UCLA team was current UW assistant coach Cameron Dollar.
> Gottfried has a 1-0 record against Washington as a head coach.
> In his third season at UW, Romar won his only meeting against Alabama and Coach Gottfried. Romar's Saint Louis squad defeated the Crimson Tide during the 1999-2000 season.
The Last Meeting
#17 Alabama 69, UW 60 (Dec. 21, 2000; Bayamon, P.R.)
Rod Grizzard scored 26 points and led a 15-point free throw advantage with 11-of-13 shooting from the line in 17th-ranked Alabama's 69-60 semifinal victory over Washington in the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic at the Guerra Sports Complex. The Crimson Tide (9-0) hit 20-of-26 free throws to only 5-of-8 for Washington (5-4). The Huskies led for much of the first half before Alabama closed with a 10-4 run to forge a 31-31 halftime tie. The Tide led 49-42 before Curtis Allen capped an 11-3 run with a 3-pointer with 4:59 left in the game that gave UW its final lead at 53-52. Alabama responded with 11 unanswered points, taking a commanding 63-53 advantage. Grizzard capped the surge on a three-point play with 1:25 remaining, helping the Tide rally from its first deficit all season. Thalo Green scored 15 points to lead the Huskies who also got a career-high 13 from Marlon Shelton. Greg Clark added 10 for UW before leaving the game with 7:46 to play after spraining his right ankle. Another injured Husky, senior forward Will Perkins, missed the game due to a virus. Erwin Dudley added 14 points for Alabama.
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.
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.'
Five Huskies tallied double-figure points in Friday's win over Oklahoma. 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.
UW's Last Game
#22 UW 96, Oklahoma 91 (Nov. 26, 2004; Anchorage, Ak.)
Nate Robinson led five double-figure scorers with 19 points and added eight assists to lead 22nd-ranked Washington to a 96-91 win over Oklahoma in the semifinal round of the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena. Reserve Jamaal Williams scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half for the Huskies (3-0) who led 47-43 at halftime. Oklahoma (2-1) took its only second-half lead at 53-52 with 16:28 remaining. Kevin Bookout, who led OU with 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting, then drew his fourth foul and went to the bench. UW's Hakeem Rollins hit the subsequent free throws, starting an 18-6 run that resulted in a 70-59 advantage. The Sooners drew within 86-80 on a 3-pointer by Terrell Everett, but Williams answered with a dunk and the Huskies hit six straight free throws inside the final three minutes to halt the rally. Tre Simmons and Bobby Jones each scored 13 points. Both joined Williams for team-high rebound honors with six, leading a 34-24 Husky margin on the boards. Everett finished with 19 points for the Sooners who also got 17 from Taj Gray. Both teams shot 55 percent, Oklahoma hitting 33-of-60 from the field and UW 35-of-64. The Washington reserves outscored the OU bench 38-15, one day after combining for only two points. The Huskies played without starting guard Brandon Roy for the entire second half after he hyper-extended his right knee.
#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.
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 leads Washington in points (23.3 ppg) and assists (5.0 apg) and distributed a career-high eight assists in the win over Oklahoma (Nov. 26). He led UW in both Alaska Shootout games with 29 points against Utah and 19 against the Sooners. 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.
Senior point guard Will Conroy has distributed 303 career assists. He is currently ranked No. 5 among all-time Husky playmakers and needs 163 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.
Junior forward Bobby Jones ranked second among Huskies in rebounds with 4.9 per game in 2004, 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.
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 in 2004, 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.
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 prior 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.
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.
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.
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.