Senior Salute

March 5, 2009

By Michael Jeremiah

Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Artem Wallace entered their final season with one thing on their mind.

Just get the Huskies back to the tournament.

All top players at their positions in high school, the three have experienced the top level of post-season play.

As freshmen, they were a vital part of the Washington team that advanced to the Sweet 16. Brockman and Dentmon started almost every game that year and were among the top five in scoring, while Wallace contributed important minutes off the bench.It was an impressive start for the trio that came to Washington as a highly-rated recruiting class that carried great expectations.

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Brockman was the headliner of the class. The local product from Snohomish was one of the most soughtafter prospects in the nation as a senior. A top-20 player nationally, Brockman chose Washington over Duke, North Carolina and UCLA among others.

Dentmon came to Washington from Carbondale, Ill. After Will Conroy's graduation, the point guard position was up for grabs. Dentmon was expected to compete for the job, and ultimately won a starting role.

Wallace was another local product. After moving from Russia as a teenager, Wallace lived in Toledo, Wash. in high school. Known more as a prolific inside scorer in high school, Wallace said he was brought in to add defensive toughness and size, a role that he was happy to accept.

After advancing in the tournament as freshmen, their presence and experience was supposed to lead to more NCAA tournaments. Unfortunately, the next two years did not yield another NCAA berth, leaving only one more chance for March success. 'We all understand that it's our last year,' said Wallace. 'It's our last chance to get back to the tournament.'

Brockman, Dentmon and Wallace have been a major part of the Huskies' resurgence back to the top of the Pac-10 this year. After two years of finishing in the lower half of the conference, Washington has quality wins over UCLA and Arizona State. The Huskies have also turned the tables in the basketball Apple Cup with a 68-48 win over Washington State in Pullman - the first time in the trio's history they have beat their cross-state rivals.

Dentmon and Brockman are among the top players in the conference at their positions this year. Brockman has continued on a steady clip, averaging 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds a game.

Dentmon has seen his hard work in the offseason pay off with a great senior year. He has garnered attention as a potential Pac-10 Player of the Year candidate by averaging 15.4 points a game and ranks second in scoring during conference games. After bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Dentmon had tough sophomore and junior seasons, and he hopes that his hard work will help the Huskies win the Pac-10 championship. According to Dentmon, the success so far is a good start.

'It means that all the hard work as a team that we put in during the summer and spring has been worth it,' said Dentmon. 'It feels good. It's making my senior year a lot easier, a lot less stress.'

Wallace has been hampered by a knee injury suffered last year, but is still able to contribute off the bench and has plenty of experience after starting 25 games as a junior.

This senior class has been as deep in the tournament as any Husky team has in the past decade, and after facing adversity the last two years, they are ready to get the program back to national prominence. That could mean a long run in the NCAA Tournament, and according to Brockman, that isn't out of the question.

'The goal is to get back to the tournament,' said Brockman. 'It's called March Madness. Once you get to that point, the seeds and the rankings, they go away. Anything can happen.'

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