Oct. 28, 2004
The Washington men's basketball team began practicing Oct. 16 for the 2004-05 season. The Huskies host Westmont College in an exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The regular season begins on Friday, Nov. 19 against Seattle Pacific. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Bank of America Arena.
Senior Will Conroy is one of five returning starters for the Huskies who posted a 19-12 record, participated in the NCAA Tournament and were the Pac-10 runners-up. Conroy led the team with 142 assists in 2004. He averaged 12.3 points and is one of five double-figure scorers returning.
Gohuskies.com: What are your thoughts with one week of practice under your belts?
WC: "I think we're ahead of where we were last year at this time. With us having more veterans, guys are able to help other guys out that haven't been in the program as long. That helps practice go a little more fluid."
Gohuskies.com: Some of the preseason publications have given Washington lofty national rankings. What are your thoughts on rankings and preseason recognition?
WC: "It's sweet to look at it and see us in there. But, I've been on both sides of that, so I know what it's like to not be there. We've got to be grateful for what we have now and have to go out and play like it."
Gohuskies.com: How is it different being the team with the target on your back rather than being the ones chasing?
WC: "It depends on what kind of team you have. The team that we have, we look forward to that. You can have a team that doesn't want that kind of attention, but the team that we have doesn't really mind it."
Gohuskies.com: Season ticket sales have been vigorous. How does that help when you are playing before capacity or near capacity home crowds?
WC: "That's going to be sweet because they really help us out. They jump piggy-back on us and they give us a little bit of extra energy. As much energy as we have as a team, any extra energy is ridiculous."
Gohuskies.com: Are there any returning players who have stood out at practice and will surprise spectators this season?
WC: "A few guys. Brandon Roy will do a lot better. He put on a little weight and a little bit more height. He'll be bigger and get a lot more rebounds. Bobby Jones won't be so much undersized this year with the weight that he put on. Tre (Simmons) will be better just because he has a year of college experience under his belt and he'll know what to expect."
Gohuskies.com: How about the newcomers, what can people expect to see from them?
WC: "From Joel (Smith) you can expect energy. He is a full-time energy guy. Jamaal (Williams) will give us instant scoring. He just produces instant baskets."
Gohuskies.com: You currently rank fifth among all-time Husky playmakers with 296 career assists. What is your attitude about the chances of perhaps surpassing Chester Dorsey's total of 466 and becoming the school's assist leader?
WC: "I'm going to try not to think about it too much. If I can, I definitely want to break that record. But, I'm just going to go out there and play and the assists will come."
Gohuskies.com: Would you comment on the 2004-05 schedule?
WC: "It's a good test for us. We play up in Alaska at a tournament with a lot of good teams, starting with Utah. Then we also play Gonzaga and North Carolina State before the Pac-10 starts. We asked for a tough schedule and we got it, so we've got to go out and show improvement."