Nov. 13, 2006
By Adam Mesick
The University of Washington men's basketball team is not in the process of rebuilding their talent, but has rather reloaded their roster with a plethora of highly recruited freshmen from across the country.
With the loss of senior leaders such as the sixth overall NBA draft pick Brandon Roy and second round pick Bobby Jones, one would think the Huskies would be in store for a tumultuous 2006-2007 season. However, the Dawgs look to be back on top due in part to the great play by freshmen Adrian Oliver, Quincy Pondexter, Phil Nelson, and Spencer Hawes.
In just 19 minutes Hawes displayed his well-rounded game. The 7-footer tallied 12 points, seven assists and four blocked shots in Sunday's 99-91 season-opening win over the Pepperdine Waves. Hawes' seven assists were often times directed to fellow post player Jon Brockman, a former teammate from the AAU ranks.
Coach Romar was already aware that Hawes possessed a keen ability to distribute the ball.
"Everybody keeps asking what Spencer can do. Once you see Spencer out there, he can pass and it may be the best thing that he does. He had seven assists tonight and he did a real nice job."
Will that debut performance propel Hawes into a starting role?
"I think that when you watch him play it is kind of hard to keep him on the bench," Romar remarked.
The addition of another scoring threat on the low blocks has opened up some opportunities for Brockman and has allowed him to increase his scoring immensely early in his sophomore season.
Last year Brockman was a role player on a team full of veteran talent, playing his part he finished the season averaging 8.4 points per game. In the first regular season game of the year, he produced a team high 25 points and 12 rebounds, both career high marks.
Romar was very pleased by the performance of his sophomore captain in the opening game, pointing out that the burly 6-foot-7 forward was frequently drawing defensive assignments outside the paint Sunday.
"Jon Brockman was out on the perimeter tonight for 20 plus minutes, and he did a pretty good job with a double-double."
Brockman and Hawes were both McDonalds All-Americans. Both were the top vote-getter in the annual Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Brockman in 2005 and Hawes in 2006.
The infusion of those two highly acclaimed post players looks to parlay the Huskies into one of the most explosive front courts in the country.
With the addition of new talent has come increased scoring on the blocks but also some much needed team depth. Washington featured 11 players in the contest and four with double-digit scoring.
The depth of the Huskies kept the Pepperdine Waves on their heels throughout the game and allowed Washington to out rebound their opponents 43-30.
When asked about playing many of his new freshmen recruits Romar responded, "I don't think that we have done that since my first year here when we had four freshmen. We have been watching these guys practice real hard, so we wanted to get them out there."
With two Pac-10 schools currently ranked in the top-10 and thee teams in the top 25, depth could be a determining factor down the stretch in conference play. Fortunately for Washington there is no shortage of talent willing and able to step up and deliver.