Jan. 7, 2006
SEATTLE - Brandon Roy said all along that he would be a different player when Pac-10 play came around. The Washington senior said he would step up his game when his team needed him to, and be the leader his coach knows he can be.
Despite back-to-back Pac-10 losses, Roy has been the gem of the Pac-10, with his play meriting consideration for the Pac-10 Player of the Year Award.
After three games the alum from Seattle's Garfield High School leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 32.3 points per game, twice hitting 35 points. He his hitting 56 percent of his shots, best on his team.
However, the stat that stands out his lights out marksmanship from long-range. Roy is shooting nearly 86 percent from three-point range in Pac-10 play. Two of those three pointers were at the buzzer in the Arizona game, where he showed that he can hit the big shots when it matters most.
He already has 12 long bombs during Pac-10 play, more than twice as many as he has had in any of his seasons as a Husky.
Where Brandon Roy likely stands out the most, is in that leadership role. He recognizes what he needs to do and what his teammates need to do in order to be successful.
"We need Bobby to play good to be a good team," he said following a 78-71 loss to Washington State. "We need Jamaal Williams to play good if we are going to be a good team."
But Roy is the clear leader of that team, and a big reason why it is as good as it appears to be. Against Arizona he took 29 shots to score 35 points, a red flag that he might be shooting too much. That number dropped all the way to 10 against Washington State, yet he was still able to hang 27 on the Cougars, though that's not what he'll remember tomorrow.
"I can't even remember that we had a 13-point lead right now," the senior said after that WSU game.
They had a 13-point lead in the first half, when Roy scored 16 of his 27 points, but it was all en route to a loss, and his somber face showed which stat he cared about the most.
The one up on the scoreboard.
The loss to Washington State marked the first time in 11 years that the Cougars have won in Seattle. For Dick Bennett, the State coach who stated earlier in the week, "I don't know that it becomes a rivalry in the competitive sense until you beat somebody, until you have victories on both sides, much like it is in football," this is a sweet victory.
"I think now it's become a rivalry," he said, barely audible over the celebrations of his team. "This is not an easy place to win a game."
He did remind everyone that the Huskies are still a very good team.
"They have a very fine team and they'll bounce back from this."