Nov. 4, 2003
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8 --
UW vs. EA Sports (Exhibition); 12:00 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash. (No Radio or TV)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12 --
UW vs. Athletes in Action (Exhibition); 7:00 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash. (No Radio or TV)
The Washington men's basketball team opens the 2003-04 campaign this weekend with the first of two exhibition games. The Huskies host the EA Sports Southwest All-Stars on Saturday, Nov. 8. Admission is free for the exhibition game that tips-off at noon in Bank of America Arena. This is Washington's second season under head coach Lorenzo Romar. a two-year letterman point guard for the Huskies from 1978-80. Romar was hired April 3, 2002 as the school's first African-American basketball coach. He served three-year head coaching stints at Pepperdine (1997-99) and Saint Louis (2000-02) before returning to UW. Washington entertains Athletes in Action, Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in its final exhibition game before opening the regular season Nov. 21 against Portland State.
A young, extremely athletic group of players pursues Washington's first winning season and post-season appearance since 1999. Four primary starters return from last season's 10-17 squad. Seven of the top-eight scorers are back, including freshman All-American Nate Robinson who topped all UW players in 2003 with a scoring average of 13.0. Only one senior (Curtis Allen) is listed on the Husky roster that features just two players (Allen, Will Conroy) who have played more than one full season in a Husky uniform. The backcourt will be strong with future star Brandon Roy available for a full season and the addition of high-scoring junior college transfer Tre Simmons who averaged nearly 30 points at Green River (Wash.) Community College. The frontcourt features the talented trio of sophomores Mike Jensen, Bobby Jones and Anthony Washington.
A lot was new last season, the first under head coach Lorenzo Romar. The 2003 roster listed six freshmen and only one senior (Marlon Shelton). Five of those freshmen, including red-shirt frosh Mike Jensen, started at least two games. The Huskies opened three games with four freshmen and a sophomore (Will Conroy) in the starting lineup. The abundance of youth produced the expected inconsistent results. Washington posted impressive victories against NCAA Tournament-bound teams Stanford and Oregon, but also suffered heartbreaking defeats and did not qualify for the Pac-10 Tournament. UW lost 10 games by 10-or-fewer points and dropped three overtime contests en route to a ninth-place conference finish. The Huskies had a 10-17 record with a 5-13 Pac-10 ledger.
Washington has a 36-10 all-time record in exhibition games, including a split of two contests last season. UW defeated Central Washington 68-60 on Nov. 12, 2002 before losing 76-59 to Athletes in Action on Nov. 18, 2002.
Scouting EA Sports
The Southwest All-Stars are one of several AAU certified touring teams sponsored by EA Sports. Washington is the fifth of 13 stops for the All-Stars who opened the tour Nov. 1 at UC Irvine. They also play at Cal State Northridge (Nov. 3), Loyola Marymount (Nov. 4) and UC Riverside (Nov. 5) before visiting Seattle. Among the teams they play after UW are Pac-10 schools Oregon State (Nov. 11) and Arizona State (Nov. 12). Coach Pete Cassidy's EA Sports roster lists nine players who played at NCAA Division I schools, including former Utah standout Tony Harvey.
Scouting Athletes In Action
The touring Athletes in Action team visits Seattle for the ninth game on its 14-game slate. Twelve of the games come during a 17-day stretch from Nov. 1-17. They play three consecutive games against Pac-10 teams; Nov. 10 at California, Nov. 12 at Washington and Nov. 13 at Washington State. Last year, Athletes in Action defeated the Huskies 76-59 behind 6-6 forward Reed Rawlings who had 17 points and six assists. The Samford University product is still on the roster. Washington was paced last year by Doug Wrenn's 21 points while Curtis Allen had 15. Other notable current AIA players include former Pac-10 players Solomon Hughes from California and Shawn Redhage from Arizona State. A 6-6 forward, Redhage was brilliant in his last visit to Seattle. He amassed 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists, leading the Sun Devils to a 79-77 overtime win over Washington on Feb. 8, 2003. UW Coach Lorenzo Romar played seven years with AIA from 1985-92, serving as the team's player-coach between 1989-92.
Home Sweet Home
The Huskies play all of their home games in recently renovated Bank of America Arena at Edmundson Pavilion. From March of 1999 to November of 2000, the Pavilion's 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 has a more intimate, basketball-only configuration. The Huskies have won 765 games in the Pavilion since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more victories than any other school in its current arena.
Nate the Great
High-flying sophomore guard Nate Robinson will concentrate on basketball this season after having an huge impact last year on both the hardwood and the gridiron. Robinson garnered Freshman All-America and All-Pac-10 honors after leading UW with a 13.0-point scoring average. He had eight points in 23 minutes Jan. 2 against UCLA after starting two days earlier in UW's 34-24 loss to Purdue in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31. Robinson registered 17 double-figure outings and topped all UW scorers a team-high 11 times in his 23 games. The 5-9 leaper was spectacular in his second collegiate outing, amassing 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 18 minutes at Santa Clara (Dec. 7). He followed that up with another 19-point performance, against Eastern Washington (Dec. 14). Robinson suited up, but did not play in the Nov. 24 season opener, one day after grabbing a critical interception for the Husky football team that upset No. 3 Washington State 29-26 in Pullman. Robinson was a prep All-American in both football and basketball. He started the final six Husky football games at cornerback and recorded two interceptions. Robinson averaged 17.2 yards on six kick-off returns. His first practice with the basketball team was Nov. 26. Robinson entered UW on a football scholarship, but switched to basketball. He was the 2002 Washington Class AAA state basketball player of the year after averaging 17.9 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals for state champion Rainier Beach of Seattle. His father, Jacque Robinson, was a standout running back on the UW football team and ranks seventh among all-time Huskies with 2,300 career yards. Jacque is the only player to earn MVP honors in both the Rose (1982) and Orange (1985) Bowls.
The most improved player in the Pac-10 last season was point guard Will Conroy, now a junior at Washington. His 12.7-point sophomore scoring average was 10.2 better than his freshman average of 2.5 points, the largest improvement by any Pac-10 player. Despite playing all 29 games in 2002 and starting the final seven, Conroy did not have a double-figure scoring game. He had 19 double-figure performances last season and led all Husky scorers in eight games. Conroy ranked 21st among Pac-10 scorers (12.7 ppg) and distributed a team-high 108 assists to rank fifth among Pac-10 playmakers (4.0 apg). He amassed a career-high 32 points at Gonzaga, including a 3-pointer that forced overtime. Conroy ranked 11th among Pac-10 players with 33 steals (1.22 spg).
Arguably the quickest player in the conference, guard Curtis Allen is the lone senior on the Washington roster. He led the Huskies last season with 52 treys, 23 more 3-pointers than any of his teammates. Allen has amassed 820 points during his career and needs 180 more to become the 28th player in UW history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He missed only two free throws in 46 attempts last season, a 95.7-percent figure that would have easily led the conference except he was 10 free throws shy of the minimum standard for the Pac-10 statistical rankings. Allen's current career free throw mark of 87.7 percent (178-203) is the best in school history. He ranks second among all-time Pac-10 players behind only former UCLA standout Rod Foster who shot 88.0% from the line between 1980-83. Allen distributed 126 assists in 2002, the seventh-highest total in Husky history. A starter during parts of each of his previous three seasons, Allen was voted to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team in 2001. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Dec. 3, 2001 after averaging 24.0 points and 6.0 assists in a pair of Husky wins. Allen distributed 15 assists against Arizona State (Jan. 10, 2002), the second-highest total in UW history. He fell one shy of the school single-game assist record of 16 established by Rafael Stone in 1970.
Sophomore guard Brandon Roy is expected to emerge as a rising star in his first full collegiate season. He 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. Roy played 13 games with two starts last season, averaging 6.1 points per game. He averaged 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds during the final four games of 2003. 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 fourth product of Seattle's Garfield High School on the current Husky basketball roster, joining Will Conroy, Tre Simmons and Anthony Washington.
Half of Washington's 16-player roster is comprised of first-year Huskies, including three transfers, one scholarship freshman and four walk-ons. The newcomers most likely to contribute immediately are junior college transfers Tre Simmons (Green River CC) and Hakeem Rollins (Mesa JC). Simmons is a prolific scorer who averaged 29.8 points last season with two 50-point performances. Rollins is a physical inside presence who will challenge sophomore Anthony Washington for playing time at the center position. Freshman Hans Gasser is a versatile 6-9 forward from Issaquah (Wash.) High School who could see early playing time.
Lorenzo Romar begins his second season at Washington. He was named to head up the program at his alma mater on April 3, 2002. A point guard for the Huskies' 1978-79 and 1979-80 teams, he is the 18th head coach in Washington's 102-year history and the first African-American to lead the program. Romar has compiled a 103-105 record in seven seasons as a head coach, including an 10-17 mark during his first campaign at Washington. He recorded his 100th career coaching victory on Jan. 18, 2003 with a 73-68 win over Stanford. In three years at Saint Louis from 1999-2002, he compiled a 51-44 (.537) mark. At both Pepperdine and Saint Louis, Romar helped revive programs to a competitive level. He led the Waves to a three-year record of 42-44 (.488) from 1996-99, including a pair of second-place finishes in the West Coast Conference and an NIT invitation in 1999. His first Saint Louis squad upset top-ranked Cincinnati in the Conference USA tournament and went on to win the championship and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Twice during the past two seasons Romar's Saint Louis teams defeated Washington. Seattle was the site of one of Romar's greatest coaching moments. As an assistant coach, he helped guide UCLA to an 89-78 triumph over Arkansas in the Kingdome to win the 1995 NCAA Championship. Cameron Dollar, now a UW assistant coach, was one of the stars for the Bruins during that national title contest. Romar built a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters while an assistant at UCLA (1992-1996) and was credited with recruiting much of the talent that formed the core of the Bruins' title team. UCLA's record during Romar's four-year assistant coaching tenure was 97-28 (.776). A native of Compton, Calif., Romar graduated from Pius X High School. He earned his associate degree from Cerritos (Calif.) Community College in 1978 before studying at Washington from 1978-80. He completed his coursework at Cincinnati, receiving his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1992. After starting two seasons at UW for legendary coach Marv Harshman, Romar was selected in the seventh round of the 1980 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. His five-year NBA career included stints with Golden State (1981-84), Milwaukee (1984) and Detroit (1984-85). Following the 1984-85 season, Romar joined Athletes in Action (AIA), a touring exhibition team on which he served as player-coach from 1989-1992. Romar is the second former UW player to return as the head coach, joining Lynn Nance who coached the Huskies from 1989-93.
Lorenzo Romar's staff is comprised of second-year assistant coaches Ken Bone, Cameron Dollar and Russ Schoene. Bone was the head coach at perennial NCAA Division II championship contender Seattle Pacific during the previous 12 seasons. After a stellar playing career at UCLA (1994-97) that included the 1995 NCAA championship, Dollar served the previous three years as an assistant coach on Romar's Saint Louis staff. Schoene was a standout collegian at Tennessee Chattanooga (1981-82) who played four seasons in the NBA, including three years (1987-89) with the Seattle Sonics.
The Huskies twice played before capacity home crowds at Bank of America Arena last season. They sold out games against Arizona (Feb. 6) and Oregon (Feb. 22). There have been four sellouts since Bank of America Arena re-opened in 2000-01 with the current 10,000-seat configuration. On Feb. 6, a record crowd of 10,028 attended Washington's 88-85 overtime loss to Arizona.
Washington completed its 15-game 2002-03 home schedule averaging 6,799 spectators per game. That was the largest attendance figure at the Huskies' on-campus arena since the 1984-85 season drew an average of 6,979. UW averaged 7,851 fans during the 2000 season while playing at KeyArena in downtown Seattle during the Edmundson Pavilion renovation. The Huskies drew an average of 7,840 fans last year during nine home Pac-10 contests, an increase of 1,231 from the 2001-02 season's conference average of 6,609.
Good seats are available for all Washington home games, including season tickets and other special packages. The Pepsi "4 for $40" Family Plan is perfect for quartets of all ages and includes four $10 bleacher seats, four Pepsi drinks and four hot dogs. All seats are reserved and priced at $20, $18 and $10. University of Washington students with current student identification can purchase individual game tickets for $3 or buy a student season pass for $30 that is also good for women's games. For ticket information please visit or call (206-543-2200) the Husky Ticket Office, located in the Graves Building, or go on-line via the athletic department website: Husky Basketball Tickets