Oct. 27, 2010
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE - No need to ask Eldridge Recasner whether he will be able to make it for his induction into 2010 Husky Hall of Fame this week.
"Yeah, of course I'm going!" the three-time All-Pac-10 guard at Washington from 1987-90 said over the telephone. "What kind of a question is that, man?"
He was just about scoffing.
"I've got people coming from Louisiana, from Texas ... about 30 people," Recasner said of Friday night's induction ceremony at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. "My mom's coming. My sister's coming. Cousins. One of my high school coaches ...
"It's a pretty big deal for me."
Recasner was a pretty big deal for the Huskies in the late 1980. He scored 1,700 points - sixth all-time at UW -- in four years. In his final three seasons, he averaged 17 points, 18.1 points and 16.2 points per game.
Recasner was the Huskies' only team captain as a sophomore, junior and again as a senior. He was the first three-time captain for UW hoops -- the only one until Jon Brockman did it from 2007 through '09.
A member of Washington's All-Century team, Recasner went on to play eight NBA seasons. His final one was in 2002 with Charlotte.
How he got to Washington from his native New Orleans was a neat deal, too.
Recasner thought he was staying close to home, at Louisiana Tech. He was wowed by Karl Malone, who led the Bulldogs to a 29-3 record and the regional round of the NCAA tournament in 1985. Recasner was all but signed with Tech and coach Andy Russo.
But Russo's deep NCAA tournament run in '85 attracted the attention of Washington, which signed him to replace the retired Marv Harshman beginning with the 1985-86 season.
Recasner stayed committed to Russo - even if he wasn't exactly sure about where Russo was going.
"I knew nothing about U-Dub," Recasner said Monday. "I'd never been west of Louisiana. I was a ghetto kid from New Orleans. Outside of UCLA and USC, I knew nothing of the Pac-10. Then I went on my campus visit to Husky Stadium for a game. It was a beautiful day, 75,000 people in the stands. And I thought, `This is a great place.'
"Then when I got home my dad said, `It's a great town, a great school. You're going.'"
That doesn't mean it was all smooth from there.
"Yeah, I was homesick," he said. "I'm still homesick. My mother is still in New Orleans.
"I still can't believe I live out here in Seattle, so far from home. But I don't think I could have made a better decision, but basketball-wise and for my life. It helped make me who I am."
Seattle is where he met his wife. It is where his children - Sydney (13), Erin (10), Lauren (7) and Eldridge III (6 next month) - were born. With his wife's family also from here, Recasner is a firmly rooted Washingtonian now.
Lately he has been working in commercial real estate in Seattle's east suburbs. That's been a rough go in a tough economy.
Recasner also stays in close touch with what he calls the "incredible" transformation of Husky basketball in the 2000s by coach Lorenzo Romar. He attends many home games and co-hosts a regular basketball radio show on Seattle's KJR-AM.
"I'm always watching," he says.
So, yes, this Louisiana kid is a fully converted Seattleite now, one of the best to ever play for the city's beloved Huskies. And, yes, he will be there Friday night to take his official place among the best ever to play for UW.
"I love Husky basketball," Recasner said. "I'm a Husky for life."