Dec. 10, 2009
Weekly Release: Huskies Heading To Cali For Wooden Classic
Tuesday Videos (paid subscription required): Lorenzo Romar
Free: Quincy Pondexter | Isaiah Thomas
SEATTLE - While the Husky men's basketball team is excited to play Georgetown for the first time in school history, what really gets some of their faces to light up is the opportunity to play in front of coaching legend John Wooden.
It is unclear whether or not the 99-year-old Wooden will be able to attend the Wooden Classic, which pits Washington against Georgetown on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11:00 a.m., followed by Mississippi State and UCLA at 1:30 pm. Wooden, a fixture at UCLA basketball games for years, has been unable to attend as many games as he once did. But, if somehow, Wooden was able to make it to the Washington game at the Honda Center (formerly The Pond), it would be a thrill for guys donning the Husky uniform.
"Even though I've never met him, he's been a great mentor to the game of basketball and myself," said senior Quincy Pondexter, who has read several books on Wooden. "He won so many championships, produced so many professional players and not only that, taught so many lessons to the game of basketball and life in general that still carry on today."
"Hopefully he is there and I get to meet him and it would even be better if he knows my name."
Sophomore Isaiah has one word to sum up Wooden. "Greatness. I mean, you hear everything about him and how many championships he's won and the players he's coached. It's going to be an honor and hopefully I can meet him."
One person associated with Husky basketball that has rubbed elbows with Wooden is coach Lorenzo Romar. Romar spent four seasons as an assistant at UCLA and has fond memories of his time spent with the legend.
"Being an assistant at UCLA, I had a chance to spend a lot of time with him," told Romar. "He probably is the most amazing and impressive man that I have ever met in my life. To be involved in this [game] means a lot."
The Huskies will have a great opportunity to impress Wooden on Saturday if they can beat the undefeated and 15th-ranked Hoyas. With the Huskies closing in on their 1,600th all-time win (four victories short) it is the first-ever time the UW has faced the storied program out of Washington D.C.
The Hoyas have history on their side: Washington last beat a Big East team in 1989 (Dec. 3 win over DePaul).