Men's Hoop Squad Opens 1999-2000 Campaign Nov. 11 with Exhibition Game
Nov. 8, 1999
Thurs., Nov. 11—UW vs. California All-Stars (exhibition), 7:30 pm PST
Sun., Nov. 14—UW vs. Mount Gambier, Australia (exhibition), 3:00 pm PST
Free admission to both Games at Brougham Pavilion (Seattle Pacific University)
Bob Bender begins his seventh season at Washington, seeking to direct the Huskies to their third straight NCAA Tournament berth and fifth consecutive postseason appearance overall. Only once in school history have the Huskies appeared in three straight NCAA Tournaments (1984-86). Washington lost 59-58 to Miami (Ohio) in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament, ending a 17-12 season. The Huskies finished fourth in the 1999 Pacific-10 Conference standings with a 10-8 league ledger. In pursuit of an NCAA bid, Bender must find a way to fill the void left by the departure of a pair of 1,000-point scorers, 7-foot center Todd MacCulloch and Donald Watts. Three starters return, including the backcourt duo of senior guard Deon Luton, who owns every school 3-point scoring record, and sophomore point guard Senque Carey, a member of the 1999 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team.
Exhibition Opener: Washington opens the 1999-2000 season on Thursday, Nov. 11 with an exhibition game against the California All-Stars. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Brougham Pavilion on the Seattle Pacific University campus (Third & Nickerson). There will be no admission charged for the exhibition contest, nor is there a fee to attend a second exhibition game, Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. against the Mount Gambier team from the Australian professional league. That game will also be played at Brougham Pavilion. Washington is 17-2 in exhibition games against international opponents, including an 85-63 win over Frankston Bayside of Australia on Nov. 14, 1999 in the Huskies’ most recent exhibition contest. Washington has a 29-8 all-time record in exhibition games.
Notable: Washington’s 1999-2000 schedule features at least 17 games against 1999 postseason competitors, including 10 with NCAA Tournament teams and seven with NIT teams ... Senior Deon Luton ranks 26th among all-time Husky scorers with 1,036 career points. He owns school 3-point records for career (152), single-season (75) and game (7).
California All-Stars: Sponosored by Los Angeles-based Double Pump, Inc., the California All-Stars will provide a formidable test for the Huskies. All 10 players on the All-Stars’ roster played at NCAA Division I schools, including 6-4 guard Jamie Brandon who completed his collegiate career at Louisiana State in 1994. Four players, 6-5 Chivo Anderson, 6-6 Michael Gill, 6-7 Sean Pryor and 7-0 Leif Nelson, are familiar faces after recently playing against Washington. Anderson played at Portland until 1998, Gill capped his collegiate career last spring for NIT Champion California, Pryor last played at Oregon State in 1998 and Leif Nelson competed at Washington State through last spring. Washington is the 10th of 13 opponents for the All-Stars who begin their tour Nov. 1 at Saint Louis. They lost 115-66 at preseason No. 1 Michigan State on Nov. 5. The All-Stars visit Michigan on Nov. 10, the day before meeting the Huskies. Also on the schedule are Pac-10 teams USC and UCLA.
Mount Gambier Pioneers: The Mount Gambier Pioneers of the Australian professional league complete an 11-day, eight-game tour of the west against Washington on Sunday at Brougham Pavilion. They opened their tour at Montana State on Nov. 4, losing 108-81 to the Bobcats. The Aussies defeated UC Santa Barbara 83-68 on Nov. 7 led by the 17 points of Jermaine Brown. Forward Jason Sedlock, who completed his collegiate career at Santa Clara in 1997, contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds. Prior to the meeting with the Huskies, Mount Gambier plays at Weber State (Nov. 8), at Idaho State (Nov. 9), at Portland (Nov. 11) and at Oregon (Nov. 12). The Pioneers have one day off before playing Washington on Sunday.
Home Away From Home: The Huskies will play all of their home games in KeyArena at Seattle Center this season while Hec Edmundson Pavilion is being renovated. The Huskies have won 746 games in Hec Edmundson since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more than any other school in its current arena. Washington tallied a 49-9 record on its home court the past four seasons. The UW has a 3-0 record in home games contested away from Edmundson Pavilion since that 1927 season. The Huskies upset 11th-ranked New Mexico 70-61 on Dec. 24 last season in their only game at KeyArena. Washington also played two games in the Kingdome, beating Notre Dame 63-61 in double overtime on Jan. 9, 1984 and Old Dominion 71-61 on Dec. 22, 1995.
Three-Peat?: Three starters return for Washington, seniors Deon Luton and Chris Walcott along with sophomore point guard Senque Carey. That trio looks to lead the Huskies to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament trip. Only once before (1984-86) has Washington participated in three straight NCAA Tournaments. Luton, who owns every school 3-point scoring record, ranked second on the team in 1999 with a 14.3-point scoring average. Carey was a 1999 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team selection after averaging 8.7 points and 3.2 assists despite playing a reserve role during the first 11 games. One area of concern is rebounding as Carey is the team’s leading returning board man with 3.1 caroms per game. Walcott started 12 games last year at forward, a position also manned by Thalo Green and Greg Clark, who started 11 and eight games, respectively.
Returning Talent: Three starters and 10 lettermen from last year’s team return. The leader is senior guard Deon Luton, Washington's all-time record holder in every 3-point scoring catergory, including marks for career (152), season (75 in 1998) and single-game (seven at USC on Jan. 29, 1998) treys. All-Pac-10 Freshman Team member Senque Carey joins Luton to form one of the Pac-10’s finest backcourt tandems. Carey was thrust into the starting point guard spot, in place of an injured Dan Dickau, midway through last season and registered double-figure points in 11 of the next 13 games. Eight-game starter Greg Clark, a junior forward, returns in his role as Washington’s deffensive stopper. Senior Chris Walcott, a 6-9 forward, and 6-7 junior forward Thalo Green, provide leadership for an otherwise inexperienced frontcourt. Walcott started 12 games in 1999 and is the Huskies’ top returning field goal shooting (.518) and steals leader (28). Green started 11 games last season, providing an uncanny knack for interior passing and scoring around the basket. Junior guard Michael Johnson is slated to fill the third guard role vacated by the graduation of Donald Watts. Johnson seeks to display at the collegiate level the scoring skills he showed while amassing a state prep Class AA record 2,271 points at Seattle’s Ballard High School. Long-distance shooting specialist Bryan Brown, a junior, has 3-point range reminiscent of his father, “Downtwon” Fred Brown. Sophmore Grant Leep will battle for increased playing time with a solid inside game and range out to the 3-point line. Sophomore center Marlon Shelton teams with newcomer David Dixon to fill the post position vacated by NBA draftee Todd MacCulloch. Guard Andrew Moritz, a three-year walk-on, was granted a scholarship for his senior season. Walk-ons Jon DeWolfe and Travis Duty provide depth for the guard corps.
Newcomers: The Washington roster is bolstered by the addition of three scholarship recruits and one walk-on. The lone scholarship freshman is Ben Coffee who joins 1999 sophomore David Dixon and junior Will Perkins in the 1999 recruiting class. All three are capable rebounders and should help a group of returners that looks to fill the void left by the departure of Todd MacCulloch whose 11.9 rebounds per game ranked second in the nation. Perkins, a 6-8 forward, comes to Washington from Iowa Western JC where he was selected by Blue Ribbon Yearbook as an honorable mention All-American selection. He averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds during his sophomore season. The 6-11 Dixon is the likely candidate to fill the starting center spot. Also named as an honorable mention junior college All-American by Blue Ribbon Yearbook, Dixon averaged 10 points and nine rebounds in 1999 for a fine Tyler (Texas) Junior College program that has produced NBA standouts Robert Pack, Sam Mack and David Benoit. Coffee is a product of Benson Tech High School in Portland, Ore. who is highly regarded for his athleticism and rebounding abilities. He was a second-team selection in the Fab 15 published by the Orange County Register, receiving the 28th most votes among West Coast prep players. Coffee averaged 13.9 points per game for the Techmen who won the 1999 Portland Interscholastic league title and placed third in the Oregon state tournament. The fourth newcomer is invited walk-on Jon DeWolfe, a 6-3 guard from Walla Walla, Wash. who completed his prep career last spring at Walla Walla High School.
Bender Bio: Bob Bender has participated in the NCAA Tournament at every school with which he has been affiliated, including the last two with Washington. He has a six-year record of 85–84 with the Huskies, capped by a 17-12 ledger in 1999 that marked the school’s fourth consecutive winning season. The 1998 Huskies posted a 20-10 record that marked the school’s finest winning percentage since 1985. Among the 1998 Husky highlights were their first 20-win season since 1987, their first NCAA berth since 1986 and their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1984. The 1997 UW team posted a 17–11 record, capped by the Huskies’ second straight National Invitation Tournament appearance. Washington’s record improved four straight seasons under Bender, including a 16-12 mark in 1996 after which he was voted the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. The UW was 5-22 in 1994 and 10-17 in 1995. His 85 victories rank fourth among all-time Washington coaches. Bender, who began his career with a four-year stint at Illinois State (1990-93), has a 10-year career record of 145–140. His Illinois State squads were 60-57, earning two Missouri Valley Conference championships, one conference tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 1990. Prior to his inaugural head coaching assignment at ISU, Bender served as an assistant on Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke staff (1983-1989). The Blue Devils qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Bender’s six seasons on the staff, including four trips to the Final Four. Bender, 42, is the only individual to play on two different teams in the NCAA Championship game. He was a freshman on Bobby Knight’s undefeated 1976 Indiana team and played point guard at Duke from 1977-80, including an appearance in the 1978 title game against Kentucky.
Stable of Starters: The Washington roster includes six players who started at least two games last season. Those six returning players combined for 80 total starts in 1999. Senior guard Deon Luton started all 29 games last season and all 30 games the previous year, a string of 59 consecutive starts.
Departures: Only three players from last year’s team will not return but they leave big shoes to fill. The biggest loss is 7-0 center Todd MacCulloch, a three-time national field goal percentage leader and two-time All-Pac-10 member who was drafted by Philidelphia 76ers in the second round. The Huskies lose his team-leading 18.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. The backcourt must absorb the loss of two 1999 opening day starters in Donald Watts and Dan Dickau. Washington played the second half of last season wihout Dickau who suffered a season ending heel injury and has since transfered to Gonzaga. Watts averaged 13.1 points per game, including a career-high 28-point outburst in the NCAA first round match-up with Miami (Ohio).
Shootin’ Luton: On Feb. 27, 1999 at UCLA, senior guard Deon Luton became the 27th player in Husky history to register 1,000 career points. He now has 1,036 points to rank 26th among all-time Huskies. Luton amassed 20 points on nine occasions last season, including a season-high 27-point output against Arizona State (Feb. 6). He holds every Washington school 3-point scoring record. Luton hit three 3-pointers at Washington State (Jan. 3, 1999) to break the Husky career record of 119 treys established by Eldridge Recasner (1987-90). Luton owns Washington career (152), single-season (75 in 1998) and single-game (7) 3-point records. He hit seven treys at USC on Jan. 29, 1998. The Huskies had a 13-4 record last season and are 34-11 during his career when Luton hits more than one 3-point basket. Luton was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 8, 1999 for the second time last season after averaging 23.5 points on 65-percent shooting, including 7-of-10 from 3-point range, in a home sweep of the Arizona schools. He scored a season-high 27 points in a 93-85 win over Arizona State and led a 90-84 upset of No. 10 Arizona with 20 points. Luton also was named the Player of the Week on Nov. 30 and is only the third Husky to earn the weekly Pac-10 honor twice in the same season. He joined Chris Welp (1986) and Todd MacCulloch (1998). Luton was the MVP of the Big Island Invitational. Luton was a 1998 honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection. In 1998, he accounted for over half (75-of-147) of Washington’s 3-pointers. Luton converted 5-of-7 treys in the 1998 NCAA second-round win over Richmond. He had three 3-pointers and hit a 17-foot jumper with 11 seconds remaining that was the game-winning basket in the 1998 first-round against Xavier. Luton led the team with 51 treys last season.
Sonics & Sons: Two former Seattle SuperSonics have sons on the 1999-2000 Washington basketball roster. The list of former NBA players (and sons) includes, Fred Brown (Bryan) and Lonnie Shelton (Marlon). A graduate of Iowa, Fred Brown is the Sonics’ all-time leading scorer with 14,018 points. Brown played his entire 13-year NBA career in Seattle and was a 1976 all-star. Lonnie Shelton was a 1975 All-Pac-8 Conference selection at Oregon State. He played 15 NBA seasons and was a 1982 all-star. Shelton played from 1979-83 in Seattle. Brown and Shelton were members of Seattle’s 1979 NBA Championship squad. Two other former sons of Sonics were on the team last year, Donald Watts (father Slick) was a four-year letterman and walk-on Michael Westphal (father Paul) transferred after his freshman year to Bellevue (Wash.) Community College.
Carey the Catalyst: Sophomore point guard Senque Carey thrived under difficult circumstances last season, culminating in his selection to the 1999 All-Pac-10 Freshmen Team. Carey was thrust into the starting point guard role for the final 17 games due to the season-ending foot injury to Dan Dickau. Carey responded with double-figure points in 11 of those games, including a season-high 19-point total at Arizona (Jan. 9) that he matched against USC (Jan. 28). He averaged 11.2 points during Pac-10 play, including 12.1 as a starter. Carey was a catalyst for a vastly improved offense that averaged eight more points a game with him at the helm. Carey led the Huskies in scoring three times and was the team’s top assister on a team-high 11 occasions in 1999. His 94 assists placed him second among all-time Washington freshman players, trailing only the 103-assist total of Eldridge Recasner (1987). Carey had a double-double at Oregon State (Feb. 11) with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Letter of Intent Period: High school seniors can officially declare their plans to attend a given college during the early letter of intent signing period. The fall early period lasts one week, from November 10 through 17. Student-athletes not signed during that time must wait for the spring signing period that runs from April 5 until May 15. Since verbal or other agreements made prior to the official signing periods are not binding, university personnel are not permitted to talk about prospective signees until a letter of intent has been signed and received by the school. Signing announcements will be released upon arrival of letters.