Huskies Arrive In The Big Apple
Dec. 4, 2011
By Gregg Bell
NEW YORK - Some Huskies players were explaining to a fellow passenger in the jetway that their team was headed to New York to play Marquette and Duke this week. Not a minute later, they walked onto their plane bound for Newark, N.J. -- and saw a guy seated in first class staring at them while wearing a Duke T-shirt.
As Darnell Gant, Scott Suggs, Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N'Diaye, and others made their way past that sight and into the main cabin, they passed another guy wearing a gray hoodie bearing the logo of ... Marquette?
What? On a plane out of SeaTac? Does college basketball scouting have no bounds?
That won't be the only thing unusual about Washington's stay in New York for two games at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday the Huskies (4-2) face 16th-ranked Marquette in the Jimmy V Classic (approx. 6:30 p.m., Pacific on ESPN television, the Washington IMG College radio network and here on GoHuskies.com with another exclusive live game chat). Saturday they play No. 3 Duke in the Carquest Classic (9 a.m. on CBS, Washington IMG radio and GoHuskies.com).
This six-day trip -- which technically is eight, counting an overtime loss at Nevada Friday night and then a Saturday stopover in Seattle -- is the longest regular-season trek for games in terms of time in UW basketball history.
It's also a Huskies' gawk-a-thon.
As the team's bus rolled through the Lincoln Tunnel into midtown Manhattan Sunday just before midnight, freshmen Shawn Kemp Jr. and Martin Breunig craned their necks to see the skyscrapers. When the bus passed Madison Square Garden, sophomore Terrence Ross pointed.
Not surprisingly, most of Washington's players have never been to New York.
Among those that have: Fifth-year senior Gant, though the native of Los Angeles was redshirting and did not play in November 2007 when UW was in the preseason National Invitation Tournament at "The World's Most Famous Arena." Gaddy, a junior, Ross, a sophomore, and freshman fellow point guard Tony Wroten played in national high-school all-star tournaments in the Garden while they were in high school in the Seattle-Tacoma-Portland area. And Breunig, a native of Germany, toured Times Square on his first two days in the United States, in August 2010. That was before his year of prep school in Wisconsin.
The Huskies had to get special approval from the NCAA for spending these six days in New York during an academic week. That is why Sarah Nash Gates is on the trip.
Professor Gates is the executive director of the school of the UW School of Drama. She has been leading the for-credit course the Huskies have been taking this term in conjunction with the New York visit. She has been teaching players the history of theater, the economics and mechanics of a Broadway production and some on the history of Madison Square Garden in three class sessions so far. She also hosted Kenny Alhadeff, the Seattle-area resident and one of the producers of the Broadway play "Memphis."
Wednesday night, the Huskies will be in the Shubert Theater on Broadway to attend the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, which had an early trial run at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater before making it big.
Thursday night, the Huskies will attend another Broadway production, "The Lion King" at the Minskoff Theater.
Gates joked "my claim to fame is having taught Lincoln Kennedy" when the former Huskies and NFL star lineman was a UW drama major. She said this is believed to be the first time any UW sports team has had an academic component to a regular-season road trip. Professor Gates credits athletic director Scott Woodward for the idea of having the players do a course and attend the plays.
"I think it's great," Gates said as she waited for her luggage at Newark Airport's baggage claim Sunday night. "Only five of the players said they have ever been to a play of any kind, so this will be a fantastic experience."
Gant knows that. He earned his degree this past June in drama at UW.
"It will be great to get my name out there in the theater world, to get to visit the actors backstage and all the things we are going to get to do," the team's co-captain said.
The trip was set to begin in earnest Monday with a morning visit to the National 9-11 Memorial at the site of the fallen World Trade Center, a couple dozen blocks south of the Huskies' hotel. The Dawgs will then practice in the afternoon, have a team dinner and review film on Marquette.
After a shootaround at MSG Tuesday and the game that night, they have an outing in Manhattan Wednesday afternoon to watch the filming of Person of Interest, a CBS crime thriller starring Jim Caviezel. The 43-year-old is a native of Mount Vernon, Wash. He played basketball at Kennedy High School and was UW student before starting his acting career.
Stay with GoHuskies.com all week as we describe that visit, all of the Huskies' stay - and, on Tuesday and Saturday, their own Manhattan productions.