UW men can’t wait to start season

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:37pm
  • SportsSports

Lorenzo Romar has been waiting a long time for this day.

Today, on the campus of Saint Martin University in Lacey, the Huskies will hold their first practice of the 2008-2009 basketball season, and Romar can’t wait to see what this team can do.

“This has taken far too long to get here,” Romar said. “I think this year, in anticipation for the opening practice, I’m probably as excited as I’ve been since I’ve been here to get going.”

Today marks the official start of Romar’s seventh season as Washington’s men’s basketball coach, and both he and his players say this team feels a little bit like the team that went to the Sweet 16 three seasons ago.

Like that 2006 team, this year’s team has a veteran group of juniors and seniors that have played together for two and three years. Seniors Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Artem Wallace were all freshmen on that tournament team, and juniors Quincy Pondexter and Joe Wolfinger have been around long enough to create a comfort level that hasn’t existed in recent years.

“I think this team has probably a lot more answers going into the year than our teams have had in past three years,” Romar said. “Three years ago going into the year, we knew what we had in our four seniors, Brandon Roy, Jamaal Williams, Mike Jensen and Bobby Jones, we knew what we had in those guys. And I think this year, we know what we have. There are some pieces that are in place going into the season. Now is that going to translate into a great season? I don’t know. I just know going into the season that there are a lot less questions that need to be answered.”

It’s safe to say that Brockman, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, will start at power forward. Romar also said that Quincy Pondexter is likely to start at forward after a strong finish to last season and a good offseason.

Wallace and sophomore Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a member of the British team at this summer’s Under-20 European Championships, give the Huskies depth up front, but the thing Romar seems most excited about is the guard play.

Dentmon and Venoy Overton both return, and the Huskies welcome in three freshmen guards, Isaiah Thomas, Scott Suggs, and Elston Turner. Thomas, who attended Curtis High School in Tacoma for three years but spent the past two years attending prep school in Connecticut, is expected to make the biggest splash of his four-player class.

Known more as a scorer in high school, the 5-foot-8 Thomas has been impressing teammates with his passing skills this summer. After spending much of the summer working out with former Huskies like Will Conroy and Bobby Jones, he hopes to help get the program back to where it was when they were part of a group that led the Huskies to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

“This whole summer and fall, we’ve just been trying to get a winner’s mentality, trying to get a different look and just been working hard,” Thomas said. “We can’t wait for the season to start. We all feel this might be the year that we improve a lot from the past two seasons.”

Romar and his players are optimistic not only because of the talent on the court, but the closeness of the team off of it.

“A lot of times on teams, you spend so much time together, you’re together at practice and what not and then practice is over and you go your separate ways, and this team, for whatever reason — I can’t even explain really what it is — we’re together all the time,” Brockman said. “We’re hanging out Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights, weekends we’re together doing stuff. That’s been pretty cool to see. It makes things a lot more enjoyable and you get to know people on a whole different level.”

Women’s hoops starts today too: Looking to improve upon a 13-18 season last year, the UW women’s basketball team begins practice today under second-year coach Tia Jackson.

Junior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb, who averaged 11.2 points and 4.1 rebounds last season, leads a group of seven returning players who will be joined by eight newcomers — five freshmen and three transfers. Jackson High School graduate Kristi Kingma is one freshman expected to have an immediate impact.

The Huskies lost seniors Emily Florence and Andrea Plouffe to graduation, but also had four of their six freshmen leave the program for various reasons, including leading scorer Katelan Redmon and center/forward Jess McCormack, a starter in 14 games who this summer represented New Zealand in the Olympics.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more on UW sports, check out the Huskies blog at heraldnet.com /huskiesblog

Talk to us

More in Sports

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Austin Roest prepares to take a wrist shot during the first day of Silvertips training camp on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Dad is an NHL bigwig, but Silvertips’ Roest carving his own path

The 19-year-old forward and son of Stanley Cup-winning executive Stacy Roest leads the Silvertips into the 2023-24 season.

Most Read