The Husky basketball team came back from the dead after an impressive sweep of the Oregon school's at home. The games were must win's and they keep UW on the cusp for qualifying for the tournament. 3-6 is a record nobody expected from the Dawg's during the first half of the conference season. UW needs to reverse that record to 7-2 in the second half, and have a strong showing at the conference tournament to get over the hump. Just one note, no team has ever made the dance from the Pac Ten by finishing .500 or less in conference play. 7-2 is going to be a tall order for this team, but the cause will be helped by a strong home schedule the second time around.
The Huskies play the Oregon, and Arizona schools on the road in the second half. The Huskies need to split on the road, and win out at home. Don't forget the late season road game at Pitt where a win could be pretty helpful.
Spencer Hawes is going to continue coming off the bench rather than starting until he is back to 100%. Spencer had an impressive second half against the Beaver's. How much has Spencer's injuries and illness slowed down this team in the first half? He was just a hmmer in the second half against OSU. Dentmon had his second straight good game leading the Huskies from the outside, and he needs to continue doing that for the Huskies to have a shot. Seriously I think he has broken through and will continue to play well. The return of Joel Smith this week for the Arizona series is going to change the Husky dynamic on defense. He is going to bring a lot of what Bobby Jones did to the team over the past four years to the remainder of the season if he can stay healthy. The Huskies have fallen prey to hot shooting from the outside because they lack a perimeter hammer on defense. Smith will fill that role. Added to that he is a slasher on offense that compliments Dentomn well. Jon Brockman was just superb this past week. He had 25 points against the Beavers who had no answer for his muscle. Artem Wallace is starting to play well too. You can see the light bulb going on for the young sophomore.
The Huskies received a couple of commitments this weekend from DT Tyrone Duncan, and LB Cort Dennison. Duncan is a guy that has been waiting for a UW offer since Christmas, and Dennison is a plan B guy who they offered after Amjoyi picked Stanford. The Huskies have 3-4 more guys left to close before signing day. Look for them to try to close an OL, DE, and a couple of DB's to round out the class. The Huskies are definitely in Plan B mode at this time, but it is typical for this time of year. The bulk of UW's recruiting classes historically are in the bag before Christmas. UW also had a defection as Colorado DB Jared Campbell switched allegiance to go to Miami to join his older brother. WR Anthony Boyles on the other hand reafirmed his committment to UW.
UW is going to bring in a class that will rank in the top 25, respectively 3 or 4 in the conference. This is a huge class of close to 30 athletes who will form the backbone of Ty's program over the next five years. The last watermark class like this was brought in by Neuheisel and was ranked in the top ten. Using hindsight I think this class is much better, and more balanced than that one. Neu's watermark class produced the fewest victories of any large class at UW since the late 1960's....ouch! How did such a highly rated class perform so poorly? First of all they weren't surrounded by other top classes. Secondly they had three different coaching staff's. Finally, how many of those guys ever hit the field, or performed up to expectations? The key is how the players are developed. If Ty is going to have success he needs to show he can develop players. I think he and his staff will get the job done.
Odd's and Ends
The platform we publish on is undergoing some changes so I was unable to get out blog update out last week due to technical problems. Our readers will see some visual changes coming to the blog in the not too distant future.
Todd Turner says that revenues are up sharply for the athletic program as a whole. The increase came from a succesful men's basketball team, higher than anticipated Tyee renewals, and more games overall being televised. Turner is reversing the malaise he inheirited from Hapless Hedges. The UW also plans to break ground soon on the new football center which will be a big help in recruiting.
Speaking of recruiting the University of Oregon is having it's best recruiting season ever, and you could attribute it to winning on the field, but more importantly chalk it up to having the best facilities in the league, and a lot of continuity on the coaching staff. Let's face it, last years edition of the Duck's were not very good, and the glue that was holding the team together disintegrated as the season went on. The bowl loss to BYU was a travesty. Despite that the Duck's have put together a solid top ten recruiting class. The difference is the facilites, and continuity, Oregon has invested wisely.
Washington on the other hand has a lot of work to do over the next few years to catch up. People criticize Turner, but they don't understand how far this program has to go, and how far it has come in a short time under his leadership. UW is on the right track, but we are paying for 13 years of ignoring the engine that runs the machine, and that is the football team.
The new master facility plan shows what can be done. A fund raising plan should be in place by before the start of the season. If Turner can get this built during his tenure UW will have facilites second to nobody West of the Mississippi. It is going to be a challenge to raise close to 250 million dollars and get the facilites built while 520, and the bus tunnel are also under construction.
Long Beach Telgram Best in the West
The Long Beach papers Best in the West poll came out yesterday. It is now picked by 7 California recruiting gurus rather than PAC-10 coaches. Only one player from Washington made the first team, Chris Izbicki. UW picked up 6 players from the list this year, Mike Izbicki was the lone first teamer. Also mentioned are Curtis Shaw, Brandon Johnson, Willie Griffin, Imeka Iweka, and Anthony Boyles. Pou Palelei who is also on the list is choosing between UW, and ASU.
This list used to be based on who was recruiting who. The highest score for a player was ten. So if all ten teams in the league were recruiting you you got the highest score. Obviously it was pretty biased toward the California kids, and still is. The change to recruiting experts is ok, but you are just getting a rehash of the ratings from Scout, and Rivals rather than a new perspective.
The Northwest Nuggets
The Northwest Nugget's also came out this weekend. As you can see if you read the article it was a weaker unbalanced year in the Pacific Northwest for talent at the top level. This years class was dominated by QB's. Did UW put up a fence around the state? Paulson, and Killsgaard would have definitely looked good in purple.
There were not any Jake Locker's, Steve Schilling's, Taylor Mayes's, and Paul Arnold's in this class. Next years class will have some Topp 100 type kids that will be must gets for Willingham.
Chris Izbicki Washington...Committed early in the process
Will Darkins Oregon St....the Huskies never really recruited this kid.
Jake Gelakoska Oregon St....the Huskies went to California for a QB this year where they haven't heard of Jake Locker.
Brandon Jackson Kentucky....he ignored UO, reneged at Cal, and his heading East. Not a loss for UW since we signed three very highly rated TB's.
Imeka Iweka Washington....The earliest commitmment in UW history.
Kellen Kiilsgaard....Stanford was tough on UW this year. UW went 0-5 against the Tree in recruiting this year. Kellen was a local kid they wanted a lot.
David Paulson Oregon....I don't think he wanted to be second banana to Izbicki. You still aren't supposed to lose Puget Sound area guys to Oregon.
Myles Wade Oregon....This Portland area native was a lock for Oregon. UW didn't put much effort into him.
Nate Williams Washington....UW offered in the Fall and Williams didn't wait long till accepting.
Whats up this week?
Two big games on the road in Arizona for the basketball team. The Huskies could really use a payback win in Tucson, but that is a tall order for this team. I don't think they will have much problem with ASU.
In recruiting we are down to the final weekend before signing day. The Huskies aren't expected to bring in more visitors to Montlake so I imagine the coaches will be out on the road finishing everything up.