Off the bat you need to know that Washington-Arizona is my favorite rivalry. Competitively it’s been phenomenal. From The Block I and II, to Cold Blooded, to Roy v. Adams in 2005, the purple and red have had no shortage of high paced games full of points and story storylines. I love it and still hate Ryan Appleby’s t-shirt.
Maybe I’m biased as my best friend from college was from SeaTown – a Mercer Islander named Jared – who both point-guarded our rec efforts (a team who’s shooting guard was an ASU fan and somehow the three of us managed to cohesively wreck shop between a Cat, a Dawg, and a Devil amongst all the UCSD Tritons) and busted me out of whatever shell I needed busting out of us an awkward 21-year-old. For such I felt indebted and thus hosted Jared in 2008: second row, mid-court in McKale! As he wore his purple tank and accepted compliments from Wildcat fans about what a wonderful city Seattle is, Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger were dropping 51 en route to an 84-69 Wildcats victory. Jared has never hosted me in HecEd.
But enough about Jared and me. This is about the rivalry and what my man Griffin (also opperates @MontlakeMadness) has to say about his Dawgs. You see, Griffin and I go back to last year’s Cats and Dawgs fight when he graciously did a Q&A with me (my first!). He runs the great Dawg Blog, Montlake Madness – which recently made the transition on to SI – congrats. He’s worth a follow and a read to be certain. That is if you like thorough insight and quality work. If that’s not your bag then…I really don’t know.
Going to come right at it: What is this Husky team’s identity?
That’s a great question. I can tell you that it SHOULD be hard-nosed defense and perimeter shooting. The team is built with long athletes that should make it difficult for teams to score. They also have two exceptional shooters in Wilcox and Suggs who can give teams nightmares.
During the first four games of the Pac-12 season you saw what this team could be. Unfortunately, they don’t have the testicular fortitude as a team to sustain those types of efforts on a nightly basis.
This team is an army without a general. The long-time players like Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, and CJ Wilcox don’t have the types of personalities that inspire a team. UW has been blessed in the past with players like Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, Jon Brockman, and Brandon Roy who could pull a team together in a timeout and fix things then and there.
This team just stares into each other’s eyes and hopes it will just fix itself.
Tell me about Abdul Gaddy’s career? What do you make of it?
It’s so tough to talk about Gaddy. One of the hardest working, nicest, best teammates I’ve ever seen at UW. Unfortunately it seem like he was doomed from the beginning of his career. As many know, he came in as the second highest rated PG in the nation, a five star, McDonalds All-American and it seems like he was never that player to begin with.
His confidence was shot early when he didn’t meet those insanely high standards and Isaiah Thomas was already here and he was clearly the superior player and took up a lot of time at PG.
In 2010/11 he looked like he was making the jump as through 13 games he was averaging 8.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, and shooting 40% from three but then he tore his ACL and everyone would say that he’s lost a step or two ever since then.
Now he has no momentum, no confidence in his shot, a better and younger PG behind him (Andrews), and the entire leadership load on his shoulders. He’s gotten crushed under the constant pressure during his career and all of Husky Nation is ready to move on.
What is his legacy?
To be harsh: one of the biggest busts in Husky history. I will remember him as a teammate that every player loved and a guy who just wished he could hit the reset button once.
Have you ever ended a 151-game winning streak?
Yes! I love that you asked me this one again. I’ll tell anyone who’s willing to listen as it’s the pinnacle of my athletic career. Long story short, I played football at Bellevue High School (Bellevue, WA) and we ended De La Salle’s (Concord, CA) 151 game winning streak, the longest in HS Football history.
Glory days are great.
There you are, they’ve picked you, Griffin, to be First Captain and the lineup at the schoolyard includes Terrence Ross and CJ Wilcox, who are you taking?
Terrence Ross, especially for a pickup game. Wilcox may have the better shot but Ross can do everything. Even though he certainly made the right choice in leaving early and getting drafted 8th overall, his presence on this UW team probably would have salvaged this lost season and sent them back the NCAA tournament.
Wilcox is turning into a very special player, though. He’s just starting to gain confidence in his dribble-drive game as he’s finally developing a better handle on the ball. As most know in the Pac-12, he has the best shooting stroke in the nation. As this season continues to fall apart, UW fans are starting to look forward to next season and we hope he doesn’t leave early to the NBA.
What’s the song you’re telling everyone about these days?
Well, as a Seattleite, I’m required to recommend Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ new album The Heist. All of it is just amazing. As for one song though, “Wild For The Night” by A$AP Rocky ft. Skrillex is probably my most played lately.
Cold blooded. Go ahead…
Perhaps the pinnacle of the rivalry right there. Now if we could just get Isaiah Thomas and the Kings to move up to Seattle…
The MillerCats are just 2-5 against the Dawgs and he talked about that at Media Day. Thoughts on this rivalry:
It has been insanely entertaining. Even before Miller arrived, they were the must-watch game. I fell in love with the match up back in 2005 when Arizona beat UW in double overtime in Montlake on New Year’s Eve. It was the single greatest college game I’ve witnessed.
There has been no better rivalry over the past decade than UW/Arizona in the Pac-12. None.
As Romar teams have done over the years, they almost always play up to their opponent and Arizona has always brought the best out of them.
Give a grade and additional comments for Romar’s work this season.
This is a real tough one. The hiring of Brad Jackson as a new assistant has really helped with implementing the new high post offense but everyone knew there would be some struggles in year one of the transition. Romar’s number one criticism over the last few years is a lack of a half-court offense so it’s a much needed change.
The real struggle of this team is a lack of motivation, especially to start games. They come out flat often and have to play from behind. Now is that an issue that Romar can fix? I’m not too sure. Usually that’s up to the captains and players to figure out on their own.
Another criticism of Romar is that UW had zero recruits come in this year. They had a couple transfers but they have to sit out the entire year. It’s really hurt their bench and overall versatility. That can certainly be pinned on him.
What makes this group of Huskies tick? How do they – if you think they can – win this ball game?
I thought these Huskies thrived on adversity and playing up to the challenge but their efforts in last week’s Oregon road trip certainly proved that wrong. Honestly, I think UW has no shot at winning on Thursday. Arizona is everything that UW wants to be in terms of pace, athletes, and experience. Barring a complete collapse from Arizona, I would be shocked if UW kept it close in the second half.
Prediction time, go!
Arizona 75, UW 63. Hopefully this marquee game finally awakens the Hec Ed crowd and that energy helps fuel the Huskies but my faith in this team is non-existent.
For those of you watching the game at home, I suggest playing the Gaddy Drinking Game. There’s only one rule: drink every time you find yourself saying “GADDY!!!!”! You’ll get a good buzz going by halftime.
Big thanks to Griffin for his insights on the Huskies, music, and helping to relive the glory days. At PacHoops we choose not to believe we peaked in High School so long live the dream. I also really think I could get into that drinking game: GADDYYYY!!!!
See you guys on the other side.