There’s a big tilt tomorrow in Seattle as the Cats and Dogs square off with title implications and what I really want to call a win-and-in game. Would you expect anything less from these two? I love it. To gain a little perspective on all things UW I shot some very important questions over to Griffin at Montlakemadness.com. Griffin and crew do work and know that Husky program like you know where the best restroom in your office building is. Give ‘em a read and a follow.
Let’s kick this off with a little getting to know you:
PacHoops: All-time favorite Pac-12er?
Montlake Madness: All-timer? It’s hard not to choose Lew Alcindor. Perhaps the greatest of all time right there.
PH: All-time favorite Husky?
MM: Brandon Roy has a special place in my heart as he played while I attended UW and was a local Seattle guy. Nate Robinson is another player who is hard not to have as your favorite. To get the most “bang for my buck” out of this pick, I’ll choose Lorenzo Romar as he both played and coached here.
PH: Greatest sporting feat ever witnessed?
MM: It was 1995 and the Mariners tied the Angels for the AL West lead. They had a one game tiebreaker and Randy Johnson threw a complete game, 12 K, 3-hitter to send the M’s to the playoffs for the first time. I was 8.
PH: Greatest sporting feat ever accomplished?
MM: I played football at Bellevue High School up here in Washington and we played the 12-year (151 games) undefeated team from De La Salle in California my senior year and won. Easily the greatest single moment of my sporting life. I doubt anything will ever top that.
PH: Current favorite song?
MM: J. Cole – Rise and Shine. YouTube it and thank me later.
PH: OK, so now that we know everyone’s judged you, onto the Huskies. Like the rest of this league, it’s been up and down for Washington this year. Of late however, it’s been more up than down, what do you make of the 2011-12 campaign thus far?
MM: About par for the course in terms of the Pac-12 season. They are very young and lost a lot of valuable pieces from last year. The preseason did not go well at all with some terrible losses to teams like North Dakota State at home. That may come back to haunt them on Selection Sunday.
PH: They’re 4-4 on the road this year and 26-30 dating back to 2007. Comparatively, Arizona is 25-31 and UCLA 28-24 over the same stretch but Washington is ripped for being a bad road team. Are there teeth to that argument? Or does UW just have the reputation of a bad road team?
MM: UW has the reputation, at least up here, that they can’t win the “big ones” on the road. This year was the first win in Tucson in five years and I believe Romar only has one win at UCLA as well. This year’s team, especially, has struggled to find any sort of leadership or consistency while playing on the road.
PH: I need some help understanding recent LoRo quotes. Per a phone conversation Jon Rothstein had with the coach (which he disseminated on the twitter), Gaddy is the x-factor, Aziz is the first true post defender/rebounder the program’s ever had, and UW has yet to put together a 40-minute masterpiece this year. Your thoughts on these comments:
MM: I think Romar is dead on with Gaddy. The Huskies are a FAR better team when he’s playing well and setting people up. The issue is that he has rarely done it this year. Gaddy’s ACL injury from last year has him a step slow and his confidence has never rebounded either.
In terms of the Aziz comments, a certain Jon Brockman may have an issue with that. He was a terrific rebounder and defender but he was also only 6’9. Aziz is the first true “center” that Romar has had to play with and he creates mismatches that Romar has never been able to take advantage of before.
He’s definitely correct on the “40-minute masterpiece” part. Unfortunately, I don’t see this team ever “getting there” this year. The Huskies seem to always have streaks where they string together poor shots, turnovers, and defensive lapses every single game. Their ceiling is so high that every Husky fan sees the potential but it never materialized.
PH: I also need some help understanding the uber-talented Terrence Ross? Tony Wroten?
MM: Terrence Ross is an enigma. I think it’s safe to say that he has the most pure talent of anyone not named Joshua Smith in the league. He doesn’t yet have the killer instinct that all of the greats possess. In my opinion, he needs one more year in college to develop his confidence.
Tony Wroten is raw as raw gets. He’s got some elite weapons and has flashes of NBA-ready skills. His passing skills that he showed in high school have yet to adapt to the college game and, in kind, his turnover numbers are high. He is a very poor perimeter shooter which allows teams to play five feet off of him. NBA teams are still drooling over his potential and as much as I would love to see him return to Montlake next year, he will probably be a lottery pick this year.
PH: Where did “raise the roof” go?
MM: Haha. It went to Sacramento along with Isaiah Thomas. What should we bring back next? The Macarena?
PH: I read a scathing account of the Romar tenure and then a statistical rebuttal. As with all arguments, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle but which side of the LoRo fence do you sit on?
MM: I’m very pro-Romar. While his in-game philosophy may not be the best, he is probably the best human being that I have ever met. What he does for this community and his players is truly remarkable. People tend to forget how UW was never an annual Pac-12 title contender before he arrived and they still don’t have the alumni support like Arizona or UCLA. The question I always ask people is “Who should we hire instead?” They can never give a realistic answer that would be an improvement.
PH: You recently polled your readers about UW’s season and the Pac-12 to date, what’d you guys learn from that?
MM: Most surprisingly, to me at least, is that 15% of our fans think that this team would be better or no different if Tony Wroten wasn’t on the roster. I’m just shocked at that. I’m not sure if 15% of our readers are trolls, but I have heard from a vocal minority that some people believe this to be true. I think Arizona fans would greatly appreciate it if Wroten wasn’t on the Huskies after his block earlier this year.
PH: It’s been the best rivalry in the Pac for the past few years and Saturday’s noon tip should be no different (besides the fact that Arizona is oh-for-their-last-four in Seattle). How do you see this one shaking out?
MM: It’s been so hard to predict these Pac-12 games this year. Arizona is playing really well lately and both teams need this win if they want to keep pace with Cal at the top. I know that the Dawg Pack will be camping out for the game and it’s also Senior night for Darnell Gant as well as potentially the last game at home for Wroten and Ross. I’m going to predict a 5 point win for Washington as they will have the emotional edge, something they have lacked in many of their losses.
PH: Is the SLUT part of your commute?
MM: Only on the weekends. Go Dawgs!
And there you have it: Pacific Northwestern perspective from a man who once ended a 151-game win streak! I greatly appreciate Griffin and the Madness team for taking the time to answer my bonehead questions. Montlake Madness is a staple of my webtime and should be a part of yours, too. If you haven’t before and even if you have, get to Seattle in the summer as it’s the most beautiful summer city I’ve ever visited and there are a disproportionate number of blondes in that city.