You would think with three important games left, the Pac-12 tournament looming and the possibility of an NCAA berth at stake, the questions to Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross would simply be about those things.
But it doesn’t quite work that way. The last few weeks, both players have been asked about their upcoming postseason decision as to whether they will leave early for the NBA or return to Washington for another year.
I think Wroten has been asked about it on five or six times over the course of the season, Ross, who is projected to be a higher pick, not quite as much.
But the questions have increased lately. It’s to the point where they’ve politely asked to not be asked about it – which is totally understandable. They are trying to focus on the immediate future.
From my story in today’s paper …
Both have legitimate NBA dreams. Both want to keep them as that until after the season.
It’s to the point now where both players would prefer not to talk about the future. They are trying to focus on the season at hand.
“Getting asked about the NBA every day obviously gets frustrating,” Wroten said before practice Tuesday. “But reporters are just doing their job. You can’t really get mad at them. They’re trying to help. I just politely answer their question.”
Indeed, Ross and Wroten have been honest and forthcoming about the situation. They speak in generalities, because that’s how they are looking at the situation.
Romar hasn’t tried to shield them too much from the speculation. He knows the questions are going to be asked.
“I think it’s really difficult,” Romar said. “You have to do it because it’s your job and you have to ask. But I think it’s really difficult to put that kind of pressure on young men when they are involved in a season.”
Realistically, it is part of their growth as players, as people and as possible professional players.
“It’s hard to avoid it,” Romar said. “It’s the elephant in the room. A player of their caliber that has these opportunities waiting for them is going to get asked those questions. They are put in a situation to answer those tough questions.”
ESPN’s Chad Ford has Ross ranked Ross at No. 16, and Wroten at No. 20 on his Top 100 board.
In the most recent mock drafts — NBA Draft Express has Ross going 16th and Wroten going 27th. NBA Draft.net has Ross going 15th and Wroten going 25th. While Hoops Hype has Ross going 15th and Wroten 23rd.
Last night in Miami, Isaiah Thomas had 24 points, including five 3-pointers in the third quarter, but the Kings still lost.
Enough NBA stuff … let’s get to college hoops.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports updated his projected bracket and he now has three teams in the tournament – Cal, Washington and Arizona. But he has both Arizona and Washington in the 13-seed play-in games with Washington in the East bracket, playing Iowa State.
Joe Lunardi updated his bracket a little in terms of who’s in and who’s out, Washington is still in. Oregon is still out.
Josh “Don’t call me Jacob” Liebeskind has this story in The Daily about the history of the Dawg Pack. It’s some good stuff.
All living things have an origin story. The Dawg Pack isn’t living, per se, but it is made up of a collection of cognizant beings. Their hearts may be pumping, but there is no guarantee to how fast they are thumping — that’s dependent on the game at hand.
And just like all other living things, the Dawg Pack has its origin story. To know how the massive congregation of jumping, bouncing, and screaming college students came to be, the beginning is integral. Because without the early stages, there is no progression. Without progression, there is not a student section that affects a basketball game to such a degree that Washington head men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar calls it a game-changer.h
That brings us to Alex Akita. Without Akita, the Dawg Pack would in all likelihood never be referred to as the sixth man. Never would it take on the endearing name of Romarville. Never would it grace the cover of ESPN the Magazine. Never would 10,000 fans deride USC coach Kevin O’Neill into a shade of red usually reserved for overripe tomatoes.
Art Thiel of Sportspress NW has this column on the Huskies’ thriving in the “one and done” era.
From his column …
The question has changed college basketball over the last six years. Since the NBA after the 2004-05 season mandated a minimum age of 19 for entry into the draft, to end the practice of having to scout high school games, the invention of the one-and-done player has made managing the college roster a more aggravating task than herding water buffaloes.
In some cases, such as with now-retired Arizona coach Lute Olson, the one and done drove him bats. With other coaches, such as John Calipari at Kentucky, he makes in a point to go after the best talents each year and expects they will leave after a season.
Romar is somewhere in the middle, managing to accept the rule while quietly selling the virtues of college life to those willing to listen.
Among those players in Romar’s 10 years who made it to the NBA, he coaxed four years out of Brandon Roy, Bobby Jones, Will Conroy, Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter,and three out of Isaiah Thomas and Nate Robinson . Spencer Hawes was the lone one-and-done, although Huskies signee Martell Webster left for the NBA from Seattle Prep in 2005, the final year it was possible.
Asked how he managed the feat, he answered with feet, as in, “Two feet in.”
Romar asks the recruit with pro potential to give his all in the first season, instead of “one foot in, one foot out the door.
“Nowadays in recruiting, it’s just part of the discussion — one and done, two and out, four years . . . ‘How do you feel about it? Where do you stand?’”
Around the Pac-12
Arizona: Sophomore guard Jordin Mayes is still questionable for this weekend’s games
Cal: The NCAA recent mock selection process showed that Cal isn’t guaranteed of a bid.
Colorado: Head coach Tad Boyle isn’t afraid to admit how big this weekend is for the Buffs with Stanford and Cal coming to down. Even Boyle admits being to be a bit surprised about Colorado’s success this season,
Oregon: Besides playing for a longshot at-large bid. In the immediate future, the Ducks are playing to earn one of the top four seeds in the Pac-12 tourney. Bob Clark writes about the Ducks getting a day off and also has the Pac-12 tourney matchups if the season ended today. Adam Jude writes about five players of the 2008 signing class that have left the program.
Oregon State: Jared Cunnigham makes the second team of the SF Chronicle’s look at the top college hoop players from the Bay Area.
UCLA: Chris Dufresne writes about the down year in the state of California for college basketball.
USC: The Trojans are still playing for Kevin O’Neill despite the injuries and losses.
Utah: Bill Oram writes about a possible Utah recruit.