Greetings from New York City. There will be press conferences around noon today here in Manhattan where we will talk with coaches and players.
But for now let’s get to some links ….
In my story for Sunday’s paper, I wrote about Tony Wroten’s record-setting freshman season and really announcing himself during the game against Duke at Madison Square Garden.
By scoring 22 points in a quarterfinal win over Oregon, Wroten broke the freshman scoring record of 541 points previous held by friend and fellow left-hander Isaiah Thomas. Now with 551 total points, Wroten can add to that total, which will be a tough record to break.
“It wasn’t even a goal,” Wroten said. “I didn’t even know I did it until someone told me. It’s a blessing and an honor.”
Thomas, a rookie starter for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, offered praise.
“I talked to Isaiah,” Wroten said. “He told me congratulations and that records were meant to be broken. He also told us to go out (and) win the NIT.”
Besides the scoring record, Wroten set the freshman records in assists (130) and steals (63), the second most in any Huskies season. He needs only five more to surpass Bryant Boston’s record of 67.
“The assists record is big because that means I’m helping out my teammates,” he said. “The points record is big ’cause I beat a record held by a good friend.”
Wroten also has his name in the record book for 131 turnovers, the most in a season for UW basketball.
The turnovers are a part of the learning process, while the numbers – and more importantly the swagger – that Wroten has brought to Washington has been vital for this team.
Columnist Dave Boling wrote about head coach Lorenzo Romar re-recruiting his players into making the NIT a priority.
Face it, the kind of talented players Romar has landed in recent years did not go to UW for the chance to play in the NIT.
But Saturday, 13 days after the NCAA snub and three games into an impressive revival, the Huskies were on their way to New York City as one of four teams with a shot at the NIT title.
They play Minnesota in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
So, how did Romar coax them off the mat? He’s a little vague, and not interested in taking any bows.
“Oh, I don’t know … I think it’s a good group of guys who are pretty resilient,” Romar said after practice Saturday morning. “They were able to just turn the page and get that behind them. I think we had been working hard and we just tried to stay positive and explain how much fun this would be if you continue to win.”
Romar concedes it was a bit of a hard sell, and at first, they didn’t believe him.
“It took a while for us to change our mindset,” said senior Darnell Gant, adding that Romar insisted they “just try to make the most of the opportunity, just try to get some fun out of the NIT.”
In a bit of recruiting news, sophomore Ahmaad Rorie (above) of Clover Park, who was the the News Tribune All-Area player of the year and scored 46 points in a state tourney game, went on an unofficial visit to Berkley last week and committed to play for Cal. Cal has been recruiting Rorie since he was a freshman.
The Bears – specifically assistant coach Travis DeCuire, who played at
Lakes Mercer Island and then Montana – have been recruiting the state of Washington more and more. They were on Gary Bell as a sophomore, before losing out to Gonzaga. They are also looking at Zach Lavine of Bothell, Treshaun Lexing of Lincoln and a few others. Rorie was being looked at by most Pac-12 schools, particularly WSU and was definitely on Washington’s radar.
The Cougs will host Pitt in Game 1 of the CBI tonight in Pullman. It doesn’t appear that Brock Motum will be able to play because of a severely sprained ankle. Here’s more info on the Panthers.