Asked Thursday what he wanted for Christmas, Spencer Hawes said video games and money. The Washington center might have secured a lot of...
Asked Thursday what he wanted for Christmas, Spencer Hawes said video games and money.
The Washington center might have secured a lot of the latter Wednesday night with a performance that validated all of the preseason hype and undoubtedly impressed any NBA scouts there to watch Hawes score 23 points and grab 12 rebounds in the 88-72 victory over No. 12 Louisiana State.
But though he garnered most of the headlines, Hawes wasn’t sure he was the real star, pointing instead toward teammate Jon Brockman.
“He did an unbelievable job,” said Hawes, whose 17th-ranked Huskies play host to Weber State today at 7 p.m. at Edmundson Pavilion.
“He just kind of set the early tone that we were going to be the tougher team out there.”
Brockman scored nine of UW’s first 13 points and put the clamps on LSU star Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who had just eight points. Brockman finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
“He definitely played his best game as a Husky, no doubt about that,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
“It was my most complete game.” he said. “It was the first night that everything kind of clicked together.”
Some might ask what took so long. To which Romar responds that the 6-foot-7 Brockman is just a sophomore.
“Goodness gracious, give him time,” Romar said.
“Jon scored 50 points in a high-school game [actually, 51 as a senior at Snohomish],” Romar said. “Maybe people expected him to be just a lights-out shooter.”
Brockman, though, isn’t a polished offensive weapon and might never be one. What he is, Romar says, is a player “who wins games for you.”
Says Hawes: “When you think of a great player like Jon, everybody has a preconceived notion that he’s going to be a scorer and an offensive force. Jon is more than capable of doing that. But overall, that isn’t his game. He’s a tough guy, a rebounder who plays great defense. He’s the toughest guy on the floor and he can impact the game in so many ways, it’s hard to describe the influence he can have on a game.”
Brockman attempted a career-high 17 shots against LSU, but few came on set plays. Most came on rebound putbacks or in transition.
“I just try to go out there and work hard,” he said. “Hard-nosed, old-school type of basketball. Highlights and stuff, it’s just not for me.”
What Brockman also is, is Washington’s leader, having been voted captain by teammates last summer.
As such, his thoughts Thursday were already on the game tonight against Weber State. He apologized to reporters at one point when he realized tonight’s game probably wasn’t what they wanted to talk about. Weber State, a member of the Big Sky Conference, is 7-5 and has little on its résumé to suggest it can beat the Huskies, though it did beat Southern Utah 59-57 at home Tuesday after earlier losing to SUU 75-63 on the road. UW beat SUU 87-72 on Dec. 4.
Brockman calls it “a dangerous game, especially for a team with our youth. The past two games we’ve started playing the way we know we can play, so I’m taking it on myself. I don’t want to take any steps backward.”
• There were a number of notable people at the game Wednesday, including former coaches Digger Phelps and George Raveling. One who wasn’t there, however, was Hall of Famer Bill Russell, though some thought they saw him. Instead, the man they saw who bore a striking resemblance to Russell was Collis Temple, the father of LSU guard Garrett Temple. Even Romar said he thought Temple was Russell when he first saw him a few days ago. Collis Temple played a year in the ABA in 1974-75.
• Romar said there remains no change in the status of Joel Smith, who is still expected back sometime after the middle of January after reinjuring his foot. He also said center Joe Wolfinger will have his foot re-examined after the holidays to see how it is recovering. It remains a long shot that Wolfinger, out with a stress fracture, plays this season.
• Romar described the Huskies this way when talking about their youth: “Our team is still in the oven baking right now and I know how bad that looks when you look in the oven and it’s not ready yet.”