New Washington men’s basketball assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger can recite Huskies lore well enough to sell the program to teenage prospects.
But he admits it’s one thing to know the statistics and accomplishments and it’s something entirely different to know the players responsible for those achievements.
When UW’s stars return home Sunday for Alumni and Legends games, Otzelberger will embark on a fact-finding mission.
“There’s no better way to learn than from the guys who have been here, who played for this program and who are Huskies through and through,” he said. “It will be a great experience for me to be able to meet a lot of these guys and hear their stories.
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“Stories like why they came to school here. What this program means to them. And where do they see this program moving forward? I want to hear what they have to say and just start building those relationships with those guys.”
All 12 NBA players who starred at Washington under coach Lorenzo Romar are expected to play Sunday. It’s the type of gathering that could help the Huskies in recruiting.
“If kids come out and watch and they see all of this has taken place at the University of Washington, I think that can be a positive,” Romar said. “I don’t see how it can be a negative.”
Romar joked he might play in the Legends Game that begins at 1 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Other participants in the Legends Game include Christian Welp, Eldridge Recasner, Paul Fortier, Ray Price, Phil Zevenbergen, Jason Hamilton, Donald Watts, Bryant Boston, Dion Brown and Chester Dorsey. Steve Hawes and George Irvine are the coaches.
Romar said he’s eager to see the three-point competition and dunk contest. The Alumni Game, however, is the main event.
One team is comprised of standouts from 2002 to 2009 — Brandon Burmeister, Will Conroy, Hans Gasser, Spencer Hawes, Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen, Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons and Jamaal Williams.
Players on the second team starred at Washington between 2006 and 2012 — Jon Brockman, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Dentmon, Darnell Gant, Justin Holiday, Quincy Pondexter, Terrence Ross, Isaiah Thomas and Tony Wroten Jr.
Sunday’s game might serve as a farewell for Roy, 28.
A chronic knee injury forced the three-time NBA All-Star to retire in 2011. He returned this season, but appeared in just five games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.