Is it basketball season already? On a rainy afternoon, a sold-out crowd of over 10,000 fans gathered at Alaska Airlines Arena for the inaugural UW Alumni basketball game. The main event featured players from Lorenzo Romar's 12 years as head coach of the Washington men's basketball team.
Hec Edmunson Pavilion erupted and cheered for the team's former stars during the pre-game player introductions with teammates Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy arguably garnering the most applause.
"When we first decided to put this event on, we were hopeful that if everything fell together, we would get 5,000 people in here," Romar told the crowd before the start of the game.
Isaiah Thomas made true on his prediction to take home the game's MVP, finishing with a game-high 24 points. Thomas' post-2009 squad beat the pre-2009 squad by a final score of 107-103.
Players flew in from foreign countries to return to Montlake and take part in the game: forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning flew in from London, forward Bobby Jones came from Italy, while guard Tre Simmons flew in from Russia.
"[Coach] Romar is such a player's coach. Any time he's going to call one of us, we're going to pick up. We all have such good relationships with him," guard Ryan Appleby said.
For the players, it was a chance to re-live their Husky days, play with old teammates and perform in front of Washington fans one more time.
"I never thought this day would come, playing on this court that I really love. It's an awesome event to play against some guys that I really admire like Brandon Roy," said Memphis Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter.
A highlight video played prior to the game that garnered huge applause from the crowd when it played on the big screen featuring moments from the Romar era. The pre-game introductions included each player's UW and professional accomplishments.
"It was great hearing all the accolades and all their highlights. It was really fun. To be able to come back and play in front of the fans in this building, it meant a lot for everyone," Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes said.
Perhaps the star of the show was Romar, who orchestrated the event.
Before the alumni game, a legends game took place between former Washington players before the Romar era - including Romar himself. The creator of Sunday's Alumni game wowed fans, hitting three straight three-pointers, finishing the game with 11 points.
"Coach Romar has been so instrumental in our development as men on and off the court," Pondexter said. "He's the best."
• Guard Justin Dentmon won the 3-point shootout during the game's halftime. The NBA journeyman beat out Quincy Pondexter, Nate Robinson, Ryan Appleby and Tre Simmons to win the title.
• Forward Darnell Gant upset guard Terrence Ross in the dunk finals. Among Gant's dunks included an alley-oop off of the shot clock, finishing with a two-handed flush. Forwards Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday also participated in the game.
• Among the sold-out crowd watching the game was Geologic of the Blue Scholars, Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collision and actor Jim Caviezel.
• Several UW basketball recruits were in attendance: 2014 F Zylan Chetham, 2014 F Donaven Dorsey, 2014 F Evan Fitzner, 2014 F Tristan Etienne, 2015 G Allonzo Trier, 2015 G Dejounte Murray, 2016 G Isiah Brown.