Brad disappeared. Again. I think he's out looking for a seven footer with shot blocking skills, good footwork and a baby hook.
I guess that means you are stuck with me on this week's mailbag assignment.
Yeee-hawwwww! Let's get too it.
Phillip: I lived in the same dorm as Upshaw last year, and I often saw him in the possession of a shopping cart. Do you think this has anything to do with his dismissal? God bless
Chris: The official word is that Upshaw was dismissed for a violation of team rules. The fact that the dismissal came right after a game would suggest that the violation happened sometime before the game and was "ruled upon" or validated by the University per whatever parliamentary process is in place. Thus, it probably doesn't take a huge imagination to guess what the nature of that violation may have been.
As for the shopping cart, I don't really know anything about that. However, I will note that college kids have - since the history of time - shown a proclivity for the eccentric. The good news is that they tend to grow out of it.
BaconHusky: What do you think about Petersen's recruiting skills? It seems like he is really good at changing players' minds and his visits to houses seem very well-received! He probably gave one of his "we be about them" speeches.
Chris: No doubt about it. The one issue that gave Husky fans the most angst when the news that Chris Petersen was hired was the question about his ability to recruit with the big-time schools. It was the one thing that he was unable to do while at Boise State.
The funny thing about that question is that it appears to be the wrong one. Or, at least, it wasn't the question that Chris Petersen himself was asking.
Though we got a glimpse of his strategy when he turned both Budda Baker and Kaleb McGary last season, it has become much more obvious this season. Chris Petersen is far less concerned about "competing with the big boys" for big time recruits then he is about cutting off the Washington state pipeline of talent going to anywhere other than UW.
This strategy is both simple and brilliant if you stop to consider it. The goal every season isn't to win the Pac 12 - it is to win the Pac 12 North and then putting yourself in a position to win what is essentially a playoff game. If the North is the scope of your challenge, putting a fence up around Washington blocks key pipelines for four of your six competitors.
In this way, Petersen has been unquestionably successful in 2015. He's literally gotten just about every player that he wanted in this state. Along the way, he's demonstrated an ability to beat out some of the "big boys" and he's dug into his bag of tricks when it comes to sourcing and securing under-the-radar talents from off-the-beaten-path locales.
This is a fantastic class that Coach Pete is pulling together and Husky fans ought to be elated at how he is succeeding in pulling off his strategy.
jammastahk: So what's it going to take for us to get back on track? This is now 4 years in a row that we'll not make the Tourney. This program is becoming a joke. I love Romar but wonder whether he's the right man for the job?
Chris: Putting a winning team back in the Alaska Airlnes Arena will involve the following:
- Implementation of the "Opponents must play on roller skates" Rule.
- The acquisition of two pallets worth of cash-filled duffel bags (unmarked and untraceable)
- Dedicated study of the tome entitled "Cheat Your Way to the Top and Stay There: The Phil Knight Story"
- A bag full of deflated balls
Once Lorenzo Romar has all of that under control, then I predict that the Huskies will return to the NCAAs.
Or ... we could just wait and see what happens when the roster - which is only eight players deep right now - gets completely overhauled next season with what may well be the best recruiting class this University has ever seen.
Look, I get that Husky fans are feeling a bit in the dumps given the brilliant start to the season. However, in hindsight, this team was playing way out over their skis when they pulled off upsets against SDSU and Oklahoma. This team lacks in shooting, can't play man to man defense and has roster depth problems. The fact that this team is still a bubble team is, quite frankly, evidence of good coaching as opposed to the poor coaching.
There is no doubt that Romar screwed the pooch in his recruiting strategy going back four seasons ago. He's still paying the price for that now. Romar has since rebooted that strategy and the Administration stuck with him. Once that was done, the decision was made to stick with him. I personally think that this decision was a no-brainer (and Romar can be coach for life if you ask me), but I understand if fans are feeling a bit bristly about that one.
Frostafarian: Has there ever been a year at Washington (or at any school for that matter), where arguable the best player on both the football and basketball team has been kicked off midseason? Seems like it sets a crazy precedent.
Chris: I'm having difficulty recalling a season where dismissals have been so rampant across the two major Husky revenue sports - especially given that the nature of most of the dismissals have nothing to do with legal entanglements. The cases of Marcus Peters and Robert Upshaw are notedly unalike, but the fact that both resulted in banishment of legit "stud" contributors could be viewed as a sign of the culture of compliance that has been taking root over at Montlake for several years. The fact that it hit two guys like that so close together is somewhat random and very unfortunate for Husky fans.
topdawg2nite: When is Soso Jamabo suppose to make his decision on Texas?
Chris: I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess....
I'm having trouble ever recalling a situation where UW fans cared so much about a football recruiting commitment involving a school that don't have the letters "U" and "W" in them. But, so is the case with the mysterious Soso Jamabo (whose name, "Soso" is bound to confuse the average sports fan once it starts showing up in headlines). The 5-star RB is considering Texas and UCLA, amongst others. Should he pick Texas - and I expect that decision to come on signing day after we've learned whether or not elite QB prospect Kyler Murray has chosen the Longhorns - there are many Husky fans who feel that a certain stud RB with Seahawk bloodlines may be bound for Montlake.
One can only hope. #Hook 'em.
ElvislovesUW: "I was drafted into the Air Force at a young age. Went to prime spots in California, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Thailand. I adjusted being away from family for four years. I wouldn't trade that experience.
For those who wonder what it would be like to leave home and go to the U of W in Seattle for four or five years as a Husky football recruit should be able to adjust and become a ""complete"" person under Coach Petersen's care. Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Walker; your welcome mat has been presented."
Chris: Thanks for the comments Elvis. And for your service. That's one great way to see the world.
CaliforniaHusky: So Robert Upshaw is gone. How do you think Washington fans will respond to this news? Support the team which needs them the most now, or not show up? Romar seems to have done the right thing, will fans give him the patience to bring on what appears to be a stellar class next year before calling for his job. Will NWG take this opportunity to prove he is NBA worthy?
Chris: By evidence of the facts that Red Square has been watered down by fire hoses, Suzzallo has been seized by masked students armed with pea shooters, Wild Turkey sales on the Ave have been halted by order of the Mayor and the Space Needle is no longer part of the Seattle skyline, I'd say Husky fans have officially lost their shit.
Or maybe not.
There is no doubt that the loss of Upshaw makes the probability of a Husky appearance in the NCAAs a near certain miss. But I do think that this presents an opportunity for both Shawn Kemp and Nigel Williams-Goss to show their worth to scouts. I also see this as a great opportunity for young players like Quevyn Winters and Donaven Dorsey to make a name for themselves.
All is not lost here if you keep the eye on the prize for next season.