Meet the Hoop Dawgs

Midnight madness has come and gone and the hardwood at Bank of America Arena is busy once again as the 2003-2004 University of Washington men's basketball team gets set to tip off the second year of Lorenzo Romar's regime. After coming within a win from the Pac-10 Tournament last season, the Huskies look to show big improvements and make a run for the Pac-10.

This season's team features eight returning players from last season, along with eight newcomers. With so many people coming and going, a roster run-down is surely due.

Losses – 5

Marlon Shelton was the only senior on last season's squad so his graduation was expected. However, various factors led to the departures of an additional two forwards and two guards in the off-season.

F Jeffrey Day – Day battled academic problems throughout the season and eventually flunked out of school. The former Seattle Prep product averaged 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds last season. He is now attending a San Diego area junior college and hopes to make his way back to the D-1 level with either San Diego University or San Diego State.

G David Hudson – Hudson left the program to pursue his music interests. However, there is no denying the threat that he brings from beyond the arc. "Huddy," clearly one of the crowd's favorite, connected on 13-of-24 long range shots for a 54 percent average.

According to Will Conroy, Hudson still attends the University of Washington.

G C.J. Massingale – Opted to leave UW after three seasons. The guard out of Tacoma saw his role become increasingly limited as the season went on last year and with the abundance of younger perimeter players on the roster, felt that he would have a better chance of playing his senior season at a different school.

He is now attending Metro State in Denver, CO.

C Marlon Shelton – One of the classiest players, Shelton was the lone senior on the team last season. Injuries took a major toll on his career and while he did not bring much in terms of stats, he brought experience and an "older" brother image to the rest of the bunch.

Shelton still resides in the Seattle area and often visits the team.

F Doug Wrenn – It was sad to see Wrenn's career at Washington end the way that it did. As one of the most celebrated recruits to ever come out of the Seattle area, Wrenn signed with the Huskies out of high school, and then found himself at a prep school, that led him to UConn, which only brought him back to Washington.

His breakout season in 2002 showed signs that the wait just might have been worth it, but the switch to Romar's system last year may have been more difficult that he originally thought. He declared for the NBA Draft at the end of last season but was never drafted.

At last word, he was exploring the idea of playing overseas in Australia.

Newcomers – 8

The eight newcomers make up half of this year's roster. Four players are on scholarship, while the other four decided to walk on.

G Brandon Burmeister - 6-4 190lbs FR Mercer Island, WA (Mercer Island HS)
Burmeister decided to walk-on after he was extended an offer by Romar. The son of former Husky football player Bob Burmeister, the younger Burmeister is known for his ability to shoot the ball.

Former football coach Rick Neuheisel extended a walk-on invitation for football as well, but Burmeister decided to focus on basketball first. However, he does not completely rule out the possibility of walking on to the football team next season.

F Matt Fletcher - 6-7 220lbs JR Maize, KS (Maize HS/Butler JC/Ouachita Baptist)
Fletcher is a walk-on/transfer from the Midwest. At Maize HS, he was an honorable mention All-Kansas State selection as a senior. He enrolled at Butler County JC the following year before moving on the Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas the next year, where he played in only two games before leaving the team to pursue different options.

Fletcher will red-shirt this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have two years to play for the Huskies.

F Hans Gasser - 6-9 225lbs FR Issaquah, WA (Issaquah HS)
The only scholarship freshmen on the team, Gasser is able to bring a wide-variety of weapons. He can play comfortably down low or outside on the perimeter.

"Hans is another body that has size that can really shoot the ball," said Romar. "He is a very smart basketball player. It's interesting you can put him with any other four guys, whether they're quick running guys or slower guys and he adapts and plays with each one of them. He's easy to play with. It doesn't matter what combination of players he plays with, he finds a way not only to be effective himself but also help those other guys."

In the state championship game last year against a Rainier Beach team that was led by the Stewart twins as well as C.J. Giles, Gasser scored 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds on 10-for-13 shooting.

His arrival at Washington was also the cause of fellow writer Joe Kaiser's untimely head-shaving.

G Alex Johnson - 6-3 185lbs JR Bellevue, WA (Eastside Catholic HS/Bellevue CC)
"A.J." is another walk-on/transfer who can shoot the ball. Johnson player all four years of his high school career on the varsity team at Eastside Catholic and was named to the All-Metro honorable mention as a senior.

At Bellevue CC, Johnson averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists last season.

F Zane Potter - 6-6 185lbs SO Boring, OR (Sam Barlow HS)
The former member of the UW rowing team decided to walk-on to the Husky basketball team this year after several years off from competitive play. While at Sam Barlow HS, Potter averaged 13 points and five assists during his senior season and was named the team MVP.

F/C Hakeem Rollins - 6-7 220lbs JR Mesa, AZ (Mesa HS/Mesa JC)
Washington won a hard-fought recruiting battle with UConn, Minnesota, and other Pac-10 schools to win his services. Rollins will add a much needed depth and scoring presence in the middle and will surely give Anthony Washington a run for his money for the starting assignment.

Rollins averaged 24.8 points and 8.9 rebounds last season at Mesa JC. Romar feels that Rollins is the strongest player on the team and that he has developed in into a really solid rebounder lately in practices.

G Chester "Tre" Simmons III - 6-5 195lbs JR Seattle, WA (Garfield HS/Odessa JC/Green River CC)
It was not known if Simmons would make it to school until just a few weeks ago. The eldest member of the "Garfield Quartet" transferred to Washington after a year at Odessa JC in Texas and Green River CC. At Green River, Simmons averaged 29.8 points and had a par of games where he dropped 50 points on his opponents.

"Tre is just now starting to figure out what we want," said Romar. "There's no doubt that he's a very good basketball player. No doubt that he will help us and have an impact on our season in a powerful way."

Simmons could be the best shooter on this year's team. He routinely draws crowds to witness his ridiculous streaks of draining shots from beyond the mark.

F Jamaal Williams - 6-5 240lbs JR Corona, CA (Centennial HS/New Mexico)
Williams announced this past spring that he has leaving the New Mexico Lobos to transfer to Washington. In the best game of his career last season, Williams came off the bench to score 25 points and grab 15 rebounds. He averaged 11.3 points per game last season along with 5.1 rebounds.

He will have to sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules but his presence on the team will undoubtedly be felt during practices.

"Already in practice, he has demonstrated ability to put the ball in the basket," said Romar. "Just Saturday we had an intersquad scrimmage and he scored 24 points. And he didn't do it on 24 shots. He was pretty efficient with the basketball in his hands. He's also a very good rebounder."

Returnees – 8

G Curtis Allen - 6-0 170lbs SR Tacoma, WA (Wilson HS)
Allen will be the lone senior on this year's team. The Tacoma, WA product will most likely be the first option off the bench this season in Coach Romar's rotation. Allen's strength has always been his quickness and shooting. "Curt-Al" averaged 9.7 points per game and led the team with 52 three-pointers made.

On top of that, Allen is almost automatic from the free throw line. His 87.7 percent consistency ranks him at the top at UW and second all time in the Pac-10 behind UCLA's Rod Foster, who averaged 88 percent.

Romar and the team will look to Allen for his leadership and experience playing in big game situations. If Allen scores 180 more points this season, he would become the 28th player to join Washington's 1000 points club.

G Will Conroy - 6-2 190lbs JR Seattle, WA (Garfield HS)
By improving his scoring output by over 10 points per game (2.5 to 12.7), Conroy was probably the most improved player in the Pac-10 last season. His fiery play and dedication makes him a fine point guard and a dangerous scoring threat. Against Gonzaga last season in Spokane, Conroy scored a career-high 32 points including a late try to force overtime on the Bulldogs.

Conroy led the team with 108 assists and 33 steals and was named the team MVP at the team's post season banquet.

"You can never count Will Conroy out for taking his game anywhere," said Romar of Conroy. "Because he loves the game so much, he has such a passion for the game. He's always working to improve his game and you've got to take your hat off to a guy like that."

C Ben Devoe - 6-11 250lbs SO Olympia, WA (Olympia HS)
Ben "Devocious" Devoe will be entering his second full season as a Husky. Devoe is biggest player on the team but also played the fewest minutes. Devoe spent the off-season program with assistant coach Russ Shoene in hopes to improve his play and become a more dominant big man.

F Mike Jensen - 6-8 240lbs SO Covington, WA (Kentwood HS)
After taking nearly two years off nursing injuries, Jensen returned to the Huskies last season as a red-shirt freshmen and started 22-of-27 games. Jensen averaged 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds last season and looks to improve on those numbers.

Jensen can also step behind the arc and launch some threes. By hitting 10-of-22 three pointers, he is the leading three-point shooter in terms of percentage.

"Mike Jensen is going to be a great low-post scorer who will get to the foul line more this year," said Romar. "I also think that he will be a better rebounder."

F Bobby Jones - 6-6 200lbs SO Compton, CA (Long Beach Poly HS)
The first Romar recruit was a pleasant surprise last season. Jones started his last 15 games last season while averaging 5.7 points per game. But it was what he brought defensively that brought excitement.

Against Oregon at home last season, Jones shut down Oregon's Luke Jackson and also causes havoc for many other players in the Pac-10. He will have to cut down on his fouls though. (He led the team with 100 personal fouls last season and fouled out of five games)

"He is probably our best perimeter defender," Romar said of Jones. "He is a stellar defensive player, a good athlete and an unselfish team guy."

Romar also called Jones his "most improved player" for this upcoming season and expects him to make more of a contribution offensively.

G Nate Robinson - 5-9 180lbs SO Seattle, WA (Rainier Beach HS)
What can we say that has not already been said about Robinson? Upon joining the team, all Robinson did was lead the team in scoring (13.0 points per game), and in immeasurable statistics like "excitement."

Without his football commitments, Robinson may have an even better year than his freshmen season, which saw him named to the All-Pac-10 Freshmen Team.

G Brandon Roy - 6-6 200lbs SO Seattle, WA (Garfield HS)
Like Robinson, Roy will also be playing his first full season of Husky basketball. Roy joined the team late in the season after overcoming some academic obstacles. While it took him some time to get going, Roy showed flashes of brilliances when he was finally able to show what he can do with the ball.

Over the final four games of the season, Roy led the team with 13.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds.

"The last four games Brandon Roy was averaging right around 14 points a game and close to 6 rebounds a game in the last four games of Pac-10 competition and we don't think he's going to take a step back from there," said Romar. "We think he'll continue to pick up where he left off before he was injured in our last game vs. UCLA. In fact in that game he was having quite a game before he was injured, offensively he was just starting to get going. He will be one of our top scorers if not our top scorers.

"He's a guy that people who don't know him will be pleasantly surprised at the type of player he is."

C Anthony Washington - 6-9 245lbs SO Seattle, WA (Garfield HS)
Washington was slowly developing into a solid center last season before a foot injury derailed his season. While not completely healed, Washington has made a nice steady progress and should team up nicely with Rollins to provide a stronger depth at center.

"He had surgery in the end of May and had to sit out for quite some time and then began in late July starting to do things out on the floor and being on that foot a little more to where now he's practicing every day," said Romar.

"If he goes on consecutive days there are times we have to pull him. But initially when we began practices he couldn't put two or three straight days together because the foot would get sore from the surgery. But he's getting better every day." Top Stories