Washington Men's Hoops Report

While the football team prepared for Arizona, the Husky basketball team readied itself for quite a different opponent on Saturday – the frustration of back-to-back 10-20 seasons in 2000 and 2001.

But with a rejuvenated roster that includes four Seattle products in Doug Wrenn, Erroll Knight, Will Conroy and Jeff Day as well as other local players in Mike Jensen and Josh Barnard, this team has a fresh start and finally reflects the elite talent of the Northwest. Whereas last year the Huskies fought every practice to maximize potential out of a team that simply didn't have the weapons, this year's team has the ability to do well in the Pac-10 if it can limit the growing pains of having just three upperclassmen.

Shining Knight – freshman Erroll Knight now listed at 6-7 had a solid practice that displayed his improvement during the off-season and natural athleticism. During a 5-on-5 zone defense/offense drill Knight nailed several deep spot-up jumpers without any hesitation.

"Everyday he does something better," said Husky coach Bob Bender.

Knight has consistently played above the rim, and during a three-man weave drill he by far had the most dunks of the Washington players. With the first exhibition game on November 2 against the Brisbane Capitals of Australia, Knight could possibly earn a starting spot by then.

Slim Dixon – while David Dixon ballooned in weight from his sophomore to junior years, the 6-11 center has shed whatever excess poundage he had last year and returns for his final season at the UW at 270. With the loss of incoming freshmen Anthony Washington and senior Marlon Shelton, Dixon will have to play significantly more minutes than the 14.7 he averaged last year.

"People are going to be surprised about David Dixon," said junior Doug Wrenn. "They've got to watch out for his touch and his athleticism now."

Allen's ankle – for much of practice sophomore point guard Curtis Allen rode the bike. He sprained his left ankle last Tuesday, but is expected to return to practice today (Monday). As always Allen appeared in good spirits and the prospect of a more up tempo style of basketball excite him.

"We're athletic at every position," said Allen. "That's the biggest change on the team."

Among returnees Allen has the highest scoring average at 7.0 points per game. Freshman Will Conroy ran the point in his place and looks to have the strength and size at 6-1 to contribute minutes immediately.

Mike In Action – after a senior season cut short due to a suspension at Kentwood, Mike Jensen finally has the structure and competition of organized basketball again. Despite his lofty ranking last year as the No. 1 prospect at power forward on the West Coast by PrepWestHoops.com, Jensen seems a bit tentative and over thinking on plays.

Still Jensen has the unteachable physical traits like a long wingspan and leaping ability on a 6-9 frame. After a few more weeks of practice under his belt expect Jensen's confidence to increase.

Gibbs replaces Duty as walk-on – while Wrenn will finally see some action, his teammate at O'Dea did not return to play for the Dawgs this year. In his place sophomore Ian Gibbs has made the squad after attending the UW his freshman year.

Gibbs earned All-WesCo 4A North Division honorable mention as a senior at Sehome while playing alongside current Husky football players Graham Lasee and Mike McEvoy.
Marc Matsui wrote this special to Dawgman.com. He is a reporter for the UW Daily.

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