10/22: Men's Hoopsters Scrimmage

The Washington Husky men's basketball team hit the hardwood today for an hour-and-a-half practice that was followed by a scrimmage.

The team split up into two squads; a purple team filled mostly with veterans and walk-ons and a gold team composed of younger players. Four referees were on hand to call the game.

Here were the rosters:
Purple:
1 CJ Massingale
3 Sterling Brown (walk-on)
23 Josh Barnard
31 Grant Leep
50 David Dixon
52 David Hudson (walk-on)
Coaches: Al Hairston, Eric Hughes

Gold:
4 Jeffrey Day
5 Will Conroy
21 Erroll Knight
24 Doug Wrenn
43 Mike Jensen
Coaches: Bryan Brown, Byron Boudreaux

*Curtis Allen (DNP)
*Marlon Shelton (INJ)

Here's a summary of the scrimmage:

From the opening tip it was apparent that both teams were going to run. Will Conroy sparked the Gold team with his abundance of energy, and got them off to a 4-0 lead with a jumper and an alley-oop to Erroll Knight. His smothering defense bothered Purple's best scorer, sophomore CJ Massingale, and helped keep Purple off the board in the early going.

David Dixon went to the line and knocked down one of two free throws for Purple's first points of the game. Not only does Dixon look to be in much better shape, his free throw technique also appears to be improved from his first two seasons at Washington. That's not to say that he'll be a better shooter from the line, but his motion is more pure than before.

Already up 4-1, Gold went on a run keyed by sophomore standout Doug Wrenn. Wrenn scored his first points in transition when Conroy pushed the ball up-court immediately after a Dixon free throw skidded off the rim. The next time down the court Conroy penetrated the lane and hit 6-9 power forward Mike Jensen next to the rim for an alley-oop layin. A pass from Wrenn to Knight for two, and a Wrenn 18-foot baseline jumper extended the score to 12-1. Jensen faded away from 15 feet with a soft jumper, and Jeff Day stole a pass and added two more on a fast break layin to give Gold a 15-point, 16-1 lead.

Many things were apparent early. Most impressive was the play of Knight, Wrenn, Jensen, and Conroy of the Gold team and Massingale of the Purple team. The energy and athleticism they brought was like nothing Husky fans have seen over the past two seasons, not just offensively but perhaps more importantly - defensively.

Knight is a terror on the glass, can run with the best of them, and can leap like nobody else on the team. He's always around the basket and gets a lot of garbage points inside the paint.

Wrenn's maturity off the court is still at times in question, but on the court he isn't intimidated and already has a body better than some who play professionally. He likes to drive to the hoop to score, but is also effective from the perimeter.

Jensen is a bit tentative at times, but has a soft touch on his shot and is incredibly athletic. He'll need to continue to work on his aggressiveness because the team's going to need him clean the glass in 2001-02.

Conroy and Massingale are relentless and a nightmare for opposing guards. They, along with Curtis Allen and Charles Frederick, will be the key pieces to a team that figures to run opponents to death for years to come.

Purple slowly but surely got back into the game with the emergence of their big man in the middle and some sharp shooting from the outside. Dixon completed a three-point play, making a free throw after a clever drop-step to the basket that schooled the freshman, Day. Walk-on sophomore Sterling Brown put back a missed shot for two points, then drove to the basket for a layin to draw Purple to within 11. A dunk by Dixon made it 10-19.

At this point in the scrimmage, Josh Barnard, a junior from Tacoma Community College who the Huskies hope will be legitimate perimeter threat this season, hadn't even attempted a shot.

His first points came on a long-range trey that drew Purple to within six at 15-21.

Lost in the run-and-gun game were two players: freshman Jeff Day and senior Grant Leep. It wasn't until the final minutes of the scrimmage until Leep was able to even attempt a shot, let alone score. Day, meanwhile, spent the entire time focusing on rebounding, and only had a few opportunities to score.

The Gold team stopped scoring due to quick, ill-advised shots, allowing the Purple to get back into the game. Barnard led the charge. He scored on a fast break, hit his second three pointer of the scrimmage, and got a defender to leave his feet on a pump-fake before drilling a 12-footer in the lane to draw Purple to within 32-33.

A Leep 8-footer gave Purple their first lead, but it was short-lived. On the next trip down the court, Jensen ripped a rebound away from Dixon and banked it in to make it a 35-34.

Dixon pulled down a rebound and put it back in, and Brown hit one of two free throws to make it a 37-35 Purple advantage. Knight came down the floor, got fouled, and hit both free throws as the scrimmage ended.

In soccer-like fashion, it ended in a 37-37 tie. Only in soccer, nobody scores 37 goals.
Husky Notebook:

Brown Stickin' Around: Former Husky point guard Bryan Brown, a one-time walk-on who earned a scholarship and played from 1997-2000, will be a coach on this year's staff.

In Attendance: Two prep stars from Garfield High School came to watch the scrimmage, C/F Anthony Washington and G/F Brandon Roy. Washington signed with the Huskies last November, but didn't meet NCAA eligibility requirements, thus voiding the National Letter-of-Intent. He enjoyed visiting with Coach Bob Bender and center Marlon Shelton, who watched the scrimmage from a chair off-court. Washington, Arizona, Washington State, Gonzaga, and Boston College are recruiting Roy, a senior this season for the Bulldogs. He stands 6-5 and has the perfect build of a two-guard. He and Washington, his high school teammate, were surprised to see each other there.

On the Shelf: Sophomore point guard Curtis Allen didn't participate in practice due to a sprained left ankle. He worked out on the side with a trainer to rebuild strength in the ankle while his teammates practiced as normal.

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