Wallace bringing inside game to Montlake

Knowing Washington's fast-paced style of playing basketball and not knowing who signed where during Sunday night's Northwest Shootout at the University of Portland, you would have thought Rainier Beach's Terrance Williams would be donning the purple and gold. After all, he's more indicative of the high-flying theatrics the Hoop Dawgs have been known for the past two years. But of all the players in attendance, there was only one headed to Montlake this fall, and it wasn't Williams.

It's Artem Wallace from Toledo, you could call him the 'Anti-Williams'.

Williams is a huge leaper in the Nate Robinson-mold. Artem, at 6-8 and 235 pounds, is more of a banger in the paint. Williams is known for his hair-raising dunks. Wallace just packs the ham with authority - no muss, no fuss. And while all-star games appeal to the guard that can put up as many three-pointers as they want without getting the customary bench for doing so, Wallace just loves playing with great players.

"It's a great experience and a honor to be here. It was great to hang out with the guys," Wallace said Sunday night after the Washington all-stars lost to the all-star team from Oregon 96-88. "I'm just here to enjoy myself and get points and rebounds where I can. If the guards want to jack it up, so be it."

It is also a little ironic that while all-star game favor those that can hit from outside, it's a style that apparently favors Wallace's game as well. "I don't see my role to score at all," he said, despite scoring nearly 24 points per game for Toledo this season. "I see it as more like rebounding, setting picks...doing the little things. I'm definitely not big enough to play the five, but definitely the four and maybe the three." He definitely knows how to board, hauling down nearly 14 per contest.

While many would say that this Washington all-star team was their 'B' squad - Martell Webster, Jon Brockman, Micah Downs and Marcus Williams were not in attendance - it was still loaded with the Louisville-bound Williams, Wallace, and O'Dea's Mitch Johnson, who will be headed to Stanford in the fall. Wallace finished off his 17 minutes in the game with 7 points (on 3-3 shooting), 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

This is not the final all-star appearance for Artem, who will be playing in the 1A/2A state all-star game this weekend at Key Arena in Seattle. Wallace might as well get used to the trip up north on I-5, because he'll be making that round trip quite a bit this summer.

"Now that they are done I'm going to go up there and play with the guys," Wallace said, referring the the Huskies' open run they have all summer. Players from all over, including Ray Allen, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour and Jamal Crawford have been known to stop by Hec Ed for a run now and again. Artem also noted that he calls the Washington coaches on a weekly basis and that they want him at 240 pounds and ten-percent body fat by the time he's set to enroll in the fall.

"It's a great feeling to be a part of something as great as Husky basketball right now," he said, showing an excitement you wouldn't fine in the normally stoic Wallace. "They are on the rise. I really wanted them to go farther than they did, but they had a great season."

Along with Husky nation, Wallace followed the ebb and flow of tournament play, and felt it along the way. "I couldn't watch it," he said of the Huskies' Sweet-16 matchup with Louisville. "I got nervous, more nervous than I do in high school. Everytime there would be a call I'd be going crazy. My friends were giving me a hard time."

And even if Artem redshirts this coming fall for Washington, he can rest assured that he'll be competitive in at least one area - bowling. After watching the Huskies bowl on ESPN, Wallce can take his chances with his future teammates on the lanes. He bowled a 140 this past week as part of the Northwest Shootout all-star festivities.

"I'm average," he said.

Not when it comes to hoops.

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