Roy to stay at Washington

Brandon Roy made it official Monday, announcing that he would forego a shot at the NBA this year and stay for his final season at Washington. Citing the fans and his allegiance to his teammates, Roy's decision could act as the glue that keeps the Huskies' hoop train rolling.

"I knew that if I was going to decide to come back that I wanted to give the team my total attention," he said. "I've decided to return to Washington for my senior season. I'm not going to do any camps and I'm not going to enter the draft."

Last Wednesday Roy told his father that he would be coming back. "I told him what I wanted to do and he told me that he was excited that he could drive over to Montlake and watch some more games again," he said. This was after thinking about going pro roughly a week earlier.

"I see guys going to the draft and I think that I'm better than that guy," said the 6-foot-6 guard. "If you rolled the ball out there between us, I could prove it. But at the end of the day I want to go to the NBA through the back door. I want to go through the front door. And playing my senior season will help me do that."

How Roy's decision will impact incoming frosh Martell Webster is up for debate. Webster, considered by many to be a top-ten lock for the upcoming NBA draft, signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the Huskies. "He'll make the best decision for his family and everyone's situation is different," Brandon said. "He has to live with that decision. If he feels like he's ready to live on his own and pay bills like an NBA player has to, then he should do that. But some guys aren't ready for that. I'm sure he'll make the right choice.

"I'm sure I'll talk to him in the near future, just to see where his head is and see if I have any influence over what he wants to do."

Ironically enough, Roy was pondering that same decision - NBA or college - coming out of Garfield High School. "He (Webster) has a chance to be a high first-round draft choice," said Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. "When Brandon did it, it didn't hurt him to try. They are two different situations."

Romar acknowledged Monday that Webster frequently contacts him about the draft and solicts his advice about going or staying. "As with Nate (Robinson) and Brandon, it's all about the facts," Romar said. "We try and get him the facts and the most realistic information we can."

That information has Romar thinking big for his potential backcourt star. "I think he would definitely go in the first round and it won't be late in the first round," he said of Webster's draft status.

While Martell's feedback has been getting more and more positive by the day, Roy's feedback from the league had him going in the second round. "Maybe there are some things I could have done at a camp or individual workout to push me up to the first round, but that's all speculation," he said. "I'm just looking forward to coming back next year and showing them what I can do on the floor."

In the past two seasons, Brandon has averaged roughly 13 points and five rebounds a game. The difference between his sophomore and junior campaigns was that he missed a number of games this past year with a knee tear. While he claims the knee didn't factor into his decision, it seems clear that it didn't help scouts out when determining his place in this years' draft.

What also became clear on Monday is that Roy took the big picture into account when making his decision. "He could have gone to a number of other universities with a lot more tradition," Romar said, going back to the days when Brandon had signed a letter of intent to play for former UW Head Coach Bob Bender. "Washington was not winning at the time, but he thought it would be a great challenge to stay right here and do his part to build this program to where it would be nationally recognized.

"He's been pretty consistent with how he's approached things. He doesn't draw attention to himself. He's content playing an unselfish brand of basketball. He just amazes me that way. I've got a lot of respect for him."

In the past, Romar has dubbed Roy 'The Provider'. In his hoops utopia, Brandon will become the ultimate provider next season. "We see his role expanding," said Romar. "With the makeup of our team, we're expecting him to score more points. We're expecting him to do more of everything, which is what he's been capable of doing all along. You need to have guys that can make plays. Brandon is one of those guys. He's so versatile. He has literally played five positions for us and has handled them all quite well. I would say that he's a difference-maker.

"I thought we saw glimpses of it early before he injured his knee. It was like the PE teacher filling in, playing with the junior high kids. Brandon Roy is a phenomenal basketball player, and by coming back for his senior year the world will see what he can do on the basketball floor. No one has really seen it yet. I think he's going to be on a mission."

And to hear Roy talk about it, the growth of fan support at Montlake just added fuel toward his decision to return. "It felt like I would be turning my back on them (fans)," he said. "But now it seems like the fans are going to love me forever, just because of the work we've put in and the way we tried to change this program. I feel like I'm almost obligated to come back and do what I can to help this team to grow. After next year, the sky will be the limit for me.

"Last year Nate, Will (Conroy) and Tre (Simmons) were all great guards. I did most of my stuff was on the low post, but I think my game will be pushed out further. I need to show everybody that I have a complete game."

Roy now acknowledges that the college experience - something that actually drove him away from the idea of going to UW out of high school - has now become one of the touchstones surrounding his decision to come back. He's a little behind in working toward getting his degree in American Ethnic Studies, but that has more to do with the fact that he started school behind from the get-go. He's taking classes this summer to help get him back on pace.

"College is different," he said. "You have guys that go right from high school and guys that leave after their first year and they don't get the full college experience that I'm getting now. I'm more mature now. Being around Coach Romar and the rest of the coaches have helped me to become more mature. I was more laid back, but Coach Romar pushes me to go after everything harder and to really pay attention to detail. It's made me a better person because I make smarter decisions."

"I think there are some examples around that show you don't have to go if you aren't ready," added Romar. "I think Brandon is a good example of that. Dijon Thompson made a great choice in coming back. He improved his draft status and showed that staying four years doesn't hurt you. I think Brandon can do the same. You learn so many lessons in college that stick with you for the rest of your life. I think you receive an education in a lot more ways than just how you did on your exams."

With his decision in hand, Roy is excited to get on with his final year. "I wish it was October now," he said. "I hope to make this team as good as the last team was. We've got a lot of talented freshmen coming in, including Martell if he comes. Maybe next year I will be the glue that will allow us to have consecutive Sweet 16 appearances. I think we have the pieces to be a really good team." Top Stories