His words: Jon Brockman

As Washington's first ever sophomore Captain, Jon Brockman knows that much of his team's success this season rides on his substantial shoulders. On Thursday, the day before the first ever 'Husky Hoopla' day under Lorenzo Romar, Brockman talked with Dawgman.com about this past off-season and what he expects to see during the coming year.

The recent rash of injuries seems to be the foremost question on everybody's minds, but the beast from Snohomish doesn't seem too concerned.

"The injuries have been frustrating," Brockman said. "We haven't been able to run five on five the last few weeks, so it's been tough, but from talking to people, by taking care of the injuries now they should be well enough that they won't be nagging them the rest of the year. If it were the sweet sixteen, most of the guys would be able to play, but right now, it's better to rest up rather than having it bother them all season.

"The guys that are hurt are really going to need to pay attention to what's going on, because they can't come back three weeks from now and expect to learn everything that the other nine or 10 healthy guys have been practicing every day. They need to be really focused sitting on the sideline, going through every play like they are on the floor doing it."

Brockman laughed at the idea that all the injuries were a result of his intense play.

"I've been trying to think about it, and none of (the injuries) are my fault," he said. "It's just one of those things that every team goes through sometimes where guys just get banged up. We just need to get everyone healthy and ready to contribute."

Much has been made of Brockman being named Captain of the team as a sophomore but like most areas on the basketball court, he seems eager for the responsibility.

"It's going to be fun and challenging at the same time, but the way I look at it, the team works so well together already," Brockman said. "We are all such good friends and spend so much time together; there really haven't been any issues. It's really like the whole team is the Captain and we all have to help each other out."

With such a young team that might sound surprising.

"With the new guys, I've never had to get on them about working out," he said. "They haven't been intimidated and want to play all the time."

While on the subject of the much heralded freshman class, the sensational sophomore singled out one of his new teammates in particular.

"I think Quincy (Pondexter) is going to be on Sportscenter, A LOT," Brockman said. "His shot is coming around also and he's just one of those guys that even when the defender has help, he manages to rise up and get off a shot. He's such a versatile player and a great defender. He's really going to be able to help us out"

While Brockman's hustle and work ethic have never been questioned, his lack of polish at the offensive end has been criticized.

"I worked a lot on my outside shot and dribbling this off-season," he said. "Those were the things that I really wanted to key in on during the summer. I worked out for two and a half hours, three to five times a week in the morning with a long-time coach of mine from Snohomish and we figured I got up about 800 shots per session."

He is keenly aware of his struggles from outside and is expecting big changes this year.

"Last year I hit a couple (outside shots), but it was more if I was wide open I'd just throw it up there," he said. "Now I feel a lot more confident. In open gym I've been able to shoot with a guy on me and it's more in rhythm now. Not just a second thought."

His conditioning has improved as well.

I'm about the same weight, but I've toned down and am stronger," said Brockman. "I've also gotten my body fat percentage down."

Playing alongside All-American Brandon Roy and a senior-laden team has definitely left an impression on the returnees, but Brockman understands that the two teams are going to be drastically different.

"It's important for us to remember the team's success is in the past, but that we should expect to be a Sweet Sixteen or an Elite Eight team every year, but we're going to have to do it a different way," he said. "Each team has an identity, so we just need to find ours and roll with it."

The impact of graduating such key teammates isn't lost on him.

"Justin (Dentmon) and I realize that we both need to step up our game because of the seniors we lost, so a lot more weight falls on our shoulders," he said. "Last year, Brandon (Roy) was the main dude, but this year I think it's going to have to be a different guy every night. It will probably be a lot more like two years ago when one night Nate (Robinson) would go off, than Tre (Simmons), then Will (Conroy) and Brandon. A different guy would step up every night."

Of course Arizona and UCLA loom large on the upcoming schedule, but he chuckled about who he looked forward to playing this year.

"A couple of my problem people last year went to the NBA, especially Leon Powe," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to playing Luc (M'bah a Moute) and UCLA. As a game though, I'd say I'm really looking forward to playing Washington State.

"I don't think I need to say anything more about that."

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