Celebrating Brockman and Dentmon

It's time, Husky fans. Time to bid farewell to Husky legend Jon Brockman, who laces up his shoes at Hec Ed for the final time Saturday afternoon. He is a player that will go down in UW history as one of the finest to ever don the purple and gold. It's also time to wave goodbye to Justin Dentmon, who manufactured one of the greatest career turnarounds in program history.

But that fact may get lost in the enormity of the final test of the regular season - a bitter rivalry game against the Washington State Cougars in what likely will determine whether or not the Huskies win their first outright league title in over 50 years.

The 2005 recruiting class will always hold a special place for UW head Coach Lorenzo Romar. The 05' class was the first class Romar would truly consider his own.

"With this group it was the first group that we recruited through the recruitment period and had for four years," He said. "Bobby (Jones) was the first guy we recruited. We recruited Bobby Jones for a month...but Artem (Wallace), Brock, JD, we recruited those guys before they were even seniors. We had longer relationships with those guys. And then you're with them for four years. I think the relationship is more special that way.

"It really hit me this past summer that these guys were going to be gone."

Brockman arrived at Washington as the most heralded basketball recruit in UW history. The bruising Snohomish native, who chose Washington over Duke and UCLA, was immediately inserted into the starting lineup of the 2005 Sweet Sixteen team, led by All American Brandon Roy.

Instantly earning a reputation as "The Beast," Brockman took over as captain of the team the following season, where his offensive skills caught up with the rest of his abilities. Unfortunately for the Huskies, who were decimated by graduation, two disappointing seasons meant the team was stuck at home watching post-season basketball on television.

But now it's Brockman's turn to leave his mark on the sport's biggest stage, as he spends his remaining time tuning up for his shot at NCAA immortality.

"It's starting to hit me," Brockman said. "Even before the game, just kind of realizing that this is the last week that we're playing here; the last week we'll be going through this routine. It's starting to hit me a little bit. It will be emotional, but at the same time we have to take care of business. The season is not over by any means. But it will be a pleasure more than anything."

"He means far more than anyone would ever imagine," added Romar, wistfully of Brockman. "He has meant quite a bit. He has been a staple for us."

Dentmon, meanwhile, has followed one of the more fascinating basketball careers in the program's history. The Carbondale, Ill. native was a late signee in the fall of 2004 after originally committing to Illinois State, and immediately stepped into a starting role for the Huskies after a year in prep school. After earning All Freshman Pac-10 honors that year, Dentmon endured a two year slump, eventually losing his starting job as he wilted under the burden of trying to carry the Huskies' inexperienced backcourt.

What happened next was the stuff of legends.

Dentmon re-dedicated himself in the offseason leading into his senior year, committing several hours a day improving his jumper, as well as his physique. The results were nothing short of amazing and this season, Dentmon has quietly become one of the most feared scorers in the Pac-10.

"(He) started out really well, took a dip and ended far better than anyone would ever want to give him credit for," explained Romar. "His story, to me, is as remarkable as anyone's."

Because of that hard work, Romar will be able to point to Dentmon's incredible turnaround for the rest of his coaching career as a prime example of true Husky dedication.

Behind the brilliant play of Washington's senior stars, the Lorenzo Romar era of UW basketball has now come full circle. No longer can critics attribute the program's recent success to the talents of Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson.

Brockman and Dentmon will be forever linked to Washington as champions, and deservedly so. And unlike their predecessors, they have a regular-season Pac-10 championship to show for it.

"It's emotional," said Dentmon. "But at the same time, it's a chance to make history - the first Washington team to win outright."

Regardless how the season ends, the Husky nation will be celebrating the careers of Brockman and Dentmon long after they are gone.

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