Aaron Levine, Sports Director Q13 Fox News
2:03 AM EST, February 27, 2012
Huskies basketball coach Lorenzo Romar has now led the Huskies to four consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history – and has them two wins away from just their second outright conference title in more than 50 years.
Just two months ago, after an embarrassing home loss to South Dakota State, Husky fans questioned the maturity of a team that had a wealth of talent but seemed to lack direction. The Dawgs are 15-3 since – not to mention they’ve won five of their last six on the road. Seems to me they’ve found that direction – and it’s pretty clear who’s guided that path.
The knock on Romar has always been that he can’t win the big game – and until the Huskies reach the Elite Eight or Final Four, that’ll continue to be the case. To them, I say give it a rest, and enjoy the ride. Try not to overlook the sustained success Romar has built – not to mention the two straight conference tournament titles.
The Huskies might be 13-3 in conference play, but critics will say that the Pac-12is one of the worst leagues in the country. They`ll say there`s no excuse, since the Dawgs have two or three NBA lottery picks in their starting lineup. And I`ll respond that the team desperately lacked a core of veteran leaders - there was no Jon Brockman, Quincy Pondexter or Isaiah Thomas.
And still, barring a complete disaster, this team is on its way to a fourth straight NCAA Tournament.
Which brings me to the guy who chose to spend the NBA All-Star break in Pullman, watching his alma mater beat the Cougs last night.
There’s no understating what Isaiah Thomas has accomplished so far in his rookie season. He’s shut up the haters, quieted the doubters – everyone who said he wasn’t even worth being taken with the final pick in last year’s draft. They said he was too short. They said his game wouldn’t translate to the NBA. And yet, Thomas is averaging close to nine points and 20 minutes a game for the Sacramento Kings.
To put it in perspective. Here’s a list of the players drafted dead last in the NBA Draft over the past ten years. Who are these guys? Dwayne Collins? Will Blalock? Corsley Edwards? Five of them never even played in an NBA game, and just one of them played in more than 30 games. Isaiah Thomas has already played in 32.
In fact, if he keeps it up, Thomas *could* be the most impactful “Mr. Irrelevant” in the history of sports. And as long as he keeps playing with a chip on his shoulder, I don’t doubt that he will.
They’re two men that will continue to fight longstanding stigmas against them. But given their recent success, it’s only fair to highlight the things they’re doing right.