Washington coaches Romar and Dollar are the ones that got away
For University of Washington men basketball coaches Lorenzo Romar and Cameron Dollar it wasn't supposed to be this way.
Romar, the head coach of the Pac 10 leading Huskies, will bring his surprising outfit to the Southland this week for a crucial confrontation against UCLA on Thursday Feb. 19 at Pauley Pavilion.
An assistant under the last Bruins coach to win an NCAA championship Jim Harrick in 1995, Romar was thought of highly among the coaching fraternity and considered to be the most logical replacement when Harrick was fired.
Instead an even more inexperienced Steve Lavin got the job and was never able to lead the Bruins back to their lofty perch on the collegiate hoops landscape.
So, Romar established his own program in the north with Washington, a school more recognized for its football program.
This week he brings his Huskies into town during a year in which they were picked to finish at the bottom of the Pac 10, leading one of the more balanced conferences in the country.
The Huskies are 10-3 and alone in first place in the Pac 10 and 19-6 over all and still are not ranked above either Arizona State (2nd in conference) or UCLA (tied for third in conference).
The fiery assistant coach Cameron Dollar played for UCLA during the Harrick era and has a National Championship ring to show for it.
Dollar has been instrumental in securing talent from the Southern California region for the Huskies such as former Compton Dominguez and Long Beach Poly star Bobby Jones, and current members of the team Justin Holiday (Campbell Hall), Tyreese Bresheers (Price) and Darnell Gant (Crenshaw).
Holiday the older brother of Jrue Holiday, the talented Bruins freshman guard, was supposed to be key in the Huskies landing his little brother, but in the final hour young Holiday decided to become a Bruin.
Dollar also had secured the recruiting rights to former Bruins center Ryan Hollins while he and Romar were at St. Louis University, but after Romar left St. Louis for Washington, Hollins got released and struggled with going to UCLA to play for Lavin over the Huskies.
UCLA has since been to three consecutive Final Four's with Ben Howland at the helm and were expected to capture another Pac 10 title this season, but nobody told Washington to cooperate.
Led by their own freshman standout Isaiah Thomas who leads the team in scoring with a 16.5 point per game average, the Huskies can move closer to the title with victories this week on the home courts of both UCLA and then USC at the Galen Center on Saturday Feb. 21.
The athletic Justin Denton (15.8), Quincy Poindexter (11.1) and powerful postman Jon Brockman (14.9) give the Huskies a balanced scoring attack.
The only true glitches on their resume are sweeping losses to Cal, defeats to defending National Champion Kansas at home and a brutal loss to Portland to begin the season.
All that will be forgotten come selection Sunday if the Huskies can take care of business this week and hold home serve against the Arizona schools next week.