Sunday , Nov , 12 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Waves try to wash away Huskies

Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – The 17th-ranked Washington Huskies and
Pepperdine Waves meet for the first time ever on the hardwood tonight, as
they hook up in the BTI Travelers Classic hosted by Washington from Bank of
America Arena. The Huskies have emerged as one of the top programs in the
nation the past few seasons and they displayed that last year by going
26-7 overall. The team also participated in its third straight NCAA
Tournament last season, making it all the way to the Sweet 16 before losing
in overtime to Connecticut. Despite losing the Pac-10 Player of the Year in
Brandon Roy, head coach Lorenzo Romar still has plenty of talent to work with
and could have the team primed for a school-record fourth straight trip to
the Big Dace.

As for Pepperdine, it has steadily declined the past few seasons and last year
it completely fell apart, finishing just 7-20 overall. With the poor finish,
the school decided it was time for a change and replaced Paul Westphal
with Vance Walberg. A juco standout coach, Walberg, inherits a team that
welcomes back four starters, but may be still a year or two away from turning
things around.

The Waves will rely on sophomore point guard Michael Gerrity to run the show
this season, as he returns after ranking second on the team in scoring (14.1
ppg) as freshman. Gerrity can do more than score as well, as he lead the team
in both assists (3.4 apg) and steals (39) a year ago. Unfortunately for
Pepperdine, Gerrity has a left foot injury and is expected to miss this entire
tournament. Guard Chase Griffin (6.4 ppg) will try to pick up the slack with
Gerrity out of the lineup and he will be joined by fellow seniors Gregg Barlow
(5.2 ppg) and Marvin Lea (2.2 ppg) in the backcourt. Up front the Waves will
turn to a pair of sophomores in Willie Galick and Chris Oakes, whom combined
to average 13.0 ppg and 8.7 rpg as freshmen.

The Huskies don’t return a single player that averaged even 9.0 ppg last year,
but sophomore forward Jon Brockman (6-7, 245) certainly showed enough as a
freshman (8.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) to get recognized as one of the top players in the
Pac-10 heading into 2006-07. Brockman should also benefit from a freshman in
seven-footer Spencer Hawes, who is regarded as one of the best incoming players
in the country. Another youngster that will be a central piece to the puzzle is
sophomore guard Justin Dentmon. The 5-11 Dentmon is a creative and extremely
quick player that averaged 9.3 ppg as a freshman last year. With a year of
experience now under his belt, expect even bigger things from Dentmon in
2006-07.

Washington is clearly the pick here, as it not only has the edge talent wise,
but it also has the luxury of playing this one at home.

PEPPERDINE WASHINGTON