How many times do we have to hear “it’s a down season” or “they’re just rebuilding this year” before we start to question what lies ahead for Husky basketball? How many Sweet 16 exits will we have to endure before we are taken to the promise land? Are there even going to be any more Sweet Sixteen births in Lorenzo Romar’s future? This season has made me and I am sure many other fans ask these very questions.
Of course, the University of Washington has traditionally always been a football school. However, the day Romar set foot on campus the perception of UW athletics started to change.
After going 10-17 in his first season, Romar has had only one losing season (2007-2008, finishing 16-17). He has led Washington basketball to success it has only seen under the namesake of the arena itself, Hec Edmundson. Romar has raised the program up from the depths of the Pac-10 to be consistent conference title contenders.
July 13, 2012;Alexandria, VA USA;USA West guard Nigel Williams-Goss (right) dribbles up court against USA Midwest guard JaJuan Johnson (left) during the Nike Global Challenge at Episcopal High School. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Can Romar bring the program even more success in his next seven seasons at UW before his current contract expires? The past says yes, but the present says no.
With just one Sweet 16 appearance in the last six seasons and an up and down start to this season, I have my doubts about what the future holds.
The person who might carry the answer to the last question is Aaron Gordon. The five-star wing from Archbishop Mitty High School, as we all know, is down to three schools: Arizona, Kentucky and Washington. He is the type of recruit that can singlehandedly change a program, and is exactly what Washington needs.
Adding him to the already impressive class that includes Nigel Williams-Goss, Darin Johnson and Jahmel Taylor would give Romar his best recruiting class in his time at Washington and could possibly push them over the Sweet 16 barrier. However, it is difficult to see Washington on the national spectrum in the near future without the addition of Gordon.
If Washington falls by the wayside once again, after staying hot on Gordon’s trail since he was in middle school, will Romar ever snag a top, out-of-state recruit? Being that the only five-star recruits Romar has signed have been local products and with the local crop of talent looking weak in the near future, the Huskies may be weak in the future without acquiring premier out-of-state talent.
However, if Gordon puts on the purple hat come signing day, it could open up many new doors for Romar and the Huskies. Seeing a peer that other top recruits respect pick Washington, then watch him succeed there could be the break Romar needs to turn Washington into a nationally feared program.
For now, fans are left with doubt and hope until National Signing Day. They will look to the current Husky squad to lift their spirits and send out Gaddy, Aziz N’Diaye and Scott Suggs out in winning fashion.