Washington Huskies Basketball Alumni Game Preview: Frontcourt


Jan 28, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies forward Darnell Gant (44) reacts to winning a game against the Arizona Wildcats 69-67 at the McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Morrison-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-2009 Team: Spencer Hawes,    Mike Jensen & Jamaal Williams

Post-2009 Team: Jon Brockman, Matthew Bryan-Amaning &                 Darnell Gant

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The center and power forward positions may have been the ones that have defined the Lorenzo Romar era thus far. Sure, he’s produced more guards and wings than most of the programs in the nation, but one thing has stayed consistent on successful Romar-run teams. They all have athletic big men that don’t clog the paint. It had held true through his entire tenure at Washington, starting from the first tournament team with Jensen.

That position has progressed since then, bringing in the likes of Brockman, Bryan-Amaning and Desmond Simmons. Now, they are pitted against each other to prove which era truly defines the “power center” position for Husky basketball.

Apr 9, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jon Brockman (40) during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Bradley Center. The Thunder defeated the Bucks 109-89. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve got to say, it’s a little weird seeing Hawes on the pre-2009 team and Brockman on the post-2009, seeing as Brockman arrived before Hawes and seems to resonate more with the pre-2009 era. I suppose he did graduate in 2009 and in the essence of fairness, belonged on the post-2009 team.

Like Isaiah Thomas and Nate Robinson, it is pretty well known that Hawes and Brockman are good friends, so it will be fun to see them match up in purple and gold (or white, I guess). Unfortunately, they might not see much time against each other, as Gant matches up better with Hawes, as Brockman does with Jensen and Williams. I’m sure they’ll each find time to back each other down at least once during the game, though.

Jensen managed to play games in five different seasons, but only appeared in every one twice. He was somewhat of a building block down low for Romar, offering solid minutes when healthy, but never reaching great heights. As Romar began bringing in more talented big men, he stuck to the style he used with Jensen (and eventually Williams) in the lineup.

MBA is responsible for one of my favorite moments in Husky basketball history, when he posterized Stanford’s Andrew Zimmerman in the Pac-10 Tournament. He had a couple other raucous dunks, but nothing ever compared to that. Maybe he’ll try to replicate in the dunk contest.

The pre-2009 team will have to rely on Hawes’ size to compete with the athleticism of the post-2009 team. If Hawes is able to dominate the paint, the pre-2009 group should prevail, but they allow MBA to run, Gant to spread the floor and Brockman to grab rebounds, they don’t stand a chance. With all the firepower the post-2009 team has, the pre-2009 team won’t be able to keep up.

Advantage: Post-2009 Team