Jon Brockman is back.
In the large person of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, who as a freshman was big-time as Washington football‘s No. 1 tight end, the Huskies basketball team Monday regained something it has missed since the 2009 departure for the NBA of Brockman:
“I’m not a finesse-type guy, ” he said at an afternoon press conference. “I like to play with a lot of physicality.”
Truth be told, intimidation is what the Huskies have most lacked in their halting, 9-6 start to the season: Someone to make an opponent think twice before going in for a rebound or taking a charge. It’s not that the current roster is full of pansies, but there’s no one who is a perambulating bruise waiting to happen.
“This is not a case of bringing in the high school lineman to rough up the the other team’s star player,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. But if it did happen, there’s a reasonable chance that Romar would pull his jacket lapel over his mouth and yell “yes!” into his shirt pocket.
Romar waited until the end of his weekly press chat to spring the news on reporters who failed to ask about the possibility, perhaps for the first time in weeks. The desire of Sefarian-Jenkins, 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds (Brockman was 6-foot-7 and 255), to play hoops had been known for some time, but Romar went out of his way in the first half of the season to play down the chances. He lost the bet (a package of red vines) with assistant sports information director Brian Toms about whether the question would come up.
Sefarian-Jenkins will be in uniform for Tuesday’s game at Alaska Airlines Arena against Seattle U., but will not play, Romar said. The home game Sunday against Washington State is a possibility.
“He hasn’t played a game in a year,” Romar said. “He hasn’t learned our system. But I saw him play in high school. There’s a definite upside to it.”
Yeah. Like there’s definite upside to taking Natalie Portman to the prom.
Sefarian-Jenkins said he made up his mind just a couple of days ago, although the opportunity to do so was a part of the deal he made with football coach Steve Sarkisian before committing to Washington from Gig Harbor High School as one of the nation’s premier prospects.
He played both sports in high school, averaging 19 points and eight rebounds a game his senior year. He said Sarkisian was supportive.
“He was fantastic,” AS-J said. “I didn’t have to sell it to him. He’s an honest guy. When I committed, he said I’d have the opportunity. He gave me the pros and cons, then gave me the blessing to do what I wanted to do. It was a really good conversation.”
As a freshman, he played in all 13 games, starting 10, and was honorable mention All- Pac-12. His 479 receiving yards ranked No. 2 in UW single-season history for a true freshman (any position), and the number is third-highest in single-season history for a tight end of any class. His 36 receptions tied for sixth-most in single-season history for a tight end. The previous season, Huskies tight ends combined to catch six passes.
News of Sefarian-Jenkins decision overshadowed the renewal of the Seattle U. rivalry, which truthfully hasn’t been much of a rivalry, with Washington winning big all three games since the series renewed. And since the Redhawks, coached by former UW assistant Cameron Dollar, are 3-10, the chances to heat up Tuesday are minimal. But Romar tried.
“They’re 3-10, but they have to be the best 3-10 team in America,” he said with a straight face. “When things are going really well for you, you have time to think about (a rivalry). Right now, we’re taking one day at a time, and I really mean that — we’re still looking at the film from Utah and Colorado. We’re still trying to shore things up, instead of getting honed in on a rivalry.”
Then again, how better to shore things up than with a longshoreman?