The collection of players that will gather Sunday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion would be sufficient to field an NBA playoff team, let alone comprise two of the four squads for the first-ever University of Washington Men’s Basketball Alumni Event.
Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Brandon Roy, Spencer Hawes, Terrence Ross and Justin Holiday will participate in the Alumni Game, which is followed by a 3-point shootout and slam-dunk contest.
The Legends Game, a warmup scrimmage between former UW players approaching eligibility for AARP, starts at 1 p.m.. The thought of running up and down the court had coach Lorenzo Romar joking Tuesday when reporters asked about his return to the hardwood. The 54-year-old will join former Huskies Eldridge Recasner, Donald Watts, Christian Dorsey and Paul Fortier, among others.
“I’m just going to try to make it through the first TV timeout. We won’t be pressuring the ball, I can tell you that,” Romar said.
The Alumni Game will be more uptempo. The rosters include 12 NBA players, all of whom Romar has coached during his 10 seasons with the Huskies. Most surprising was the unified response he received when he approached players and told them who would be on their team. Nobody wanted to play against Jon Brockman.
“I just thought that was interesting because, career-wise, there have been guys who have been more successful in the NBA,” Romar said, referring to the power forward who plays for the French Pro-A team, Limoges. “Not many have been more successful here at Washington. Maybe they’ve had better careers, but I think he is one of the most respected Huskies out there.”
Brockman will team with Tony Wroten, Jr., Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Dentmon, Darnell Gant, Ross, Thomas, Holiday and Pondexter.
The other team has stars from Romar’s teams in the earlier part of the 21st century. Roy, Robinson, Hawes, Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen, Tre Simmons, Hans Gasser and Jamaal Williams will play, barring last second changes. Romar also said the athletic department is working to bring Ryan Appleby back to compete in the 3-point contest.
Roy, who failed last season in his second comeback from multiple knee surgeries, will be healthy enough to compete at nearly 100 percent, according to Romar. That could pose an issue for the younger group of Huskies who used Twitter as a platform to talk trash in the weeks leading up to the game.
“What I’ve been joking is if Brandon decides this is like his last farewell, like when Magic (Johnson) did when he came back and played in that last All-Star game, then somebody is in trouble,” Romar said.
Those worried the main event will devolve into a typical all-star game with uncontested fast break dunks and olé defense needn’t worry. Romar expects a big crowd and a competitive atmosphere.
“This is a real game,” he said. “There are going to be officials, cheerleaders, band, the starting lineups, play-by-play. It’s a game. That’s what I really like about it.”