In the era of "One and Done" it is rare that you find a program that is nurturing it's players and developing professionals. However, up in the northwest corner of the map there is a program that is starting to assert itself as one of the dominant programs in college basketball.
Over the last ten years, Lorenzo Lomar has built a program based on the "total team" concept and it's paying dividends for those athletes that buy in to what Coach Lo is selling. Over the course of his tenure, Coach Lomar has sent as many players to the NBA as many (if not all) of the other major college programs. The difference is that while every other program is sending "one and done's" to the big show, Coach Lo is sending experienced, well rounded professionals to the NBA. Of all the players that have left the University of Washington to play in the NBA, only one - Spencer Hawes - left after his freshman year.
In the modern era of basketball, the vast majority of athletes drafted into the NBA have stayed in college for no more than two years. In this time, the NBA has watched as the quality of it's product has declined. These athletes come into The Association lacking all of the skills necessary to adequately fulfill their promise. Consequently, the NBA has to invest years of coaching into the vast majority of these players before they reach their potential (if they ever reach it at all.) Can you imagine if Michael Jordan would have left UNC after his freshman year? Would he have been as great? I guess we'll never know, but I would have to think there would have been a diference in his game.
The college game is a teaching game. It is where children can become men without being labeled a "pro" first. They are insulated from the vultures that lurk in the shadows of NBA arenas and are given the opportunity to grow as men without the spotlight being too harshly bright.
This is what's taking place up there in Montlake. Coach Lo is molding men. He is quietly helping boys grow into their potential. What's more he's doing this while winning. Washington is on the verge of winning it's 2nd outright conference title in the last four years (which will be their 2nd in the last 60 years.) For the first time in it's 100+ year history, the UW has won 20 or more games in four consecutive seasons. If everything plays out the way the Huskies would like, they will be invited to "The Dance" for the 4th straight year, also a school first.
Congratulations to Coach Lorenzo Lomar! You are doing it right.