UGA-Washington notebook from Charlotte…

CHARLOTTE – Isaiah Thomas, the Washington guard who was named for the former NBA star, says his name is a “blessing.”

Usually.

“I mean, if I don’t play well, people think, like, ‘Why is his name Isaiah Thomas?’ When I play well, it’s pretty cool. People compare us, even though we’re kind of totally two different players. But it’s pretty cool just to have the name and to be known for the name.”

Thomas was named for former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas because his father lost a friendly bet on the Lakers-Pistons series in the 1989 NBA Finals. Thomas’ mother added an extra “a,” preferring the biblical spelling.

Thomas increasingly is known for his game, rather than his name, and he’ll undoubtedly get a lot of attention, from both the Georgia defense and the CBS announcers, in Friday night’s NCAA tournament game.

The 5-foot-9 Thomas enlarged his reputation by capping a remarkable performance in last week’s Pac-10 tournament with a buzzer-beating shot in overtime to win the championship game over Arizona

“I’ve watched [the replay] probably a thousand times, something like that,” Thomas said Thursday.

The shot came in the 123rd minute (out of a possible 125) that he played in three games over three days. He averaged 19.6 points and 10 assists per game in the tournament.

“He willed his team to a championship,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said Thursday. And added: “I don’t know how many guys are out there that can get you 25 or 30 [points] but can get you 12 assists also. And he’s able to do that.”

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Thompkins at practice Thursday (AP photo)

Thompkins at practice Thursday (AP photo)

Romar’s first thought upon seeing that his team drew Georgia as its opening opponent?

The Bulldogs’ Trey Thompkins.

“First thing I thought of . . . was him,” Romar said. “Immediately I’m thinking, ‘OK, how in the world are we going to guard him?’”

Romar got to know Thompkins while serving as a coach of USA Basketball’s select team, a group of college players who trained against the U.S. national team last summer. Thompkins was on the select team until a minor left foot injury forced him to withdraw.

“I remember him,” Romar said, “because I had not seen Trey play a lot [previously], just a little bit, but was able to watch him play everyday, coach him a little bit and just loved his attitude, just loved his mobility, his versatility. Just a nice stroke. Has great hands. Can step away from the basket and is totally comfortable that way, but yet you give it to him on the block and he can score there, too.”

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Of the 68 teams that made the NCAA tournament field, Washington was assigned the longest distance to travel: 2,802 miles from Seattle to Charlotte

Romar voiced no complaints.

“We’ve been inconsistent this year,” he said. “Maybe if we’d done a little better job during our season, we wouldn’t have had to go so far. So we kind of made our bed in that regard.”

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Etc.: The Huskies have never won a game in the state of North Carolina. They are 0-8 all-time in the state. . . . Washington averages 83.5 points per game, Georgia 68.8. It’ll be a battle for the tempo. . . . The teams had one mutual opponent — Kentucky. Washington lost 74-67 to the Cats in December in Maui. Georgia split games with Kentucky, winning by seven and losing by six. . . . Thompkins: “I feel like we’re going to be a pressure-free team. I think we’re just going to go out and play … the way we know how to play.” . . . The Georgia-Washington winner will play the North Carolina-Long Island winner on Sunday. Here’s a story from last year by the AJC’s Carroll Rogers on the interesting role Roy Williams, now the North Carolina coach, played in Mark Fox’s career.

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More on Friday night’s game:

Five things to know about the Huskies.

A look at UGA’s long road back to the NCAA tourney.

Mark Bradley’s column.

29 comments Add your comment

Palm City Dawg

March 18th, 2011
6:29 am

Palm City Dawg

March 18th, 2011
6:31 am

Tell me the DAWGS that wipped the Cats and Vols will show up.

Brian F.

March 18th, 2011
7:13 am

I have not seen one “so called expert” pick the Dogs to win, For that matter, we haven’t really even gotten any mention. This could truly be a great “shock” the college basketball world moment for the Dogs. If we play like we are capable of, we can do just that. Can’t wait until 9:45 pm.

Cohutta Dawgman

March 18th, 2011
7:15 am

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ormewood

March 18th, 2011
7:22 am

Brian is correct. It’s remarkable how not one of the so-called epxerts is picking the Dawgs. Heck, many have UW penciled into the Sweet 16. Thus, the Dawgs should be properly motivated, and can legitimately play the “get-no-respect” card.

Dawg Gone It

March 18th, 2011
7:38 am

Good luck DAWGS.

play from behind

March 18th, 2011
7:52 am

Maybe the dawgs need to play from behind in the second half because they cannot hold leads…

RomeDawg

March 18th, 2011
8:22 am

We have the POTENTIAL to do some damage, BUT we also have the POTENTIAL to be a one and done.

YardDawg

March 18th, 2011
8:32 am

I like to “play from behind”, too

Logan Booker

March 18th, 2011
8:34 am

Other than Dawg fans there’s little excitement about this basketball program outside of Georgia. If we win then it will be an upset and the news will be about the lost opportunity for the Huskies. The story won’t be about the Dawgs. Besides, whoever wins will more than likely face UNC Chapel Hill next and the next story line will be about the Tar Heels and not the Dawgs (Huskies or Bulldogs). There’s not much to gain here but a little recognition and hopefully some respect. If UGA hoops becomes a consistent winner, particularly on the road, then we will build respect and recognition by the nation. Right now we’re pretty much off the national radar.

CHarlie Sheen's Red Pany Brigade

March 18th, 2011
9:19 am

YardDawg…would you like to be on my team?? LOL

gdawginkalamazoo

March 18th, 2011
9:52 am

IF his dad had won the bet the kid would be named Kareem Abul Thomas.
Or maybe Kurt Rambis Thomas.

playmeortrademe

March 18th, 2011
10:10 am

The kid should be thankful the winner wasn’t a Bill Laimbeer or Dennis Rodman fan.

The question will be how will the team handle the pressure of playing in the tournament. Fox has been there and he can keep them under control and playing within themselves, they have a good chance to beat Washington and give UNC a good shot in the 2nd Round, even with UNC playing a virtual home game in Charlotte. (I REFUSE to call it the 3rd round). But the problem is that pucker factor that kicks in when the pressure starts to mount, especially with Robinson in his first year of playing big-boy basketball in the SEC.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 18th, 2011
10:19 am

Logan, nor should there be any excitement from the basketball world for the UGA program…Yet. We have won 20+ games for the first time since who knows when. We won a couple of big games this year. We have two superstars that have a chance to really improve their NBA draft status and make UGA basketball mentionable in the national spot light..

From where UGA basketball has been the past decade just making the tourney and getting a prime spot on CBS tonight is huge. Okay the spot is more for Washington than us but we can turn that around with a solid game.

BuckheadBill

March 18th, 2011
10:42 am

All I have left to say is “GO YOU HAIRY DAWGS”. :>O

ormewood

March 18th, 2011
10:43 am

If th Dawgs beat UW and then beat UNC in an NCAA game in Charlotte where they are something like 30-1 historically, then the Dawgs will get plenty of media attention. That would be program-changing.

ormewood

March 18th, 2011
10:44 am

That record I cited is UNC’s record in games played in NCAA within the state of NC. Actually, I think it’s closer to 35-1.

Dirty Dawg

March 18th, 2011
10:49 am

‘Can we’…’will we’…those are two very different questions. Washington is a big question mark for most of us, so who knows? What we do know about them is that Kentucky beat ‘em back before Kentucky was the team they are now – even thought they almost blew it yesterday. We also know that North Carolina got blown out by G Tech not all that long ago, so even thought it’s in NC, who knows about that one either. So let’s just play the game(s) and see what happens.

Dirty Dawg

March 18th, 2011
10:50 am

…don’t know where all those ‘t(s)’ came from on ‘though’…

Heels Rock & Rule

March 18th, 2011
11:02 am

If not mistaken, they all play on same floor, with same ball and under same rules. Stop begging already! You sound like Ky fans.

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Matthews Dawg

March 18th, 2011
11:08 am

Can’t wait for the game tonight!! I will be there cheering on the Dawgs!! The are not a big deal outside of the state of GA. Here in Charlotte, they have hardly spoke about them. You only hear of how they CAN’T finish games! Which is a true statement. Hopefully, we can pull this one out and I can go Sunday and watch them play the Heels! It would be sweet to win the first game, even sweeter to beat UNC. I am not a fan of Tar Heel blue! Go Dawgs!!

Matthews Dawg

March 18th, 2011
11:10 am

I will be there tonight watching and cheering on the Dawgs! There are a ton of Dawg fans in Charlotte, hopefully, they all will be there to cheer the Dawgs!! Go Dawgs!!

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March 18th, 2011
11:18 am

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Vance Duly

March 18th, 2011
11:32 am

If we could finally play 40 minutes of complete ball, instead of our trademarked late-game fading, we could win a few games in the NCAAs. Maybe, since we’ve not played in a week, our guys will be rested and healthy enough to do so……? WOOF…..!!!!?!!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Upstate Dawg

March 18th, 2011
1:30 pm

On my way to Charlotte, gooooooooooooooooooo Dawgs!

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