Oregon guard Aaron Brooks of Seattle -- who coach Lorenzo Romar said would get his vote for Pac-10 player of the year -- won't play against UW on Thursday as final punishment for hitting guard Ryan Appleby with an intentional elbow last season at the Pac-10 tournament. (Long sentence, eh?)
Anyway, that naturally was the chief topic of conversation over at UW today.
Here's some of what we heard (from everyone but Brooks, who wasn't made available):
What happened was in the past and I've moved on from that. We're 1-6 right now, trying to get some wins. We're more worried about getting some wins in the Pac-10 than something that happened last year.
Usually the inside of your mouth heals up pretty well after those stitches, and it did. There's nothing that I can tell that happened from it – you can't see anything or feel anything.
I don't really have any hard feelings anymore. What's done is done, and there's nothing you can do about something that happened so long ago.
From what I've seen he's had a really good year so far this year. He's had a couple of game-winners and he's kind of the heart of his team. Probably him being out will probably help us.
OREGON COACH ERNIE KENT
It's an unfortunate situation to have happened. It's something that we feel like we have dealt with in terms of the punishment and we have to move on with it. It was administred last year and it's something we'll have to deal with an make the necessary adjustments.
The unfortunate thing is I know how much Aaron Brooks agonized over what he did and how bad he felt and I know how much he loves Seattle.
I think the biggest thing is he's just matured so much as an individual, as a person and a basketball player. All of that has kind of gone hand-in-hand. The fact that he is a father now has helped his maturity with those responsibilities that come with that. It's his senior year, he wanted to go out of here as a successful player, a successful point guard that has played here.
Oregon self-imposed the penalty and has stuck by it. I think those are at least the right thing to do. It's obviously unfortunate on all accounts. It's unfortunate the incident happened, but hopefully both teams can move on.
If we were voting today, I'd have him Pac-10 player of the year. That would suggest he's doing pretty good.
Their team is so multi-faceted, so versatile. I think maybe Aaron's player of the year in the conference right now, but at the same time, they can manage to play the same way that they've been playing. I don't think a whole lot will change with how they play.
He's a major part of what they're doing – numbers-wise and getting them into their sets. He's a big part, but at the same time their backup guys can come in and play his posiion and do just as well as he can when they come into the game.
I was on the bench and I saw it happen at the top of the key. I know Aaron – he's really not that type of guy. But your emotions can take over in a game and you just really can't do that.
It's big. Whenever they're stuggling they go to him at time. It's like us if Spencer isn't there.