I see dominance. I see many league championships. I see many NCAA tournament appearances and I even see an NCAA championship.
And no, I am not talking about the UCLA Bruins, nor the Gonzaga Bulldogs or Arizona Wildcats and not even the Oregon Tech Hustling Owls.
Actually I am talking about the Seattle Redhawks men's basketball team.
In case you have not heard, about being rejected by the West Coast Conference several times (still a puzzling a decision for lots people), the Redhawks will join the Western Athletic Conference beginning in 2012-13. After serving the mandatory four year NCCA waiting period for teams that jump from D-2, to D-1, the Redhawks will not only be able to play in a pretty good conference, but they will also be able to compete in post-season play, in 2013.
Even though it is a year out, I wanted to get well out in front of things, so not to be accused of being a frontrunner or bandwagon jumper. All I can say is at least in men's basketball the Redhawks have all the makings and potential to dominate the WAC.
And why would I make what some might consider to be a foolish prediction, well allow me to tell you why, a WHY that considers many factors.
1. Seattle U. is a great school academically, if you get a degree from Seattle U., it means something.
2. They have a president who understands the value of athletics to the overall campus experience. President Stephen Sundborg, S. J., is committed totally to having a successful athletic program, some presidents talk a good game, he knows how to play the game.
3. Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, potential recruits pay attention to that kind of thing. In addition, even if cross town rival Washington Huskies took the top 12 players in the Puget Sound area, there would still be plenty of local players to make the Redhawks successful. Seattle is one of the richest places in the country when it comes to talented basketball players, a great advantage for Seattle U.
4. Not only do they have a great president, athletic director Bill Hogan also knows and understands what it takes to build a program and win at the D-1 level in basketball. He is at the right place at the right time.
5. As they have moved to D-1, the Redhawks have also developed a solid fan base and just as importantly an excellent student following. It does help that since they do have to play their home games off campus, they have a beautiful arena to play in, Key Arena.
6. Last but not least, Seattle U. has a rich basketball history, has sent many players in the past to the NBA and can rely on many of those players to get behind the basketball program. The court at Key Arena is named after one of the greatest players ever in the NBA, Elgin Baylor and he is just one of the outstanding players who played at Seattle U, in their heyday of great basketball in the 50s,60s and 70s. Often many of the great players can be seen at games and are totally supportive of the program.
In looking over the WAC in basketball, I am not sure in the next few years who can stop the Redhawks from being dominant. Of course that is why the games are played and paper is just good to look at visually.
Now there has to always one thing that can deter progress. Cameron Dollar is the coach of the Redhawks. I would have to say with total accuracy that the verdict is still out on Dollar as a head coach. Becoming a member of the WAC, means much more than just being in a league, it will help with recruiting, gives the players some added goals and means so much to athletes to be part of an actual league, so the pressure is on for Dollar to produce. Rest assured he has to produce more than he has done so far.
But, no matter who is coaching the Redhawks, for the reasons listed above and looking over all the competition, the WAC is there for the taking for Seattle U. basketball to totally dominate the WAC conference. It is just going to be a matter of time, before other WAC members say " why in the world did we ever invite them into this league".
As I always say, it will be fun to watch, but just remember, "I told you so".
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