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Championship Icon Under Investigation

October 2, 2002 Columns No Comments

Championship Icon Under Investigation

by Nicholas Lozito

In the 1995 NCAA Championship Game in Seattle, UCLA point guard Cameron Dollar was all a dollar could be — cool and crisp, with a president’s glare cast upon him.

After starting point guard Tyus Edney, who had hit a game-winning lay-up in the tournament’s second round, suffered a wrist injury in the Bruins semifinal match-up with Oklahoma, Dollar knew it was his turn to step up against Arkansas in the title game.

With former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton looking on, the 6-foot-1 freshman dished out eight assists, scored six points and had four steals in the Bruins’ 89-78 championship game victory.

One magical night in Seattle had turned a little known back-up point guard into a championship game hero.

Seven years later Dollar is back in Seattle, and once again he has shocked the town.

Now an assistant coach at the University of Washington, Dollar is being investigated for recruiting violations. According to ESPN, Dollar had illegally contacted a 16-year old recruit throughout his junior year in high school.

It makes you wonder, just how did Washington get Brandon Roy, who was contemplating entering the NBA draft, to sign with them. The Huskies, who went 10-18 (5-13 in Pac-10) last season, are not a basketball power by any means. They aren’t even the best team in the state of Washington, with Gonzaga reigning supreme in the Pacific Northwest.

Maybe everything involving Washington Husky basketball is a flop. Remember the 1997 film, “The Sixth Man,” starring Marlon Wayans. Probably not. The movie centered around a Husky basketball player — Kenny Tyler — who dies on the court, but his ghost returns to help guide Washington to the national title.

The movie was pathetic, but not quite as pathetic as the real Washington Huskies have been over the past few years.

You might think with the hiring of Dollar in April, 2002 , coupled with the recent hiring of head coach Lorenzo Romar, the Husky program was heading in the right direction.

At UCLA, Dollar was looked at by head coaches Steve Lavin and Jim Harrick as a leader. A player who didn’t have the most talent on the team by any means, but could carry his team to the top — as displayed in March of ’95.

Romar, who was Dollar’s assistant coach at UCLA, had taken Pepperdine to the NIT in 1999, and then carried Saint Louis to the NCAA Tournament in 2000.

But with the recent recruiting violations, Dollar, Romar and the Husky basketball program are all left with a black eye. The Huskies look to be sitting along side state rivals Washington State in the cellar of the Pac-10 standings once again this year.

But look at the bright side Washington, it probably wont get any worse. Of course, they always could come out with “The Sixth Man: Part 2.”


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