TOP OF THE TOWN – You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that there is something rotten in Washington Husky men’s basketball. When five Husky players enter the transfer portal they are fleeing because they don’t like what is going on and are looking for better playing opportunities elsewhere. Using the transfer portal, which began in October, 2018, wasn’t a big thing at first but now players are using it regularity. But the Husky situation is ridiculous. A once proud program has become a joke the past two seasons with an overall Pac-12 record of 8-29 and 20-38 overall with one last place finish and a 11th-place finish (California was last this season). In numerous games the Huskies were overmatched and dominated. So what happened between coach Mike Hopkins’ first two seasons when he was named the conference coach of the year and these last two seasons when they were awful. Hopkins won with the previous coach’s players in his first two seasons (25-11 in conference and 48-22 overall with one conference championship) and then fell off the grid the last two years with his players. That suggests his recruiting is to blame. He’s not getting the better players, especially in-state, and it’s showing up on the court. Now his players are fleeing. They include Erick Stevenson, Marcus Tsohonis, Nate Pryor, J’Raan Brooks and RaeQuan Battle and it’s quite possible that Quade Green and Hameir Wright will not come back although because of COVID-19 they are eligible to return for an extra final season. Hopkins has added Arizona transfer Terrell Brown Jr. and Samuel Ariyibi from Nigeria. Olympia’s Jackson Grant has indicated he also will play for the Huskies next year. If the Huskies were to fire Hopkins they would owe him something like $12 million, so I don’t expect him to be let go. But if things don’t turn around next season you can expect him to be fired, and I’m ok with that. I don’t think he’s a very good coach. His substitution patterns suck. A player will have a great game and then not see the floor for several games. His players never seemed to play well together. Well, maybe once in a while. But there is something missing when a team doesn’t look like it even wants to be on the floor. And, to tell the truth, some of the players shouldn’t have been on the court. Last season when he had two of the top players in the country in Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels Hopkins ran an offense that centered on Stewart. Eventually teams adjusted to that offense, as you would expect, and double and triple-teamed Stewart and the result was a stalled offense that led to a 5-13 record and last place in the Pac-12. As a coach when you see that happening you have to make adjustments. Hopkins never did. I don’t see the Huskies being anything more than a pretender next season unless by the magic of time travel Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Elgin Baylor suddenly appear out of thin air. And Elgin is now deceased. As it appears the Husky men’s basketball program also just might be. … I get it. The Mariners are not much different than most of the professional baseball teams. They don’t want to start the service time on players in their minor-league system that will be future stars. So the delay them long enough to ensure that those players will be under team control for as long as possible. But I’m sick of it. You got a player good enough to be in the major leagues then he needs to be in the major leagues. The goal after all is to win as many games as possible, make the playoffs and maybe win a World Series championship. Any excuse to not start that service time is not acceptable. Jarred Kelenic deserves to be on the Mariners 25-man roster now. Not 17 games into the season when his service time clock would start and make him eligible for free agency in 2027 and not 2026.  So we fans are expected to submit to another losing season because the club does not want to have to pay Kelenic a large contract one year earlier. Baloney. Put him on the roster now.  You can afford it. I would also put outfielder Julio Rodriguez and pitcher Logan Gilbert on the roster. According to reports, Rodriquez is projected to be better than Kelenic. It’s not going to happen, of course, because they won’t listen to me. But that’s what I would do. You play games with your best players. They are the best. Ok, I can’t do anything else right now so I’m signing off. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.