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Hopkins Enters COVID Protocols, Will Miss Oregon State Game

Assistant coach Will Conroy will run the Huskies from the sideline.

Before going on the road trip, Mike Hopkins quipped that Thursday night's Washington-Oregon State basketball game in Corvallis, with its 8:30 p.m. opening tipoff, was being played past his bedtime.

Well, he won't be there after all.

Hours before the game, UW officials announced that the fifth-year Husky basketball coach had entered COVID protocols and would miss the Pac-12 match-up.

Will Conroy, a longtime Husky assistant coach and a former standout point guard, will serve as interim coach and run things for the Huskies (8-7 overall, 3-2 Pac-12) from the sideline against the Beavers (3-13, 1-5) at Gill Coliseum.

Even with everyone fully vaccinated, UW basketball coaches and players continuously have struggled with COVID interruptions 15 games into the season.

During the holidays, the Huskies had to postpone or cancel three games and went three full weeks without playing when the virus swept through much of the team.

The UW had the first college basketball team nationwide to have a game scrubbed because of the virus when it couldn't play on Dec. 4 at Arizona.

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Thereafter individual players such as Jamal Bey and Riley Sorn have missed games after testing positive and having to quarantine. 

"It's been a day here safe, next day no," Hopkins said earlier this month. "It's constantly a lot of uncertainty and challenges. It's not just the play of your team, it's the mindset of your team. Some have different views of the Omicron, but it's real."

Hopkins had noted the irony in how his team, without vaccines available, went through an entire season without losing anyone to an illness and now fields an inoculated team where there's been nothing but nonstop issues for the Huskies.

"Hopefully we can be safe and play in a safe environment so these kids can have some normalcy," he said two weeks ago.

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