#40 Washington Men's Basketball Preview

Washington Huskies

Overall Rank: #40
Conference Rank: #4 Pac-12
Washington Men's College Basketball Logo
Washington Team Page

2010-11: 24-11, 11-7
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lorenzo Romar (195-102 at Washington, 288-190 overall)

Washington will look a little different this year, but the style will be the same. This is a team that runs up and down the floor and has a bevy of tall, athletic guards who lead the way. Coach Lorenzo Romar has a very deep and talented backcourt and the leader this year could be Terrence Ross. The 6-6 sophomore only started four games last season, but Coach Romar expects big things from him in 2011-2012. Ross can score in bunches both inside and out. He can use his size to help out a bit on the glass, but mostly Ross should turn into the Huskies new go-to-scorer.

Who’s Out:
The somewhat surprising early departure of Isaiah Thomas leaves a void in the scoring department. Thomas averaged 16.8 points per game and did a superb job hitting the big shots. Ross should come pretty close to replacing his numbers and he may even be a little more dynamic of a scorer with a more consistent outsider jumper. Thomas is not the only loss however. Guard Venoy Overton was a nice defensive spark off the bench. The bigger issue is up front where Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday are gone. Holiday was more of a wing than a forward, but either way he averaged 10.5 points per game and did a good job on the glass from the four spot. Bryan-Amaning was the force in the paint on both ends of the floor. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during his senior season and there is no big man who is ready to score like that.

Who’s In:
The newcomers are led by Tony Wroten. The 6-5 guard can do everything and could have gone anywhere, but opted to stay close to home. No matter where Wroten fits into the lineup, he will spend plenty of time with the ball in his hands. He is a superb playmaker and can create shots for himself or his teammates. Wroten will help UW forget about Thomas pretty quickly. The group on the perimeter will get even more help from redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons and true freshmen Andrew Andrews and Hikeem Stewart. Simmons, a 6-7 wing, is a scrappy player who can do the dirty work. His hustle, defense and ability to hit the glass could earn him some minutes. Andrews is a pure scorer and could find some playing time off the bench this year. The frontcourt needs some options and the Huskies hope Martin Breunig, Jernard Jarreau and Shawn Kemp, Jr. will provide a few. Breunig and Jarreau are not beefy enough, yet, to replace Bryan-Amaning as a true five. They could see some minutes at the four spot though when the team needs some slightly bigger bodies on the floor. Kemp is a big man, but he is quite raw and will need some time to live up to his namesake.

Who to Watch:
Abdul Gaddy missed most of last season after tearing an ACL. In the 13 games he played, Gaddy averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 assists. More importantly, he only turned the ball over 1.2 times per game. Gaddy has had high expectations, but a slow start to his freshman campaign and then the injury has led to disappointment. However, Gaddy is still a great scorer and a fine point guard. Gaddy should step right back into his starting gig at the point, with Wroten moving off to the wing. Gaddy will have help running the show from Wroten and that could free him up to become the scorer many expected him to be coming out of high school. C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs will battle for a starting spot if Coach Romar opts for a smaller lineup. Starting or not, Wilcox turned into a good scorer towards the end of his freshman campaign and will play a big role as a sophomore. Wilcox is the best shooter on the team and he started to show a more balanced offensive attack late last season.

Final Projection:
Darnell Gant was benched last season due to his lack of rebounding. He developed a nice outside shot and, at 6-8 and 230 pounds, is certainly the biggest option UW has at power forward. However, due to the talent on the perimeter, Gant may again be relegated to the bench depending on the competition. Aziz N’Diaye started 25 games at center last season, but he is not the interior scorer this team needs. He is a fine defender and a good rebounder, but the Huskies may outrun the seven-footer. The key for this team is finding some scoring in the frontcourt. Coach Romar builds his teams to be heavy on tall, lanky guards, but success has come with a player like Bryan-Amaning providing some interior scoring. The backcourt can lead this team to the NCAA Tournament, but by March they will need a big man to make a run.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Abdul Gaddy, Junior, Guard, 8.5 points per game
C.J. Wilcox, Sophomore, Guard, 8.1 points per game
Tony Wroten, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Terrence Ross, Sophomore, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Aziz N’Diaye, Junior, Center, 4.6 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#45 Tony Wroten Jr.

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#19 Tony Wroten Jr.
#140 Hikeem Stewart

Check out another story about Washington basketball