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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

May 11, 2006 at 4:31 PM

Never too early to look ahead

I know this is kind of old news — and not really news at that. But ESPN’s Bracketology last week had UW projected as a No. 2 seed next season, playing in Spokane.
I figured I’d use that as a way to jump into a brief discussion of next season and whether expectations for the Huskies are going to be too high.
As this Bracketology shows, expectations are going to be about as high a they have ever been for UW.
And I know that’s a concern of the coaches, who don’t want to temper expectations because they think this will be a really good team, but are realistic enough to realize that with so many young players there will be some inevitable bumps in the road.
One person told me that the whole key to next year will be getting major contributions from at least three of the incoming freshmen. Not a news flash there, either, but still interesting to ponder.
The mostly likely candidates to do that, obviously, are center Spencer Hawes, forward Quincy Pondexter and guard Adrian Oliver. Conventional wisdom is that Phil Nelson is a little further away from making an immediate impact than the other three incoming frosh.
I think there’s little doubt that Hawes is the real deal, though again, to expect 20 and 10 right out of the box is probably a little unrealistic. But eventually, I think big numbers will be there.
Bigger unknowns, especially among those of us who live in this area and haven’t seen them play, are Pondexter and Oliver.
But in talking with a few people who have seen them play, a few general themes about each player have emerged.
So here’s a little scouting report on each:
Pondexter — He’s a 6-foot-7, 220-pound small forward who is known for his slashing ability but has a ways to go still to develop a consistent outside shot. Sounds a little like Brandon Roy early in his career.
But one person told me to expect something more along the lines of how Bobby Jones played early in his career — good defense and rebounding as a given — though with a better offensive game than Jones had as a freshman.
Jones averaged 5.4 points as a freshman, but scored nine or more points in five of UW’s last 10 games that year, as he became a starter late in the season.
One person told me comparisons to Roy probably won’t ever be really accurate because Pondexter likely won’t be as good a ballhandler on the perimeter as Roy. Not that that’s a huge criticism, as there are few players around who are as tall as Roy (6-6) and handle the ball as well.
Oliver — He’s a 6-foot-3, 180-pound combo guard from Modesto, Calif. But the emphasis seems increasingly on the “combo” part of that description as Oliver put up some big scoring numbers in high school and in all-star games recently. One person told me Oliver could be reasonably expected to score more next season than did Justin Dentmon. Dentmon averaged 8.1 points this year, but had some big games — 17 against Gonzaga, 16 against UCLA, etc.
Oliver could easily end up teaming with Dentmon in UW’s backcourt with Pondexter at the three, Jon Brockman at the four and Hawes at the five.
But that’s three freshmen and two sophomores and talented as they may be, some growing pains would be expected. Still, if it all works out as everyone at UW hopes — and as people seem to think is reasonable to expect — that No. 2 seed in Spokane may not be that far-fetched.
• Here’s an interesting story from the Salt Lake Tribune that says Brandon Roy could be Utah’s “dream pick,” but that the Jazz don’t expect him to escape the top five of the draft.
• Here’s another mock draft that has Roy going with the No. 5 pick.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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