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November 13, 2009 at 10:16 PM

Wright State Post-game analysis

POST-GAME ANALYSIS:
I don’t want to push the panic button, especially not after a win, but one thing jumps out at me after Washington’s 74-69 victory against a Wright State team that was missing two of its best players.
The Huskies don’t have an identity yet. And that’s okay. That’s understandable. It’s the first game of a long season.
The troubling part may be UW’s post game needs a presence. It needs somebody to be difference maker. It needs someone to fill the void left by Jon Brockman. You knew the big men (Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant and Tyreese Breshers) would come along slowly, but you didn’t think Washington would tie Wright State with 29 rebounds.
You didn’t think the three bigs would combine for 10 points and seven rebounds.
The one guy who could help Washington with its low post problems, senior captain Quincy Pondexter, is moving his game to the perimeter. In fact, Pondexter is no longer a forward anymore. He’s a 6-6 guard. At least that’s what the PA announcer says and that’s what the post-game statistics say.
This is a great move for Pondexter, who no doubt believes he’ll have a lucrative future after his UW playing days if he fine tunes his guard skills. However, Washington needs Pondexter in the post. Now.
It was obvious in the final minutes against Wright State. When the Raiders cut an 18-point UW lead to 6. It was obvious when Isaiah Thomas’ jumper turned cold and the Huskies needed a basket, they turned to Pondexter, who took over in the middle because right now he’s their best post player.
When he didn’t score inside, he got fouled. And he went to the line and sank two free throws in the final minutes. And it’s no surprise Pondexter finished with nine rebounds, which was three times as many as Bryan-Amaning who had three.
UW can’t rely consistently on inside points from Gant, who is starting to gain more confidence in his mid-range baseline jumper, or Breshers because he’s working himself into shape. So it’s going to be Pondexter or Bryan-Amaning.
It’s going to be interesting to see how coach Lorenzo Romar handles this. The players and Romar admitted after the game they can’t win consistently if Thomas is scoring 30 points and they’re struggling to generate baskets elsewhere.
They can’t win consistently with their starting point guard (Venoy Overton) finishing with more turnovers (four) than assists (three) and their defense allowing Wright State to shoot 49 percent in the second half. The Huskies are going to have to find a handful of players who will be their third-leading scorer because Scott Suggs, just happened to fall into nine points.
It was great to see Suggs play so well. UW doesn’t give plus-minus stats, but I got to believe he was surely on the positive side. And Suggs was on the floor in the final minutes when the game was on the line, which is a sign that maybe he’ll get more minutes.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
— This is a knee-jerk reaction, but Thomas is my early MVP candidate. He’s that good. As he put it: “I’m a scorer. I know how to score.” I think he’ll average at least 20 points this season.
— Not sure what’s going on with Elston Turner. This was supposed to be a breakout year for him, but this is the second time (including the exhibition) when he’s struggled to find a role on the floor. Turner is UW’s best shooter, but he took just one shot tonight.
— Romar is pleading with everyone to be patient with freshman Abdul Gaddy. Romar compared his first year to Brandon Roy and said Gaddy needs time to get adjusted.
— The defense was solid at times. UW forced 19 turnovers and defended the three-pointer well, but the over-aggressive Huskies were burned on several backdoor cuts for layups. Romar complained in the opener UW needed to play without fouling and they did a decent job at keeping Wright State (21 FTs) off of the line.
— Hooray for the Huskies for making 77.1 percent (27 of 35) of their FTs.
Clarence Trent didn’t play because of a coach’s decision.
— Romar amended a previous statement and said he’s likely to use a 10-man rotation during non-conference games and would like to work down to a nine-man rotation for conference.
— The three-point shooting isn’t necessarily a big concern. Yet. The Huskies were 20 percent (3 of 15) behind the arc, but for the most part they were good shots.
— Also not worried too much about Breshers who played just eight minutes and finished with three points and two rebounds. It was his first real game in over 18 months and he’ll need about a dozen games to work himself into form.
— Same goes for Justin Holiday, who was 0 for 3 in 11 minutes.
No need push any panic buttons, but there’s a little cause for alarm.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs

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