Photo credit: Seattle Times – Cliff DesPeaux
Don’t tell the Washington Huskies today’s 5 p.m. exhibition against St. Martin’s is meaningless.
With Venoy Overton (hamstring) (above, right) sitting out, several players will be given a rare chance to pick up some more minutes and more opportunities to stress their case for playing time or a spot in the starting lineup.
In last year’s 77-48 exhibition win over Central Washington, 11 Huskies played, everyone received at least 14 minutes and no one played more than 24. Overton was on the court for 21 minutes. He figures to play a large role this season and some believe he’s one of the top 10 players in the Pac-10, but his absence gives other players a time to shine.
Let’s take a quick look at who has the most to gain.
Abdul Gaddy: Who knows would have started today’s game, but Overton’s absence leaves Washington with just one true scholarship point guard. Gaddy never played more than 25 minutes in the final 16 games last season, but he’s likely to receive a workout today. He doesn’t have to be the star, but he needs to show he can run the team, take care of the ball, create scoring opportunities for teammates and knock down an open shot. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to prove UW’s defense doesn’t drop when he’s in the game and collect a steal or two. Last year he had just 18 and didn’t have a steal in the final four games.
Isaiah Thomas: Without Overton, Thomas will likely have to share the point guard duties with Gaddy. That shouldn’t be a problem for the 5-foot-9 guard who became more of a distributor at times late last season especially in three NCAA tournament games when he averaged 6.3 assists. Still, turnovers have sometimes plagued Thomas as well. He committed 83 last season, which was the second highest behind Overton’s 84. It will be interesting to see how Thomas balances the dual responsibilities of directing the offense and scoring.
Scott Suggs: He doesn’t play the same position as Overton, but if Thomas slides to point guard then that leaves a spot open at shooting guard for Suggs and the other wings. He’s never played more than 25 minutes, but last season he proved that given time he could be effective scoring. Suggs played 20 or more minutes just eight times and he scored at least eight points five times. Suggs tallied his career high 13 points twice when he played 20 and 25 minutes.
C.J. Wilcox: It’s the first time we’ve seen him since last year’s CWU exhibition. In his only UW game, the redshirt freshman played sparingly in the first half and received 12 of his 16 minutes in the second half. Wilcox finished with six points on 2-for-6 shooting. He also had a rebound, an assist, a steal and a a turnover. It was a forgettable game for Wilcox who missed all three three-pointers he attempted. He’ll likely get a few more chances today outside the arc and the Huskies are hoping he’s a little more accurate than he was last year.
Terrence Ross: The domino effect continues to Ross. He’s not a point guard, but the 6-foot-6 freshman has shown adequate ball-handling skills and he figures to receive a bump in minutes in the backcourt. There’s not nearly as much pressure on Ross as there is everyone else so he has the luxury to go out, play hard and display his knowledge of the system. No one really knows what to expect from Ross so any positive contributions are a bonus for a team loaded at the guard position. He’s a high flier, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if he gets out on the break and electrifies the crowd with a highlight play.
Justin Holiday: He missed last year’s exhibition because of a hernia injury and Overton’s absence impacts him because Holiday is one of UW’s best passers from the perimeter. Among the returners, he’s fourth in assists behind Overton, Thomas and Gaddy. Without Overton, Holiday is also the top defensive player on the court.
Antoine Hosley: If the game plays out the way many believe it will, then the walk-on freshman point guard will likely receive some action in the second half with the other deep reserves. It’s a big leap from Jefferson High in Portland to Hec Ed, but if Hosley can make some plays and avoid turnovers and defensive gaffes, he’ll impress the coaching staff.
November 6, 2010 at 11:46 AM
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