Let’s review the first week of the season.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
1. The Huskies are versatile. Including the exhibition, Washington won three games in very distinct different fashions. UW drilled 10 of 17 three-pointers against Saint Martin’s. It flexed its muscle and Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N’Diaye dominated undersized McNeese State. And the Huskies went small and used a three-guard lineup to overwhelm Eastern Washington. Coach Lorenzo Romar has a deep roster and he’s got plenty of options to counter whatever the opponents – albeit inferior opponents – have thrown at him.
2. The seniors are leading the way, which is a Romar trademark. He likes to say Husky basketball is rebounding, defense and scrapping, but a very big part of Husky basketball is four-year seniors who have spent years learning how Romar wants to play basketball. The list of UW players who had big seniors seasons includes: Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter, Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon. Through two games, senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning is UW’s leading scorer at 21.5 and senior Justin Holiday (above) is next at 14.5. And UW’s other senior Venoy Overton leads the team in assists (7.0) and steals (3.5).
3. Sharing is caring. The Huskies are committed to making the extra pass to find an open teammate and they’re not being careless. They’re third in the nation averaging 26 assists, which is 12 more than last season. In 2004-05, UW averaged 19 assists, which is the most for a Romar-led Huskies squad. Washington is averaging 11 turnovers this season, which would be a low among Romar-led teams at UW.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
1. Where is the rebounding going to come from? Including the exhibition, UW has been outrebounded in two of its three games, which is a cause for major concern. Bryan-Amaning is doing his part. He’s averaging 11.5 rebounds during the regular season, which is second in the Pac-10 and tied for 36th in the nation. N’Diaye (8.5) and Holiday (8.0) are helping, however, there’s a severe drop-off after those three.
2. Which of the 6-foot-6 wings will emerge? Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross appear to be lumped together and their playing time varies on whoever is hot. Some nights it’s Ross, however, he averages the fewest minutes among the scholarship players. Wilcox and Suggs are both averaging double-digit points, but they’ve scored the bulk of their points in the second halves of blowout wins.
3. Where does Isaiah Thomas fit into the mix? His role has changed in each game. One night he’s a facilitator and he gets 11 assists. Another night he connects on four of four three-pointers. And another night, he steps up big defensively and collects a career-high tying five steals. Thomas has been all over the place so far. Mostly, he’s deferred outside shots to Holiday and others. So far, the Huskies are better with Thomas playing a supporting role. We’ll see if that trend continues next week when Washington plays on national TV against high-caliber opponents.
AND WHAT WE’RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT:
1. Is this the new and improved Abdul Gaddy? If so, then the hype surrounding him last year wasn’t misdirected and maybe he does have an NBA future. Two games is too small a sample to pronounce someone has turned the corner, but there’s been a big difference in the sophomore who struggled last season. You can tell from his demeanor and his confidence is soaring. He’s making plays for others (5.5 assists average) and he’s also looking for his shot on the perimeter and attacking the rim. Plus he’s improved vastly on the defensive end. UW fans talk about N’Diaye taking the Huskies to the next level, but imagine how good they’ll be if their 6-3 point guard reaches his potential.
2. Is Darnell Gant going to do the dirty work inside? Against McNeese, Gant filled up the stat sheet, including seven rebounds in 18 minutes. Against Eastern, his most notable contribution was a highlight block. Otherwise, he disappeared. Gant doesn’t have the offensive green light given to Holiday or the wings, but still he’s attempted two three-pointers in search of his first college trey. Ideally, the Huskies need Gant to bang in the post, but it remains to be seen if he’s an improved rebounder. He’s one of three scholarship players with fewer than two offensive rebounds.
3. What is the rotation going to look like? Because of the blowouts, everyone has played. While the two walk-ons have received a few minutes, Romar used a 10-player in which no one averaged more than 23.5 minutes per game and less than 14. Not sure what he’ll do in a tight, competitive contest against a quality opponent. Is he still going 15-plus minutes to backups or will the trio of seniors and Thomas get the bulk of the minutes. And while the starters appear determined, it’s a mystery which lineup will finish games. Conceivably that could vary depending on the opponent and which players are playing well in that game.
— Bryan-Amaning and N’Diaye are a combined 14 of 37 (37.8 percent) from the free throw line. The rest of the team is 17 of 22 (77.3).
— On Tuesday, Thomas moved past Donald Watts into the No. 25 spot on UW’s all-time scoring list with 1,160 points. Stan Walker is at No. 24 with 1,175 and Bobby Jones is 23 at 1,226.
— Overton overtook Nate Robinson and moved into eighth place on UW’s all-time assists list with 301. Next up: Roy is seventh at 308 and Watts is sixth with 310.
— For complete UW stats, click here.
November 18, 2010 at 12:11 PM
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