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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 25, 2010 at 7:41 AM

Maui rewind: Some questions answered, many still remain

HAPPY THANKSGIVING … Let’s review the second week of the season
1. Justin Holiday is Washington’s most consistent player.
It used to be you didn’t know what you’d get from him. He’s so versatile that some days, he’d give UW great rebounding. Some days he’d have a lot of steals or dish out a handful of assists. Holiday has always been many things, but he’s never been a consistent scorer until now. He’s the only UW player to score in double digits in every game this season. And he’s collected at least seven rebounds in four out of five games.
2. The Huskies won’t quit. They never trailed by more than eight points in the second half against a pair of top 10-ranked teams. UW fell behind early in both games, but battled back. Said Holiday: “I already knew that about us, but we proved it again that no matter what we’ll fight to the end. We’re never going to give up no matter who we’re playing.”
3. Washington’s ballhawking defense is effective, even against the elite teams. In three games, UW forced more turnovers (52) than anyone else at the Maui Invitational. In fact, the Huskies forced their three opponents to commit a season high for turnovers. Virginia had 17, Kentucky 15 and Michigan State 20.
1. What happens when the three-pointers don’t fall?
In the three wins, Washington connected on 12, 13 and 17 treys respectively. In the two defeats, the Huskies made three and six shots from downtown. Coach Lorenzo Romar said this is the best shooting team during his nine seasons as UW coach and yet he doesn’t want to become a three-point shooting team. However, after five games UW is dependent upon the three-pointers. In some ways, that’s not a bad thing. But when the threes aren’t falling, then the Huskies haven’t shown they have a Plan B.
2. How is Romar going to improve the rebounding? He addressed the poor rebounding after they were outrebounded by 10 against Division II Saint Martin’s in the exhibition. In the next game, UW destroyed McNeese State 69-32 on the glass in the opener. Still In the past four games, the Huskies trail 154-140 in rebounds and they’ve been outrebounded three times, including both defeats. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Holiday and Aziz N’Diaye each average 7.0 rebounds. They’re not the problem. And yet, it’s difficult to attribute blame to an individual when it appears to be either a systemic problem or a lack of focus by everyone except the aforementioned players.
3. Can the free throw shooting get better? Well, it can hardly get any worse. The Huskies are shooting 57.4 percent and if the trend continues it would be the lowest for a Romar-coached UW team. His teams average 69.8 on FTs and only two squads (2007-06 and ’02-03) shot lower than 70 percent. The free throws are concentrated among a trio that includes Isaiah Thomas, Bryan-Amaning and N’Diaye. They’re 43 of 81 (53 percent) on FTs while the rest of the team is 26 of 38 (68.4 percent). N’Diaye’s stats are a little misleading because he missed 12 of 15 in the opener and has made 7 of his past 10 attempts.Still, the Huskies missed eight free throws against Kentucky and lost by seven. They missed 10 vs. Michigan State and lost by five.
1. Was that the real Darnell Gant we saw Tuesday and Wednesday?
If so, then we’ve got to readjust our expectations of the fourth-year junior. With so many stars on the team, Gant tends to get overlooked. In the past two games, he emerged as an offensive threat. He’s always been able to knock down the occasional shot along the baseline, but now he’s finding sweet spots all over the court. He’s even extended his range to the three-point line and converted his first trey Tuesday. Now if Gant would start rebounding, we’d really have to look at him in a new way.

2. What’s the plan with the reserve wings?
On Monday, freshman Terrence Ross and redshirt freshman C.J. Wilcox were the odd men out and played sparingly in the first half, while junior Scott Suggs got a lot of time. On Tuesday, Suggs received the fewest minutes and Wilcox got the bulk of the shots. And Wednesday, Ross played 14 minutes while Wilcox received seven minutes and Suggs three. It’s a given backups Venoy Overton and N’Diaye will check in early in games, but after that no one knows who will come off the bench next or how long that person will play.
3. When the game is tight down the stretch, who takes over? If the Maui Invitational proved anything it’s that it’s good to have a closer in the final minutes. Connecticut has Kemba Walker. Kentucky leans heavily on Terrence Jones. Michigan State looks to Kalin Lucas. And Washington? Conceivably, it’s Thomas, who led UW with 14.7 points in Maui. Still when other guards carried their teams to wins and established themselves as the game’s elite players, Thomas made 8 for 25 shots in the past two games and was 1 for 7 on three-pointers. Last season, Quincy Pondexter thrived in late-minute situations because he could hit pull-up jumpers (Stanford) or drive for a basket (Marquette). UW needed a strong finish in its two losses and that didn’t happen.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs, top 25


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