Had a chance to talk with former Washington star Justin Holiday recently for a story in today’s newspaper about his draft chances.
Near the end of the interview, we began chatting about the Huskies and he made interesting observations about the 2011-12 team.
He talked about UW’s inexperience in the middle and believes it’s a major concern even though the Huskies are bringing in 6 foot 10 Jernard Jarreau and 6-9 Martin Breunig. Holiday believes some of the wings will have to provide minutes of relief in the post and he knows what that’s all about.
During the past two seasons, the 6-6 Holiday defended power forwards, small forwards, two guards and point guards. So expect Terrence Ross and Scott Suggs – both 6-6 – to spend a few minutes defending beneath the basket, which isn’t an ideal situation against teams with a quality front line.
Holiday also believes Brendan Sherrer is ready to provide more than mop-up duty in blowouts.
The walk-on big man who won a spot on the team during a 2009 preseason open tryout has appeared in 23 games – all victories by at least 18 points – over the past two seasons. His career statistics: Eight points on 4-for-7 shooting, four rebounds and 48 total minutes.
Holiday isn’t saying Sherrer is the next Jon Brockman, but the former Dawg Pack member affectionately dubbed ‘The Human Victory Cigar’ has several traits the Huskies need. He’s big at 6-8 and 245 pounds. He’s fearless. He’ll stick his nose into the fray. He’s committed to the program. He knows the system and he understands his role.
And quite frankly, Washington has few remaining viable options.
There’s a chance the Huskies use their remaining scholarship to bring in another big man. Coach Lorenzo Romar hinted weeks ago players who are headed to prep school sometimes work their way into Division 1 programs. He didn’t mention anyone specifically.
There’s also the year-old rumor Shawn Kemp Jr. will join the team as a walk-on. Romar declined to address the walk-on situation and said he’ll have more information once the school year approaches.
But he knows all about Sherrer, who almost received significant playing time once last season.
During the Dec. 29 game at USC, Romar subbed Sherrer into the game late in the first half because he had no other choice. Matthew Bryan-Amaning just collected his second foul and needed to come out, but Gant had two fouls and N’Diaye three. There were a lot of UW fans in the crowd and you could feel the buzz inside Galen Center as Sherrer bolted off the bench, jogged to midcourt and kneeled below the scorer’s table waiting for a break in the action.
But he didn’t get in because there wasn’t a stoppage of play over the final two minutes in the half.
Of course that was an emergency situation. If it happens again, Holiday says Sherrer is ready.
“I would feel alright with Brendan coming in,” Holiday said. “I would feel alright that he’s able to stop players and be able to put a body on a big.”
Here’s an excerpt of the Holiday interview.
(How do you think Washington will do next season?) “I think they’ll be alright. I think the main thing they will need is another big. I know they have Aziz and Darnell there, but I think they’re going to need a third big if guys get into foul trouble or just to have another big body out there to be able to guard the basket. We have all of the guards in the world at Washington. I think they need another big to help them out. But at the same time I think Aziz and Darnell will be able to handle it inside. It’s just always good to have somebody else there.
“With Brendan being there as long as he’s been, I think Brendan might play a little more than we’ve seen in the past. I don’t know. That’s just me.”
(Wow. I hadn’t heard that before.) “I would have confidence in Brendan playing because I’ve seen him improve. I think he’s one of the most improved players on the team. I remember when he first got there, he was a project. But I think they’re going to be pretty good because they still have great shooters and scorers in Terrence and C.J. (Wilcox). They’re going to get (Abdul) Gaddy back. They’re going to have Darnell there who is going to be a senior and he’ll be a leader. They still have Scott there who is also a prolific scorer. So I think they’ll be OK.”
(Got to ask you about Sherrer. What have you seen that leads you to believe he can give Washington quality minutes?) “I’ve seen how he guards bigs. I’m not saying and I’m not sure if they’re going to sub Brendan in as far as in the rotation. But if he’s all they have and they get into foul trouble, I would feel alright with Brendan coming in. I would feel alright that he’s able to stop players and be able to put a body on a big. He can rebound. I don’t think he’s going to be out there just to be out there. He can at least put a body on somebody. He can be effective.”
(What have you seen from Desmond Simmons?) “I think Desmond is also going to be a key player. He’s a similar player to me. He might be a little taller and he’s stronger. I think he’s a real good defender. That’s why I say he’s similar to my game. He’s obviously a little bigger guy and maybe more of a 3 and 4 position than I was. I think he’ll be able to guard multiple positions. But at the same time I think he’ll be able to guard the bigger guys because he has the body size and he can shoot an outside jumper. That’s another guy who I think can do well and impact the team as a freshman.”
SUNDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Former UW guard Venoy Overton’s trouble with teenage girls began long before his recent legal entanglements. According to Seattle Police records, in 2009 his 15-year-old cousin told police Overton sent her a profane and explicit text message saying he wanted to have sex with her. He was 20 at the time and a UW sophomore. Police investigated the claim and King County prosecutors decided against filing a charge.
— Here’s a name to remember: Jeremy Adams. After sitting out last season, the 6-foot-5 sophomore shooting guard is poised to be a star at Colorado. He started his college career at Texas A&M.
— Washington State junior Klay Thompson worked out for Golden State and has beeninvited to sit in the NBA draft green room, which means the league expects he’ll be a lottery pick. That doesn’t always happen. Folks around here still remember the 1998 draft when Rashard Lewis attended the show, but fell out of the first round. Seattle selected him with the third pick in the second round (No. 32 overall).
— Oregon junior Malcolm Armstead has transferred to Wichita State. Per NCAA rules, he’ll sit out next season and will have one year of eligibility remaining.