The Washington men’s basketball team will will hold its season-opening press conference 2:45 p.m. today in the Founder’s Club of Edmundson Pavilion.
Coach Lorenzo Romar, assistant coaches and the players will be available to the media.
Generally the first news gathering of the season produces very little in terms of breaking news. Romar will likely be asked about the starting lineup and traditionally he’s been tight-lipped on the subject until the exhibition game nears.
A couple of weeks ago, Romar declined to name a single starter although he insinuated junior center Aziz N’Diaye is strong candidate.
The question of which freshmen will redshirt will also likely come up and we’ve dissected the possibilities here over the past week during a series of interviews with the newcomers.
It will be interesting to see if the players are as confident as previous years when they openly talked about competing for a national championship and conference titles. Those teams were loaded with experienced veterans, while this UW team is the second youngest in Romar’s 10 years.
Last year, the prevailing question on Media Day was whether Romar and the Huskies were ready to bust the Sweet 16 bubble.
This year there’s many more questions surrounding the team. Here’s a few:
— How do the Huskies replace losing their top three scorers and four seniors who played an instrumental role in their success?
— This season is probably the tallest team since Romar arrived at Washington. How is he going to use that length?
— Who is the leader? Sure there’s three co-captains (Darnell Gant, Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy), but teams generally assume the identity of the dominant player. Last year it was Isaiah Thomas. Two years ago it was Quincy Pondexter. Before that, Jon Brockman. Who is it going to be this season?
— Is Terrence Ross as good as advertised? He’s been tabbed as a lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft by some analysts. That’s high praise for a sophomore guard who started just four games and averaged 8.0 points.
— What’s going on inside? I’ve said for years UW fans will lament the day when Matthew Brian-Amaning graduates. Well that day is here. Who’s going to provide points in the paint, defend opposing bigs and rebound? Presumably the job belongs to 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye and Gant, but Romar has hinted his guards may be the team’s best low-post scoring options.
— Are the Huskies soft? Admittedly that’s a little harsh, but jump-shooting teams often get tagged with the soft label. And Washington is loaded with guards who can light it up from the outside. That’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. When the shots are falling, the Huskies can beat most teams by 30. (Think of the Virginia game). But when the shots aren’t falling, what’s next? (Think of the three-game losing streak at Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon). Washington needs a Plan B?
— Can freshman Tony Wroten Jr. and Gaddy play together? They’re pass-first point guards who need the ball in their hands. Both were five-star recruits considered among the best in their class. Gaddy is older and operates efficiently in halfcourt sets, while Wroten two inches taller at 6 foot 5 and is amazing in transition. Romar has started two point guards in the past, but he also has quality shooting guards in C.J. Wilcox and Suggs who were among the best three-point shooters in the conference last season.
— Speaking of Suggs and Wilcox, are they underrated? It wouldn’t be surprising if they led the team in scoring, but most of the preseason hype is being given to Ross, Gaddy and Wroten. However, Wilcox is the leading returning scorer (excluding Gaddy who played just 13 games) at 8.1 points per game while Scott started 10 times, including the last game of the season.
— Aside from Wroten, which freshman is ready to make an immediate impact?
These are just a few questions that may come up this afternoon. Of course, it’s impossible to answer them today, but we should get a glimpse into how things will unfold this season.
I’ll check back later with reports from Media Day.
TUESDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Steve Kelley gets things going with a feature on Gaddy.
— According to DraftExpress.com, Gaddy is the No. 9 and Wilcox is the No. 12 NBA prospects in the Pac-12. That’s the first time I’ve seen Wilcox mentioned as a NBA prospect, but it’s not a surprise. The Draft Express rankings do not include freshmen.
— I’ve been saying UCLA has lost its foothold in California for awhile, but SI.com’s Luke Wynn tracks the top California prospects the past three years.
— Garrett Sim is the only senior at Oregon who spent his entire career with the Ducks.
— The Cougars will hold a Midnight Mayhem on Friday to tip off the start of college basketball season.
— UCLA is ranked No. 6 on a list of the best frontcourts in the nation, according to SI.com.