It appears as if junior sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox (above left) and senior co-captain Scott Suggs (right) are poised to replace Terrence Ross (middle) as Washington’s leading scorer.
In many ways Wilcox and Suggs have so much in common.
— Both were out-of-state prospects who arrived at UW with relative little fanfare. Suggs was a four-star recruit and Mr. Basketball in Missouri while Wilcox was a three-star recruit and considered the No. 2 prospect from Utah.
— Both redshirted. Wilcox sat out as a freshman, Suggs a senior.
— Both have been at times at the bottom of the pecking order in a talented and crowded backcourt.
— They’re similar in build. Suggs is slightly bigger at 6-6 and 195 while Wilcox is 6-5 and 185.
— On the court, their styles are very similar. Both are lights-out shooters. They do their best work on the perimeter and rarely venture inside.
— Each has had difficulty staying healthy and their careers have been marred by injuries.
Perhaps the toe injury that sidelined Suggs last season gives Wilcox the edge and makes him the odds-on favorite to replace Ross as UW’s leading man.
Wilcox was third on the team in scoring last season while averaging 14.2 points. He started the first 11 games before Tony Wroten Jr. took his place in the lineup. He missed three games due to a stress fracture in his left leg and was limited in practice the latter half of the season.
Similiar to Ross, Wilcox took a big step last season and emerged as a consistent offensive threat. As a freshman, he averaged 8.1 points and 15.8 minutes.
Wilcox is regarded as one of the quickest players on the team and he improved on the defensive end. He was third on the squad with 20 blocks and tied for third with 29 steals.
Despite the improvements, Wilcox wasn’t a shutdown defender and he struggled to keep smaller guards out of the lane. He also averaged just 3.4 rebounds while Ross and Wroten averaged 6.4 and 5.0 respectively.
Still it’s on the offensive end where Wilcox shines and coach Lorenzo Romar believes he would benefit if he added versatility to his game. Wilcox led UW in three-point accuracy (40.3 percent) and his 83.9 percent free throw percentage was the best on the team.
The areas where he struggles: playmaking, drawing fouls, dribble drives and finishing at the rim through contact.
DraftExpress predicts the UW junior will be taken No. 19 in the second round of the 2013 draft. Romar believes if Wilcox were to improve his ball handling, then he could become a lottery pick.
Suggs is the other leading candidate to replace Ross. Before breaking the little toe on his right foot before the season last year, he was competing for a starting spot. Suggs was supposed to return in 8-10 weeks, but unexpectedly announced his decision to redshirt Dec. 9.
Before the injury, Suggs drew rave reviews from teammates and was considered the most complete player on the team.
As a junior, he averaged 7.4 points and started 10 games, including the last one of the season – an 86-83 loss to North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
In 2010-11 he had the best three-point percentage (.450) among the Huskies and was one of the better perimeter defenders on the team. At times Suggs shifted to point guard and he dished 34 assists. Still he struggled with his ball handling when he had to bring the ball up the court against pressure and direct the offense.
Suggs has been a weak rebounder – his career average is 1.3 – and he’s been adverse to drawing contact and getting to the line. As a junior he attempted 17 free throws and made 13.
Washington plays a lot of three-guard lineups, which means Suggs will have to improve as a rebounder the way Ross did or he’ll be a liability and his minutes will decrease. Ross averaged 2.8 as a freshman and became UW’s second-best rebounder last season.
No one really knows how Suggs will return after redshirting last season. He turns 23 in November and he’s a captain for the second straight year. He’s been in the program longer than anyone. He’s participated in three NCAA tournaments and played with many of the great UW players including Jon Brockman, Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas. That type of experience has to count for something.
Suggs isn’t included in any 2013 mock NBA drafts and the national pundits aren’t likely to list him among the probable stars in the Pac-12. However, given his experience it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to lead Washington in scoring.
And recent history says whoever leads UW in scoring is going to get taken in the NBA draft.
The past three years, the Huskies’ s leading scorer has been drafted. The streak began with Pondexter in 2010 followed by Thomas and Ross who was taken No. 8 by Toronto last Thursday.
But what do you think?