Stop reading if you’ve heard this before – there’s no “i” in team.
OK don’t stop reading, but Washington fans had better get used to that kind of talk because it’s going to be repeated many times this season.
The Huskies are replacing their two leading scorers (Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr.) who were taken in the first round of the NBA draft with three virtually unproven players (Scott Suggs, Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau) who redshirted last year. Conventional wisdom says that kind of swap spells disaster, however, coach Lorenzo Romar believes Washington can improve upon last season’s 24-11 record and first-place regular-season Pac-12 finish because of a renewed emphasis to a team-first mentality.
During a dialogue with twitter followers this morning, Romar was asked if the team looks special this season. Here’s his response:
— Lorenzo Romar (@CoachRomar) October 10, 2012
It appears as if the national pundits and Pac-12 observers are in accord about the Huskies no-superstar lineup.
CBSSports.com came up with a list of the top 100 players in the nation and did not include a UW player. There were 11 Pac-12 players on the list including: UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad (3), Kyle Anderson (20) and Josh Smith (91); Colorado’s Andre Roberson (36); Arizona’s Mark Lyons (42) and Solomon Hill (66); California’s Allen Crabbe (46); Washington State’s Brock Motum (76); Stanford’s Chasson Randle (90) and USC’s J.T. Terrell (98).
The obvious omission from a UW perspective is junior sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox who averaged 14.2 points last season and will likely be featured in an offense that has sent four guards (Ross, Wroten, Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter) into the NBA in the past three years.
NBA Draft Express rates Wilcox the third best pro prospect in the Pac-12. In an evaluation, Joe Treutlein writes: “His combination of ability to score effectively both in catch-and-shoot situations and pulling up off the dribble along with his good size will certainly draw his attention, but how high his stock goes will depend on if he can shore up the relatively weaker areas of his game such as finishing at the rim and defense.”
The website’s top 10 Pac-12 prospects include (in order): Roberson, Smith, Wilcox, Oregon State’s Devon Collier, Crabbe, Oregon State’s Eric Moreland, Motum, Randle, Lyons and UCLA’s Travis Wear. Incoming freshmen were excluded from the list. Despite its relative high regard for Wilcox, Draft Express did not include him in its 2013 mock NBA draft.
NBAdraft.net also rates Wilcox the third best shooting guard draft prospect. The website predicts he’ll be taken 26th in the draft.
Plenty of links today. Delve in.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON LINKS:
— Darin Johnson told ESPN’s Mason Kelley that he’s coming close to making a decision between Washington, Oregon, Texas A&M and San Diego State. The 6-4 guard from Sacramento likes UW’s history of sending players to the NBA. Said Johnson: “They have produced a lot of pros. They develop guards that come into their program. That’s big, not only getting to the next level, but to also develop them, so when they get to the next level they actually do something.”
— Jason King at ESPN.com rates the Pac-12 non-conference schedules. He gives UW a 7 on a toughness scale from 1-10 and writes: “A Huskies team that appears to be in a transition year won’t catch any breaks with its schedule. Lorenzo Romar’s squad will play Seton Hall and either Ohio State or Rhode Island at the Mohegan Sun, and it’ll also have a chance to avenge last season’s blowout loss against Saint Louis. Colorado State and Nevada are also good enough to win in Seattle.”
— Romar talks to GoHuskies.com about the team’s overseas trip and a visit to Seattle Children Hospital.
— Washington State held its Media Day this afternoon and coach Ken Bone said his No. 1 priority is convincing the Cougars they can still be a good team despite the loss of six of their top 10 scorers from last season.
— Here’s some quotes and notes from Arizona State coach Herb Sendek, freshman guard Jahii Carson and newcomer Evan Gordon after Tuesday’s Media Day. Carson missed last season because the NCAA ruled him academically ineligible and Gordon transferred from Liberty. Said Carson: “I definitely have a certain confidence and swagger about myself. I don’t want to seem arrogant or cocky, but I definitely have a confidence about my game. I have a confidence about my teammate’s game. I think that together, we can be something super. I just have a nice little swagger about myself and about my teammates. I think that us coming out on the floor together, not just myself, we can be something super.”
— The Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller caught up with sophomore Jonathan Gilling, who is coming off of an impressive freshman season. In the interview the 6-7 Danish native talked about Carson’s speed, Gordon’s ability to score, playing point guard most of his basketball life and crying after a visit home to see his mother.
— Want to know who is the strongest Arizona Wildcat, then take a look at this tweet from coach Sean Miller.
— Bruce Pascoe at the Arizona Daily Star predicts the Pac-12 race. He picks UCLA to win and has Washington sixth.
— ESPN’s Dick Vitale published his top 40 list. He includes Arizona (12), UCLA (14) and Stanford (37).
— CBSSports.com unveiled four all-America teams and included two Pac-12 players, UCLA freshmen Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, which probably explains why many are picking the Bruins to win the conference title.
— Five analyst from CBSSports.com pick the conference champions and Arizona received three votes while UCLA garnered two. Doug Gottlieb and Jeff Goodman predict the Wildcats will advance to the Final Four and Gottlieb has Arizona winning the national title.
— Interesting story on the difficulties recruiting Mormon basketball players.
— Tickets to second- and third-round games of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the HP Pavilion in San Jose go on sale Saturday. Here’s the link to purchase tickets.