October 9, 2013 at 8:10 AM
First impressions of new-look Huskies
Had a chance to watch a few minutes of Washington’s practice Tuesday and came away with some first impressions.
C.J. Wilcox (foot) and Andrew Andrews (back) didn’t participate during the portion of the workout I saw and the Huskies looked very young and inexperienced without their two leading returning scorers.
Coach Lorenzo Romar likened the first two weeks of practice to organizing and putting things in place before starting a big cleaning or painting job. He believes UW will start in earnest on Monday, which coincides with the return of Wilcox who expects to practice without restrictions next week.
Still it was interesting to get a look at the Huskies without Wilcox and you have to wonder what the team would do if he misses any games.
At the start of Tuesday’s practice, Romar asked for five veterans to step on the floor and Hikeem Stewart, Quinn Sterling, Desmond Simmons, Jernard Jarreau and Shawn Kemp Jr. ran on the court. Watching them it became obvious how much the Huskies had lost and how much they’re hoping 1-2 of the returners who had been role players develop into big-time performers.
The Huskies broke up into two teams for another drill. The purple squad was Nigel Williams-Goss, Mike Anderson, Perris Blackwell, Kemp and Sterling. The gold team: Stewart, Darin Johnson, Jarreau, Gilles Dierickx and Robert Upshaw.
The defense dominated on both sides, but that was to be expected because many players are still learning UW’s high-post sets.
That being said, Washington looks very long defensively. Jarreau had a deflection on the perimeter. Williams-Goss forced an errant pass from Stewart. Anderson blocked Jarreau’s short jumper.
It must be noted that it was an instructional drill and not a scrimmage so players looked a step slow because they weren’t entirely sure where they were supposed to be. The chemistry and timing was a little off and you’d think that would improve after a few more weeks of practice. There weren’t very many offensive highlight, which had a lot to do with Wilcox standing on the sidelines.
Romar said an emphasis this season will be low-post scoring with Blackwell and Kemp. Too bad Upshaw, who transferred from Fresno State, isn’t eligible because he’s a legit 7-footer who takes up a lot of space.
Anderson, another UW transfer who played at Moberly CC, is also an intriguing player. He can do a little bit of everything. He handled the ball and ran the offense for a short stint. He also slid over to the two-guard spot and played solid pressure defense.
WEDNESDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Here’s our story on C.J. Wilcox who is still recovering from offseason left foot surgery in May.
— Jerry Brewer spent a few moments with Romar on Tuesday and the two talked about the importance of Washington returning to the NCAA tournament. Romar said: “I see it more as important for what we’re building, getting back to it as opposed to wondering, ‘What if you don’t?’ I’m not living in fear of ‘What if you don’t?’ We’ve been successful. We can get it back to where we had it.”
— Wilcox told the Associated Press he worried about his foot last season. He said: “I tried not to let it affect me too much but every game you go in thinking it could break tonight so you play hard but you’re not as aggressive as you normally would be just worrying that it could break.”
— The News Tribune writes about Romar hoping Washington stays healthy and creates a deep rotation to run its suffocating defense, which should in turn lead to better offensive production.
— And here’s the story on Gohuskies.com, which has four first impressions.