Two weeks of practice has produced just two Washington starters: C.J. Wilcox and Perris Blackwell.
At least those are the players coach Lorenzo Romar feels comfortable to identify publicly.
At last week’s Pac-12 media day, he said the starting lineup is undecided because “not enough guys have stepped up and been consistent enough to separate from everyone else.”
When asked about point guards Andrew Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss, Romar indicated they could comprise the starting backcourt with Wilcox. The other open spot is in the front court where Romar said the most talented player may not start. t would seem forwards Shawn Kemp Jr., Desmond Simmons and Jernard Jarreau are in contention for a starting job.
“We’re going to put the best five on the court that work together,” Romar said. “In the past we haven’t always had what you might say is the best five players start the games.”
Romar said injuries to Wilcox and two others (Andrews has dealt with a back issue) and the addition of six newcomers are reasons why the starting lineup isn’t defined.
“I’m just starting to see the new players figure out what we’re trying to do conceptually,” he said. “The old players understand, but we have a lot of new players so we’re trying to work through all of that right now.”
A few random thoughts from Pac-12 media day.
— Spencer Dinwiddie is ready for the spotlight. Media day is made for guys like the junior guard. He’s a star in Boulder, Colo. and one of a handful of preseason Pac-12 MVP candidates. However, he doesn’t have much of a national profile. Yet. No one seemed to enjoy themselves more Thursday than Dinwiddie. He was funny and insightful. He was candid and confident, which coach Tad Boyle pointed out after Dinwiddie said: “We don’t view Arizona as the top, thecream, and everybody else in the rest. We view ourselves as the cream and everybody else can fight for the rest of the spots. And that’s how we’re going to approach the season and we’re going to try to win all of our games.”
Boyle then replied: “Confidence has never been one of Spencer’s problems.”
When Carlon Brown and Nate Tomlinson graduated in 2012, Dinwiddie and Askia Booker – both sophomores last season – were thrust into leadership positions perhaps a little too early. Boyle believes they’re ready to guide Colorado.
“I think you hear Spencer talk, you can hear a maturity level that he has,” Boyle said. “Askia Booker, his back-court mate. We’regoing to rely on those guys for leadership this year and keeping our young guys kind of focused at the task at hand, which is getting better every day in practice.”
— Arizona junior Nick Johnson, who showed off his impressive leaping ability, was another media darling Thursday. However, it’s too bad freshmen aren’t extended media day invitations because Aaron Gordon would have been a star. Several coaches were asked about the Wildcats forward. Washington State coach Ken Bone said: “He’s got all the makings of a great one.”
MONDAY AFTERNOON LINKS:
— Excellent breakdown on the Huskies by ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton who crunches the numbers from last season. He writes: “The slowest Washington team under Romar before last season ranked 57th in the nation in adjusted possessions per game. Last season’s Huskies ranked 183rd, a hair behind Arizona State. While Washington’s slowdown was attributed in part to the shift to the high-post offense from the motion system Romar previously ran, the bigger culprit was at the defensive end. The Huskies ranked 261st in the country in forcing turnovers, the second-lowest mark of Romar’s UW career. No turnovers meant no transition, which meant long half-court sets.”
— No link, but several recruiting sites are reporting 2014 prospect Zylan Cheatham will decide next week between Washington, New Mexico and San Diego State.
— Interesting story from ESPN’s Dana O’Neil about the relationship between Arizona coach Sean Miller and his predecessor Lute Olson.
— Miller, who enters his fifth season at Arizona, has more talent than ever before.
— Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said the Beavers need to improve a defense that was last in Pac-12 in point allowed last season.
— New USC coach Andy Enfield has assembled a 2014 recruiting class that ranks among the top 25 in the nation, according to ESPN.com.
— Stanford hosted San Diego State on Sunday in a close-door scrimmage.