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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

November 7, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Huskies win exhibition; lose Desmond Simmons

Jernard Jarreau scored 17 points to lead Washington to a 95-65 exhibition win over Central Washington on Nov. 6, 2013

Jernard Jarreau scored 17 points to lead Washington to a 95-65 exhibition win over Central Washington on Nov. 6, 2013

The feel-good vibes from Washington’s 95-65 exhibition win over Division II Central Washington were tempered by the news that redshirt junior forward Desmond Simmons will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will be out until mid-to-late December.

“We were waiting because there was some discussion to see if he could wait and take a little time off (and) come back, but the medical staff decided he’s going to have surgery, arthroscopic surgery,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He’ll be back. Probably sometime mid-December, third week in December.

Romar said it’s the same knee that required arthroscopic surgery in 2010, which forced Simmons to miss the season and redshirt.

“I’m bummed,” Simmons told a reporter Wednesday night. “The knee’s been bothering me since the start of (preseason) practice (Oct. 1). Hopefully, this will fix it.”

Without Simmons, the Huskies showcased a revamped team that bared little resemblance to last season’s squad that struggled to score points. Granted it was an exhibition against an overly matched opponent, but when’s the last time Washington received 51 points and 25 rebounds from its big men?

The Huskies had been so guard-heavy in recent years that it was a refreshing change to see them routinely look for scoring opportunities inside. And the chemistry between forwards Perris Blackwell and Jernard Jarreau was quite remarkable.

Those two led the way.

Jarreau had a remarkable all-around performance. He finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, Blackwell displayed toughness and tenacity while scoring a team-high 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting and collecting nine rebounds.

With Jarreau and Blackwell leading the way, Washington had a commanding 52-33 rebounding advantage.

The Huskies also had more assists (20-9), steals (8-4), points in the paint (60-28), points off of turnovers (18-11), second-chance points (18-10), fast break points (23-15) and bench points (20-13). Washington also had fewer fouls (14-25) and shot 53 percent from the field.

“I love it,” Wilcox said. “You can throw it inside and throw it to the high post and know something good is going to happen.”

Jarreau and Blackwell overshadowed a nice debut from freshman Nigel Williams-Goss, who had 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 20 minutes.

When Jarreau and Blackwell weren’t on the floor, their backups Gilles Dierickx and Shawn Kemp Jr. played well. They were so good, you don’t expect Washington will miss Simmons that much.

Still, the Huskies are very thin in the front court now and they can’t afford to lose another big man.

MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:

— Really tough to pick a MVP, but I’d lean towards Jarreau simply because he was more productive than anyone else. He shot a high percentage (7 for 11) from the field and got to the line (3 for 5) because he was being aggressive. Jarreau looked like a playmaker and someone who can finish inside, which is a lethal combination.

Romar said he was particularly pleased with Jarreau’s rebounding efforts.

“We know he can pass,” Romar said. “We’ve always said he’s our best playmaker up at the high post. He finished, which is good, but he’s been finishing here in practice. We talked to him about you have to rebound the ball better and he did tonight.”

I thought Jarreau did his best work on the defensive end protecting the basket. Let’s face it, at 6-9 Blackwell isn’t much of a shot blocker. He has 28 during his three-year career that includes 91 games. Washington needs someone who will deter opposing players from going inside and Jarreau just might be the team’s best shot blocker. Late in the second half, he engulfed a layup attempt from a CWU player, which ignited a fast break that ended in a UW score.

— This is what you need to know about Blackwell’s performance. Central Washington center Kevin Davis, a one-time UW recruiting target and a formidable shot-blocker, lasted just nine minutes before fouling out. To be fair, two of Davis’ five fouls were against Blackwell. But Davis’ backup Jeff Budinich fared no better. Blackwell took a game-high nine free throw attempts and made seven. He was also 7 for 9 on field goals, which is pretty efficient.

— Williams-Goss had an awful turnover in the second half when he lost control of the ball and the Wildcats scored an uncontested layup. Otherwise, it was a near flawless debut for the touted freshman. He was 5 of 7 from the field and perfect at the line, connecting on all five attempts. Williams-Goss also had four rebounds and three assists.

Perhaps the best part of his game was an ability to play defense without fouling. You’d think a freshman would struggle with the NCAA’s new defensive rules that prohibit hand-checking, however, Williams-Goss didn’t commit a foul against CWU’s aggressive guards. He gave up a few baskets, but for the most part he was able to keep the Wildcats out of the lane.

— Wilcox took more shots (14) than any other Husky, which is to be expected from a fifth-year senior who led the team in scoring last season. What’s not expected is Wilcox missing all three of his three-point attempts or missing three straight free throws. It wasn’t a great shooting night for him, but he still finished with 16 points. He also had three steals and three rebounds.

Wilcox momentarily took over the game late in the first half with a pair of nifty dribble drives, in which he sidestepped a defender for layups. His baskets were part of a 7-0 run that ended the first half and gave UW a 44-32 halftime lead.

Gilles Dierickx entered the game with 16:41 remaining, which was a lot sooner than most UW fans expected. The 7-foot sophomore transfer from Florida International also played longer (20 minutes) most expected. Still, he looked very comfortable at the high post and in the paint. He can made plays for others (three assists), he has a soft jumper (four points, including 2 for 2 at the line), he can rebound (4 boards) and he can protect the rim (three blocks). Dierickx did a little bit of everything. Still, he needs to look for his shot when he’s at the high post. On several occasions, he might have had easy baskets if he were more aggressive.

— Washington is going to need Andrew Andrews to defend, rebound (six boards) and make plays (four assists) the way he did Wednesday. Gotta wonder if the Huskies will need his scoring. If so, that might be an interesting proposition. Andrews was 2 for 8 against Central Washington for five points. If he’s willing to sacrifice his body, Andrews has enough quickness to draw fouls in the paint.

— Newcomer Mike Anderson had his biggest impact on the glass where he collected six rebounds in 18 minutes. He also had five points, making one of Washington’s two three-pointers.

Shawn Kemp Jr., who started the final 14 games last season, suffered a little setback due to an illness in training camp. Romar said he’s making progress, but for now it looks as if he’s fourth on the big man depth chart. Kemp got off the bench with 11:00 left in the first half. He made an immediate contribution flushing a dunk at the 10:37 mark. Kemp finished with nine points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.

— Gotta wonder if freshman jitters got the better of Darin Johnson who missed 5 of 6 shots and was 0 for 4 on free throws in his UW debut. He’s a better shooter than what he showed Wednesday. He played 10 minutes in the first half (17 total), which indicates he’s a solid part of the rotation at least for now.

— Junior guard Hikeem Stewart, freshman Jahmel Taylor and walk-on Quinn Sterling were scoreless in limited minutes.

 

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