Five games into the 2013-14 season, the Huskies (2-3) are getting just about exactly what they expected from Perris Blackwell, the fifth-year senior who sat out last year after transferring from San Francisco.
He’s averaging 11.8 points, 0.8 assists and 0.5 steals, which are nearly identical to the numbers he put up during his last year with the Dons. As a junior, he averaged 12.7 points, 0.9 assists and 0.4 steals.
However, the 6-9 and 275 pound has proven to be a better rebounder and shot blocker than advertised. He’s also playing more minutes than ever before.
Blackwell is averaging 8.0 rebounds, which is nearly two rebounds more than his last year at San Francisco. He averaged 0.3 blocks in 2011-12 and this season he’s up to 1.5.
Still, the biggest improvement is perhaps Blackwell’s minutes. Due to Washington’s dearth of big men, he’s had to average 30.5 minutes per game, which is six more than his career average.
Meanwhile, Washington’s other prominent big man Shawn Kemp Jr. is off to another slow start.
The 6-9 junior forward battled an unspecified illness during training camp, which may have played a role in him starting the season on the bench after a hot finish to the 2012-13 season. He started 14 games last season and had at least 10 points in seven of the last 15 games. Kemp notched his first double double (15 points and 11 rebounds) in a season-ending loss, which indicated he was ready for a larger role in the offense.
However, Kemp has struggled this season.
Washington needs him to rebound, but he’s averaging just 2.2 boards. Last season, he averaged 3.0 rebounds.
Kemp has never been a big rebounder. His forte is scoring in the low post. However, despite converting 50 percent on field goals, he’s averaging just 4.0 points. He had 10 points in the opener, but has since produced 3, 4, 0 and 3 points in the next four games respectively.
Kemp started the season on the bench, but when Jernard Jarreau suffered a season-ending knee injury he moved into the starting lineup for three games. After tallying 30 minutes in the opener, he’s tallied 17, 19, 9 and 11 minutes in the next four games.
Last Friday, the Huskies replaced Kemp in the lineup with 6-6 guard Mike Anderson.
Here’s a quick Q&A with coach Lorenzo Romar after Washington’s 89-78 defeat last week to Boston College where he talks about Blackwell and Kemp.
(Are you worried about Perris Blackwell potentially breaking down because he’s logging heavy minutes and going up against bigger opponents every time out?) “He’s not the type of guy who is 6-9 and 210 that’s just getting physically beat up every night. He’s 275. He handles himself well down there. He’s a bruiser himself. A lot of times he’s dishing it out. We think he’ll be alright. And again, Desmond will come back. Desmond is not a center, but that gives us another big body down there. And Shawn is a better basketball player than what he’s playing right now. No doubt. Shawn is going to come on. He came on last year and he’ll come on for us.”
(Speaking of Shawn, not sure how much you can get into it, but what’s going on with him?) “He started out slow last year when he was out with his knee. He started out slow. I’m just anticipating him getting better and regaining his form like he did last year.”
(Is he better closer in the low post than he is in the high post?) “He can knock the (mid-range) shot down. Last year he scored seven out of nine double-digit games or something like that and we’re doing the same thing. He was doing both. He was inside and outside last year. It’s just a matter of him regaining his confidence, going out there and getting reps and playing better. And we’re hopeful that’s going to happen.”
MONDAY MORNING LINKS:
— If No. 25 Marquette retains its top-25 ranking, then the Pac-12 will get a chance for its first win of the season against a ranked team when Arizona State hosts the Golden Eagles.
— DaVonte Lacy scored a game-high 18 points, including a clutch three-pointer in the final seconds, but he came up just short at the end in Washington’s 64-62 defeat to TCU. After being down 13 points in the first half, Lacy hit his fifth three-pointer to tie the game with 14 seconds left. The Horned Frogs went ahead on the next possession on a pair of free throws. Lacy drove the length of the court, but his shot was blocked as time expired. The Cougars fell to 2-2.
— Joseph Young, who was averaging 26.7 points through the first three games, cooled down, but Damyean Dotson heated up and led No. 17 Oregon to a 100-82 win over San Francisco. Dotson had 17 points and Young finished with 12 for the Ducks, who improved to 4-0.
— Nearly a second straight triple double for Kyle Anderson, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to help No. 22 UCLA to a 106-65 victory over Chattanooga. The Bruins (4-0) received a game-high 22 points from Jordan Adams and 19 from Normal Powell.
— Colorado doubled up Harvard in the second half to erase a 12-point halftime deficit in its 70-62 victory. The Buffaloes (6-1) held the Crimson to 38.1 shooting and won the rebounding battle 46-29. Spencer Dinwiddie scored a game-high 17 points.
— California coach Mike Montgomery is really impressed with newly signed Idrissa Diallo, a 6-10 forward who is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.