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Strong veteran core playing a big role in Washington Huskies’ turnaround

Guard David Crisp has been one of Washington's valuable upperclassmen. (AP)
LISTEN: Roxy Bernstein on UW's buzzer beating upset

Washington men’s basketball fell just short of cracking the AP Top 25 rankings released Monday, despite a 17-6 start to the season and a dramatic win over No. 9 Arizona Saturday night. It was a meeting that ended with a game-winning 3-pointer from Dominic Green as time expired.

O’Neil: Huskies are biggest surprise in Seattle sports in a decade

ESPN and Pac-12 Network sportscaster Roxy Bernstein was in Seattle to call that game, and he joined Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle to talk about the UW program’s impressive turnaround this year. First-year head coach Mike Hopkins has received plenty of praise for Washington’s success this season, but Bernstein also credits an increased veteran presence.

“Nothing against those teams in the past, but they were young,” Bernstein said. “There was a constant change from year to year with the group. Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss were great talents as freshman, but they were freshman – they’d just come in, then they leave. And then they have to start over again as Markelle Fultz comes in.

“Now Noah Dickerson’s an upperclassman and Matisse Thybulle has started every game of his Washington career. These are veteran players now. David Crisp has a lot of experience. Yes, you throw in a terrific freshman like Jaylen Nowell. But there’s more of a veteran presence to this team, where in the past I think, yes, Lorenzo (Romar) brought in great talent and who knows what would’ve happened had that recruiting class not disintegrated and maybe if he’d stayed in Seattle. We’ll never know.”

Bernstein added that the Huskies’ core of veterans has come together under Hopkins’ direction.

“With this group, what we do know is they buy into Mike Hopkins, they buy into their style of play. And that makes it difficult. That zone is so challenging for the opposition to try to navigate through. And that’s what I think sets the tone for this team.”

Bernstein also talked about Dickerson’s season and the Huskies’ upcoming conference games against Oregon and Oregon State. Listen to his entire interview with Brock and Salk here.