COLLEGE HOOPS

Washington Husky Huddle fro June 7th 2011

Jun 7, 2011, 4:40 PM

According to cougcenter.com the Dawgs are the most entertaining team in the Pac-12 and the third most in the nation. Based on factors like 3-pointers made, High scoring games, blocks, pace, fouls and inclusion in the top-25, UW trailed only VMI and Oakland in the scientific rankings system.

Next year for the Huskies promises to be just as exciting or better. 3-point shots shouldn’t trail off, in fact they should improve along with the three amigos in rising seniors Scott Suggs and Darnell Gant rising sophomores C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross. With play makers like Wroten and rising junior Abdul Gaddy, the scoring and pace shouldn’t drop far.

With the improvement of rising junior center Aziz N’Diaye and Gant and the addition of scrappy defender Desmond Simmons and Jarreau with his seven foot wingspan, the blocks shouldn’t fall far, nor should fouls with the addition of Wroten, who has been called the top on ball defender in his class by many.

The one concern that many have for UW is leadership. After losing Isaiah Thomas and the three seniors in Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton, the Huskies need new leaders. Seniors Suggs and Gant would seem like candidates, as would junior Gaddy and freshman Wroten, who has a take charge mentality.

Thomas spoke at length on the subject with the Seattle Times Percy Allen on Monday about next year’s team and how they may find new leaders.

“They lost me, Matt, Holiday and Venoy, but their wings might be the top wings in the country. They can definitely shoot the ball. And once Tony (Wroten Jr.) gets accustomed to what Coach Romar wants and Abdul Gaddy comes back, they’ll be alright.”

Thomas also singled out Gant.

“Darnell Gant is a great guy, a great inspirational leader and an energy guy. Since I’ve been there, he’s been the energy guy that Coach Romar always looks to.”

Breunig committing was a major positive for Washington. According to his “mentor” Martin Estes from Wisconsin in a Sunday update for CBS Sports, “Paul Fortier was also key in his recruitment”. Estes also went on to say that two former German team mates of Fortier’s, Schrempf and UW all-time leading scorer Christian Welp, “also helped”.

Breunig will fill out a Husky front court that desperately needed quality depth, which he can ably provide. While I believe something unforeseen will have to happen for UW to give out their one remaining scholarship for 2011, as they appear to be saving it for 2012, a couple of potential walk-on big men could vie for playing time in the UW depth chart.

One, we already know about is rising senior Brendan Sherrer, who may just find a way to help the team in his last year, other than obvious support in practice and in his role as “the human victory cigar” at Husky home games. Sherrer has been a good sport about it and been a good team guy, as was rising sophomore walk-on guard Antoine Hosely.

Hosely will transfer to Sacramento State next season, according to the Seattle Times on Saturday, but the other potential walk-on big man is Shawn Kemp Jr., who is working to get his academics in order enough to be able to play with the UW team. Kemp is no good effort but too small or non-athletic walk-on.

Kemp was an Alabama signee and an Auburn commit in 2009 before heading to prep school and the JC route to get his grades in order. Kemp could surprise a lot folks this season and be a solid back-up center for N’Diaye against really big posts. The knock on Shawn Jr. is that he is out of shape, but like Josh Smith, he still has a log way to go before fall.

A player that UW fans can barely wait until fall to watch again is Ross, who many feel is headed to early entry as soon as next June. Doug Haller on Wednesday in his “Keep an eye on these six next season” feature for azcentral.com talked about Ross first (quoting Gaddy) when compiling the top up and comers in next year’s Pac-12.

“Ross (left/AP photo) has the potential to be one of the conference’s top scorers, sooner rather than later. ‘He’s a ridiculous athlete and he really has NBA talent,’ teammate Abdul Gaddy said. ‘He’s that good. He should be really good for us next year.'”

Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg in his blog on Thursday mentioned Haller’s piece and added, “Stanford’s Dwight Powell, Washington’s Terrence Ross and Oregon’s E.J. Singler are three from this list in particular that I’d watch closely next season.”

Montlake Madness on Wednesday ran a feature chronicling an average day with Ross as he does amazing work outs like a pro with team mates, goes to class, plays pick up, then kicks back in his kitchen stacked with pizza boxes like a typical
college kid.

Montlake Madness’ Griffin Bennett did a fine job on that diary style piece, then ran another good interview with Ross on Monday. In the interview Ross compared his style to that of J.R. Smith, talked glowingly about newcomers Wroten and Simmons and praised his team mates. He seemed genuinely humble and focused on getting his degree as well as hoops.

Ross has his playful side though, as he added a humorous note (unless you’re a Maryland fan) to the news that Breunig committed in a Sunday tweet.

“Guess I’m not the only Husky to de-commit from UMD and pick UW. Lol welcome to the family.”

Thomas recently tweeted that he felt that Ross was a certain NBA pro down the line, but it is starting to look as if he himself is at least a certain draft pick, with the way that workouts seem to be going for him. Last Tuesday Bleacher Report praised Isaiah (and UW’s Justin Holiday) in a feature titled, “Isaiah Thomas and the 5 Most Underrated Pac-12 Prospects”.

“While most will compare Thomas to former UW point guard Nate Robinson, there are a few things that separate the two. While Thomas is less athletic, he has much more of a desire to win. Thomas leaves everything out on the court, while Robinson always seemed happy to entertain the crowd. Thomas is a much better passer, and much more a pure point guard, while Robinson is just a short SG.”

I didn’t like that they promoted Thomas at the expense of a truly great Husky in Nate Robinson, but anything to help another UW guy get drafted works for me. Thomas, always in the spotlight, continued his draft Diary for Dimemag.com on Friday. In the diary feature Thomas revealed that he is the subject of a documentary by an established film maker.

“I also had my man T.J. Regan following me around and documenting the process for me. He’s a young, but accomplished, filmmaker who has directed music videos for artists such as Wiz Khalifa and Nipsey Hussle. Together, we’re working on a documentary of my draft process and potentially first couple of years in my NBA career. It’s something that is fun and kind of different at the same time because he’s capturing the ups, downs, highs, lows, etc. It will definitely be interesting.”

During Thomas’ workout for Sacramento on Saturday, Isaiah appeared confident and focused in a youtube clip.

On Sunday Hoops Report’s updated mock draft saw Thomas at the 18th pick of the 2nd round to Atlanta, where he would possibly team with good friend Jamal Crawford.

On Monday trailblazers.com ran a feature on Thomas’ workout in Portland in which he continued to sound confident and loose. Acting Portland GM Chad Buchanan had good things to say about Isaiah.

“Isaiah had a very good workout. Very good pick and roll point guard it’s a skill that he’s got to have at our level which he showed today. Made shots, made mid-range jumpers, made good decisions with the ball, very competitive, feisty kid. Very confident kid which is, at that size you’ve gotta kinda have those extra traits to compensate for your lack of size. I thought he was very good today.”

Thomas also did an interview during his workout Tuesday with the Toronto Raptors in which he looked a bit tired, which is no surprise.

“MBA” expressed in a Wednesday tweet that his workout with San Antonio was a spirited session.

“Jus got done wid the Spurs workout..talented group, me, Rick Jackson, David Lighty, Etwane Moore, Corey Joesph and Josh Selby..we went at it”

Matt also trained with the Knicks on June 3rd and along with Thomas for the Blazers on June 6th, according to europeanprospects.com and the Knicks workout was confirmed on Friday by the NY Post.

On Wednesday in a segment about his preparation for the NBA draft by Todd Dybas of Sportspressnw.com, Holiday confirmed that he also was involved in quite a few NBA workouts and spoke about what he sees as his goals when he is given the once over by an NBA team.

“They have seen you play, but they don’t know exactly how you are with your teammates, leadership-wise, or how well you compete. It’s a chance to show some other parts of your game that they might not be able to see while you were in college.”

Holiday also did a youtube interview during his Sacramento workout on Saturday, where he appeared business like and confident.

Two former Dawgs in the NBA, Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman were mentioned by Rivals head recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer, as he recalled the greatest AAU teams that he’s seen. Hawes and Brockman’s Friends of Hoop, led by coach Jim Marsh were among the “most fun to watch” according to Meyer.

Brockman is an amazing player, as his statistics demonstrate. According to a Friday tweet from Joe Treutlein, Jon is incredible at drawing charges, a skill that is not for those highly concerned about their well being.

“Brockman ranked 14th with 41 charges despite only playing 677 minutes. No one else in the top-44 played under 1178 mins. Absurd. That’s 41 offensive fouls DRAWN for Brockman, to clarify.”

A new Husky Hoops blog at huskylenz.blogspot.com/ is doing a very nice job of covering a wide variety of topics that relate intelligently to UW hoops. On Sunday they posted a preview of the UW/Portland game (which he predicts to be a 93-67 UW win) that was again worth while.

I like Lenz’ work, but would like to also add that 2011 Pilot guard signee Kevin Bailey is the real thing and the Pilots will probably be able to put together a pretty fair team once again with great coaching from Eric Reveno. I could also see the game being a lot closer if UW does not find that “leadership” that Thomas and others are talking about.

Another non-conference game for UW in 2011-2012 made the news Tuesday as Gohuskies.com hoops writer Gregg Bell tweeted that, “UW will host South Dakota St on Sun. Dec 18, not Dec 19 as orig announced”.

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Washington Husky Huddle fro June 7th 2011