Washington Husky Huddle for May 31st 2011

May 31, 2011, 4:52 PM

On Monday Yahoo blogger Jeff Eisenberg talked about the top-4 rivalry games that should be renewed and mentioned the UW and Zags. Eisenberg pointed to former UW assistant Cameron Dollar’s recruitment of Josh Heytvelt and GU coach Mark Few saying, “The chances of that happening are about the same as Bigfoot having my baby” in regards to the teams playing every year in Seattle as UW proposed, as the highlights of a chequered past between the two programs. I disagree. I feel that Few has been out of line, when it comes to Washington and Romar, going back to Lorenzo’s days at Pepperdine in the WCC. I believe that Few and Gonzaga have done what they can to stop Dollar’s Seattle U program from joining a natural fit in the WCC. I could go on, but I really don’t think that based on his conduct Few deserves this. UW does not need to play at the Zags gym ever. The place is a trap and the refs are about as fair as those at a Harlem Globetrotters game. Washington does not need to play there ever, especially with the newly updated and up-scaled Pac-12 in action. Let Few do his thing and build a rivalry with WSU or better yet Seattle U. UW does not need to prove anything by scheduling the Zags home and home. The Dawgs are having no trouble scheduling dates in NYC with Duke or last year’s Maui Classic with the likes of national champ UConn, Kentucky and Michigan State. They do not need to do favors by scheduling a home and home with a rude mid-major program that does not provide a fair road game.

Hoopniks released it’s “Class of 2011 Final Team Rankings” on Sunday. Washington was ranked 21st, with ‘Zona 4th and the Ducks at 23rd being the only other Pac-12 teams ranked. It has been a normal thing in recent years to see the Dawgs in that 15-25 range in hoops class rankings all across the board. Washington has two open spots left in 2011 and one could be filled by German import Martim Breunig via St John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin. According to Husky Digest, Breunig’s coach at St John’s said that after Martin’s successful visit to Washington in mid-May, Breunig will choose one more school to visit (to compare) and then decide. Breunig wants to be certain that he is making the right choice, after some dealings with Marquette that went south and after his released from a signed letter of intent to Maryland. After Breunig visits a 2nd school, he will then travel back to Germany to confer with his family before deciding, according to Richert in Husky Digest.

Nationalhoopsreport.net did a preview of next year’s Husky Hoops team on Thursday. The article made the case that UW would be more guard oriented than last season.

“With Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton all gone, the Huskies will be more guard oriented than before. C.J. Wilcox, Terrence Ross, Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and incoming freshman Anthony Wroten make up

one of the top back courts in the nation.”

This makes little sense to me, but I don’t mean to say anything bad about this site which has come out with some very strong coverage of recruiting and college hoops in it’s very short history. UW loses three guards and a post and gains three guards and two posts in Wroten, Andrew Andrews, Hikeem Stewart, Jernard Jarreau and Desmond Simmons.

Chances are better than 50/50 in my mind that UW lands at least one other post in Breunig or some other as if yet unknown prospect. Rising senior post Darnell Gant and rising soph post Aziz N’Diaye from all reports are noticeably improved. Simmons is an undersized but not tiny beast and Jarreau has put on weight and told me Tuesday that he now weighs 210 pounds. UW should have a very good guard group, health permitting, but post play minus Bryan-Amaning and plus two or three guys, could be actually a bit better. Gant was the subject of a nice feature in the Husky Haul on Sunday and addressed some of the skeptics, especially when it comes to post commitment and toughness.

Husky Haul: “What is a dream you would love to see accomplished as a team?”

Gant: “Proving a lot of people wrong. Doing the things that we can when people doubt us. People don’t think we are going to do anything next year because we are young or whatever but I beg to differ, I think we are one of the hardest working teams that Romar has had. We are all on the same page and we all love to work.”

Wroten was chosen as the number one underrated freshman nationally by Bleacher Report on Tuesday, who offered a unique opinion on the budding Seattle legend.

“Tony Wroten is the best player who was not invited to the McDonalds’ All-American game. He is the fifth best point guard in the nation, but since he is going to a PAC 12 school, he wasn’t invited to the All-Star game. He has amazing court vision, can play both the point and shoot guard positions and has a knack of always finding his open teammate. He will sit behind Abdul Gaddy this year, but he will make it into the sixth or seventh man role by the end of the season.”

I disagree with the part about sitting. Wroten will play starters minutes all year, even if he doesn’t start. I think that Tony will start alongside Gaddy. That is Romar’s style going back to the beginning of his coaching tenure at UW. I see Terrence Ross at the other guard spot with sophomore C.J. Wilcox and senior Scott Suggs. Whether Ross, Wilcox or Suggs starts at the three, all three will play long minutes whether starting of coming off the bench and playing starters minutes at the 2-3. Wroten will play some PG and Ross will play some at the 4 position. Gant and N’Diaye will start at the 4-5 spots, but Dee (Simmons) will play a lot of minutes. That’s an eight man rotation with four posts (if you count going small regularly with Ross) and four guards. There should also be two guards and two posts in depth behind that rotation in Andrews, Stewart, Jarreau and whoever that other big is (be it Breunig or even walk-on senior Brendan Sherrer). That doesn’t look bad to me, but getting another big guy would be a very good thing in light on a Pac-12 that is really big at the top in UCLA and getting bigger all around.

Isaiah Thomas’ departure doesn’t make UW smaller, but there is no way that UW is not going to miss this amazing player and competitor. Thomas is doing well in NBA workouts and this past week was his best yet. So far, according to the Hoops Report, Thomas has worked out for NJ (May 8) and Dallas (May 13) and will at Portland (June 6) and Chicago (June 11). On Thursday draftexpress.com published the NBA draft Combine Shooting Drills Results and Thomas fared best overall. He may be short at five-foot-ten, but he is a whale of a player. Ballinisahabit.net did a profile on Thomas that was as objective as it was informative. They compared his pro potential to somewhere between former Dawg legend Nate Robinson, current Dallas Maverick JJ Barea and former Portland Pilot Pooh Jeter.

Justin Holiday has also been making the rounds with NBA clubs, having worked out for New Jersey (May 8), Minnesota (May 23) and the Lakers (May 30th) according to Hoops Report and other numerous reports. Matthew Bryan-Amaning has only done one NBA workout to my knowledge, Minnesota on May 24th, but he was chosen by Bleacher Report on Saturday as one of three potential 2nd round picks “Who Could Make an Immediate Impact”.

“Bryan-Amaning is expected to be a late second-round pick, but his athletic abilities rival many of the players that will be selected in the first-round. He has above average quickness for someone with his size and is a terrific scorer around the basket. He is still a bit raw, but he plays solid defense and is a great shot-blocker. Bryan-Amaning is also a terrific rebounder and has incredible leaping abilities. He is a bit more of a project than the other two guys on this list, but his above average athleticism in the post make him an excellent value pick this late and he can be a guy that comes in and provides a lot of energy off the bench.”

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Washington Husky Huddle for May 31st 2011