UW

Salk: 4 reasons why Mike Hopkins turned around the UW Huskies

Mar 18, 2019, 11:37 AM
The UW Huskies snapped their NCAA Tournament drought in Mike Hopkins' second year. (AP)...
The UW Huskies snapped their NCAA Tournament drought in Mike Hopkins' second year. (AP)
(AP)

The UW Huskies are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, completing an impressive turnaround in just two seasons under head coach Mike Hopkins.

After the Huskies earned a No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region and a Round 1 matchup with eighth-seeded Utah State, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk broke down four reasons Hopkins was able to snap Washington’s tournament drought.

Here’s what Salk had to say.

Husky fans should be pumped. This hasn’t happened in eight years, and it only took Hopkins two years to get it done? Impressive. What an incredibly inspired hire by athletic director Jen Cohen.

How did Hop get this done so quickly?

1. Development. He helped players improve.

2. ‘Tougher Together.’ I remember Husky super-fan Boy Howdy making fun of the motto when they nearly lost to St Martin’s in an exhibition game last year. Well, these guys lived it. We constantly heard about factions and squabbles under former coach Lorenzo Romar. Not in the last two years.

3. Dudes who wanted to compete. Matisse Thybulle, David Crisp and Noah Dickerson are not transformative players, but they compete their butts off.

4. No pressure. Sorry, but this can’t be overlooked in 2019. Teams struggle to deal with expectations. This team struggled every time the ranking got higher.

I think the Huskies are in for a tough matchup with Utah State – the Aggies can score and that is the antidote to the zone. But the Huskies certainly have a shot, and their future is even brighter.

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Salk: 4 reasons why Mike Hopkins turned around the UW Huskies