The UW basketball team started practice about a week ago, so I’ll throw this out there in case anyone wants to discuss the team. They’re favorites to win the Pac-10, which looks to be nearly as weak as it was last year. Some quick thoughts and things to watch.
- The team is very deep overall, but not in the frontcourt. Tyreese Breshers had to retire for medical reasons just before practice started, leaving MBA, Darnell Gant, and Aziz N’Diaye as the only bigs. Given Romar’s style of play, they can work around this, but one more body would be very nice. Freshman Desmond Simmons is about Darnell Gant’s size and does all the dirty work, but he’s more of a wing and is recovering from an injury.
- Speaking of Aziz, he sounds like he could be a difference maker. Quick history: an incoming sophomore from a junior college, he lost all of last season to surgery. Good news: he’s 7′ 260 lb and ran the fastest mile on the team. Most thought he’d get limited time this year while he recovered and developed, and that might still be the case, but Romar singled him out as playing well in a recent scrimmage. If he adjusts quickly, he could have a huge role as a defensive stopper and rebounder.
- Venoy Overton will miss most of the preseason with an injury. Hopefully the extra practice time will give Abdul Gaddy a chance to get rolling out of the gate. Gaddy playing up to his potential could make this team tough to beat.
- I don’t have any inside access to the team or anything, but now that Isaiah Thomas is the top Dawg, I’m betting we don’t see the same chemistry issues that dogged the Huskies (no pun intended) the first half of last season. Something never quite fit last year, and I still think it had to do with Quincy Pondexter’s personality not meshing with the rest of the team. I could be crazy, and I’d sure like to have Quincy’s scoring back, but I’m betting this team finds its identity a lot quicker than last year’s did.
- Off the court, UW got a huge recruiting commitment from Tony Wroten. A big Seattle point guard, Wroten was talked of as the top recruit in the country at times. Injuries and maturity issues have quieted those discussions the last couple of years, but he still has a world of potential. In the past, he seemed like a lock to leave the state after high school, so the commitment is even sweeter. I’ve seen some Gary Payton comparisons, which seem to fit from the little I know. The Huskies currently have a good but somewhat under-the-radar class. They’re in on two of the top big men on the West Coast, Angelo Chol and Norvel Pelle. Getting either of them would be huge and make it a very complete class. Signing day for the fall is coming up, and we’ll do a full breakdown as it gets closer.
More to come as the season gets closer. If there’s anything you’d like to hear about, leave it in the comments and we’ll see what we can do!