Lots going on in Seattle sports right now. First up: Husky basketball.
As expected, both Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten have declared for the NBA draft. Both have said they will hire agents, which would prevent them from changing their minds and returning to school. Obviously, it would have been great to have either or both of them return. Both are phenomenal athletes who had the ability to dominate games. I’m not one of those who considers their decisions addition by subtraction for next year’s team. Players like Ross and Wroten are hard to find, and we wish them luck in their NBA careers.
That being said, I don’t think it’s crazy to think that 2012-13 could be a better year for the Huskies. They’ll be lacking a bit in starpower, but they should gain a lot in experience and leadership. Gaddy improved his game tremendously over the last month or so of the season, and a healthy CJ Wilcox is probably an all-Pac12 player. If Aziz can improve on anywhere near the same curve as he did before last season, he could be dominant on defense and a consistent threat on offense. Suggs will be back and provides a fuzzy facsimile of Ross’ talents, as well as some much needed leadership and veteran savvy. Andrew Andrews is starting to get some buzz as a potential impact player coming off a redshirt freshman year. He’s a 6’2″ scoring guard who can potentially handle the point as well. The key to the season might be the progression of the young big men. If Simmons can take a step up and maintain it through a full season, he can be Darnell Gant soon. It’s important that one of Kemp Jr., Breunig and redshirt freshman Jernard Jerreau progress to the point of effectiveness, however. Jerreau is the most intriguing as the tallest of the three but with a perimeter-oriented game. If he can put on enough wait not to be beaten up in the paint, he could be another solid scoring threat.
A byproduct of the Ross and Wroten decisions is the newfound importance of 2012 recruiting. If they had stayed, the Huskies would have had one open scholarship, which apparently would have gone to five star power forward Anthony Bennett if they could get him or would have been held for a potentially huge 2013 class. They now have three spots open, and probably need at least two of them filled for next year. One of those was taken almost immediately, as local JC guard Mark McLaughlin committed to the Dawgs last night. He’s had a long and winding road to the UW, which you can read about in an interview with Percy Allen here. It sounds like he’s grown and matured a lot, so we’ll hope for the best. On the court, he sounds similar to Ross. The 6’6″ guard led the nation in scoring at his level at about 28 per, to go with 8 boards and 2 assists. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining. I would bet we see him in an instant offense off the bench roll, at least at first. If nothing else, he’s one extra L away from a superbad last name. One name!
I would imagine the Huskies would prefer to use one other scholarship on a big man. Bennett is still the top choice, as a top-10 recruit nationally and immediate difference-maker, but it’s unlikely he picks the Dawgs. There are some other options out there, but I won’t go into them too far. One interesting one to keep an eye on is UCONN’s Alex Oriakhi, who could be released from scholarship if the bad Huskies are suspended from the postseason next year. He’d only have one year of eligibility left but could provide some good instant depth and experience. We could finally stick it to UCONN! Take that! You can have the Elite 8. We just want Alex Oriakhi!
So, there you go. I can’t say I’m sad to say goodbye to this year’s team. They were just so frustrating to watch. I don’t know what next year will bring, but we’ll hope for the best. Go Dawgs!