Tag Archives: Aziz N’Diaye

Where Did These Dawgs Come From?

I’ve noticed that us Good Guys aren’t very good about writing about sports when sports go wrong. It’s a good thing we aren’t getting paid to write about these things because once our teams start losing, we all start going to the movies (or doing something that isn’t sports related). If you would like to pay us to write though, I’ll gladly accept your money. So, on this very full sports day, I’m going to ignore the Mariners trade that I don’t really like and talk about a surging Husky basketball team. I could have chose Chip Kelly or dead, fake girlfriends but I’ve been planning on writing about the Huskies for about a week.

The easiest place to start this post is with the question, “What happened to the Huskies?” The easy answer is that Romar pulled a Bugs Bunny and convinced the whole team that they are drinking something special so that they will be able to defeat the Monstars of the Pac-12. That’s probably not accurate though. Before conference play began, the Huskies suffered humiliating losses to Albany, Colorado State, and Nevada. The team had some good moments but they were overshadowed by inconsistency and a lack of play-makers. The team didn’t have an identity and seemed to be going no where.

There were excuses for this, and they were pretty legitimate. Romar lost two players to the first round of the NBA Draft. The team suffered injuries to Scott Suggs and Shawn Kemp Jr. The Dawgs weren’t a deep team to begin with and these injuries didn’t help. With that to boot, the Huskies were learning a new offense this year. When you don’t have your whole team there to practice a new offense, it’s hard to learn it. The defense also suffered, as they were slow on their rotations.

The Huskies played better towards the end of non-conference play but still was not consistent. The turnaround in the season may have come when the Dawgs went and played a game at Connecticut. They lost by 8 points but the defense held UConn to 65 points and the team played hard. It was clear that progress had been made.

Since that game, the Huskies have started Pac-12 play 4-0. Three of those wins have come on the road. Yes, they haven’t played the top teams in the conference but they have found a formula to let them compete against those top teams. That formula is hard-nosed defense, hustle, veteran scoring, and more hard-nosed defense.

Read about those after the jump!

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UW Basketball: Goodbye Wroten and Ross

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. Continue reading

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Husky Hoops: The End of the Road to NYC, and Next Year

The UW basketball season is not officially over, but it’s pretty close.  Many people stopped caring when the team missed the NCAA tournament (me initially being one of them), but those who didn’t watch last night’s NIT battle royale with Oregon missed out.  Hec Ed was packed for the final home game of the year, and it was loud.  With Oregon as the opponent, it felt like anything but an NIT game, and it was played that way, as well.  Both teams played hard and well, I would argue at an NCAA tournament level.

I understand why the Huskies missed the Big Dance.  Their resume probably wasn’t worthy, at least given the way the selection committee looks at teams, but I think anyone who argues that they’re not one of the best 68 teams in the country is crazy.  They have been inconsistent and frustrating, but when they play anywhere close to their ability, they’re a potential sweet sixteen team.  That’s obviously not going to happen this year, which is what makes them so frustrating.  If you can get past that disappointment, though, last night was a blast and a good way to remember this team.

The Dawgs will now head to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals and hopefully final.  Obviously, we hope they win, but it is still kind of hard to get overly excited.  The Oregon matchup was a nice surprise, but when you come down to it, it’s the NIT.

So, you ask, what’s the point of this post?  I can’t really remember.  I started it earlier today and can’t remember where I was going with it.  I guess let’s talk about next year.

Right now, the Huskies are slated to return almost everyone.  They lose Darnell Gant to graduation, but get Scott Suggs back from an injury redshirt and add Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau, who both redshirted as freshman this year.  They have no committed recruits currently (more on that in minute).  I have no doubt that that team would be favored to win the Pac-12 handily and would probably be in consideration for the top 10 in the country.  That’s a lot of talent, and a lot of talent that should be improved and much deeper next year.

The problem is that Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten seem extremely likely to leave early for the NBA.  Both are projected for the first round.  Both have some questions, and it’s a deep draft class, so it’s not like there’s no doubt they’re leaving.  And to be fair, neither of them has given any indication they’re gone.  Just don’t get your hopes up on them staying.  In fact, if you don’t deal well with disappointment, just plan on them leaving.  The power of low expectations!

To break down my thoughts on the two: it would obviously be great if they both stayed.  If I could pick one to keep, it would be Ross.  He’s my favorite to watch, and he’s the better all-around player.  Wroten is a fascinating guy.  He had maybe the best freshman year in UW history and was one of the best players in the conference, but everyone knew what he would do: drive to his left, throw the ball toward the basket, and if it didn’t go in, get his own rebound and finish.  It’s a testament to his talent that he was so successful with this, but it also shows how much he could improve.  His effort, defense and free-throw shooting got much better this year.  If he could add a jump shot and a right hand, he might be the national player of the year, let alone the Pac-12 POY.

It’s not all doom and gloom if Ross and Wroten leave.  This team should still be talented and improved.  Abdul Gaddy has played increasingly well as the season has progressed, looking like an all-Pac-12 point guard in the last few weeks.  CJ Wilcox doesn’t quite have the shocking talent and athleticism of Ross, but he’s not terribly far behind and will only be a junior.  Suggs is in the same mode and will offer a steady head and hand.  Andrews or Hikeem Stewart would need to step up for some depth, but that could easily happen.  The front court would be a bigger question.  Aziz showed huge improvement this year, and if he could continue that and make himself a threat offensively, he could be the best big man in the conference.  Simmons had his moments before hitting a bit of a wall and losing some playing time, but he is still young and has that useful Gant-like skill set.  It will be vital for Shawn Kemp Jr. or Martin Breunig to step up and develop as a legitimate first big man off the bench.

That’s a good team, if lacking slightly in depth and star-power.  The strange thing right now is that the Huskies have no imcoming recruits to augment the returners.  I saw the other day that they’re one of only a few schools in the country with no commits yet.  This is partly by plan.  With only Gant graduating, there’s only one scholarship open, and that’s apparently being held for 5 star power forward Anthony Bennett.  Bennett is no sure thing or even remotely close to it, but he seems to be the only guy out there that the Huskies would add to the team as it is currently.  The recruiting class for 2013 has the potential to be huge, and it’s thought that Romar is happy leaving an extra scholarship open for a year if he doesn’t get Bennett or a similar level of talent.  This would likely change if Ross and/or Wroten leave, as they’d have more open scholarships and the need for some extra depth.  We’ll leave the potential recruits in that case for a later post.

So enjoy this team in the one or two games left, especially Ross and Wroten.  Hopefully they’re back, but don’t worry too much if they’re not.  You can never fault these kids for leaving for millions of dollars, and there’s always someone else ready to take his place.

But if you’re reading this, Terrence and Tony, how about you guys stick around and we make a run at the Final Four?  Seattle could use a couple of new legends, not to mention a winner.

-Matthew

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The State of the Husky Basketball Team

Yes, I still write for this blog.  Welcome back, you say?  Why thank you.  How have you been, you say?  I’m doing well.  The main reason I haven’t written much lately is that I wanted to make sure that I was still writing on here for the right reasons.  All four of the Good Guys’ write on this blog as a hobby and nothing more.  We aren’t paid for what we write (nor should we be) and we aren’t the most popular sports blog in Seattle (again, we shouldn’t be).  We just do this for fun and we are hopeful that our readers find us entertaining and somewhat informative.  In the last month I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t writing just to see how many blog hits we could get.  I wanted to make sure that I didn’t think of it as a chore.  Most of all, I wanted to make sure that I enjoyed sports more while writing about them than not writing about them.  Now, I’m back!  Yes, I’ve missed writing and, having wasted about 200 words already, it’s time to get on with this post!  There will be more in the future and, hopefully, not as many breaks in the future.

I was driving back to Seattle today and caught the last couple of minutes of the Husky basketball game on the radio.  After watching their blowout loss against Colorado on Thursday, I was hesitant to even turn it on but I’m a Dawg and will always be.  Despite the Huskies best effort to lose the game to a terrible Utah team, they edged out a close victory.  It was their first road win of the year.

After the game had ended I spent a few minutes about what I thought ‘Husky basketball’ is.  In recent years I think the program has been successful enough to earn an identity and I think Romar, Bob Rondeau and Harry the Husky would agree.  What is that identity?  I would peg it as in-your-face defense that takes risks, fast paced offense that thrives off of penetration and shooters, and a dive on the floor to get the loose ball mentality.  Most of all, I think it’s that last part.  That’s what makes Dawg fans stand up and bark.  Since the program has been on the upswing, there is no doubt that Romar has taught his players to want it more than their opposition.  Sure, that hasn’t been the case every single game but I think most Husky fans would agree.  So what’s different about this year’s team? Continue reading

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A Very Quick UW Basketball Post

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!

-Matthew

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