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!
Continue reading →
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 →
Filed under Huskies Basketball
Tagged as Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N'Diaye, C.J. Wilcox, Darnell Gant, dawg fans, Husky Basketball, Lorenzo Romar, Martin Breunig, Shawn Kemp Jr., Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten
The Huskies basketball team is heading into their most important week of the season. They were everyone’s favorite to win the Pac-10 in the pre-season and through the beginning of conference play. Then, they stumbled in 3 straight games against teams that aren’t in the top 3 in the conference. That leaves this week’s games, against ASU and Arizona, as must-wins if the Dawgs want an outright conference title.
Over the course of the Huskies 3 game losing streak, there was something completely off about the Huskies. They didn’t look the Washington basketball team that we’d all grown used to. Then, in their home games last week, it all came together again. That leaves us to ask the question, what was the difference?
The two obvious things you can point to are team defense and home-court advantage. Those clearly were huge reasons for the turn around. But, the team I saw dismantle Cal last week was completely different than the team that lost at Oregon State. So, are there more reasons why the Huskies were a different team last week? Of course. Here’s my stab at a few of them:
- Venoy Overton – Throughout this season, Venoy hasn’t been the same player he was last year. There were too many turnovers, not enough assists, and his defense wasn’t where it used to be. Part of it was the refs calling him closer due to his reputation, but the intensity just didn’t seem to be there. Last year, the first time V.O. came off the bench and into a ballgame it seemed as if a wave of an energy had washed over the building. This year we haven’t felt that. Losing Abdul Gaddy also didn’t help Overton, as more pressure was put on his back as a point guard. Last week, Venoy was close to getting back to his old self. He was driving, scoring, dishing, and, most of all, harassing opponents on defense. When he’s like that, this team is at another level. He pushes the pace and frustrates opponents. This will come up as a key this week, specifically against Arizona. The Wildcats point guards, although they’ve improved, are prone to turnovers and that could change the game around. I could make an argument for Overton being the Huskies most important player going forward. We know more or less what we have with I.T., MBA, and Justin. We know some other guys will knock down shots. But, if Overton is the player he was last season this team takes a step forward.
- The Role Players – Many people would count Overton as a role player, but I think he’s a little more of a key to success than the role players. The role players I have in mind here are Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox, and Darnell Gant. When all these guys play well, I think the Huskies are as good as anyone in the country. Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox are straight shooters. If they make their shots, then they’re doing their job. Percy Allen wonders if Scott Suggs is taking a step forward, and it sure seems like he has in recent weeks. I still count anything he does other than shooting well as extra. The same goes with C.J. Wilcox. Last week, we saw Wilcox at his best. He was scoring quickly and scoring in bunches. If he is shooting like that, he needs to be on the court about 20 minutes a game. The other role player, Gant, serves a different purpose in my opinion. Gant is there for rebounding and for his defense. If Gant grabs 5 rebounds a game, or more, than he is doing his job. Also, we all forget that Darnell is an underrated defender. For his size, he has great agility which gives him an advantage against other guys his size. Lately, Gant may be shooting a little too much, but it’s good to see him with confidence.
- Big Plays – I don’t think there are too many “big play” basketball teams, but this is one of them. This team builds off of them. Think back to the 3 game losing streak. How many alley-oops were there? How many fast-break dunks? How many great passes that led to made 3-pointers? Not many. Last week came and there were more highlights than you could count. The home crowd does play a part in this one, but still a big play on the road can really change the momentum. I think hustle plays lead to big plays, and maybe the Huskies were lacking their usual hustle on their 3 game skid.
- Help Defense – In my opinion, defense was the biggest cause of the losing streak and the wins last week. I think Romar would agree and just about anyone else who covers the Huskies. But, one small aspect that was remarkably better the last 2 games was the Huskies help defense. Yes, the on ball pressure was much better but the help defense made it that way. I’d like to see the amount of charges the Huskies took in their 3 game losing streak compared to their 2 game winning streak. Charges weren’t the only stat that proved that. The Huskies also had an amazing amount of blocked shots over the last 2 games that proved their help defense. If the Huskies are going to win, they can’t allow all the open lanes that we saw during their 3 game losing streak.
There are surely more points to be made on this (and feel free to put them in the comments). But, these are a few hidden keys in order for the Huskies to be successful. Go Dawgs!