Washington men's basketball: Five things to watch
Will improved chemistry and experience produce better defense? Coach Lorenzo Romar says "not everyone was on the same page," last season...
Will improved chemistry and experience produce better defense?
Coach Lorenzo Romar says "not everyone was on the same page," last season, because there were so many new players. The Huskies won't have that problem this season largely because a lackluster recruiting season produced just two transfers, who must sit out this season. Washington returns four players who started at least 11 games last season, plus fifth-year senior Scott Suggs, who made 10 starts as a junior two years ago. With so many veterans, the Huskies hope to avoid defensive lapses which led to defeats like the 92-73 home loss to South Dakota State.
Who is going to rebound?
Aziz N'Diaye, a 7-foot senior center, led the team with 7.3 rebounds per game last season. But the Huskies need someone else to help the big fella. An early candidate is 6-5 junior guard C.J. Wilcox, who averages 2.7 rebounds during his college career. He had two big rebounding performances during UW's summer exhibition tour of Europe and grabbed seven in an 88-78 exhibition win over Western Washington.
Who takes the last shot?
Whenever supporting-cast members ascend to starring roles, there are growing pains, particularly when it comes to last-minute situations. Washington lost three of its first four games decided by four points or less last season before Terrence Ross emerged as its closer. In the final seven games decided by four points or less, the Huskies were 5-2.
Only one spot left
Washington has four starters — Abdul Gaddy, Suggs, Wilcox and N'Diaye — which leaves a vacancy at power forward. Sophomore Desmond Simmons started the exhibition opener, but sophomore Shawn Kemp Jr., redshirt freshmen Jernard Jarreau and sophomore Martin Breunig each scored more in fewer minutes. They're also taller and arguably have bigger upsides than Simmons.
What's in reserve?
Seven Huskies received the majority of minutes last season, which hurt UW's ability to play its ballhawking defense. It looks as if Romar will rely on eight players this season. The top reserve appears to be redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews, a 6-2 guard who could be among the team's top scorers.