For the second time in three days, the Washington Huskies lost a player to the NBA.
Despite having no outside game for a guard and a poor mark at the free throw line, Tony Wroten, to no one’s surprise, made himself eligible for the draft despite having played only one year at UW. Sophomore Terrence Ross said Sunday he would also make himself eligible for the draft.
“I just felt like it was the right time and I was ready,” Wroten, the Pac-12 freshman of the year, said on a teleconference with reporters. “It was best for me and my family. I feel like going out after my freshman year, I accomplished a lot and I’m ready for the next step.”
Wroten said he felt as if he could be a “great combo guard” in the NBA despite his shortcomings.
“I don’t think I shot it like I wanted to,” he said. “It’s not that I can’t shoot. It’s just having confidence to shoot the ball. I’m definitely going to stay in the gym and work on my shot.”
Washington’s second-leading scorer at 16 points a game, Wroten shot 44 percent from the field, 16 percent from three-point range, and 58 percent from the line. He led the team in steals with 66 and averaged five rebounds and 3.7 assists a game.
Critics of his game claimed Wroten, an All-State selection from Seattle’s Garfield High School, sometimes over-controlled the ball and forced shots. But his quickness off the floor allowed him an uncanny ability to rebound his own miss, as well as those of his teammates, for quick put-backs.
He started the final 27 of Washington’s 35 games. The Huskies finished 24-11 to become the Pac-12’s regular season champions, but because of weak competition — no wins against any team ranked in the RPI top 50 — were not invited to the NCAA tournament. The Huskies went to the NIT, where they won their first three games before losing in the semifinals to Minnesota in New York.
Asked for his regrets, he said, “I definitely wanted to win the NCAA Tournament — just make the NCAA Tournament. I wish we would have done that.”
Asked about the decision to be a one-and-done, he said, “Growing up in the Central District area, you hear them saying, one-and-done type of player. I never really paid mind to it until I got to college.”
Asked if he would regret the decision if he were a second-round selection, where contract money is rarely guaranteed, he said, “Yes, definitely. I feel like I’m blessed with the talent and put in the hard work. I’m confident enough that I’ll definitely get drafted much higher.”
Wroten was named to the All-Pac-12 first team, the first Huskies’ freshman to do so. He was the UW’s all-time freshman leader in points, steals, assists and was fourth in rebounds. He was one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale national freshman of the year award.