Not sure what Washington plans do to with the uptick in game-program sales this coming basketball season. Maybe the university can apply the extra money to anticipated steel cost overruns for the revamping of Husky Stadium.
Just who are these guys, anyway?
Better buy that program. Six freshmen formally make up a chunk of the Washington basketball roster. Really, its seven, because redshirt Desmond Simmons should be added to that group of toddlers.
Andrew Andrews, Martin Breunig, Jernard Jerreau, Shawn Kemp Jr., Simmons, Hikeem Stewart, Tony Wroten. Thats half the team.
They’re not the only ones short on experience. Its the second year for center Aziz NDiaye, shooter C.J. Wilcox and, essentially, point guard Abdul Gaddy, despite his junior status.
Gaddy will be returning from a burst knee. The two primary ball-handlers from last year are gone. Only NDiaye, Gant and Terrence Ross played more than 20 minutes in an NCAA Tournament game.
Kemp is too heavy and Jarreau too light. Stewart, 6-2, 175 pounds, too small. Wroten too raw.
If ever there were a time to line up the non-conference non-entities, 2011-12 would be it. The Huskies are re-packaged and oddly matched. Early trips to St. Louis and Nevada — both struggled last year, but neither lost a player of note — will be trouble. Thats before the jaunt to New York to have a street fight with Buzz Williams Marquette club, then dealing with refined Duke.
The Huskies are likely to fly back from the December trip with a snow boot imprint on their behinds.
But, hey, this is summer (by the calendar, not the weather). A deeper look at this crew:
— Scott Suggs, Wilcox and Ross are capable wings. The anticipation is each does more than he showed last season. The trio is poor at getting to the free-throw line. Combined, they shot 81 last season. Isaiah Thomas made 151. Often, one of these guys will be mismatched at small forward, becoming the rotating help defender on the baseline. Doing that effectively takes understanding and interest. Well see if they have both.
— Whos the third ball-handler? Gaddy, Wroten, then who? Throughout Thomass time at Washington, coach Lorenzo Romar referred to him and Venoy Overton as guards. Not point or shooting guards. Straight up guards. Romar probably refers to Overton as something else these days. But Romar rotated ball handling between those two and a third, in the past Justin Dentmon or Gaddy. Will Stewart or Andrews be capable? Can one of the wings initiate the offense?
— What to expect from Jarreau and Simmons? Simmons spent his redshirt freshman season healing and working on a midrange jumper. He came with a reputation as a grinder, something this roster desperately needs; its full of shine. Jarreau would be primed to redshirt if his height wast so needed now. Freshman guard Andrews is listed at the same weight as Jarreau, 195 pounds, despite being eight inches shorter than the 6-10 Jarreau. Jarreau weighs 110 pounds less than UCLA center Josh Smith. Though NDiaye would deal with him most of the time, Jarreau would likely deal with the Wear twins (David and Travis, 6-10 and 220 and 225, respectively) or mad bull Reeves Nelson (6-8, 235). Remember spindly John Henson of North Carolina? He outweighs Jarreau by 15 pounds. Henson was also mediocre his freshman season, averaging 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds.
— Most intriguing is the length Washington can put out at any point. Romar, lamenting size after each March exit, can max out with a reasonable lineup that looks like this:
Wroten, 6-5, PG
Suggs, 6-6, SG
Ross, 6-6, SF
Jarreau, 6-10, F
NDiaye, 7-0, C
There’s even a chance to slide in Gant as the small forward in the grouping.
Gaddy, 6-3, PG
Wilcox, 6-5, SG
Simmons, 6-7, SF
Gant, 6-8, F
Across the board, that would match up with stretched-out North Carolina, which was 6-3, 6-3, 6-8, 6-10, 7-0 to start last years season-ending tournament game.
There is an exceptional level of sorting to do for Romar. Prior to last season, Washington lost just Quincy Pondexter. Its a bit of a downplay to put just in front of the name of a conference player of the year candidate, but it was not the mass shift of this coming season.
It’s not just the physical traits of the newbies. Indoctrinating the first full-fledged class of social media monsters will be an experiment like none other for Romar.
The core is rattled. The base of the teams that won some form of Pac-10 title each of the last three years has moved on. Likely so has that run of titles.
This group is long on inches, short in the tooth.