Washington completed the 2012-2013 crusades on a reasonably high note. After a pause in Pac-12 play, the Huskies won three of their final four regular season games to help lock down a winning record on the season. Thanks to that winning record, Washington made a trip to the NIT where they lost to BYU in the first round. With three starters departed there is a little reconstruction to do and one more trip to the NIT would be a positive season for Coach Lorenzo Romar and house.
2012-13 Record: 18-16, 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Lorenzo Romar
Coach Record: 237-129 at Washington, 330-217 overall
The anticipations placed on Abdul Gaddy when he reached UW four years ago were very extraordinary. He had a fine collegial livelihood, but never led the program to pronounced things. In the course of his senior season he averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 assists. The scrappy playmaker could make things materialize and open looks could be harder to come by without Gaddy setting up the offense. Backcourt companion Scott Suggs has also run out of eligibility. Suggs was one of the shooters on the team and he knocked down nearly two three-pointers per game. The big loss in the frontcourt is Aziz N’Diaye. The center turned into a decent inside scorer, but he made a much better impact on the glass.
A couple of transfers will make an instant impact and help replace the production of N’Diaye in the frontcourt. Perris Blackwell spent three years at San Francisco where the 6-9, 280 pound forward took up a lot of space in the paint. He is a very solid rebounder and a resourceful scorer around the rim. Two years ago he averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. If he does not step right into the starting lineup at UW, he will at least see quite a fair amount of quality minutes. Gilles Dierckx can add more dimensions to the frontcourt after working his way into the starting lineup at Florida International as a freshman in 2011-2012. The outside adds a bit of skill with junior college transfer Mike Anderson. Yet, it is the freshmen that could make a greater splash right away. Jahmel Taylor, Nigel Williams-Goss and Darian Johnson form a decent class that will be the basis of the backcourt for the next four years. Taylor and Williams-Goss will be expected to bide their time at the point guard position. Williams-Goss is big enough and gifted enough to play off the ball as well. Either way, he is too good to keep off of the floor. Johnson is more of a straight up replacement for Suggs. He is an adequate shooter and, with a little more power, will be able to finish around the basket.
C.J. Wilcox will have no difficulty taking over the leadership role. He can do all. As a junior he averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 block. A splendid athlete, Wilcox is not scared to fight his way to the basket. With his aptitude to constantly knock down long balls, there are not many more vibrant scorers in the Pac-12. Andrew Andrews had an astonishingly prolific freshman season, ranking in the top ten all-time in minutes and assists by a Washington freshman. He only started a couple of games, but Andrews was playing pretty good basketball by the end of the season and the 7.8 point and 2.3 assist averages do not tell the complete story. With that year of familiarity under his belt, Andrews is ready to turn into the team’s chief ball handler. Junior Hikeem Stewart has yet to crack the regular rotation and he will need to battle with the newcomers for minutes off of the bench.
While the backcourt does a bit of upgrading, the frontcourt can lead the way. Shawn Kemp, Jr. started to turn his raw potential into production as a sophomore. There is still work to be done, but the 6-9 junior is an offensive menace now. Kemp is also a decent shot blocker, although he will have to work harder on the glass to help replace N’Diaye. Desmond Simmons is a good rebounder and a very good glue guy. The 6-7 junior’s numbers will not jump out at anybody, but he is an important player on this team. With a beefed up Jernard Jarreau and Blackwell and Dierckx joining the skirmish, the Huskies have profundity and know-how up front. What they do need to find is a dependable scoring threat that is good enough defensively to stay on the floor for 25 to 30 minutes per game. Without a scorer in the paint, the shooters and slashers on the perimeter are going to find the gaps closing fast.
Projected Starting Five:
Andrew Andrews, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Darin Johnson, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
C.J. Wilcox, Senior, Guard, 16.8 points per game
Shawn Kemp, Jr., Junior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Perris Blackwell, Senior, Forward, DNP last season