Kemp, Upshaw Making The Difference For Huskies


Despite a down year in 2013-14 and the loss of by far their best player in C.J. Wilcox, UW basketball is on their way back to NCAA Tournament contention. The biggest reason?

For the first time since Jon Brockman and Matthew Bryan-Amaning in 2008-09, the Huskiess have a legit one-two punch inside.

Mar 6, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies forward

Shawn Kemp

, Jr., (40) dunks the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Mandatory Credit:

Joe Nichols

on-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the San Jose State and UTEP games where he sat for large parts in foul trouble, Shawn Kemp, Jr. was averaging 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, one block and shooting 62% from the field.

Albeit the competition wasn’t great, but Kemp was scoring at will using all kinds of different back-to-the-basket post moves. He starts by almost always getting great position on the block. Then he can shoot the jump hook with either hand or use his fantastic body control to drop-step under or around defenders.

And just like the previous generation of Kemp, this man can just DESTROY the rim.

Robert Upshaw was a mystery coming into the season. Is this Aziz Ndiaye 2.0? Or can this guy really be the game-changing player that 7′ players should be?

That question was answered quickly. In sixteen minutes, in fact.

Upshaw scored 14 points on 6-10 shooting with seven blocks and six rebounds in sixteen minutes. If he would’ve played 36 minutes or more, which he might have if the game had been close, he would’ve been on pace to break the NCAA all-time record for blocks in a game.

He is now averaging 9.2 points and 4.0 blocks.

The Huskies have the ability to put Jernard Jarreau, a 6’10” wing, in the game with Kemp at 6’9″ and Upshaw at 7’0″ and just dominate teams on the boards. And unlike 99% of teams, they can do that without giving up any athleticism or creating any mismatches in the other teams’ favor.

Jarreau can guard any position 2-4 with his length and quickness. Upshaw would then take the opposing team’s best post scorer, and Kemp is athletic enough to take whichever type of PF is left. Not to mention UW has a 6’4″ PG in Nigel Williams-Goss and multiple shooting guards at 6’5″ or taller.

Not many teams in the Pac-12 – or even the country, for that matter – can match the Huskies inside. That is something we haven’t been able to say for a long, long time.