As the Washington Huskies get ready for their season-opener, David Crisp talks about playing with Markelle Fultz and where he needs to improve his game.
The Washington Huskies enter the new season facing numerous questions. Can they overcome the loss of Andrew Andrews? Will they return to the NCAA Tournament after a five-year absence? Are they as bad as they looked defensively in their recent exhibition game?
Understandably, five-star recruit Markelle Fultz will have a big part to play in providing the answers. However, you can make an argument that David Crisp will be the most important player for the Huskies this season.
We all know how vital the point guard position is to any team. As the new starter, Crisp will be expected to run the Huskies’ offense, while showing that he can grow as a leader.
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However, even with all this expectation and pressure, Crisp is pumped for the start of the new campaign: “I’m really excited, I’ve been waiting all off-season. I got a little taste in the exhibition game, so I’m ready for real for the first one.”
The freshman will be expected to pick up some of the scoring slack, with the loss of Andrews and former Rainier Beach teammate, DeJounte Murray. He got off to a decent start in the exhibition win against Western Washington, finishing second on the team with 23 points.
However, Crisp will need to improve on his .360 shooting percentage, which was a reminder of how he struggled in this area last season. In addition, he will have to prove that he can be a better defender.
With all this in mind, I asked Crisp where he concentrated on improving his game during the offseason: “I was really working on my play-making abilities and just having to be really able to run a point, switching off Markelle so that we’ve always got somebody holding it down.
“Also, I worked on play-making stuff, and a lot of stuff off the dribble, because I was really doing a lot of catch and shoot last year. So I did that a lot.”
Despite some poor defensive play during the exhibition game against the Vikings, the Huskies are optimistic they will be stronger in this area compared to the 2015-16 campaign. Crisp believes Matthew Atewe and Sam Timmins will help immensely in this respect.
The Tacoma, Washington native said: “Last year we didn’t really have true big men who could go out and bang somebody. Sometimes we let some guys pound us around on the boards and you’re not pounding Sam or Matt off the boards.
“That’s two big bodies. They also play hard trying to get those rebounds and being physical.”
As you’d expect, a lot of Huskies’ fans will be eager to see what type of chemistry Crisp has with Fultz in the backcourt. At this point, it’s a case of so far, so good.
Crisp said: “It’s coming along great. We hang out off the court and we bring it to the floor.
“Playing with him, everyone now knows, keep an eye on the ball because you could get it at anytime. (Matisse Thybulle chimed in at this point, joking that you could get it in the back of the head.) Everybody knows he’s not selfish, so he’s a great team player.”
Overall, for someone who is often described as confident verging on cocky, Crisp comes across as quiet and thoughtful during the interview. If he can find the right combination between the two perceptions while also continuing to work hard, the Huskies should be in safe hands this season.
What kind of season are you expecting from Crisp? By extension, what are you predicting from the Huskies in general? Will they finally return to the NCAA Tournament? Let us know in the comment section below.