Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hoops: First Game in the new Husky Season

University of Washington 77 - Central Washington University 48

This was an ugly, sloppy, exciting game. It's always exciting to start a new season; you get to see a new crop of freshman, look at the adjustments the coach has made because of departing seniors (Jon Brockman!), and see what kind of improvements individuals have made to their games. A few observations are in order.

Venoy Overton seems to have spent his off-season watching old Detroit Piston tapes from the Bad Boys (Bill Lambeer & Rick Mahorn) era. He seems to concentrate on getting into the heads of opposing players with his very physical style. An example as the Huskies ran onto the floor for warmup before the first half started: normally, the opposing team is already out going through its warmup drills. The Huskies skirt the side of that and run to their end of the floor.Venoy ran right through their drill, disrupted a pass meant for one of their players and banged that same player in the chest on his way past. Welcome to Venoy's world. He made life miserable for CWU guards the whole time he was on the floor. He has amazingly quick hands and knocks the ball loose alot.

Abdul Gaddy is going to be an exciting player to watch for however long he is at UW. Because he is so young (won't turn 18 until after the 2009-2010 season ends), he's guaranteed to be here at least 2 years. I hope he'll stay for all 4; I think it would do him (and UW) a world of good. After an extremely lackluster first half, he made a couple of passes in the second half that were pure magic. Fast, in traffic, directly into a player's hands close to the basket; both for easy buckets. He didn't score much (1 point on a free throw), but once he gets going, he's going to shatter UW assist records.

Tyreese Breshers is our Jon Brockman replacement as soon as he gets in game condition. He is a down-low banger in the JB tradition, working for rebounds and playing tough defense. He tires quickly in Lorenzo's fast-paced style, but he'll get better (and get more minutes) as his wind improves. One play stood out in the second half. A CWU guard came down the left side of the lane for a layup but met Tyreese there. T stood his ground with his arms straight up and his feet planted. As the guard bounced off him (Tyreese didn't move), T plucked the ball out of his hands and threw it downcourt to a sprinting guard. Awesome!

The freshmen C. J. Wilcox and Clarence Trent are going to be making solid contributions all year long. In the second half on a 2 on 2 break with Wilcox handling the ball to the left of the lane and Trent filling a slot on the right, Wilcox launched a pass that looked destined to go over the backboard. Trent jumped way up, snagged the pass with his right hand and flushed it through in a monster dunk. This all happened at a dead sprint. I don't think Lorenzo was too happy with the play (much too circus-style), but the Dawg Pack loved it and it is likely to show up on the season's highlight reel.

UW shot miserably in the first half, hoisting up 3s at every opportunity. They seemed to have forgotten that it is ok to get in closer to the basket and that getting 2 is better than missing a 3 with the resultant long rebound. At the end of the first half UW was ahead 43 to 18, but it would have been 60 - 18 if we had been shooting a reasonable percentage. CWU just could not cope with UW's defense, it is that good, even early in the season. Their weakside rotation to the ball is a half-step slow at this point, but it is significantly better than where the team was at this time last year.

Our free throw shooting continues to suck. We could manage no better than 50% on 18-36 shooting. Men, that is not going to win games for us! We need to bump that percentage up 20 or 30 points if we are going to win consistently in the Pac-10.

Of the 12 players on the roster, 11 played (Justin Holiday is banged up and didn't play at all) and everyone scored. Isaiah Thomas had 18, Quincy Pondexter, after a lackluster first half had 17, Venoy had 11, Tyreese Breshers and Darnell Gant (who started, but may not once TB gets his wind and legs in order) both had 6. Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 2. He was great on D, but needs to contribute more at the offensive end. Now that he's a junior, there are no more "He's young, yet." excuses left. Time to man up, MBA. The freshmen, C.J. Wilcox and Clarence Trent both had 6; a solid contribution, and they played well in the defense. Elston Turner made 1 free throw; he's supposed to be a shooter. I know I'd like to see him prove it at this point.

Overall, a good game. Very sloppy first half, but that's pretty easy to chalk up to first game jitters. Coach Romar got them settled down and running the offense better in the second half and, even though they didn't have as wide a scoring margin in the second half (34-30), they played a much better half and we came away with the win, 77-48.

Go Huskies!

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I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.