Which Huskies need to step up their performance in Pac-12 play? We dish out grades through the first 11 games.
After 11 games, the Huskies still lack a team identity on the basketball court. Instead of the high-flying, highlight-making and winning basketball team fans have become so accustomed during Lorenzo Romar's tenure - these 6-5 Huskies are a turnover-making, head-slapping inducing and losing team.
Despite one of the worst non-conference starts in Romar's tenth season as the Huskies' head coach, this team still has a chance to turn their season around. A weak Pac-12 conference opens the door for the Huskies to redeem themselves after disappointing in the non-conference portion of their schedule.
Martin Breunig, Forward, (Fr.)
Like all freshman, Breunig has looked lost on defense and tentative on offense. He is only averaging eight minutes per game, but has seen action in every single game so far. Romar uses Breunig and Kemp Jr. when either N'Diaye or Gant is in foul trouble. Moving forward, Breunig needs to keep on learning how to play solid defense and grab rebounds when he's put in the game; he can't be a liability in those two aspects of the game GRADE: C
Abdul Gaddy, Guard, (Jr.)
Gaddy has been hot and cold so far this season. There are games where Gaddy is distributing the rock, being aggressive in scoring opportunities and not turning the ball over (see Portland game, 15pts, 5ast, 5reb, 1to) and there are games where Gaddy completely disappears (see Marquette game, 4pts, 2asts, 1reb, 2to). Gaddy is at his best when he is penetrating and creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. His size gives him the ability to bully his defenders into the paint, but he constantly defers to his teammates by making low-risk passes outside of the key. N'Diaye and Gant along with all the shooters on this team will benefit greatly on offense if Gaddy penetrates more and draws the defense in on him. GRADE: B
Darnell Gant, Forward (Sr.)
I've come to terms that Gant will never reach the potential that Husky fans have wanted him to reach since he joined this team five years ago. To his credit, the senior captain has raised his rebound averaged to 5.4 (it was 3.8 last year) and he's also upped his scoring to 9.1 points per game (5.2 last year). The coaches know what they are going to get with Gant when he's on the floor. He'll hit an occasional three-pointer and provide a boost of energy when he makes a highlight dunk or block, but other than that, he's failed to hold his teammates accountable on the court. It's his fifth-year and he's still missing rotations on defense and committing dumb fouls. GRADE: B-
Shawn Kemp Jr., Forward (Fr.)
In the limited action he's seen, Kemp hasn't done much on the basketball court. Like Breunig, he provides forward dpeth on the bench when N'Diaye, Gant and Simmons are in foul trouble. His play is still tentative on both ends of the court, but considering this is his first full season of basketball in over two years, he hasn't looked completely lost in the games he's been in. GRADE: C
Aziz N'Diaye, Center (Jr.)
N'Diaye is the most important player on this roster. When he's stayed out of foul trouble, he's been a rebounding and blocking machine. The seven-footer has taken a step forward in all statistical categories: 7.6 points per game (up from 4.6), 8.6 rebounds per game (up from 5.7) and 2 blocks per game (up from 1.1). The only aspect preventing N'Diaye from an A grade is his free-throw shooting; he's shooting 34.5% from the free-throw line, down from last season's 41.7%. GRADE: B+
Terrence Ross, Guard (So.)
This is Ross' last season wearing a Husky uniform, but if his play from the first 11 games indicates his future performance for this season, Husky fans and Ross should feel disappointed. Ross is the most talented and athletic player in the Pac-12, however he has not utilized these tools and plaedy a complete game of basketball yet.
Despite shooting 84% from the free-throw line (second-best on the team), Ross is sixth in free-throw attempts - for the No. 1 option on offense, he should at least be top three in attempts.
He has to attack the basket off the dribble and create for himself more often. Sure he isn't the greatest finisher, but if he draws some contact and gets to the free-throw line, he'll be virtually unstoppable on the offensive end. Mid-range and three-point shot attempts should be secondary options when he has the athleticism and size to get to the rim. GRADE: B+
Desmond Simmons, Forward (RS Fr.)
Simmons is fulfilling his role as an energizing forward off the bench. He's been solid on the boards (6.0 per game) and he has not been a total liability on defense either. He's also proven to be an opportunistic scorer; every time he's taken a shot that I thought was out of his range he's swished it. GRADE: A-
Hikeem Stewart, Guard (Fr.)
Stewart is the last option for Romar when his guards are in foul trouble. As long as he doesn't turn the ball over, UW fans should be happy with him. He's only averaging about six minutes of playing time. GRADE: N/A
C.J Wilcox, Guard (So.)
Like Ross, if Wilcox starts penetrating and getting to the rim more often, he can be become unstoppable on the offensive end. Unlike previous sharp shooters on the Huskies like Ryan Appleby and Tre Simmons, Wilcox isn't one dimensional. He should have more than a mere 17 free-throw attempts through 11 games. GRADE: A-
Tony Wroten, Guard (Fr.)
According to Ken Pomeroy's advanced stats, Wroten is using up 35.4% of UW's possessions - the third highest percentage in all of college basketball. While he's averaging a team-high 16 points per game, he's also averaging 4.45 turnovers per game.
Wroten does have an elite ability to get to the rim and draw contact, but the majority of scoring shouldn't be coming from him. Ross and Wilcox should be doing the scoring while Wroten should be distributing. Sometimes making the simple pass or the extra pass is what this offense needs.
Too many times has Wroten called his own number, leaving the rest of the team little opportunity to get in an offensive groove. The coaches need to harness this talent bycontinuing to improve his free-throw percentage and working to his turnovers. GRADE: B+
Disagree with a grade? Leave your own nonconference grades and comments below.