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UW Basketball: Why Terrence Ross Might Not Hit The 'Freshman Wall'

if you're a Seattle fan, it might come as a bit of a surprise that Washington Huskies guard Terrence Ross was left off of John Gasaway's list of The Nation's Top 25 Freshmen yesterday.

Since earning more minutes in Pac-10 play - even before point guard Abdul Gaddy's season-ending injury - he has quite easily been among the team's top three contributors statistically with 16 points per game and four rebounds per game, has drawn comparisons to stud former stud freshmen Brandon Roy and Spencer Hawes by some, and has earned a nickname (that could stick) from others.

However, the reason Ross wasn't present on Gasaway's list yesterday was a simple matter of minutes - despite obvious talent and an unflappable scorer's mentality obvious to those of us watching in Hec Ed, he hadn't had the minutes in non-conference play to make a huge impact on the national scene.

And to Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar, that's exactly why he might avoid hitting the proverbial freshman wall after a hot start to conference play.

"I've seen guys as freshmen come in like gangbusters right away and just tearing everything apart then they hit the freshman wall or they have to play through a scout and they don't do as well and they recover toward the end of the year," said Romar when asked about the potential for Ross to hit a rookie wall during his weekly media conference today. "Because Terrence started out slower, I don't think he's going to hit that freshman wall. Most freshmen don't know what it is anyway. He really doesn't."

And you don't have to watch the guy long to figure out what Romar means by Ross really not knowing what a rookie wall is - he's confident in his abilities, to say the very least. Over the first four games of Pac-10 play, Ross has used a higher percentage of plays on the court than anyone on the team, which is no small feat given junior guard Isaiah Thomas' reputation as a shooter. Perhaps even more impressive, he's managed to become an even more consistently efficient scorer, increasing his field goal percentage to 56.2 percent and 3-point percentage to 45.5 percent during conference play. 

He's coming into his own and doing it in multiple ways and that's not to mention his defense.

"He's learned to be a much better defensive player and as a result he goes in against Oregon and just because he's in the right place, he gets four steals," said Romar of the freshman who is sixth in the conference with 1.75 steals per game over the first two weekends of conference play. "Earlier, he would not have been in the right position to get those steals. And I think there's just a number of ways he can go out there and be effective to where it's going to be harder...to take him out of the game."

Just the multiple ways in which Ross is already finding to impact the game would seem to mitigate the possibility of Ross hitting that rookie wall - not only is he looking more comfortable and efficient on both ends of the court, but he's also clearly found a way to make plays in more ways than simply scoring.

The fact that he's been so efficient while shooting as often as he does might actually be the most impressive sign of more to come. Yet it's that relatively "slow" learning process that he's gone through that leads Romar to believe that he might avoid the rookie wall.

"When you learn over a period of time to play the right way - you're not just learning it on the fly, just getting a little piece here, a little piece there - you're more grounded so that now when that scout comes you find other ways to get around it. I think that's the direction Terrence is headed.

"Sometimes as freshmen, you can experience Fool's Gold in terms of productivity - you have not played against anyone who has really understood what your weaknesses are, they have not taken those weaknesses away. There are others that because you're so grounded, you can counter what other teams do when they do begin to scout you."