Shawn Kemp Jr. is one of the biggest players on the Husky basketball team at 6’9, 265 and also has one of the biggest names attached to him. He is Shawn Kemp Jr., son of arguably the most famous Seattle Supersonic of all time, Shawn Kemp.
He wears the number 40, his father’s number, and he has even shown off his own powerful dunks similar to his father, the Reign Man. The Kemp name is a lot to live up to when it comes to “being like his father” but Kemp Jr. also has his own reputation to live up to.
Out of high school in 2008, he was a highly touted 4-star recruit with scholarship offers from a handful of prestigious universities, especially in the south. The likes of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Indiana, and even Washington were recruiting this kid to come play basketball at their respective schools. He was a big body with big upside. He was even featured in this Sports Illustrated article.
He committed to play for Alabama but couldn’t get his grades together and needed to take a year at Hargrave Military Academy and then tried again, this time to get into Auburn. Once again, he was under the qualifications to get into college. He took a year to work on his grades and on his basketball game and that is how he eventually ended up at Washington.
While he may be a year removed from having a recruiting ranking, his name was big amongst the high school circuit for a few years. He has huge potential and combine that with desire and he could be a big time threat in NCAA basketball as he continues to develop.
Husky fans have seen a lot more of this desire lately, whether it was connected with Austin Seferian-Jenkins coming in and taking the role behind Aziz N’Diaye or not. Kemp Jr. is putting in top quality minutes in the last couple of games.
Early in the season, there were glimpses of his potential and his ability to go up strong to the hoop. He would even show off the occasional powerful dunk. But he seemed to be out of place during most of his minutes, he struggled defensively, and he seemed lost offensively.
However, in the last two games against UCLA and USC, Kemp Jr. has seen 11 minutes and 13 minutes and scoring 4 and 6 points in each of those. He also added a few rebounds and a couple great defensive plays.
The stats themselves won’t give you much insight into what has happened with his progression but he looks a lot more confident and composed out on the basketball court. Against UCLA, he was able to hold his own against Josh Smith in the paint. Against USC he even had a block (that wasn’t credited to him). He showed off some of his post moves with a couple powerful dunks and a hook shot.
Lorenzo Romar wanted to see him improve on the defensive side of the ball even more so than the offensive side and Kemp Jr. has lately shown he is a solid defensive option in the post. Because of this Kemp Jr. has seen more minutes and don’t look for that to decrease much in the upcoming games.
He may be the best long-term option the Huskies have in the post after N’Diaye graduates next season, and not by default. He has to compete with Martin Breunig, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jernard Jarreau, and whomever else the Huskies land in recruiting. Kemp Jr. may have received this role due to just being the biggest but now he is showing that he is not only the biggest body on the bench but he may be the best with the most potential.
Look for Shawn Kemp Jr. to continue to improve and thus continue to impress.