It’s All Over

by: Griffin Bennett

Frank Franklin II / AP Photo

Questionable effort and intensity lead to a meager first half. It was almost over before it began. Defense was lacking and no leadership ever developed as time grew on. In the second half, the team came out with a new found energy and made a push late that was downright impressive. In the end, it just wasn’t enough as the Huskies fell just short.

Oh, you thought I was talking about the game?

This 67-68 OT loss to Minnesota in the NIT semi-finals was a microcosm for the entire season. A terrible start that prevented the team from any sort of recovery in the second half. We’ll call overtime the NIT just to make it fit.

I guess it was a fitting ending for this season. A season full of disappointment and frustration. So many ups and downs. Unfortunately the downs outweighed the ups.

Minnesota out-hustled and out-grinded the Huskies Tuesday night. The type of effort that the Huskies show seems to be a coin flip each and every night. It just didn’t come out our way. How much have you ever lost on a coin toss? Perhaps an NIT final and even earlier, a trip to the Big Dance.

It’s obvious where this game was lost. It was in the paint. The Golden Gophers outscored the Dawgs 44-28 down low and the Huskies had no response. They got easy shots all night and Romar couldn’t even play Aziz N’diaye as he wasn’t a factor at all. Austin Seferian-Jenkins tried his best but even his energy couldn’t right the ship.

Terrence Ross did his thing, especially in the first half, but the rest of the team seemed content to just watch. He looked very impressive but he still couldn’t take the game over late like we’ve all been waiting for all season long. I would love to see him come back and develop into a coldblooded killer next year, but I think the draw to the NBA may be too strong.

His counter part, Tony Wroten, lacked any sort of defensive presence all night. He refused to get back on the on the defensive end, follow his man through screens, and was gambling on steals all night long. The last gamble almost cost the Huskies the game in regulation. To be fair, I did hear that Tony came down with the flu which might have zapped his energy.

Now we wait. We wait for Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross to make their decisions on whether they will turn pro. They have until April 10th to make the decision to return which doesn’t leave them much time.

In Ross’ case, I don’t think he can go wrong. He’s not quite ready to jump to a team and make an immediate impact but he doesn’t have much more to gain by returning, either.

For Wroten, I feel that another year in college would really benefit his game and his draft stock. If he can develop any sort a jumper, his NBA draft value will skyrocket.

My prediction? I say Ross goes and Tony stays. I’m not basing that on any inside info, it’s just my prediction.

After a career game against Oregon, Abdul Gaddy failed to build on it. He recorded his first points late in the second half and made some boneheaded plays in overtime. We thought that he was turning the corner but it seemed had just regressed back to the norm. He will need a fantastic off season if the Huskies are going to get back to the NCAA tourney next year.

Darnell Gant. A true “Romar Guy” who I enjoyed watching develop over his five years here. His last game ended with 12 points and 9 rebounds. The perfect Gant game. I will miss him and I wish him all the best going forward. He’s a smart, passionate, and charismatic young man and he will succeed in whatever he chooses to do in life. I’ll miss you, Birdman.

The final minutes were quite a roller coaster. The Huskies come back seemed to be thwarted time and time again by the refs until a fantastic steal by Wilcox in the waning seconds of regulation to tie it and send it to OT.

The momentum didn’t carry over, as the Huskies scored on six points in overtime and came up short.

A disappointing ending to a disappointing season.

 

Topics: Darnell Gant, Griffin Bennett, Minnesota, NIT, Post Game, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten

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  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    This game was exactly what you said, our season in a nutshell. We under performed against an inferior opponent. Our team was lazy in the first half and dug themselves into a hole that proved, once more, to be impossible to dig out of. Glad this season is down. I can accept losing when we don’t have the talent, but the fact we ended in the NIT with not one, but two, NBA first round picks is pathetic. Hopefully this team can develop in the off season and prove to be more consistent with their talent level. Best of luck to Gant, he hustled his ass off tonight.

  • Husky808

    Thank you John and Griffin for your terrific work all season. I’ve really enjoyed it.

    As for our “two NBA first round picks “, yes, Ross undoubtedly is our best player and even though it’s obvious he won’t, I still hope like hell he stays. He is such a pleasure to watch.
    As for Wroten, I’ve just totally soured on his game. It’s probably just watching him jog back on defense, or throw up an impossible shot against 3 defenders, or refuse to pass to a wide open team mate standing 3 feet away one too many times. I wouldn’t mind if he leaves for the NBA. If Gaddy can find any confidence in his shot and continues to set up his teammates the way he did against Oregon, we might be better off for it.

  • Astrodawg

    I’ve been a Wroten supporter, but yeah this game soured it for me too. He was what the haters said he was, lazy defender, I’m just gonna get mine and screw everybody else. Despite that, I hope comes back with his head on straight. I love watching our guys in the NBA like IT, BRoy, Q-Pon, etc. But if Wroten leaves he goes in the Hawes pile of not hate, but couldn’t care less if I never saw him again.

    They should come back, because you’re right it was a pathetic season and a black eye on our program and conference. Pac-12 outright champs, not only first ever not to make the NCAAs, but couldn’t even beat the #9 Big 10 team in the freaking NIT. I’m ashamed and I hope they feel the same way and come back to do something about it.

    I’d understand, but honestly I’d lose a lot of respect for Ross if he declared after this debacle of a season and left us hanging. Probably not fair, but that’s how I feel.

  • Evan

    I’d like to think that this isn’t the way Ross wants to go out. I see a legit Elite 8 team at least next season if they both come back, I hope they see it that way to and actually care about it.

  • PT

    Thanks guys for the season, no I am not talking to the huskies, that was directed to John and Griffin.

    I am not going to get into who should stay and who should go, because we all know what SHOULD happen. My only hope is that the guys on the bench learned something from the experience? I hope they continue to grow and bulk up and become a physical.

    I love the Dawgs, I love Romar, but I hope some changes are made to take back control and the fight that we have grown to love from our previous teams.

    GO DAWGS!

  • SteveL

    Hey, thanks for your analysis and fanhood. You can’t say the Dawgs didn’t entertain us, even if the ending was a downer.

    With all the discussion about Wroten/Ross to-leave-not-leave, I am looking forward very much to Scott Suggs’ senior year….

    Now I’ll be rooting for 206 guy, Peyton Siva, against the evil empire, sorry, I mean Kalipari/Kentucky.

    See you in November….

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    You guys are welcome. It’s my pleasure (and pain). I’m hoping to get motivated enough to write a new article in the next day or so. Just graduated from UW this winter quarter so I’m in full job hunt mode. My biggest problem is deciding which to pursue: physics, like my degree says I should, or sports writing haha. Maybe ESPN sports science will hire me.

    I hope Scott Suggs comes out next season with extreme accuracy and blows everyone out of the water. He certainly looked like he has really focused his shot during warm-ups late in the season. Maybe Suggs alongside Wilcox with a more aggressive Gaddy can rejuvenate the back-court. With Andrews and a more seasoned Stewart as back-up we may be OK in next season. Our biggest problem will again be our front-court and the way recruiting is shaping up it doesn’t appear that we will be bringing anyone in let alone a solid 4/5 to shore up the paint.

    If N’Diaye can play to his full potential and start becoming a legitimate scoring threat in the post, maybe Simmons, Jerreau, Kemp, and Breunig can supply enough support to garner some sort of inside threat that opens the field for our shooters. I’m really interested to see if ASJ returns next season. Poor kid went from football to basketball and is now getting ready for spring ball. He’ll be glad to get a break I’m sure. Hopefully he returns, but if he has another stellar football season I could imagine him not returning to avoid injury.

  • the_insider

    Wroten was t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e last night. In my opinion, he did most of the digging that got UW in the hole in the first half. He deserved the benching he got for most of the second half.

    I’m pretty sure both Wroten and Ross are gone for sure…..but, as a Husky fan, I’m finding it hard to be broken up about Wroten leaving. In any given game this year….I just felt like his effort was lacking. No doubt he’s talented enough for the league, but maybe he’ll realize the holes of his game more if that’s all he was focusing on as a professional. I wanna root for him….I should root for him….but man, it’s just hard.

  • RossB

    I thought Gaddy did well last night. Down the stretch he seemed to make the plays that needed to be made. In overtime, he made a great pass to our best shooter, Wilcox, and hit him right in the hands behind the three point line. It just didn’t go down. That was a remarkable play that they would have shown over and over again had he hit it. It really was amazing that Wilcox got so open and Gaddy managed to get it to him. It just wouldn’t go down.

    That’s the way it was most of the evening. When the shots just don’t fall, the team has to play really well to compete. We didn’t. We dug ourselves such a nasty whole in the first half that we barely managed to get back into the game. Against a better team, even consistent defense wouldn’t have helped. We just don’t have the inside game to generate solid shots when the jumpers aren’t falling. Against Minnesota though, we could have won the game easily if we started the game with the kind of energy we started the second half. The box score tells the story. We held the gophers to 23 points in the second half. If we did that in the first half, we would have won easily, even with the poor shooting.

    I never held great hopes for this team when Suggs went down. OK, that is a lie. Of course I thought they do great things. But if you told me at the beginning of the season that Suggs wouldn’t play a game and Wilcox would battle a stress injury for the second half of the season I would tell you we would be mediocre. We just didn’t have the defense or the experience to do really well. Last night was a great example. A team that plays good defense wins that game no matter how poorly they shoot. A more experienced team knows that, and starts the game playing that way. We didn’t.

    Winning the Pac-12 was a solid accomplish given our lack of maturity and lack of defensive skill. Having NBA talent is nice, but it’s not enough. If you have solid defensive players (like Gant) playing solid ball each and every game, then NBA talent can get you far into the NCAA tournament. The solid players deliver victories over the Minnesotas of the world (and OSU and UCLA…) when the shots aren’t falling while the NBA talent lets you compete against teams like Marquette and Duke. We just didn’t have the defensive talent and experience to go along with guys who are capable of playing NBA quality ball.

  • dawgiedaddy

    You guys do know that Wroten had the flu, right? Doesn’t excuse the all-around awful game he had last night, but it does go a long way toward explaining the perceived lack of effort on D.

    I really don’t get all the people who want Wroten to go. We would seriously lack athleticism, compared to previous Romar teams, and we wouldn’t really have anyone who could create his own shot, if TW goes. No doubt he’s got a lot to work on, both individually and w/in the team context, but w/o him, I have a hard time seeing us making the NCAA Tournament next year.

    And I have to think that there’s at least a halfway decent chance that he stays. There’s just no excuse for a kid w/ his amazing talent, going near the end of the first round; and riding pine, or playing in the D-league, for the first couple years of his pro career. He can do better–a lot better–if he stays.

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    Michael Jordan had the flu in the ’97 finals, crazy effort. Not saying Wroten should be able to perform like the best ever, but he should have admitted to himself and Romar that he simply wasn’t up to the task of man-to-man coverage. The Gophers were not hitting outside so a zone would have been very feasible and a much better defensive solution to help avoid the silly fouls and risky attempts at steals that ended up sealing the game for Minnesota.

    I do agree that Wroten brings a level of athleticism our team would miss next season if he were to declare in the next 12 days. I definitely would like him to stay. Not only would he return a much better player, he certainly possesses the work ethic as seen by the improvement in his free throws, but he could be a more senior leader on the floor, which we lacked this season.

    Do you all remember the 7 footer from Syracuse back in the 08-09 season? He was a top pick, if not the number 1 overall, and what is he doing now? Playing in the D-League. Position in the draft, while telling, is not everything. The player has to be willing to work hard and earn his draft slot. Wroten will improve his ability to succeed in the league by developing another year against players closer to his own level before leaping to the NBA where defenders will pick off some of his riskier passes that work now.

    If Wroten adds a mid-range game to his arsenal and learns to finish at the rim, with BOTH hands, and brings his free throw percentage up to 75%, then he will be a legitimate top 10 pick who will likely win the Pac-12 POY and could well be a National POY candidate should the Huskies perform at a high level. If Wroten can average nearly 17 a game by only taking lay-ins, imagine what he can do by adding a 10 foot teardrop to his game, he’ll be damn near unstoppable.

  • PT

    Totally agree John, while I have not been the biggest supporter of Wroten, I do believe he has an unlimited amount of potential. The problem is right now its potential. He reminds me of an out of control Jason Kidd. Kidd had no ability to shoot but was more under control and involved his team much more than Wroten does. I would love to see him develop a jump shot and slow up a little. I know he can penetrate but how many times did he find himself out of control with no where to go.
    I know it’s another topic for another time but letting these guys go to the NBA without maturing their game is killing the NBA. The game is a mess, but I can’t fault the kids from going!

  • ddogg

    I sort of blame the terrible performance on Romar too. You have to go with the horses that got you here – but why did he start in the Overtime session???????????????

    The good effort, comeback run’s came when he was on the bench. The team was at it’s best with him on the bench. Clearly Simmons or Aziz should have been in there.

    Does anyone else the lack of team defense displayed by TW on 30% of all sets? Seriously – for as great as he is on the offense with regards to seeing things before they happen, he is totally re-active on the defensive side of things.

    Not hating on him – I actually think the kid can be unstoppable next year returning – I hope he does and I hope all off season long he uses his right hand to drive and finish – as well as work with Appleby on shooting.

    Sort of want to see what Andrews can do wtih 20min per game also.

    A LINE UP OF below players looks good:

    At the one: Gaddy / Andrews
    At the two: Wilcox / Suggs
    At the three: Suggs / JJ / Martin
    At the four: Simmons / Kemp / Martin
    At the five: Aziz / Kemp

    That is a pretty good 9 person line up. If Hakeem wants in this, he better show some serious shooting improvement over the summer.

    I like it. I feel very comfortable with AA being all Pac12 frosh team – the question is JJ, Kemp and Martin – can these guys be serious players in the Pac12? Even if one can be, I think we look pretty good next year. If two can step up – I think we will be NCAA team no problem.