Statistics: 28.7 minutes, 8.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game
What He Did In 2012-2013: Inconsistency has plagued Aziz N’Diaye throughout his career at Washington and there was no exception for his senior season. Still, like each other before it, he improved and became more and more consistent. This meant he was reliable down low mostof the time, a drastic improvement over his first two seasons as a Husky.
For much of the season, N’Diaye led the Pac-12 in double-doubles, but as Carrick Felix heated up in the desert, N’Diaye cooled down in the Pacific Northwest and Felix took the title. In his first 24 games, N’Diaye recorded a double-double in 11 of them; however, in his last ten, he failed to score more than seven points in any game.
Don’t let the quiet finish fool you; N’Diaye had one of the best seasons by a center in recent Husky history. Outside of Spencer Hawes’ 2006-2007 season, I can’t think of a better one in the last decade. Much of that is due to the lack of a real center in many of those seasons, but that just shows how N’Diaye can transform a system.
Many times, he was relied on as the top option for the Huskies offense. Most of this came after UW failed to convert any transition offense and resorted to throwing it to N’Diaye in the post. As the games rolled on, everyone seemed pleasantly surprised by his play. He was outperforming everybody’s expectations for his senior season and at one point was averaging a double-double (and no, not just after the first two games).
This came to an abrupt halt at some point during his 4-10 shooting (2-9 from the line) night at USC. He still scored 10 points and collected 12 rebounds, but that was the last time he would score in double figures as a Husky. Outside of rebounding, N’Diaye was virtually absent the last ten games of the season.
What To Expect In 2013-2014: Like Adbul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and Martin Breunig, N’Diaye won’t be back with the Huskies next year, but also like Gaddy and Suggs, he has legitimate pro prospects. Those just happen to be in Europe, rather than the NBA. He, along with Gaddy, put on a strong showing at the Portsmouth Invitational last week and is said to be getting serious looks from teams in Europe.
His replacement is relatively unknown. Perris Blackwell is expected to start at power forward, hopefully alongside Mike Moser. Those two will give the Huskies a dynamic duo of athletic big men, but the only true center on the roster next season will be Gilles Dierickx. The Belgian big man comes from Florida International and is thought to be a vaunted presence inside, but scored just 2.6 points per game in his only season at FIU. The frontcourt without N’Diaye is anything but proven, but is oozing with potential.