As Evan Webeck wrote about earlier, C.J. Wilcox has officially made the decision to forego the NBA and return to the Huskies for his senior season. This gives the Huskies a dynamic backcourt with incoming freshman and top recruit Nigel Williams-Goss as well as Andrew Andrews. This combined with incoming freshman Jahmel Taylor and junior college transfer Mike Anderson gives the Huskies scary depth as well as real talent at the guard position.
I have liked everything I have seen and heard about Williams-Goss and I think he will be able to come in and start right away. Taylor is a 5’11’’ guard from California who will be able to play a good backup point guard if Andrews is playing shooting guard. This is where I think Andrews fits a little better anyways because he is somewhat of a combo guard type of player. JUCO transfer Mike Anderson is a 6’5’’ shooting guard who has drawn comparisons to Scott Suggs in terms of shooting, but is much better at driving to the basket. He seems like he could make an immediate impact as well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take over Suggs’ role entirely and start for the Dawgs.
The backcourt is obviously going to be loaded next season, and I think a starting group of Williams-Goss, Anderson, and Wilcox with a combination of Andrews, Hikeem Stewart, and Taylor coming off the bench could one of the top guard units in the Pac-12.
I expect the frontcourt to be pretty good as well, with Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. being the most likely candidates to get the two starting roles. Simmons seemed to regress a little bit last year after a strong freshman campaign, but he rebounds and plays defense very well, and with some work on his offense he could be a very strong player.
Kemp, however, went the opposite direction last year and really flourished once he got the chance to start. His post moves were much improved and that, combined with his athleticism, makes him a productive and entertaining player as well.
Jernard Jarreau is the third returning frontcourt player who got some quality minutes last year and while he showed some nice flashes, he was simply too small to compete for long stretches. If he bulks up and puts on some muscle in the offseason, I think Jarreau could be a really good forward off the bench because of his shooting ability.
Similarly to recent number one overall pick Anthony Davis, Jarreau was a guard much of his high school career until a late growth spurt, which has resulted in him having decent ball handling ability and a pretty solid mid-range jumper. If he can build some muscle to help him defensively and on the glass, Jarreau could be a really good player.
Perris Blackwell transferred last season from the University of San Fransisco, but had to sit out a year because of transfer rules and only has one year of eligibility remaining. That being said, I think he could be a great piece to the frontcourt puzzle coming off the bench. His last season at USF, he earned All West Coast Conference honorable mention and averaged 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the field. One big number that I like from Blackwell is the fact that he averaged just under three offensive rebounds per game his final season at USF; if he can bring this to the Huskies as well as defense and energy, he will be a perfect role player to come off the bench.
The true last piece to the puzzle for the Huskies is UNLV transfer Mike Moser. He is deciding between UW and Oregon and is visiting both schools this weekend. Moser had a down year last year at UNLV, but this is partially due to injury and being misplaced at the three. The year before, he was one of the top players in the conference and was even an honorable mention for the AP All-America team. That season he averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting well from the field and from the line; he even averaged a solid 33.1 percent from beyond the arc. If Moser does end up choosing UW, he would make the Huskies an extremely dangerous team from all positions, and I think would make them the favorite to win the Pac-12.
C.J. Wilcox returning to the team was obviously a huge gain as he was the team MVP last year and his return gives the Huskies backcourt depth they haven’t had in recent years. His choice to stay will help the Huskies compete in the Pac-12, but I think Moser is the key now, and if he comes to the Huskies he will help them win the conference and return to the NCAA tournament.