First Person: What it's Like to Play Against the Huskies

John McLellan / UW Daily
John McLellan / UW Daily /

We’ve done a bunch of pregame interviews with opposing players this season, but haven’t caught up yet with any of the guys from other teams after they’ve played the Huskies.

I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone who’d been in the college game for a while and had played against a wide range of teams, including national title contenders, and see how the Huskies stacked up.

Cal State Northridge senior forward Willie Galick spent his first two seasons with Pepperdine before transferring, and has played against national powers like UCLA, UCONN, and Memphis (in the NCAA Tournament).

Galick was kind enough to give me his candid take on facing Washington, and how they compare to some of the better teams he’d faced before. Here’s what we discussed:

Montlake Madness: Compared to the way you guys scouted the Huskies, how did their play surprise you?

Willie Galick: The way we scouted the Huskies is how they played, they crashed the boards hard and had athletes. We knew they weren’t going to shoot a lot from the outside, but knew they sent at least four guys to the offensive boards every time.

MM: Which players impressed or surprised you on Washington?

WG: The player that impressed me the most was Isaiah. He lived up to his ability and for such a young player shows a lot of skill and confidence. He uses his body very well and is getting a better jumper as the months go by.

MM: Compared to some of the better teams you’ve played against during your four seasons of college ball, how do the Huskies stack up? Best case, how far do you sense they can go?

WG: I have played against many teams in the top 10 over my four years thus far, and unfortunately the Huskies just don’t have the same caliber of a team game as they should. They rely on their talent and skills but seem to only rely on their teammates from time to time.

If they can build on their halfcourt game and execute their plays better and lock up their defense a little better, they can make it to the Sweet 16, for sure. But, as of right now, they might struggle against a well-coached team with athletes just as good if it was March right now.

MM: If you were to draw UW in the NCAA tournament this year, how might your team approach the game now, knowing what you know after playing them once?

WG: I would approach them with an attack mentality. We played passive and we were hesitant. I would take them off the dribble and force them to step up and stop the drive, and make sure we had our shooters in the corners. . . We were selfish as well and that led to charges and turnovers on our part.

MM: Anything else you want to say about your team, or about the game against UW?

WG: I’ve played the Huskies twice over my career (once with Pepperdine and another with CSUN), and I enjoy playing in the gym very much. The refs are never the best there, but that’s always to be expected when you play a top-25 team in their gym. I wish them the best of luck and maybe if we win our conference we can meet again come Madness time.

MM: What have you learned about your own team so far this season?

WG: I’ve learned that our team has even more potential than I anticipated. When we play as a unit and put in the effort on the defensive end and not just the offensive, we can play basketball with just about anybody. The trick of course is playing that way for 40 minutes, that is where we need to get to, but just haven’t gotten to yet.

Thanks for coming!!