This has been a long time coming, so here goes. . .
In light of your play recently, and more so, in light of the way you’ve handled yourself on the court this season, I feel that owe you an apology. Let me explain.
Let’s face it: last season, you looked very much like the freshman you were. You seemed tentative, small, and unready for the Pac-10. Few Husky fans saw enough from you to expect much more than minor improvement coming into your sophomore season.
And, even leaving out the questions about your capability to develop into a real contributor on the team, fans prognosticating about the Huskies’ rotation for this season had you buried at the end of the bench. The prevailing sentiment early on was that you’d be behind all of the team’s guards, including eventual-redshirt C.J. Wilcox, on the Husky depth chart.
My biggest criticism was based on the way you looked out there, as much as anything about your play. After all, we didn’t see much of you stat-wise in your limited minutes last season, but we certainly saw plenty of The Scott Suggs Face, a combination of being overwhelmed and under-confident.
Even as you buried three-pointers in each of the Huskies’ first three games this year, I didn’t think you looked the part, and up until recently, I was frequently writing that I wanted to see more Elston Turner and less Scott Suggs. I was still seeing what I thought was The Suggs Face. Less often, but still. . .
Recently, though, I’ve gotten to see a lot of you and a lot of Elston on the court. I love the big, how’d-he-do-that 27-footer Elston sometimes drops, but not nearly as much as the sweet stroke you’ve been steadily displaying, shot-after-shot. And, that scared look is gone. Somewhere along the line, Mr. Missouri Basketball carved himself out a nice little niche as the Huskies’ best shooter.
I’ve seen every single shot the team has taken this season. When that ball goes up, every fan, consciously or not — and having nothing to do with statistics — makes an instant prediction of success or failure. Here’s the entire list of ballers on this Husky team who make me think, in that brief instant the ball is in the air, “yeah, this one’s going in”:
That’s it. Consider this: Isaiah Thomas has taken 38 more three-pointers than you, Scott, and only hit four more!
You’ve even become relatively emotive, which lets me know you’ve got the confidence to stand out a bit. And, your defense is not bad.
Bottom line, it’s gotten to the point where we are decisively a better offensive team when you are on the floor. (According to basketball-statistics.com’s new feature, you have the second-highest plus-minus rating on the team this season.)
Now, don’t go thinking I’m saying you’re good to go, and can stop working hard. My wish list for you would be: 20 extra pounds, a little bit more moving when you’re off the ball, and a true gunslinger’s mentality to shoot your way out of it on nights when it doesn’t come so easy (although lately, it looks like you have the green light you need).
So Scott, please let this serve as my official apology. I can’t say I’ll never write something negative about you again, because I will. But, I’ll never write that you don’t belong on the court with these guys, because you do.
And, thanks too for being one of the first Huskies willing to talk to Montlake Madness. Those early interviews helped us gain a small readership, which eventually became a less-small readership, and I try not to forget when someone does something they didn’t have to do for me.