by: Griffin Bennett
After visiting South Florida and deciding that it wasn’t even close to as good as UW (obviously), Martin Breunig gave Coach Romar his verbal commitment to play at Montlake in the Fall. Craig did a good background piece on Breunig a couple weeks ago which summarizes his skills very well. The former Maryland commit will likely be the last piece of the Huskies 2011 recruiting class that now includes Breunig, Tony Wroten, Andrew Andrews, Hikeem Stewart, and Jernard Jarreau. After a tumultuous journey trying to find a power forward to replace MBA, Romar’s final choice might have been a lucky one. Breunig’s late de-commitment from Maryland after a coaching change helped UW land one of the few remaining gems left.
Obviously, Breunig will look to compete for immediate playing time with big men being in such short supply. We all have to keep in mind that he is going to be a freshman and he is not the type of kid that will be battling for Freshman of the Year. Breunig will join fellow freshman Jernard Jarreau and red shirt freshman Desmond Simmons in competing for time in the post. The interesting thing about all three of those players is that they each provide a completely different skill set and yet they can all play both the 3 and the 4. I would give Simmons the upper hand over both of the true freshman, but Simmons is more of a 3 and Breunig and JJ are more likely to succeed better at the 4.
The best way to look at this situation is to analyse the minutes that these players will need to replace. Last year, in terms of minutes, MBA averaged 28.2, Aziz averaged 17.4, Gant averaged 18.7, and Holiday averaged 28.3. I’m including Holiday in this conversation because he did play some at the 4 last year when needed. Most of Holiday’s minutes will be absorbed by Ross who should be the starting 3 for the team next year. Getting Ross up to Holiday’s 28.3 from his 17.4 leaves 10.9 minutes remaining that should go to the post players. After that adjustment it leaves 84.2 minutes to be allocated to the post next year.
Obviously this isn’t an exact science, but let’s assume that Aziz has improved on his ability to stay in the game and plays 23 minutes per game. Gant becomes a senior leader and starts at the 4 while playing 20 minutes per game. That leaves 41.2 minutes per game to split between Breunig, JJ, and Simmons. My guess is that Simmons’ experience and defensive prowess make Romar salivate and he plays the most minutes of the trio at around 17 minutes per game. That leaves 24.2 minutes remaining to be split between the two incoming freshman. Does 12.1 minutes per game for both JJ and Breunig sound about right? Probably somewhere near that. My assumption is that one player, probably Breunig because of his more polished game, will garner most of those minutes and the other one will either red shirt (probably not) or toil at the bottom of the bench.
To make it quick, I think that Breunig’s impact will look a lot like Gant’s from last year; maybe a few less than 18 minutes per game, 5 points, and 4 rebounds. He won’t be a huge impact like Wroten probably will be, but he provides some key depth at a key position.
Beyond Next Year:
Breunig has a very high upside. His ability to shoot at his size is already a big weapon and hopefully it will only continue to improve. He will add size and working with coach Fortier on his post game should allow him to develop into a very potent dual threat post player. While he could become a first team All Pac-12 player, I see him as more of a very solid role player on some very solid Husky teams (2013, anyone?). Bow Down.