Dawgs vs. Dawgs: Summer League

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by: Griffin Bennett

Standing next to Jamal Crawford on the track above the court because the stands below were full, you would have guessed that this was a Pac-12 league game. The gym at North Seattle Community College was packed to see the two Husky squads play each other in this week’s Seattle Summer Basketball League game. Husky fans who needed their basketball fix were given just that on Monday night.

While it’s only a glorified pick-up game, there were still things to learn and take note of while watching the two sides compete. It was great to see the old players continue to work on their game while seeing the brand new faces in action and how they stacked up. Here are my notes on what I saw Monday night.

Darnell Gant:

He continues to be one of the most vocal players on the court. He has talked more on the court over the past two weeks than in his entire Husky career combined. He looks to have stepped up as a true leader and that can only be a positive. He has added some significant size in his upper body and was banging down low for the rebounds. His shot looks to be the same as it was last year, but his post presence seems to be improving. There’s not much anyone can learn about Gant until we see him play a game against some bigger opponents in November.

Scott Suggs:

The senior-to-be has only benefited from having Ross and Wilcox on the team. They make him better and vice-versa. His shot still looks pretty but he impressed Monday night with his dribble penetration and finishing at the rim. I have been the driver of the Suggs bandwagon since his freshman year and I’m not slowing down. I expect Suggs to battle Wilcox all summer and fall for a starting job. He doesn’t seem to have taken vocal leadership role but that’s not really his personality. Don’t sleep on Suggs.

C.J. Wilcox:

His range begins in the parking lot. He made a few DEEP threes just because he was bored. He should be the pre-season favorite to lead the Pac-12 in threes made and maybe even three point percentage. He could be the best shooter that has ever put on a Husky jersey. Summers are usually filled with hyperbole but I think Wilcox is only building on his strong freshman campaign. His athleticism has been the noticiable difference in his game so far. He can take it to the hoop with speed and can jump with the best of them. Look for his role this fall to be more than just a spot up shooter.

Terrence Ross:

Last year’s breakout star looked to be in cruise control all game. You could see his confidence through his body language and he doesn’t look like a hesitant freshman anymore. When he shoots a fade away with a hand in his face you almost expect it to go in. He is becoming an incredible all-around player and is starting to remind me of… should I say it?….. Brandon Roy. He’s starting to have the B-Roy swag where a person who has never seen the team play can look on the court and immediately tell that he’s the best player out there. His expectations are already sky high this year but I don’t see why he won’t live up to the hype.

Jernard Jarreau:

I continue to make the Justin Holiday comparison with JJ. He reminds me of Holiday during his freshman year; a very skinny player with a jump shot that plays hard defense. His extra height makes him difficult to shoot over but his lack of size in the post allows stronger players to push him out. While it’s still very early, he looks like he could be a deep bench player who need his first year to get stronger and learn how to play in the post. His upside is clearly visible but I don’t know how much impact that he will have this year.

Desmond Simmons:

Every one of his teammates raves about his game during practice but I’m not sure how good of a stage that these summer league games are for his style. He’s a defensive energy guy in a game where defense is rarely played at 100%. He plays like Justin Holiday but in Gant’s body. If Romar could build a role player from scratch, it would be Dez Simmons. I expect big things from him this year.

Martin Breunig:

This was my first time seeing Breunig (pronouced Broy-nig) and I was more than impressed. He had multiple Husky fans in the crowd turning and asking “Who’s that guy? He’s good!”. While he had teams like Texas and Florida after him, he went mostly under the recruiting radar. We may have stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. Once again, I know it’s only a summer league game, but the guy looks Pac-12 ready. He is most dangerous with the ball in his hands from around 20-25 feet from the hoop. He has a quick first step for a 6’9″ forward and has the handles to take his man off the dribble. He repeatedly beat his guy to the basket for dunks and impressive contested layups. His shot looks very advanced for his age and is willing to battle for rebounds. If that wasn’t enough, he is very athletic and can dunk with authority. Afterwards, Craig texted me and said “Breunig is a starter”. He could be right.

Andrew Andrews:

Most people have him slated for a red shirt, but I think he’s going to play his way into a role on this year’s team. He can play the point as well as the two and has very quick feet. I haven’t seen enough of him to make a good analysis of him, but I like what I’m seeing early. If anything, he will be a great player down the road.

Hikeem Stewart:

The Rainier Beach product has yet to really make any significant impact in these summer league games. Being a point guard on the same team as Tony Wroten leaves very few possessions for him to bring the ball down the court and show his skills. The jury is still out on him.

Shawn Kemp Jr.:

If it wasn’t for Breunig’s amazing night, Kemp Jr. would probably be the surprise of the night. His size made him the biggest player on the court and he used all of it. He knows how to battle for rebounds and has a lot of his dad’s athleticism to finish with some hard throw downs. He doesn’t look to be carrying any extra visible “fat” but after his impressive first half he ran out of gas and you could see that he still needs to get into game shape. After seeing him play Monday night, I think he will contribute more than we think this year. He is the only traditional power forward on this Husky team and should provide some very helpful minutes. As he gets more conditioned he is a player that could make a leap.

Tony Wroten:

I figured that we would end with Tony. I think it’s safe to say that he is already one of the top three players on this Husky team. He is probably the fastest player on the roster and has the ability to protect the ball with his body as he draws contact at the hoop. He is the next evolutionary step from Isaiah Thomas. He scores at will at the hoop and you can’t ever look away when he has the ball because at anytime he can thrown down a thunderous dunk. At one point tonight he completely posterized former Husky Clarence Trent with a dunk that would have made Sportcenter’s Top 10. There is no way that Tony doesn’t start for this team. No way. He’s too effing good to be on the bench. After Ross, he’s this team’s best pure scorer while also having elite passing skills. At times he can be a turnover machine and settle for threes too often, but he’s too electric to not be on the court as much as possible. Until I see Abdul Gaddy back at 100%, Wroten has to be the favorite to be this team’s starting point guard.

While I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only a summer league game, I can’t help but wonder if this team may be better than we think. This might be the fastest team that Romar has ever had and with deep bench this team can run other teams into the ground. If anything, 2011/12 looks to be shaping into a very exciting season. Is it November yet? Bow down.