Grading the Huskies Through Seven Games


The Huskies sit at 4-3 following a promising game against Marquette where they played 40 minutes of great basketball. They nearly knocked off a top tier team that was playing strong basketball ball as well, but in the end the Huskies didn’t have quite enough for the upset.

Through seven games we’ve seen enough from the Huskies to make an early grade on the players who should have an impact this season. I’ll also give you my take on what each player must do in order for the Huskies to take the step to the next level and continue to compete with the likes of Marquette.

Abdul Gaddy: The start to this season hasn’t been what he had envisioned, he appears slow on both sides of the ball and hasn’t been able to run the half-court offense. He showed some glimpses against Marquette that he may be able to score, he dribbled into the lane and hit a couple of floaters, but other than that he didn’t do a whole lot. Grade: C-

The Huskies need him to improve and quickly. I wrote that he’s the most important player on the team and I’m sticking to that. Gaddy doesn’t have to score points to make an impact, but right now he isn’t doing a whole lot of anything. Romar trusts Gaddy to run the half-court offense, if he can figure out how to do that, the team will be in great shape.

Terrence Ross: His athletic ability is no secret to Husky fans and he has put on a show this season. Problem is that he hasn’t exactly dominated on offense the way you would expect from a potential lottery pick. Ross is scoring points, but he hasn’t shown the ability to get to the basket when the Huskies really need a bucket. He was huge against Marquette, but he hasn’t done that all season long. Grade: B

The Huskies need him to be more assertive on offense. He isn’t afraid to shoot, but he needs to do more than create open jump shots. He needs to take over the game at times and get to the hoop and finish. If he can do that several times each game, it takes pressure of Gaddy and Wroten and would provide a huge boost.

C.J. Wilcox: What hasn’t Wilcox done? He’s averaging 15.7 points, 1.9 steals, 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. His ability to get to the hoop was evident against Marquette, while he looked a little tentative; he scored inside a few times showing he’s more than just an outside threat. Wilcox has turned into an all-around player and perhaps the only knock on him is that he doesn’t take over the game, but as a shooter, he doesn’t seem to need to take over to make an impact. Grade: A+

The Huskies need him to keep doing what he’s doing, he’s been a stud. Scott Suggs will come back soon and with the way Wilcox is playing, he’s going to make it hard for Romar to keep him off the court. The shooting tandem will just make Wilcox even that much more dangerous.

Aziz N’Diaye: I can’t count the amount of times I am baffled by what I see from N’Diaye; sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s just complete bewilderment of how clumsy he looks. This season he has clearly improved his offensive game as well as his rebounding. He’s averaging 7.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while being a defensive force. He still struggles when he gets the ball in the low post, and isn’t a go to scorer, but his progression with put backs has been huge for Washington. Grade: B+

The Huskies need him to stay out of foul trouble, something he struggled with last year in almost every game. This year it’s only been an issue in one game, but that was against Marquette, when the Huskies really needed him down the stretch. If N’Diaye can stay out of foul trouble and on the court, the Huskies benefit just purely from his size down low.

Darnell Gant: As a redshirt senior some had expected big things from Darnell Gant, at times it looks like he’s ready to explode. But other times it seems like he doesn’t even want to be on the court. He’s always been one to do the little things and be the perfect role player; this season it seems like setting a simple screen is an issue. He has been more of a scorer this year than in years past, but his consistency is lacking. Grade: C

The Huskies need him to turn back into a role player, that’s what he does best. It almost seems like he wants to be a scorer and do what Quincy Pondexter did his senior season. The problem is that the Huskies have plenty of better options and are better off if Gant does the small things and thinks with the team first.

Tony Wroten Jr.: For everything Wroten does amazing, he seems to have something he does equally as poorly. His shooting from outside and at the free throw line has been dreadful and it’s going to kill the Huskies if it doesn’t improve. He’s also tried to force too many passes or amazing plays, resulting in turnovers. Yet at the same time, he’s been electric, he’s lit up the team when it seems no one else will. His vision has been excellent and some of the passes he has made have been incredible. Grade: C

The Huskies need him to reel it in, but only just slightly. Romar has said he wants to see what Wroten can do, at this point it’s clear, he can make some amazing plays, but has some decision making issues. Wroten needs to learn a little bit from Gaddy and make sure he makes the routine plays before he makes the highlight plays.

Desmond Simmons: He’s been everything Romar hyped him to be and much more. He’s the X-factor that no one really expected and when he comes in, he brings another dimension to the defense. He’s averaging nearly 5 rebounds per game in less than 15 minutes, and just seems to put it into an extra gear that the Huskies need. He hasn’t been perfect, making some mistakes on offense when he’s clearly uncomfortable with the ball, but he hasn’t had enough touches to get his feet wet enough yet. Grade: A

The Huskies need him to continue his progression and work his way into the offensive system. Right now he is not much of a threat on offense, other than the occasional three-point shot (he’s 3/4). He has the body to potentially be the Huskies go to post-threat, but as of yet he hasn’t shown any skills to do that. But in his first season if he is just a defensive threat, he will still be extremely valuable.

Martin Breunig: He’s similar to Simmons in that his offensive skills have yet to really show what they can do. On the defensive side he has impressed me, but it’s been in limited action. Breunig has proved that he has a spot on this team and will be fighting for more minutes as the season goes along. He’s tough to grade at this point because I don’t think we’ve seen enough of his game. Grade: B

The Huskies need him to play within himself, he could be similar to what Gant’s been to the team in year’s past. A strong role player that shines at times, if he does that, he will be helping the team. He will come off the bench enough to get reps and grow, and the minutes will be meaningful and the Huskies need to be able to rely on him to play solid basketball.

Shawn Kemp Jr: He’s done pretty much what I expected up to this point in the season, been a big body that clearly has been away from the game for quite some time. He just looks a little lost on offense at times and doesn’t have the fundamentals down on defense. He’s been an asset for Washington to have another body to fill in for N’Diaye, but he has been a pretty big drop off. Grade: C+

The Huskies need him to get the fundamentals down and play sound defense and offense. Talking with him last month he knows he has a lot of work to do, if he continues to work hard he will earn minutes, but as of now, he needs to just be someone who Romar looks to when N’Diaye needs a rest.

Lorenzo Romar: My biggest gripe comes from how the final moments of the Marquette game was handled. The play to have Ross shoot with 15 second left in the game, then not use the time out with 6 second left, I question how that went down. Romar has said he wants to let his players play and see what they can do before he reels them in. If the Marquette game was any indication, he has reeled them in and the team looks set for a strong finish. Because of this, I can’t give him a grade, his antics are yet to be proved; if the Huskies play Duke strong, then I will say Romar has complete control, but if it’s a debacle, I may go into questioning him. Grade: Incomplete

His grade will largely be determined if he is able to get his talented team to play together and become the class of the Pac12. It was clear against Marquette that the Huskies are as good as anyone when they play their best, but now Romar needs to repeat and prove it wasn’t a one game anomaly.

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