Does Coach Hopkins see small ball for Washington Basketball team?

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 08: David Crisp
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 08: David Crisp /

As Washington Basketball prepares for the new season, head coach Mike Hopkins must unlock the full potential of the roster. Is small ball an option for this team?

Necessity is the mother of invention. Right now, the Washington Basketball team needs a good season. While the team has changed head coaches to Mike Hopkins (yes, it’s still a thing until a season is under his belt), there is plenty of wiggle room to speculate exactly what type of scheme he will plan for the Washington Huskies.

On one hand, does he just toss the 2-3 team scheme which was the bread and butter for Syracuse?  On the other hand, does he throw a new wrinkle out there?  If you aren’t familiar with the Syracuse 2-3 zone defense, have a look:

Now what about the offense?  It’s a tougher call.  The Syracuse Orangemen have emphasized a half-court offense which runs through their point guard. While Markelle Fultz is the ideal guard for this scheme, he has moved onto the NBA.

Huskies offense will run through point guard

That is why the acquisition of point guard Nate Pryor to this team was such a huge “get”. He should flourish in this as well.

The Orangemen, and therefore the Huskies, will live on ball movement.  And with so much movement, you can bet the team will be running plenty of screens.

Screens occur when a guard (or any player for that matter) run past a stationary teammate in such a way that the defender is deflected away from the ball handler.  This type of play is called a screen and can take place anywhere on the basketball court. But how does that benefit the offense?

It helps in three ways:

First, it frees up the ball handler to drive to the basket or pass out via open passing lanes.
Secondly, it forces the defenses to react to the offense, giving the advantage to an offense who can read what the defenders are trying to do.
Thirdly, it attracts defenders to the paint and away from the players on the perimeter.

Perimeter shooting

The key to this is the perimeter shooting. Both that and screens are cornerstones to the Washington Basketball team success going forward.

Two late arrivals to the team are small forwards Nahziah Carter and Hameir Wright.  Both are wing players, and both will bolster the team’s three-point arsenal.  You can add true Washington basketball commit Jaylen Nowell to that group as well, as all three show incredible promise from the perimeter.

Next: Washington Basketball tells Coach Shapiro to “Hop Off” at next stop

In fact, the final addition of Michael Carter III joins a very talented group of back court players. While there is no official reason to believe small ball is in the Huskies future, I would not rule it out completely.  The team is focusing on the two areas of small ball dominance: screens for penetration to the goal, and a bevy of perimeter shooting.