Once more, media day turns the focus. Now, it’s Washington Basketball Men’s head coach Mike Hopkins sharing plans for this season. Coach Hopkins has a good plan. But how will the Huskies handle it?
Washington basketball head coach Mike Hopkins is putting the band back together. At least, the players who have elected to remain with the team plus new players attracted to the vision of Coach Hopkins in his first season.
The Washington Basketball team finished with a 9-22 record last season. So the hope is to do better this season. Hope is a good place to start. With an entirely new coaching staff, there is no carry-forward. No player is presumed in the hierarchy of anointed player versus dawghouse. Each starts this year with a clean slate.
The message from Coach Hopkins delivered via Media Day is one of team. The three areas of biggest need for the coach are defense, player development, and then shooting at the free throw line.
Create culture first
The NCAA and NBA relationship is in a state of flux. With the current FBI investigation, the Washington reboot with an entirely new coaching staff may be well timed. The team will focus on building the home court advantage.
That kind of advantage is important to the program.
But the subtle tweak in this is the pull back of the spotlights. This will not be a team to feature a one-and-done player. This program appears to be reverting to the four-year school basketball team. As such, the team will have time to grow dominating play on the roster.
The team only has guard Dave Kingma and forward Sam Bowman as seniors this year. As a result, the team will lean heavily into juniors David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle, and Noah Dickerson this year. All of whom have confirmed their buy in of the new philosophy.
Now all of this doesn’t address the X’s and O’s for the team, it does lay a significant foundation. And that foundation helps to explain the surprising success that Coach Hopkins and staff enjoy so far recruiting. The latest of whom is power forward Nate Roberts.
The persuasive Washington head coach Hopkins has gathered commitments from 6-foot-2 point guard Elijah Hardy, 6-foot-6 wing Jamal Bey, 6-foot-7 forward Ed Chang, and 6-foot-11.5 power forward Nate Robers. The team is still very much in the running with 7-foot-0 center Bryan Penn-Johnson as well.
How are the Washington Huskies players handling the new philosophy? They are embracing the new format. Wins will come eventually. But the biggest battle is to get the team on the same page. Right now, the team feels like it is there. And the future is brighter as a result.