Coach Hopkins adding his touch to the team
Some prospects and players didn’t heed Coach Romar’s advice to stick it out. Some fled for good reasons, others fled because it was a thing to do. But those players may be no better off in their new respective teams then had they chosen to stay.
But their exodus allowed Coach Hopkins to add talented players in his own right. And he did so with amazing speed and effectiveness. He added small forward Hameir Wright and Nahziah Carter, as well as shooting guard Michael Carter III. Seattle favorite point guard Nate Pryor was offered, but was unable to sign with the team. Some reports indicate academic eligibility as the holdup.
So far, the biggest surprise has been Jaylen Nowell. He was recruited by Coach Romar, but maintained his commitment through the coaching transition. Now the freshman leads the team in scoring. He propelled the team to it’s first victory with a 32 point outburst. That helped the team to open the season with two victories, likely the most difficult games of the season for the team in terms of scheme comfort.
Plenty of room to praise all
This is not an either or situation in Washington. It’s more akin to a relay race. Coach Romar had the previous leg to the relay and had taken the team so far. Now it’s Coach Hopkin’s turn to run his leg of the race.
In the end, remove either Coach from the Washington Basketball timeline, and the upset never happens. Last night’s win, the biggest upset of the season, happened because both Coach Romar and Coach Hopkins forged the team’s capacity to win a huge game. What is this team’s upside? A huge victory last night, but the team has a long arduous season to shoulder. In the end, last night’s win punctuated the transition succeeded. It’s not a “Coach Romar” versus “Coach Hopkins” fan base. Last night’s win proved that it needed the influence of both coaches to make it happen. In the end, there is enough room to praise both coaches in the afterglow.