Positive Takeaways from the 2017-18 Washington Basketball Season

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /

With the loss to Oregon State University in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament, it’s time to pause and look back at the Washington Basketball team.

Well Washington Basketball fans, it hurts but the NCAA Tournament hopes are all but gone. With that being said, there’s a monster looming inside Hec Ed. Washington Basketball head coach Mike Hopkins is building a giant.  And as such, he deserves not only Pac-12 Coach of the Year, but the Naismith Coach of the Year. He took a nine win team from last year, and coached virtually the same squad up to a 20 win season.

In doing so, he has turned the team around in one year.  With the right foundation in place now, the only place they can go is up.  A year which began with no certainty as to the starting five on a team and with no hope of prospects filled up rather quickly. In fact, the entire season was one lengthy crescendo of optimism. So let’s get into some of the biggest positives from the year.


This team is young and all they can do together is grow. In fact, if the Washington version of Coach Hopkins 2-3 team is anything like the Syracuse version, the coaches rely heavily upon returning players to coach up incoming freshmen.   That process will begin for the Washington Basketball team with the recruiting class of 2018.

Shooting guard Jaylen Nowell is going to be worlds better as a sophomore. If forwards Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulle stay for their senior year, the team won’t lose any rotational pieces at all. Personally, I’m excited for the progression of forwards Hameir Wright and Nazhiah Carter. Not only did they develop this year, but they have shown flashes of very high ceilings. They both showed what they can do at different points this year.  and the only way for them to go is up.

Related Story: Washington Huskies fold in Las Vegas to Oregon State in OT

No lost pieces

While  the team starts to turn towards the next season, they have to wonder who goes and who stays?  Power forward Noah Dickerson, for all his accomplishments,  doesn’t look like a 2018 NBA Draft  Top-30 prospect right now. How does he improve that? Simply elect to return for his senior year, and contribute to the team’s run for an NCAA Tournament bid.

The same can be said of small forward Matisse Thybulle.   He is a defensive standout already. But one more season can make a huge difference if he can up his perimeter shooting accuracy. And if both Dickerson and Thybulle return, the Huskies have a chance to at least finish in the top four of the Pac-12 next year.

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The team’s success has put recruits on notice. Jamal Bey currently leads the recruiting class that 247 Sports has ranked at 37 nationally. There are two more big men that are eyeing the Huskies, which will shoot the recruiting class through the roof. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for Bryan Penn-Johnson and J’Raan Brooks. Both of them are 4 star prospects, rated in the top 100 and have Washington as their top choice.


The tournament loss to Oregon State really stings, but they’ve been a bad matchup all year. They have more players up front, and the Washington Huskies perimeter shooting simply was not accurate enough this year to compensate. But this team has so much potential and they are ready to win. In fact, this year showed it. They had some ups and downs, a lot of hot and cold runs which were definitely the downfall of the team. They WILL make the tournament in 2019, and I for one, can’t wait for that.