The Washington Basketball team’s first season for Coach Hopkins got as much out of the team’s talent as possible. But the talent level rose considerably for the team with the 2018 recruiting class. Considerably. After all, the first season was all about creating a solid foundation for future years. That happened. And now onto year two.
The basis for Coach Hopkins scheme is the Syracuse 2-3 zone from Jim Boeheim. Training new arrivals to the team consists of one part coaching staff, one part self-initiative, and one part upperclassmen mentoring and teach underclassmen. In his debut season, Coach Hopkins had not “upperclassmen” to rely upon to onboard incoming freshmen. This season, the team does. And that means the progress from year one to year two will be significant.
Upperclassmen rule the team
Even though Hopkins is just getting started, there are some assumptions about next season. Don’t look for wholesale changes to the starting roster. Hopkins likes to reward players who stay committed to the programs with playing minutes. So the starting five will not change overnight. But that is not to say that this team remains status quo. Look for great competition at point guard between Hardy and Crisp, and at center between Roberts, Penn-Johnson, and Timmins.
Thybulle will like be secure as the defensive standout. Dickerson will likely rotate to a power forward role rather than playing both center and power forward. And Jaylen Nowell will likely remain the wing shooter, but he’ll need to improve on the 35.1 percent accuracy in the off-season to fend off Jamal Bey and Naz Carter. But where the team pushed a small rotation this season, look for a 10 man rotation next season. That allows the team to place ten players onto the court, mitigating foul trouble, and keeping players fresh. And with a ten-man rotation, the Washington Basketball team can challenge for the Pac-12 Championship . Now THAT’S something.