Bryan Penn-Johnson brings big hopes to 2018 Washington Basketball Team

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images /
Mike Hopkins Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images
Mike Hopkins Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images /

The Washington Basketball Team reserved a spot on the team for center Bryan Penn-Johnson. And Penn-Johnson has now officially joined the Washington class of 2018.

When the Washington Basketball team prepared for the 2017-2018 season, the team roster was glaringly shallow in the front court. One big man, 6-foot-11 Sam Timmins, stood out due to the sheer size on the team.  Another big man, 6-foot-8 forward Noah Dickerson, stood out due to the incredible production – oftentimes against opponents with a distinct height advantage. Finally, a third big man, 6-foot-9 Hameir Wright, stood out as a third player who could come in as relief for either Timmins or Dickerson.

The 2018 recruiting class includes signficant talent to add to the team.  7-foot-0 center Bryan Penn Johnson is the headliner for 2018, but he is among a significant haul.  6-foot-11.5 forward Nate Roberts will join BPJ in the front court, as will 7-foot-4 walk-on center Riley Sorn.   Now, with three huge additions to the front court, the Washington Huskies can get down to business.

In fact, they can begin to look for more wins as a result. Adding center Bryan Penn-Johnson certainly gives the Huskies basketball team plenty of options.

Forward Noah Dickerson played his heart out over the 2017-2018 season. But he ended up with four or more personal fouls in 12 of 34 games last season. That is greater than one out of every third game. The team played to a 7-5 record in those games.

While the team still managed to find ways to claim some wins among those games, the situation was certainly not very ideal. The team did not have options to play aggressively on defense, while saving Dickerson’s skills for an offensive display. In the end. Some winnable games escaped the Huskies.

The weakness of the defense was the mid-range shot. Timmins did an admirable job with his back to the basket defense, but his range was limited. Dickerson did an admirable job, but he focused on offense and was vertically challenged.  Now enter Penn-Johnson.  BPJ has incredible verticals, enabling him to challenge shooters at the basket an at mid-range.  As he deflects opposing offenses, teammates like Matisse Thybulle will feast in passing lanes.

Penn-Johnson also adds significant presence for improved offense as well. With his play on the court, Dickerson can migrate to a more natural weakside basket role of power forward.  Since Dickerson is the more dangerous scorer, that will leave Penn-Johnson at the basket for alley oops and backdoor passes for easy layups. And those are just two very simple plays to incorporate his skills.

Next: Does Washington Basketball Coach Hopkins have an encore?

The Washington Basketball team is virtually intact and more experienced than last season. In the off-season, this team added point guard Elijah Hardy, small forward Jamal Bey, power forward/center Nate Roberts, walk-on center Riley Sorn, and center Bryan Penn Johnson.  That’s five players added to a 21-13 team, all of whom have significant upside.

Will they all produce both offensively and defensively? Likely not.  After all, a successful team metes out playing minutes to productive players.  That’s a tough nut to crack for freshman. But you can bet that the front court minutes will be redistributed this year. Center Bryan Penn-Johnson brings more than center play to the Huskies. He brings big hopes to compete in the 64-team NCAA Basketball Tournament this season. And by infusing his play, as well as that of his four other colleagues from the class of 2018, this could be the year for NCAA Tourney play for the Huskies.