Washington basketball had another successful season under head coach Mike Hopkins and his staff, and the program is trending up in a big way
Washington basketball was able to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011. The Huskies were able to win in the first round over the #8 Utah State 78-61. Unfortunately, they lost to #1 North Carolina in the second round of the tournament, which ended the season
The Huskies are building the right team to win a national championship. Besides Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaylen Nowell and National Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle, the Huskies starting lineup most of the season was senior forward Noah Dickerson, sophomore forward Hameir Wright, and senior guard David Crisp.
Senior guard Dominic Green and sophomore Nahziah Carter were the main contributors coming off the bench along with junior forward Sam Timmins who made huge strides this season. Freshman guard Jamal Bey was able to get some valuable experience off the bench as well.
Washington basketball had a Pac-12 record of 15-3 with an overall 27-9. This was a jump from being 21-13 overall in the 2017-18 season and 10-8 in Pac-12 conference where they finished tied for sixth place.
Eight of the Huskies’ nine losses were to teams that made the NCAA tournament in Auburn, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Oregon (twice) and North Carolina.
Nowell led the Huskies in scoring 16.2 points per game for the second year in a row. His shooting percentage behind the arc increased from 35.1 to 44.0. while his overall shooting from the field increased from 45.1 to 50.2. He has put his name in for the NBA Draft but still has the option to come back to school if the NBA Combine and the rest of the pre-draft process doesn’t go his way.
Dickerson was second on the team in scoring. Last season he averaged 15.5 points per game, while this year he averaged 12.3. His field goal percentage went down as well from 56.9 to 55.6. The primary reason is he was the only offensive threat on the interior for the Huskies. Opponents realized in order to beat Washington, they had to stop Dickerson. In three of the nine losses did he score in single digits.
David Crisp was third in scoring on the team. His scoring average went up his senior year well as shooting behind the arc. His average was 12.2 points per game compared to 11.6. Behind the arc was his biggest improvement this season, he shot 37.4% from three compared to 28.6 a year ago.
Matisse Thybulle won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year crown for the second year in a row. The main reason had to do with steals and blocked shots. Thybulle average 3.5 steals a game up from 3.0 last year. He became the Pac-12’s all-time career leader with 330, passing Gary Payton who had 321. Also, his 125 steals on the season broke Jason Kidd’s record of 110 back in 1992-93 for California. Thybulle had 82 block shots on the season, which all helped lead him to the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year crown.
Hameir Wright started 23 of the 29 games he played in averaging 17.6 minutes a game. His role was to play defense in the middle of the zone. He only averaged 2.7 points a game along with 2.5 rebounds. With the four seniors graduating, the Huskies are expecting more out of him next year.
Nahziah Carter was usually the first player coming off the bench. He averaged 20.5 minutes a game which was just over four more minutes than he played as a freshman. Carter averaged 8.1 points a game. In the Pac-12 tournament and the NCAA tournament, he scored in double digits except against Oregon in the Pac-12 final against Oregon when he scored only five points. Mike Hopkins and his staff are hoping to see Carter slide in at the top of the zone, in Thybulle’s spot, as well as taking on a bigger role on offense.
Dominic Green had been known for his instant offense coming off the bench. He averaged 22.5 minutes a game with 6.1 points a game. His shooting behind the arc decreased from 43.2% to 35.1 %, however, he took over one and a half more attempts per game.
Sam Timmins’ minutes diminished this season, as he spent most of the year coming off the bench after starting every game in 2017-18. Instead of averaging 18 minutes a game, he averaged on 10.4. Most of his time came substituting for Noah Dickerson when he was in foul trouble or came in the game on the defensive side late in games for Dickerson as well. With five-star power forward Isaiah Stewart coming in, expect Timmins to see a lot of time at the center spot.
We can’t forget that Hopkins secured the commitment of Stewart, a top-10 player in the country who chose Washington over Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky, and others. Hopkins is starting to develop a recruiting pipeline to Rochester, New York, one of the biggest hotbeds for recruits in the nation.
Jamal Bey was the only freshman with any significant playing time, averaging 6.2 minutes per game. He played more minutes later in the season, he got 11 in the Pac-12 tournament final against Oregon. Against Utah State and North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, he played 12 minutes in each, showing he will be a key part of the rotation.
These players showed what the future looks like in the Washington basketball program. Thank you to the amazing group of seniors this year, and we look forward to watching this program reach new heights!