Washington basketball has found themselves some new stars for the 2019 season
When Jaden McDaniels announced he’s staying home, it meant head coach Mike Hopkins and his staff have the skills to keep other in-state players at home. And with the massive influx of in-state talent over the next few seasons, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Isaiah Stewart is listed as a power forward/center at 6’9. Jaden McDaniels will be the small forward even though he is an inch taller than Stewart and listed as a power forward as well. The difference is Stewart has a larger frame than McDaniels.
Last season the Huskies were able to play with most teams, however, when they played against those with a large front line it was more difficult because Noah Dickerson was the only threat to score in the post. Next season with McDaniels and Stewart things will be better; and they will also have sophomore center Bryan Penn-Johnson, who broke his leg early last season, and redshirt freshman power forward Nate Roberts to help out as well.
Penn-Johnson and Roberts came to Washington last year as four-star recruits. They’re both considered late bloomers, so with McDaniels and Stewart they can continue to develop. The Huskies will also have senior Sam Timmins and junior Hameir Wright as part of their frontline rotation.
This means the Huskies will have four or five players who can play down low in the zone. The Huskies will have Stewart in the low post for sure, but if Timmins, Penn-Johnson, and Roberts play significant time as well, then coach Hopkins could move McDaniels to the top of the zone to take advantage of his speed and wingspan.
Coach Hopkins also has junior Nahziah Carter who came off the bench last season. Carter will probably start at the top of the zone and take over for Matisse Thybulle. With the talent of McDaniels and Stewart, the Huskies could be the team to beat once again in the Pac-12. Also, it doesn’t hurt having the two-time reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year at the helm.