Change is afoot in the Washington Basketball program

Washington basketball is going to have a new look in the 2020-21 season after some transfers, and some top players leaving early for the NBA Draft. Let’s take a look at all of the changes!

A couple weeks ago, All Pac-12 First Team freshman Isaiah Stewart announced he was going through the NBA draft. This came as no surprise to Husky fans, as the freshman from Rochester seemed to exceed all expectations from fans and the coaching staff alike. His passion and dedication both on and off the court will surely be missed by both groups too.

This week, Stewart’s fellow five-star recruit, Jaden McDaniels announced he was going to jump to the NBA as well. That’s a lot of production that Washington will have to make up for with no true freshmen coming into the program

McDaniels was the Huskies’ second-leading scorer and rebounder, behind Stewart in both categories, at 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. McDaniels showed he can shoot well behind the three-point line, shooting at 33.9% clip for the season. His biggest issue was trying to stay out of foul trouble. He led the Pac-12 with 100 fouls, and showed his immaturity at times, racking up numerous technical fouls.

The last big loss from the roster is backup point guard Elijah Hardy, who’s announced he’s entering the transfer portal. While Hardy hasn’t ruled out a return to Washington, with the return of Quade Green next season, he’ll more than likely be with another school next season.

While the Huskies haven’t added any recruits, they were able to add two guards through the transfer portal. The first is Erik Stevenson from Wichita State, a sophomore shooting guard who averaged 11.1 points a game during his second year on campus. He is a local boy, originally from Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington. He’s filed a hardship waiver with the NCAA to become immediately eligible.

The other is Nate Pryor, who’s originally from West Seattle. Pryor averaged 18 points per game last season with North Idaho College, and will be immediately eligible to play.

The Huskies will have Green returning next season, along with Pryor and rising sophomore Marcus Tsohonisso the Huskies will not have the same point guard issues that they did during the 2019-20 campaign.

The big question is, who will be playing along the front line for the Huskies? With Stewart and McDaniels gone, along with the graduation of Sam Timmins, there are a lot of minutes up for grabs. Hameir Wright will probably have one spot locked down, but who takes the other? Assuming Jamal Bey and Nahziah Carter hold onto their starting spots, and Green takes his back as well.

Hopkins has options. The first is 6’10 sophomore Nate Roberts, who is a very good rebounder and has progressed nicely on offense. There’s also Bryan PennJohnson, another sophomore who will probably see a big increase in minutes. Lastly, USC transfer J’Raan Brooks, a sophomore forward out of Garfield High School in Seattle is going to be eligible after sitting out a season. Outside of Wright, the group lacks experience, but is extremely talented.

This team is going to look very different in 2020, but in a lot of ways they could end up being much better than the 2019 team. This team will be much deeper all around, and with an extra year of experience, the healthy mix of veterans and young talent is going to be a recipe for success.