Sarkisianity, Husky hoopologist and usher at Bono's third wedding, takes a look at each member of the 2011-2012 UW basketball team:
The Returning Players:
CJ Wilcox: We’ve seen a struggling CJ Wilcox and a lights-out CJ Wilcox. Wilcox was voted the conference player of the week in Week 1 and at times has turned a basketball game into a YouTube trick shot video. His shot is just as sweet as it was last year and it looks like he spent the summer working on other aspects of his game. Romar seems to have given him more freedom to handle the ball and Wilcox has responded. He’s also showing an athleticism that may be rivaled only by fellow teammate and known air-walker, Terrence Ross.
T-Ross climbing the Stairway to Heaven.
Terrence Ross: Everyone who hasn’t been in a coma, living in Antarctica, or is from Oklahoma knows about Terrence Ross. His ability to create a shot from ANYWHERE on the court is unparalleled in the Pac-12. He still has consistency issues with his jump shot, but has matured a lot since last year. Instead of continuing to throw up fade-away half-court three pointers when he isn’t hitting, Ross has proven that he’s content to contribute in other ways. He’s currently second on the team in rebounds and blocks and is fourth in assists. If he can develop some offensive consistency he’ll be the conference player of the year (suck it, Jorge Gutierrez).
Abdul Gaddy: He is the calming presence we missed last year. Gaddy's court awareness and knowledge of the game is a thing of beauty. His 5.2 assists per game and 2.9 assist to turnover ratio both lead the team by significant margins. He has also continued the improved offensive confidence we saw at the beginning of last year. Unfortunately, this has been tempered at times by a hesitancy to push the issue and be aggressive. No doubt this is a lingering effect of the knee surgery he had less than a year ago.
Darnell Gant: The 5th year senior hasn’t improved as much as I had hoped. His play has been frustratingly inconsistent. He has the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers and open up the game for his teammates, but can’t seem to do it consistently enough. At times he’s also shown impressive aggression on the glass, ripping down boards like his 6’8 230lb frame should. Given the co-captaincy in the off-season, Gant needs to show more leadership with his play, especially in his 5th year.
Maybe tattoos would help, like that novella Simmons is rocking.
Aziz N’Diaye: Other than Gant, N’Diaye was the player from whom I was expecting the most improvement. He hasn’t disappointed. Aziz is averaging 9.4 points per game and has shown softness in his hands that simply didn’t exist last year. I admit that he’s put on the brick mittens a few times, but those occasions have diminished significantly compared to last year and it’s clear that Aziz put in work in the off-season to fix that. Aziz has even shown a scoring touch a few times, along with improved footwork. If he can continue to build on this early success, he’ll open the game up for the best stable of guards in the conference. Not only is Aziz the key to this team, he also still scares me so much, it took me six hours to write this paragraph as I ran and hid under my bed between sentences.
Droppin' fools since '76.
Brendan Sherrer: Still White. Still doesn’t know how to Dougie.
"And one!! Oh... nevermind."
Tony Wroten Jr: The freshman is as advertised. Insane athleticism combined with ridiculous court vision. He’s averaging 2.2 jaw dropping passes per game. Unfortunately those passes have more often than not resulted in turnovers as unsuspecting teammates wonder what the hell just hit them in the chest. Romar will need to keep Wroten on a short leash and get the talented PG to play within himself.
Wroten performing his patented "opponent face dribble."
Desmond Simmons: Desmond Simmons will mean as much to this team as Justin Holiday. He has the blue collar attitude of Jon Brockman and a sweet outside stroke. He chases loose balls all over the court. Pay attention if you sit court-side at a game this season, because you may end up with 220lbs of D-Simm in your lap at some point.
Shawn Kemp Jr: The conditioning concerns surrounding Kemp before the season have evaporated. Kemp runs the floor well for a guy his size (6’9 265lbs) and has shown a willingness to get in the paint and throw his team leading weight around. While his offensive skill set needs substantial work, he gives us some much needed size down low and a legit big man to back up N’Diaye. Can’t wait to watch the N’Diaye/Kemp Smash Brothers Combo drop Josh Smith harder than the two dozen Animal Style Double Doubles he eats every night.
Martin Breunig: Already leads the team in one category: Opponents Knocked Unconscious. Thanks to the awesomely terrible television contract we are currently enduring (only one year left!) Breunig's bone-crunching (and legal) screen against Portland was only witnessed by those sitting inside Hec Ed Pavilion. Breunig plays with intensity and aggression. He has soft hands, attacks the rim, and hails from the German sister city of Chinandega, Nicaragua.
Marty Breu Breu with authority!
Hikeem Stewart: Stewart has played sparingly but has performed admirably in that capacity. He can hit the 3-point shot and has solid handles. Hopefully Hikeem can get some good experience this season and become a prime contributor in the years to come.
Alex Wegner: Brendan Sherrer, but younger and more 3-pointy.
Game photos provided by The Seattle Times.
Game photos provided by The Seattle Times.
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