Well, it was a disaster of a weekend down in the Bay Area as the Huskies lost to Cal on Friday and followed that up with an overtime loss to Stanford on Sunday. Like our loss to Stony Brook the Sunday prior, both of those games were within our grasp. And, both of those games were given away thanks to an inept offense.
There’s going to be a lot of criticism being thrown around here, but before I get started, I want you to know one thing: I don’t have a bad word to say about Robert Upshaw. He’s doing everything he’s been asked and then some. As players like Jarreau and Kemp find themselves in early foul trouble, Upshaw has been asked to enter games as our primo sixth man earlier and earlier. And, he’s been forced to stay on the floor longer and longer. Over the last three games, Upshaw has averaged nearly 33 minutes per game. And, what’s more amazing is that this hasn’t led to a direct drop-off in production, as he’s still averaging nearly a double-double per game while averaging around 4 blocks per game over the last three. Nothing is too big for this kid. The competition picks up, and he picks his game up. I’ve never been more convinced that he’s going to be a One & Done player for us.
As for everyone else, I’ll just say this: they need to do more.
Shawn Kemp Jr. has looked great on the offensive side of the ball this year. He’s cleaning up the boards and getting really good at making those put-backs. He’s also a force in the alley-oop game, which tends to be pretty effective early in games before teams have a chance to adjust. But, he needs to be better defensively. He needs to STAY ON THE FLOOR. Stop with the ticky-tack fouls, because you know the refs are going to call them every time!
Nigel Williams-Goss needs to be better with the basketball. I see about four or five baffling decisions every game out of this kid. He seems to think he’s so good with the basketball that he can complete any pass, no matter how small the window. At the same time, NWG needs to be more selfish. He’s giving up on some of these drives to the basket where he could easily finish, all in the name of boosting his assist numbers. We don’t necessarily need more assists out of NWG, we need POINTS. We need him creating shots for himself and we need him getting to the line with more regularity! He’s averaging only 3 foul shot attempts per game; that’s ridiculous! If these role players on this team won’t step up and start hitting shots, then NWG needs to take it upon himself and LEAD.
If someone could tell me what happened to Andrew Andrews, I’d be all ears. After some clutch success early in the season, his outside jumper has gone in the tank. Granted, part of his deal is poor shot selection, but that’s ALWAYS been his deal. He’s hitting around 34% of his shots and 34% of his three pointers. Unacceptable. If that’s going to be the case, then I’m REALLY going to need him to drive the lane more. He needs to find a way to finish at the rim and draw more contact, because we can’t have a shooting guard who chucks up bricks and lets other teams get out on fast breaks all day every day.
Mike Anderson? If you’re going to be a starter and play starter’s minutes, then I’m going to need you to produce LIKE a starter! I like what you bring to the table as far as rebounding and filling up the stat sheet is concerned, but I’m going to need you to be a little more selfish too. Your percentages are good (48.6% overall, 40.6% behind the arc), but you need to be shooting more than five shots per game. I dunno, maybe it’s time to bench Anderson. Bring him off the bench with the express purpose of being a spitfire to jumpstart this offense.
Jarreau: stop getting into foul trouble and stop shitting your pants on some of these passes into the post (especially when the other team drops into a zone defense).
Dorsey: hit some fucking outside shots already!
Winters: hit some fucking outside shots already!
Johnson: hit some fucking outside shots already!
We can’t keep going in the tank offensively for minutes at a time. Our defense is good, but it’s not THAT good. NWG and Andrews need to take these opportunities to drive the lane and get to the line. The role players need to hit some fucking shots already to take some of the pressure off of our stars. EVERYONE needs to just play better, God Dammit!
These were two games we could have had and by all rights, these were two games we SHOULD have had. They would have been a big boost to our RPI and our overall chances at cracking the Tourney. If we’re not careful, we’re going to let this whole season slip away.
Next up: we’ve got three straight home games against the northwest schools. We absolutely, without a doubt, MUST sweep these three games. Anything less than a three-game winning streak and I’m calling it right now. It doesn’t really get any easier than what’s right in front of us.