On the surface, that question is retarded. Of COURSE not! I shudder to think of what these games this week will look like without our second-best scorer. This team is strapped for ballers as it is! Essentially, we’re a three-man team on the offensive side of the ball: Wroten drives and gets to the line, Wilcox shoots from anywhere on the court, and Ross just kinda does his own thing.
So no, essentially taking a third of our offense out of the lineup is NEVER a good thing.
But, for the sake of yesterday’s game against the Cougs, not to mention for the sake of the rest of this season, maybe losing Wilcox for the short term is something that will jumpstart this team.
Specifically, I’m talking about Terrence Ross. I’m not going to go out and say the kid has been bad this year, but he definitely has looked listless. Apathetic. Going through the motions on his way to a big NBA payday. And CERTAINLY all too willing to defer to teammates in an effort to, what? Blend in? Not look like a ball-hog? Not be tagged with the Selfish label?
I think that’s ridiculous, but I’m a different brand of white basketball fan. I LIKE my superstars to be selfish with the ball! I LIKE it when one guy lords over the rest of the team in an effort to take over and win the game. It shows you have balls, and in basketball more than any other sport, you need those kinds of balls to succeed.
In my opinion, Terrence Ross should NEVER take fewer than 10 shots a game. Hell, I’d like him taking at LEAST 15! And yet, in this season, he’s already had five games where he’s taken less than 10 shots. The fact that we’re 4-1 in those games is irrelevant; we’ve only looked decent in TWO of those games (one was the first game of the year, one was that beatdown against Oregon).
Last night, with the onus on just the two of them, Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross took over. ESPECIALLY Ross, who had a career-high 30 points. This was impressive because he was only 1 for 9 shooting in the first half. Had Wilcox been in the lineup, who’s to say Ross doesn’t pack it in and not take a shot the rest of the game? But last night, he HAD to come out of halftime with a huge game. He was our only opportunity to win that game. And, with his back against the wall, he had one of the more explosive performances in Husky history. 6 for 12 from three, 6 of 9 from the line, 14 rebounds including 5 on the offensive glass.
I’ll never say that a guy like Ross can do it by himself – obviously it takes a team to win. But, especially on the offensive end, it shouldn’t be this rare to see someone like Ross absolutely take over a game and will us to victory. I’ll be fascinated to see how he responds on Thursday against Cal and on Saturday against Stanford. These are the two leaders of the Pac-12, and these are the only two times we play them this season (until the Pac-12 Tournament, anyway). To catch them at home is huge. To catch them without Wilcox might be huger (I’m as surprised as you are that “huger” is a word, by the way).
Will Ross bounce back with another dominating performance – one we all know he’s all-too-capable of? Or will he revert to his timid, “let others handle the spotlight” self?
I hope it’s the former. I hope last night’s game was the first in a long line of Terrence Ross becoming what we all know he’s capable of becoming. A younger version of Kevin Durant.
P.S. can you believe we had 21 offensive rebounds? And to think I was a bad loss to the Cougs at home away from giving up on this team …