Huskies Lose In The N.I.T.

I’ll do an official season recap sometime in the near future.  But, right now, it’s time to acknowledge the game we watched last night.

It’s terribly frustrating, but them’s the breaks.  This Husky team has NBA talent all over the place, but unfortunately they’re not NBA stars yet.  One day, guys like Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, C.J. Wilcox and the rest might make for fantastic players at the Pro Level, but right now they’re just college kids whose basketball games are incomplete.

C.J. Wilcox has a Pro jump shot.  But, while he’s made some strides with his driving ability, the ability to create his own shot is just not there yet.

Tony Wroten has the size scouts love in a point guard, and he can be a wizard at times in the paint with both of his abilities to drive and to rebound, but his jump shot is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

Terrence Ross seemingly has the whole package going for him right now.  Wicked outside shot, ability to dribble-drive, a little bit of a post-up game, and a nose for rebounds.  Of the underclassmen on this team, Ross is the most likely to leave for the NBA and he’s also the most likely to make an immediate impact.  But, for as good as he is, you can’t deny the fact that he disappears for long stretches.  In the N.I.T., that certainly wasn’t evident, as he was a man on a mission whenever he touched the ball.  But, in the regular season – when the games arguably mattered more – Ross was here one minute and gone the next.

Last night, we saw the great in our team.  And we also saw the awful.

C.J. Wilcox was a ghost in the first half as he was held scoreless and practically without an attempt.  That harkens back to the fact that he can’t really create his own shot yet.  Still, in the second half, he broke free a lot more and helped lead our comeback push into Overtime.  He would do himself a great service by returning to the Huskies next season.

Tony Wroten was even worse in the first half.  See, a smart defensive team will pack it in the lane and force him to either shoot from outside (which he just won’t do for the most part, because he CAN’T hit a jumper to save his life), or force up a crazy runner from outside the paint.  Which is what we saw here last night.  Crazy runner after crazy runner, clang-clang-clanging off the rim.  And since there were so many defenders packed down in the lane, it was nearly impossible for him to gather his own rebound like he’s done so much this season.

I’m only going to say this, like, five more times:  Tony Wroten needs to come back to the Huskies and he needs to spend the entire off-season working on nothing but his jump shot.  He is NOT ready for the NBA right now, and if he tries to make the jump, he’s going to be riding a lot of pine until his shot IS ready.

Terrence Ross pretty much carried this team last night, that’s undeniable.  To advise him to return to the Huskies would be a purely selfish gesture.  Nevertheless, with the promise that he’ll get 20 shots a game, I’d REALLY like to see what this team is capable of with a healthy and motivated Terrence Ross, college Junior.

I don’t know what this team is going to look like next season.  What I do know is that Abdul Gaddy is ready to make the leap.  No, not the NBA, but as the leader of this Husky team.  He’s shown flashes of late as to his aggressiveness.  Next year, I’d like to see him take it to the next level.  His jumper isn’t as attrocious as Wroten’s, but it could certainly use some work.  But, I’d also like to see him dribble drive into the paint more.  He’s as capable as any point guard around the rim, might as well take advantage of that.

I wasn’t overly impressed with anyone else last night.  It’s a shame for Darnell Gant; he certainly deserved better.  Still, I thought he looked extremely tentative with ball in hand and a wide-open shot – as if visions of our loss to UCLA were still rattling around in his head.  It looked like he could’ve had his shot rolling if he just would’ve given it half a chance.

Tough break, all around.  Especially given the comeback we mounted.  Down 12 at halftime (thanks to a last-nanosecond three pointer by Gant before the break), you had to figure the Huskies would have another run in them.  And, of course, they did, but this was unlike our other second-half comebacks.  Mostly because it took the WHOLE second half.  Still, it was real exciting there when we got the steal and the lay in by Wilcox to tie it.

One thing I’ll whine about, which has nothing to do with anything:  can you BELIEVE this team was never able to hit a late game-winning shot with time expiring?  The whole season!  And there were opportunities; usually you at least LUCK into one or two.  But, this year, these Huskies couldn’t buy the kind of luck that normally comes for free.  I really thought that shot by Wroten at the buzzer was going to rattle in off the backboard.  But, what are you gonna do?

Now, we wait.  It won’t be a long wait.  We’ll know by April 10th (and probably a lot sooner than that) who we’re going to have on this team next season and who we won’t.  Start crossing those fingers.

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