I was vaguely aware of the first game last Sunday – an 88-78 victory over Seattle U – but since I don’t have cable, and I wasn’t in a place that does, I couldn’t tell you much about the game that wasn’t described to me over the free radio waves.
There was, of course, a bit of bad news to kick off the season: Jernard Jarreau tore his ACL and is out for the year. He can still get a medical redshirt, so he won’t technically lose a year of eligibility, but it’s still a huge bummer. How huge, we won’t know. But, all signs pointed toward him starting and him making an impact on this team. I can only imagine what he would have done for us, but knowing what I know about guys improving under Romar, it would’ve been significantly more than what he did for us last year.
There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of hype around this Husky basketball team, but I’ve maintained all along that this team will likely be a suprise in the Pac-12. C.J. Wilcox is back for his senior season. He will have to stay healthy, and if he does, he’ll be one of the best players in the conference. Andrew Andrews returns to man the point, as does superstar incoming Freshman Nigel Williams-Goss. That back-court alone makes me rock hard! But, then you’ve got the other incoming Freshman Darin Johnson (who will hopefully help us pick up some of the outside shooting slack when Wilcox and Andrews have off nights) and transfer Mike Anderson (who sounds like a defensive stopper and a total Romar Guy).
If nothing else, expect this team to be quicker. Last year, we were not only stuck with bad basketball, but we were stuck with SLOW bad basketball. This year, at least we should be entertained.
On the front court, the injuries don’t stop with Jarreau. Desmond Simmons had a surgical procedure and will miss a bunch of weeks. Perris Blackwell is another transfer who sat out the last game with a concussion, but should be a force for us in the middle. And, we’ve got Shawn Kemp Jr. who can muck it up with the big guys as well.
This is still going to be a team that goes as far as its guards will take it. We might be a little under-manned until Simmons comes back, but there’s nothing saying that this team can’t go on a nice little conference run. The key to success for this team will be balanced scoring. In the last few years, the scoring load has fallen on two or three guys. This year? Aside from Wilcox, we’re going to need lots of other guys chipping in to be effective. It’s going to look a little like some of those Jon Brockman years. Now, whether or not we have the type of talent we had during those Brockman years, I guess we’ll see.
Consider me one of the optimists, going into this season. I like what Romar’s doing and I hope this is the team that takes us back to the NCAA Tournament. That ought to shut some people up.