Previously, Romar led a couple of 5-13 teams in conference, but this one can finish no better than 4-14. With UCLA and USC road games coming up, I’d bet the farm on this year’s Husky team finishing 2-16. And, while there haven’t been any Husky teams dead last in conference under Romar’s watch, this will be the third team that’s finished next-to-last, with a lucky win against a banged-up Colorado team the difference between us and the 1-win Beavers right now.
I’ve avoided talking about this team, because what more can you say? It’s terrible. At best, they can sort of hang around in most games, but ultimately they give almost all of them away. I never thought it could get this bad, but then again I’ve generally been a supporter of Lorenzo Romar throughout the years. I always thought, if nothing else, he was a good motivator, able to get the most out of even the weakest rosters. But, this season is truly eye-opening.
Markelle Fultz is the obvious lone bright spot on this team, but even he’s cashing it in. A “sore knee” has dogged him for much of the last couple weeks, and I for one can’t blame him. Legit injury or not, I wouldn’t want to play on this team or for this coach either. Not when there’s so much at stake in the NBA draft.
Beyond that, I dunno. I GUESS you could argue the team is still really young. I know no one wants to hear about excuses for this program anymore, but we’re just a year removed from a team that only had 1 Senior player in Andrew Andrews. This year also only has 1 Senior player in Malik Dime, but he’s only in his second year in the program as a transfer student. Indeed, most of the players getting the bulk of the minutes – Crisp, Thybulle, Dickerson, Fultz, Johnson, Green, and Timmins – are Sophomores or Freshmen.
Then, when you look at what this program lost from last year – Andrews to graduation, Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss to the NBA draft – it’s probably silly that we didn’t see this bottoming-out coming. We lost three studs and replaced them with just the one in Fultz. Regardless of how good Fultz is or might become – as a possible #1 overall draft pick in this year’s draft – no one man is enough to lift a terrible basketball team to the NCAA Tournament. Is it concerning that we’ve fallen all the way to 11th in the Pac-12, just ahead of a truly atrocious Oregon State team? Of course. But, it was foolish to think we’d get enough of a boost from our holdovers to even maintain our .500 status of a season ago, let alone somehow improve upon that.
The fact of the matter is: there has been SOME improvement among the holdovers. Though, obviously not enough to satisfy anyone (and, honestly, it’s probably attributed to the fact that there are more minutes to go around). Here are some numbers to review:
- David Crisp – 7.2 ppg, 1.6 apg, 2.4 rpg in 2016; 14.3 ppg, 2.9 apg, 3.1 rpg in 2017
- Noah Dickerson – 7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg in 2016; 11.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg in 2017
- Matisse Thybulle – 6.2 ppg in 2016; 9.9 ppg in 2017
- Dominic Green – 2.7 ppg in 2016; 5.9 ppg in 2017
Like I said, we’re not talking about amazing, awe-inspiring increases here, but there are SOME improvements. An argument could be made that by the time all of these Sophomores are Seniors in a couple years, if those numbers continue to improve, we could be looking at a successful unit. And, when you factor in Freshman Carlos Johnson’s rapid rise from an also-ran earlier this year, to a regular contributor over the last few weeks, on top of all the upcoming recruits we get to look forward to, there IS reason for optimism, even if this season feels like rock bottom.
Look, I hate getting myself sucked back into this team just like you do. I’m sure the vast majority of Husky basketball fans have abandoned all hope, and I wouldn’t blame you. The economics of the thing (it would be super-costly to buy out Romar’s contract after this season), on top of the world-class recruiting class coming in next season, means that it makes too much sense to give Romar one more year. I think most of us are pretty resigned to that fact, anyway. And, I bet most Husky basketball fans believe it won’t make one iota of a difference; we’ll get all these great new guys and the team will still stink, because Romar isn’t a good basketball coach so much as he is a good recruiter (and, given the 2016/2017 apocalypse, that “good recruiter” label is even in serious question; let’s face it, really good recruiters don’t have these types of 11th place years, let alone two of them in the last three seasons).
But, if you figure we’ve got at least four players who belong on the basketball court in Crisp, Dickerson, Thybulle, and Johnson, on top of the four stud incoming Freshmen we’re bringing in, I don’t see how that team fails. If it does, that’s a damning indictment on Romar’s abilities and really brings into question his legacy at the University of Washington.
For now, three games remain. Two regular season losses down in Los Angeles, and one more in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 Tourney. Then, the dead horse can be put to bed until next fall.