Since I last wrote about the Husky basketball team, they finished out the 2K Classic by getting blown out against Virginia Tech. You could argue that both Providence and Virginia Tech are simply better basketball teams than the Washington Huskies, and you’d most likely be right. They’re probably on par with most of the teams the Huskies will face in conference play, which is a scary proposition, but it makes sense. They’re still gelling into a unit; they’re not ready to face the likes of major conference teams, or even the better Mid-Majors for that matter. It’s going to take time; it might even take the whole season. I guess we’ll find out.
Since then, the Huskies have ripped off three wins in a row against inferior competition: Seattle U, UC Davis, and Kennesaw State. In those games, we’ve learned a little more about the make up of this Husky basketball team.
Jaylen Nowell, at times, looks like the best player on the floor. Other times, he looks like a Freshman, tentative and passive. But, he’s clearly the most talented ball-handler on the Huskies, and over time should be the guy we turn to in crunch time to get the tough baskets. He had 25 against Seattle and 21 against UC Davis, before a clunker of a game against K-State. When he’s consistently leading this team in points, I think we’ll start to see something magical.
Noah Dickerson is our rock. He won’t always be on fire, and sometimes he’s going to get into foul trouble, but whenever we get him going down low, it’s just going to open up so many things for our outside shooters.
Matisse Thybulle does it all. He truly looks like he was made to play in this style of defense, as he’s 3rd in the nation in steals at 3.6 per game. I think what we’re looking for is more consistency at the offensive end. What he needs is improved confidence. If he can just get a higher percentage of his shots to fall, he’s going to be a real weapon for this team as a 3rd/4th option. With his defensive abilities, that’ll be a lethal combination.
David Crisp is a lot of things, but lacking in confidence isn’t one of them. The Huskies will always be at their best when he’s hitting his shots, but at this point it doesn’t appear that he’s taken a great leap forward in his efficiency in that area. So far, he’s actually averaging fewer shots per game, which is probably appropriate. I don’t think you want to count on him to be your leading scorer game-in and game-out. He’s at his best when he’s getting to the foul line, but if we’ve already got Nowell for that, I’d really like to see him bone up on his 3-point shot. Those daggers he hits at the end of games are vital! Let’s try to work on that form and have that be your game.
Finally, I’ll say that I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen out of Sam Timmins so far. He didn’t look like he belonged anywhere NEAR a basketball court last year, and I’ll admit I was more than a little concerned with the prospect of him seeing more playing time this year due to the team’s lack of depth at the 4 and 5 spots. But, he’s actually looked competent in the middle! You don’t expect a lot out of him, but he’s a big man who can clean up the boards, hit some put-backs, and block a shot now and again. Considering the talent around him, that’s all I really want from my starting center! He’s not integral to the team’s success, so you don’t have to have him out on the floor to run the offense; they can easily drop him to go Small Ball on an opposing team. But, if Dickerson gets into foul trouble, it’s nice to know we have Timmins in there to keep things running semi-smoothly. Maybe in a year or two, he can develop more of an offensive game, but for now, he’s exactly what this team needs.
There’s one more candycane tune up against Omaha this weekend before the gauntlet of Kansas and Gonzaga. I’m not expecting much out of either of those games, but it’ll be interesting nevertheless to see where we stand against some of the greats.