I was a little distracted by my trip to Reno for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, so I didn’t really get to see any of the Huskies in the NIT. Scheduling issues, you know how it is.
Last Wednesday, while I was in an airplane, the Huskies hosted the Boise State Broncos and beat them 77-74 in double-overtime. Nowell and Thybulle really dominated the show, as the team hit nearly 50% from behind the arc. Sounded like quite the impressive game that I would’ve enjoyed a lot.
Then, last night, the Huskies went on the road to play top-seeded Saint Mary’s. We put up a valiant effort, but fell short, 85-81. Noah Dickerson was a monster, with 22 points and 9 boards, and Nahziah Carter went 4 for 4 from behind the arc in netting 14 total points off the bench.
This was a really fun season for Husky basketball; something I don’t think any of us really anticipated. With Romar getting fired, a bunch of our recruits jumping ship, and Mike Hopkins coming across the country to try to bring this team together in a few short months, it would’ve been more reasonable to expect another bottoming-out type season. Or, at best, hovering around .500 in non-conference play before falling off against the Pac-12 teams. Thankfully, the Huskies gelled, were able to get some signature victories against the likes of Kansas and Arizona, and were helped by the Pac-12 being pretty fucking terrible as a whole.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot of hope for next year and beyond. I don’t think anyone is really in a position to leave for the NBA, which means we’re set to have one of the more veteran teams in the conference. That hasn’t been the case in I don’t know how long. Probably not since the LAST time the Huskies made the NCAA Tournament, in 2011.
Crisp, Thybulle, Dickerson, and Green will all be Seniors (assuming none of them go pro or transfer). Timmins and Carlos Johnson will be Juniors (assuming they stick around). And, Nowell, Wright, and Nahz Carter will all be Sophomores. Aside from Johnson (who I have to believe will go to another school, as he’s getting buried on the depth chart), these are all players who contributed quite a bit to making this Husky season a success.
And that’s not even counting the incoming recruits. The Huskies just secured a 4-star center, Bryan Penn-Johnson, to go along with 4-star guard Jamal Bey, and three other 3-star players who will look to compete for minutes next season. Things are looking UP for the Washington Huskies for the first time in a long time. I’m proud of these kids. I hope they work really hard and are rewarded with a berth in the NCAA Tournament next year.