Washington Huskies (7-7)
- Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 11th Overall (0-2)
- Head Coach: Lorenzo Romar (15th Season)
- Top Performer: Markelle Fultz (22.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 6.1 RPG)
- Points For: 83.6 PPG (28th)
- Points Against: 80.3 PPG (323th)
- Last Game/Streak: 83-61 Loss v. #15 Oregon (2L)
With an 0-3 record to their name in conference play and with a looming Civil War match-up in Eugene on the horizon, it’s beginning to get the feeling of now-or-never for this Beavers group, as Oregon State needs to find themselves a breakthrough somewhere during Pac-12 play. It could start on Saturday afternoon with a road trip to Seattle, where the Beavers will face-off with Washington, a team who is similarly in their own “backs against the wall” situation.
Despite having arguably the most talented freshman in the country in tow, in Markelle Fultz (22.3 PPG), the Huskies also have a few other key pieces who complete their top-heavy roster, including a quartet of gifted sophomores in guard David Crisp (14.1 PPG), forward Noah Dickerson (12.2 PPG) and swingmen Matisse Thybulle (9.4 PPG) and Dominic Green (8.7 PPG). However, the issue for Washington doesn’t seem to the quality of talent that Lorenzo Romar has at his disposal, but simply the quantity of it.
After losing the super talented duo of Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray, who both selected in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft after leaving school early, Romar had some huge voids to fill on the roster that were expected to be filled by a unique 2016 recruiting haul, which included the likes of the aforementioned Fultz, as well as Findlay Prep swingman Carlos Johnson (5.3 PPG) and 6’ 10” New Zealand native Sam Timmins (3.9 PPG). For the most part, that’s failed to happen, as Johnson hasn’t had the primetime impact they expected and Timmins has emerged as more of a project than prospect, this early on in his career.
Although, the on-court success has been fluctuating so far, the trajectory of the Huskies program seems to be on the upswing, as Romar and company have turned their focus to an increased production on the recruiting front. Their efforts can already be seen in the Huskies’ highly anticipated 2017 class, which features the #2 overall player in the country in Michael Porter Jr., as well as a trio of four-star players in Daejon Davis, Jaylen Nowell and Blake Harris, and three-star forward, Mamouduo Diarra.
While it may be true that talents like Porter Jr., Davis, Nowell, Harris and Diarra won’t be helping the Huskies to try and break their winless start to conference play on Saturday, the fact of the matter is that a game like this one can be the catalyst a team like Washington needs to begin and swing their season in a new direction. Look for the the way that Oregon State chooses to defend Fultz as a critical impact factor to this one, as well as how the Beavers find their flow on offense against a lengthy Huskies back-line.
Players To Watch
Markelle Fultz (Freshman - Guard)
The super freshman from DeMatha Catholic High School (MD), Fultz was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school and just fourteen games into his college career, he’s proven he's worth every bit of the hype. Projected to be a top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Fultz has already hit the twenty-point plateau ten-times in his rookie campaign, while also leading the Huskies in assists per game.
David Crisp (Sophomore - Guard)
After an abysmal outing against Gonzaga, where Crisp was strongly outplayed by a litany of talented Bulldogs guards, the sophomore floor general looks to have reasserted himself and shown flashes of the brilliant player that he can become. Lately, he’s looked like the second option behind Fultz, who is capable of coming alive at any given moment.
Noah Dickerson (Sophomore - Forward)
A hot-and-cold type of player, Dickerson has had his fair share of moments all season long but consistency has been his issue, as some nights, the talented second-year player from Atlanta has been his own worst enemy. When Dickerson finds his shots in the flow of the offense, the 6’ 8”, 225 pound big man is a nightmare match-up for opponents. However, as Washington offense stalls, sometimes Dickerson is left as the odd man out, where he is then forced to try and create for himself.