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3 Days ‘Till OSU Basketball: Washington Huskies Preview

Mike Hopkins Doubles Up His Infantry In Seattle

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Huskies

  • Head Coach: Mike Hopkins (3rd Season) | Overall: 52-27
  • Last Season: 27-9 (15-3) | Post-Season: NCAA tournament second round
  • Pac-12 Media Preseason Poll: 3rd (273 Points - 6 First Place Votes)

Projected Starters

  • Elijah Hardy (Guard - Freshman)
  • Jamal Bey (Guard - Graduate)
  • Nahziah Carter (Guard - Freshman)
  • Jaden McDaniels (Forward - Junior)
  • Isaiah Stewart (Forward - RS Senior)

The Skinny

After leading the Pac-12 for the forefront of the season, the Washington Huskies looked like a sure shot to win the Conference tournament.

However, as we all know, they fell victim to the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Conference Final, losing to the Ducks in a twenty point blowout. Although the Huskies proceeded to make the NCAA tournament, they made an early dismissal to their dismay. Since then, Shane Nowell left for the association along with defensive pesk Matisse Thybulle.

Although the Huskies lost the conference’s two best players, Mike Hopkins reloaded his roster in a truly menacing manner. The Huskies hauled in the biggest recruit in program history, Isaiah Stewart in early 2019, as he was tagged by ESPN as the number three recruit in 2019. Stewart is a traditional forward in the sense that he has a high motor, rebounds at will, runs with floor, and simply gets the job done. In addition to Stewart, Washington attracted one of the top talents in the Northwest, RaeQuan Battle. RaeQuan is a versatile, athletic, slashing guard that can shoot and finish with authority. His addition solidified Washington as the premier door to top regional talent.

Speaking of regional talent, Washington won the recruiting sweepstakes when they stole the talents of ultra-talented Jaden McDaniels away from Kentucky. Various outlets and recruiting gurus had McDaniels going to Lexington whereas hometown hopefuls believed Jaden was staying home The humble and unassuming talent from Federal Way quietly took to Twitter months ago, announcing his intention to play for the Washington Huskies, solidifying their dominance in the Pac-12. McDaniels has superstar written all over him, as he is listed around 6’9” and his game resembles that of Kevin Durant. He is long and lanky with nimble guard-like handles, dominates at the rim, to go along with a pro set of moves. Look for McDaniels to tango with Stewart to make one of the best one-two front court punches in the country.

High School Basketball: McDonald’s High School All American Portrait Day
Jaden McDaniels looks to be a reason for excitement for the Washington Huskies all season long
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With two five-star recruits, the expectations are high as ever, as the Huskies have two blue-blood caliber freshman on their roster. The recruiting class is rounded by former Jefferson High School star Marcus Tshonis, an altruistic leader on the court that plays like a throwback. Mix this in with Kentucky transfer Quade Green and the Huskies look like a formidable opponent for anyone in the country. Green was a highly touted prospect out of high school that contributed for Kentucky last season before deciding to leave after nine games. It also helps the Huskies that on Friday, the NCAA deemed Quade eligible immediately for play this season.

In addition to their additions, Washington returns Nahziah Carter, the high-flying nephew of Jay-Z that has his own superstar appeal. Carter flies out of nowhere for tip ins, can jam on defenders in traffic, and his agileness and quickness is used both for defense and offense. Silky-smooth Elijah Hardy looks to take the point guard duties whereas Jamal Bey looks to crack his high-ceiling potential he showed at Bishop Gorman. Hamier Wright expects to take more minutes as the power forward from New York looks to make a big impact this season. Follow this with the development of J’Raan Brooks, former Garfield Bulldog, and the Huskies look deep at all positions on the court.

Although, the Huskies seem to be invincible on paper, it will be a matter of time to see how well they gel in person. With a influx of freshman talent along with veterans, it will be interesting to see how they will make it count in times of importance. However, with the trend of the program within the last few years, they will certainly be on the radars of fans and programs across the nation based on their talent alone.

Four Non-Conference Games To Watch

  • 11/8 v. Baylor* (Armed Forces Classic)
  • 11/16 v. Tennessee* (Hall of Fame Classic)
  • 12/8 v. Gonzaga
  • 12/2 v. South Dakota