There may not be anything more enjoyable than speculation. This allows for dream sequences to be played out where matchups are played in the minds of many, with a “logical” outcome in the end.
With football season having kicked off, that means the next significant sport to begin will be college basketball in about seventy days. Paired with the fact that it appears recruiting for the 2010 class has hit a standstill for the Huskies until Josh Smith or Terrence Jones announce their college destinations, having a little fun with 2011 will provide some good discussion for now. Keep in mind that I will not be factoring the next 2010 recruit to sign on as Smith, Jones, whoever have not announced yet.
First, lets look at the roster shaping up at the end of the 2010/2011 season with no one leaving…
- Elston Turner Jr., SR
- Isaiah Thomas, SR
- Darnell Gant, SR
- Scott Suggs, SR
- Abdul Gaddy, JR
- Tyreese Breshers, JR
- Clarence Trent, JR
- C.J. Wilcox, JR
- Desmond Simmons, SO
- 2010 Recruit #2, SO
Its safe to assume that there will be another recruit added in 2010 as Romar will not want to continue to leave a scholarship sitting around for a second consecutive year.
With ten scholarships currently being used should no one leave (debatable since I believe Gaddy will be gone after two years, but you never know) that leaves three scholarships to be taken by 2011 recruits.
The obvious lack in position are in post players and depth at point guard. So far in 2011 recruiting the Huskies have demonstrated this by the players they have targeted. Lets look at the top targets for the Huskies as well as possible targets (* represents possible)…
- Tony Wroten, G, WA
- Norvel Pelle, PF, CA
- Angelo Choi, C, CA
- Gary Bell, G, WA
- Nick Johnson, PG, NV*
- Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, CA*
- Jabari Brown, SG, NV*
The list features prominent prospects who are among the best in the country, with the premiere recruits being Wroten, Pelle, and Choi. All three figure to be rated among the top players in the country by scouting services, while the remaining four should also be included in almost every “Top-100” lists.
The top targets of the Huskies may very well be Pelle and Choi as the Huskies need some more post play as Gant and Breshers appear to be the only true big men on the rosters pending the final scholarship in 2010. Both Pelle and Choi have been receiving heavy interest from the Huskies and both list Washington as their number one school, a testament to the recruiting prowess of the Washington staff to appeal this much to elite California talent in the backyards of UCLA, Cal, USC, and Stanford.
Pelle may be the most exciting prospect of the bunch as his defensive ability is among the best in the nation. Paired with a sound offensive game Pelle will likely be one of the most sought after recruits in the country for 2011. Right now he is hearing from mainly the Pac-10, but expect the national powerhouses to step in at some point. But a positive for Husky fans is that Romar and staff have made the early impression on Pelle, which may pay off in the end.
Choi is similar to Pelle in that his defensive ability is the strong point of his game, although that should be expected seeing as how he didn’t pick up a basketball until the seventh grade. Watching video of Choi its obvious he has an incredibly high ceiling, making him one of the most intriguing prospects in the country. Having two more years of high school should help him add on to his slim frame and give him a body more prepared to battle against the big men in college basketball. One aspect of his recruitment that I think could play into the Huskies favor is the new addition of Raphael Chillious as assistant coach. In his years as South Kent Prep’s coach he brought in many international players and was able to coach them to national success and great college success (Matthew Bryan-Amaning being one example). With a history of success with international players Romar and Chillious may be able to convince Choi that with his background as a player from Sudan, Washington is the best fit for him for long term success.
Pelle and Choi may be the biggest targets for Romar in 2011, as well as the most important. Jon Brockman was able to prove that having a steady defensive and rebounding force down low helps the Husky guards more than anything. With Thomas around and a chance at having Gaddy for one more year, adding two more talented big men to the rotation will probably do more or the team than Wroten will add as another guard.
Wroten is the prospect that will receive the most attention locally as he is the hometown guy consistently rated among the top-10 players in the country. While adding him will no doubt help the Huskies, I have written in the past how Wroten may not exactly be the best fit for Washington as opposed to a player such as Bell. Adding Wroten to the fold would do wonders towards raising the national profile of the school as a Pelle, Choi, Wroten class very well could be ranked #1 in the country and all representing Washington in the McDonalds game, but at some point you need to stop worrying about raising national profile and get to the point where you no longer need to fight for attention because you have already demonstrated success in March (something that is very possible these next two seasons).
When I look at Bell I see someone similar to Avery Bradley last season. Bradley was the local guy who everyone knew about but flew under the radar nationally for awhile before blowing away the scouts during spring and summer camps and tournaments. Bell has been doing the exact same thing these last few months, and I fully expect his recruitment to become bigger as each day passes. While his game lacks the pure athleticism and defense that Bradley has to offer, it could be argued that Bell is just as much as a pure scorer. Bell would also less likely need to command minutes when he arrives with Thomas, Turner, Suggs, Gaddy, and Wilcox taking minutes at guard, maybe even redshirt to allow him to put more muscle on his frame. Then the next season he could be in a situation where he will start with the graduation of players. Bell could very well be the four year player that the Huskies can continue building success off of.
Johnson is a player that may not being recruited as heavily by the Huskies but could prove to be incredibly valuable down the road. He has absolutely insane athletic ability and playmaking abilities, should he arrive with Bell they would be the backcourt for the Huskies for four years. Johnson just transferred to basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep, a place every college coach in the country will have to become familiar with because of the talent going through there every year. Romar likely already has some connections there as Clarence Trent and Bradley each played there for a season.
The final two prospects of Dinwiddie and Brown are two players who could appear on Washington’s radar should they whiff on some of the above recruits. Dinwiddie is someone who is a pure point guard and could develop into a nice distributor over four years, maybe a poor man’s Will Conroy. He has tremendous passing and ball handling ability and will be able to run an offense well, but needs to improve defensively. I’ve always been a fan of these type of players, hence my infatuation with Gaddy, but Dinwiddie could be someone to watch over the next few years. Brown is also a Findlay Prep guy and is a tremendous scorer that could become a nice role player immediately and have a solid future with the team. But the need for a shooting guard (should Bell commit) would not be a priority.
Now that we have looked into the prospects, lets plug them into Washington’s lineup to see what the roster could look like in 2011.
Pelle, Choi, Wroten Class
I would assume that Choi would start off the bench as he will likely still be working on an offensive game and be learning the college game and Darnell Gant will have had four years of college experience (including the redshirt season) under his belt learning Washington’s system and playing the four and five. Pelle is likely someone to start from the beginning and would play the four along with Breshers for the majority of the game. The Pelle/Breshers combo would allow for strong defense and hustle throughout the game with Pelle offering a bit more polished scoring around the rim.
Wroten is a tricky situation since both Thomas and Gaddy would be the starters without question. Even in a situation where Gaddy leaves early for the NBA, Scott Suggs, Elston Turner, and C.J. Wilcox could all be starting at that point. Wroten is someone who will expect to start immediately, hence my concerns with team chemistry should he not start or his play taking the minutes from one of the three listed above.
Turner seems like someone who will be a starter maybe even this season, so it is unlikely that Romar would remove a three year starter from the lineup. The coaching staff seem to be convinced that Suggs will be a great player, so should he fulfill those expectations it is unlikely they would cut his minutes. Wilcox would appear to be the odd man out, but his shooting ability is among the best in the country for the 2009 class while Wroten’s shot fell flat his sophomore year. This is just another reason why I think Bell is the best option for the Huskies. But here’s a rotation with Wroten…
PG: Gaddy SG: Thomas SF: Turner PF: Pelle C: Gant
6th: Wroten 7th: Breshers 8th: Suggs 9: Choi 10th: Wilcox 11th: Simmons 12th: Trent 13th: 2010 #2
PG: Thomas SG: Suggs/Wroten SF: Turner PF: Pelle C: Gant
6th: Suggs/Wroten 7th:Breshers 8th:Choi 9th: Wilcox 10th: Simmons 11th: Trent 12th: 2010 #2
Either lineup gives the Huskies a stacked roster and really does show how strong the recruiting has gotten where there is a point where nobody seems like the logical person to sit ala Joe Wolfinger last season. With what Pelle offers to the front court and the play of the backcourt it could be the most talented Husky team ever. Either situation presents a backcourt that is among the best in the country, helped significantly by the presence of Thomas.
The talent on the bench would rank among the top of the country, giving Romar the opportunity to use a premiere shooter in Wilcox, a rebounding and hustle man in Breshers, tempo guys with Trent and Simmons, and a defensive presence with the ability to explode in any game with Choi. Having those type of role players that could make incredible impacts at any time are what make up championship teams.
Pelle, Choi, Bell Class
When looking at this class you have to look more towards the future because adding Bell would likely mean he plays sparingly or redshirts before being slotted into the starting lineup the next season. Here is a possible starting lineup with the recruiting class that I believe would be the ideal situation for Washington…
PG: Gaddy SG: Bell SF: Simmons PF: Pelle C: Choi
The team’s success would largely hinge on the success of the 2012 class as five players will be leaving following 2011. The need for a point guard should Gaddy leave is obvious, perhaps making Gary Franklin a more attractive option for this 2010 class to be paired with Simmons.
With the graduation of Thomas, Suggs, Turner, Breshers, and Gant following 2011/2012 season, it appears two years from now may be the most likely scenario for Washington to win a national title in the foreseeable future. So whoever jumps on for the 2011 class may be the small piece that makes the difference from a Sweet Sixteen team to a trip to New Orleans.