Something that came out of the Percy Allen Q&A with Lorenzo Romar a couple days ago was that the Huskies plan on having a nine man rotation for another year. Last year Romar said the same thing and the nine guys we saw playing did indeed add up to nine (Brockman, Dentmon, Pondexter, Thomas, Gant, Bryan-Amaning, Overton, Holliday, and Turner), but this season appears it will be a bit trickier in finding the nine guys who will make up the rotation without seeing a talented guy on the bench. There are no obvious guys to sit such as a Joe Wolfinger or Artem Wallace, especially with some hints players and coaches have discussed about the development of certain players.
There are a few players who we know will be playing significant minutes no matter what, Romar even confirming that two of them are going to be starters.
Quincy Pondexter, Senior – Pondexter will be a starter and will be the leader of the team, there is no question about it. He slides in at the number three spot in the starting five and should play the most minutes out of any other player on the team.
Isaiah Thomas, Sophomore – Thomas is the only other player that Romar confirmed as a starter in the Allen interview. This is another no brainer as Thomas is the top returning scorer on the team and one of the top scorers in the country.
Abdul Gaddy, Freshman – It is widely assumed that Gaddy will be starting at point for the team. One of the top recruits in the nation in 2009, Gaddy will team with Thomas to form one of the top backcourts in the country.
Venoy Overton, Junior – Hard to believe that Overton is already an upperclassman, seems just recently I was watching him lead Franklin in the state tournament. But Overton is the top on the ball defender on the team and has played significantly since he first stepped on campus. He’ll be the first man off the bench.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Junior – Probably has the biggest potential to break out this season, and many expect him to start with the departure of Brockman.
Darnell Gant , Sophomore – The surprising starter from last season who played a significant role on the team defensively. With an improved offensive game he has a great shot to start again. We could be looking at a four year starter by the time he graduates, which I’m sure would have come as a surprise to many if you said that on the day he signed. Demonstrates that a redshirt in basketball could really be benefit for some.
Tyreese Breshers, Freshman – Last year’s redshirt will be playing often because of lack of depth at power forward as well as his great rebounding ability. A lot of buzz has surrounded Breshers this off-season from scrimmages and open gyms, he could start ahead of Gant if he puts in a good camp.
Elston Turner, Sophomore – Could have a breakout role coming off the bench, perhaps he provided a sneak preview with his play in the Purdue game. Turner has a bright future with the team and should be the primary deep shooter for the team.
C.J. Wilcox, Freshman – Because of how the roster stacks up it is unlikely Wilcox sees much time his first year on campus, although his ability to shoot from deep should allow him to see some more time on the court.
Clarence Trent, Freshman – Trent appears to be more of a long term project for the team as his potential is among the best in the country. But right now he sits and learns for the possibility to play some bigger minutes next season.
The Toss Ups
With eight locks for the rotation and two guys who will more than likely be bench guys, that leaves two players who will fight for that final spot in the rotation. Justin Holliday and Scott Suggs will be battling it out, and the reason why this is a difficult debate is because of how enamored it appears that the coaching staff is with the potential of Suggs and the production that Holliday brings to the table.
Justin Holliday, Junior – Having been one of my favorite players the second he committed to the team in 2007, it is tough to potentially see Holliday on the bench. While he is likely the favorite in this playing time battle, if Suggs does indeed impress in camp than he could see his role diminish. Holliday brings some of the best defense on the team, but has yet to show any offensive production.
Scott Suggs, Sophomore – Suggs was perhaps the most hyped recruit to sign with Washington nationally when he picked the Huskies over schools such as Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Kansas. But he played sparingly as a freshman and appeared not to be ready for the college game immediately. Still the coaching staff said he could end up being an All-Pac 10 player when all is said and done, which is why it is difficult to project the final spot. But with four guards already known to be locks he will be playing at a disadvantage. His ability to shoot the deep ball should help him as that appears to be a weakness for the team with the loss of Justin Dentmon and Thomas’ questionable shooting from deep. He is all potential right now, so if he utilizes that potential in camp he will get the final spot.
In the end most likely Holliday will come out on top, and maybe Suggs will still see some more minutes than most 10th guys in Romar’s system. Holliday just offers too much defensive ability, and may be the the guy to sub in for Pondexter at the three. Its tough to potentially see Suggs sit on the bench for another season, but it is up to him what his future and impact with the team will be.
Suggs may be tempted to transfer if he does indeed sit for another season, but his well liked by his teammates and could see a big jump in minutes in 2010/2011 when Pondexter has graduated.
With the level of talent that Romar keeps on bringing in with each recruiting class, talented guys like Suggs may receive the short end of the stick. But it is also just another sign of the talent on the team that potentially could be headed towards a Final Four in the near future.