Washington Week: Running Down The ReturneesPosted by Connor Pelton on July 11th, 2012
The Huskies return four contributors from last season’s team, along with guard Scott Suggs, who comes back after losing last year to a foot injury. The returnees range from sharpshooters to prolific passers to big men down low. Below, we’ll take a look at each of these returnees in order of their scoring averages in the last season played.
- C.J. Wilcox, Junior, Shooting Guard (14.2 PPG, 1.1 APG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG) – If there was ever a player to average a quiet 14.2 PPG, Wilcox was that player last season. The sharpshooter was the one player coach Lorenzo Romar could always count on to make a clutch shot, yet he still was an afterthought to most casual fans because he played behind a pair of NBA first round draft picks in Tony Wroten, Jr., and Terrence Ross. He averaged a solid 28.5 MPG, but was basically fourth in the depth chart behind Wroten, Ross, and Abdul Gaddy. The best night of his season came on a Friday in Reno, where Wilcox played 38 minutes in Washington’s 76-73 overtime loss against Nevada. In that game he matched his average of 14 points and three rebounds, but he also recorded two steals on the defensive end. An interesting trend in Wilcox’s game revealed itself after coming back from a three-game layoff due to a stress-related hip injury. Romar was reluctant to play Wilcox for any substantial amount of time in the first five games of his return, in part because Wilcox was struggling to find his shot. The sophomore guard was only averaging about half his normal production through his first four games back, but then, while still playing fewer minutes than usual, he turned his game up a notch for the final stretch of the season. He poured in 22 points at UCLA, 20 against Northwestern, and 17 each at Oregon State and home against Oregon in an NIT quarterfinal game. By early March, Wilcox had completely gained back the minutes he had lost due to his hip injury. His totals near the end of the season should have Husky fans excited, as his quick-scoring ability should be able to soften the blow left behind by the losses of Ross and Wroten.
- Abdul Gaddy, Senior, Point Guard (8.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG) – Along with Suggs, it will be Gaddy’s responsibility to provide some senior leadership at the guard position. The guy is a terrific passer, and can also kill you with a jumper if you give him enough room.
- Aziz N’Diaye, Senior, Center (8.0 PPG, 0.3 APG, 7.6 RPG) – N’Diaye is a monster on the glass, pulling down over seven boards a game in 2011-12. But with the departure of Darnell Gant, he will have to increase his production even more. The monster out of Senegal is no slouch either on the offensive end, as he is more than capable of putting in a double-digit scoring night. Twice in 2011-12 he had a stretch of three games with double-digit scoring figures, and he scored a season high 14 points against Seattle U. and California. Without question, N’Diaye will be counted on to shoulder the load in the post and balance out an offense that was mainly guard-oriented last year.
- Scott Suggs, Senior, Guard (7.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG in 2010-11) – It might have been a blessing in disguise that Suggs injured his foot before practices even started in October 2011. The senior guard could have come back midway through last season, but as Romar quickly realized through the Huskies’ first seven games, the guard position was just too clogged up. So instead of sitting on the bench behind Wroten, Ross, Wilcox, and Gaddy, he still sat on the bench, only as a redshirt. Now that Ross and Wroten are gone, Suggs plans to play an integral part in the 2012-13 version. Suggs will be backing up Wilcox at shooting guard, but will have to improve in other facets of the game if he wants to hold his spot over newcomers Andrew Andrews and Mark McLaughlin. Of course, his main job is still to shoot the rock, Suggs’ rebounding, assists, and steals stats were very low in his junior season.
- Desmond Simmons, Sophomore, Forward (4.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG) – For averaging just 17.8 MPG, Simmons’ numbers are quite respectable, especially on the glass. The next step for the sophomore is to be able to sprinkle in a quiet eight or nine points a night. Romar’s offense isn’t one that calls for much offensive production from the bigs, but outside of N’Diaye, the Huskies don’t have anyone proven who can score the ball in the post. Simmons only had three double-digit scoring nights during his freshman season, and two of those came in back-to-back games. He also needs to be more aggressive on defense. The tall and lanky N’Diaye creates enough problems for opponents trying to get shots up in the key, but can you imagine a pair of those inside? Simmons only averaged 0.1 BPG and 0.8 SPG in his freshman campaign while also only picking up 1.8 PFPG. Romar would gladly trade in a couple more fouls per game if it meant getting extra possessions on the offensive end, especially when there is a plethora of forwards behind Simmons. Simmons is an extremely raw player who saw more time than expected last year. It will be interesting to watch early in the season what kind of strides he has made over the summer.