This game did not hold much intrigue to me. It was messy in the first half by both squads, then less messy in the second half by the Huskies. It was a game that allowed us to see just how badly the Trojans have struggled this season. Kevin O'Neill has dealt with a plethora of injuries and is doing the best he can to just attempt to keep the team afloat.
Tonight the game was won by the Husky bench. Darnell Gant scored 8, Shawn Kemp Jr. had 6, a career high. C.J Wilcox, a bench player in name only, had four of his own. The bench scored more than half of the team's first half points if my memory serves me right. One starter stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Tony Wroten had a complete game. Six rebounds, eight assists, only one turnover, and led the team with 13 points scored. He had strong passes all night, and just whipped the ball around the court.
Point guard play is a true strength for the Dawgs this year. Abdul Gaddy has run our offense very well, and Wroten has been an amazing slasher, and finds teammates at angles nobody else on in the gym could pass through. He and Terrence Ross are possibly the two most naturally gifted players in the Pac-12. Wroten has the ability to be an all-world point guard, and Ross has the athletic ability of Kobe Bryant, except lacks the consistency to take his game to the next level.
A graphic shown late in the game exemplifies the true disparity of Ross's first and second half play. He shoots over 50% from deep in the second half, and scores around 15 points per second half. In the first half he is almost nonexistent. Tonight throughout the game he did grab rebound after rebound, finishing with a game-high fourteen and a double-double with 10 points. He is frustrating to watch, as the potential to be great shows and just drips from him, yet he has struggled to find the consistency to become truly great. All I hear is that he is a hard worker, which should mean that the consistency will show up sooner rather than later. The NBA calls, and Ross has the gift, the only question is whether he can accept that call.
A few quick bullet holes:
- Gaddy looks more comfortable with a basketball in his hands than quite possibly anyone to wear a Husky uniform. At one point tonight he lost his dribble; within two bounces of the ball he had switched direction and was attacking the basket. This shows extreme ability to control the ball. Rarely does one have that control with the smoothness that Gaddy has. He fits his way between defenders like few others. As he regains explosiveness he lost due to his knee injury he could work himself into an NBA draft pick.
- Azis has a mean streak. I was unable to see his flagrant, but he played angry. One time he was fouled from behind and got up in an attempt to shove back the offender. The foul was clean and in no way dirty, but Aziz took exception and felt the need to be angry at his opponent. This could end up helping him as an enforcer down the road if he can control his anger. It could also conversely hurt him as he could get a technical or another flagrant in a key situation. Another thing about Aziz is that he has become more and more comfortable as the season has progressed with the ball in his hands. Tonight he used his left hand on a finish. That may have been the first time in his Husky career. He is progressing offensively and is a true shutdown defender in the post. Something special in the Dawgs' frontcourt.
- Tony Wroten is the best player on this Husky squad. He is the top scorer, top assist man, and is a bane to opposing point guards. Maurice Jones shot 3-13 tonight with Wroten guarding him the entire night. Wroten also had a clean pick on a botched call that may have led itself to a highlight dunk at the other end. We have yet to see what Tony will do when given a fastbreak dunk opportunity. It could be something special. Tonight he also displayed his all-world passing ability. He has mastered the no-look pass. He still needs to learn the right time to use this ability of his, but once he does his passing will be unstoppable. He has his warts, mainly his jump shot, but has undeniable talent.
- It was nice to see the bench guys get some minutes. When Hikeem Stewart his his shot the bench was all smiles seeing Stewart get his due. Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a pair of buckets, and Alex Wegner got some minutes. Both walk-ons walked onto the court tonight; Brendan Sherrer set his screens, had a rebound, and assisted the basket that caused smiles to erupt on the faces of the starting five and Wilcox.