There had to be an end. This was it. Tubby Smith and his Golden Gophers outplayed the Huskies, Our Huskies, tonight. I know in journalism you aren't supposed to say "we" or "my team" in reference to a team, even though that is how I talk about the team outside of writing. But, man, my team just had their season ended. With a loss. That hits harder than Austin Seferian-Jenkins attempting to take a charge, sans the comic effect.
(Side note: most difficult paragraph I have written in a long time)
I am at a loss for words beyond what has been stated. I cannot write an introduction to this, forgive me.
Final bullet holes of the season:
- Tony Wroten is an athletic marvel. His combination of length and explosiveness is rarely matched. The development of his game still needs work. The bonehead plays mixed with excellence left many Dawg fans bald. Tonight was no exception. Defensively, reaching across an offensive player's body is a bad idea. When nobody is around to help if you miss the ball, it leaves a lay-up for your man. If someone is around to help, it leaves a lay-up for their man. That is, if you don't foul in the process. You have to know who you are going up against. Are you attempting a low-percentage steal –high-percentage foul– on one of the best free throw shooters in America? Oh and please develop a right hand. I recently got a wrist brace for a painful ganglion cyst, and found out what it is like to only be able to finish with your strong hand. It turns easy lay-ups into awkward-angled finishes. It takes away so much from your game. In your case Mr. Wroten, it would add so much. Tonight you found yourself attempting to finish bodied up on the left side. You found yourself being bodied into difficult finishes because you were forced nearly beside the backboard with your left shoulder facing the baseline. How you even got the shots up was beyond my comprehension, let alone my ability. A right hand turns that exceedingly difficult shot into a simple (in comparison) finish. The NBA will see this. Developing a jump shot and a right hand will open up more game than you could imagine. Look at the development of Gant's jumper, the development of Ross's polished offensive arsenal. You can improve yourself so much by staying at least another year. Please do.
- Wroten was not the only Husky caught reaching in at inopportune times however. Terrence Ross had a pair of defensive plays where an attempt at the ball allowed his defender to blow by him. I do not consider Ross to be a defensive stalwart, only average defensively, but he needs to learn that NBA players will take advantage. Both Wroten and Ross could stand more college seasoning. As it stands right now however, Ross stands a much better chance of being successful in the NBA if both of the two decided to hang up the Purple and Gold. Ross is more polished, a better defender, and his array of offensive options prevents defenders from cheating and sitting on any single move. Right to left crossover, right to left behind the back, left-handed in-n-out, Euro step to the left. These are the moves that are used by Tony Wroten for 90% of his attempts at the basket. See a pattern? Compare this to Ross: one dribble pull-up going to the right, 12-foot floater, spin lay-in, spin-jumper, catch and shoot three, fadeaway, step-through in the post, right-handed baby hook. I think Ross took all of these (with the exception of the baby hook and fade) in tonight's game.
- N'Diaye was nonexistent tonight. He was 0-3 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Granted, he played only twenty minutes, but more is expected of this young man.The big guy needs to develop a few more post moves. He has the ability to be a dominant player defensively if he learns to understand the offensive side of the ball better. Right now his length and hustle are helping him to be a very stout defender, but not dominant. I feel that if he better understood the offensive side of the ball then he could put himself in better position to stop offensive players while playing defense.
- Did it seem like there were times when both Ross and Wilcox were forcing jumpers? They shot a combined 12-31 (38%) Ross had been hot all tournament, and he took less shots in the second half when he realized he was cooling down. That was smart on his part to not clog up the offense with isolations when his shot wasn't falling. Wilcox seemed to be forcing outside shots. He is super smooth with his shot so consequently it almost always seems like he is in rhythm, but he forced up shots that typical Wilcox would pass up. Maybe he felt that he needed to step up and be the guy to get the team back in the game. Regardless, the best way to do that is not to force up contested jumpers all second half long. Especially jumpers where your feet are consistently on the three-point line.I really enjoy watching Wilcox play, he reminds me so much of Ray Allen (my favorite NBA player, which doesn't really matter since I don't watch the NBA) that I cannot help but love his game. His use of the pump fake has deteriorated this year, and tonight it was almost nonexistent. It seemed like a night when a few well-timed fakes could have opened up Wilcox or his teammates for good looks.
- The game seemed to serve as a symbol for the season. The team started slow, picked it up in the end but could not quite capitalize on the opportunity. Us as Husky fans have sat through many, many slow starts this season in addition to letdowns.
- I did not forget Gant graduating, just be patient with that.