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Breaking down the final play versus UCLA

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This was Gaddy's pass to Gant. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
This was Gaddy's pass to Gant. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

This is the first play I have ever done a full-on breakdown for, so if it seems rough then bear with me. The Dawgs lost this game in case you didn't already know. If you want to read about it my post-game recap is here.

Obviously more plays went into the game than the final play, but it is a play that has received much criticism so I felt the need to delve into the play on a more analytical level. Here goes!

:35.3 game clock :32 shot clock Huskies inbounding

Abdul Gaddy receives the pass and sets up near midcourt. The Huskies lineup is Darnell Gant on the right block, Tony Wroten in the right corner, Terrence Ross on the right wing and C.J Wilcox in the left corner. All these are from the perspective of Gaddy.

Gant starts to move up towards the top of the key with :21 seconds remaining on the game clock, and Gaddy brings the ball closer to the top of the key.

Back pick is set by Gant. Lazeric Jones, defending Abdul Gaddy, is slightly fooled into defending a right-handed drive and jumps to the right (Gaddy's perspective) side of Gant's screen. Gaddy then realizes this and takes the ball with his left. Lazeric Jones recovers, and Travis Wear over-helps, essentially doubling Gaddy on the left wing.

This appeared to be the design of the offensive play, as Gaddy immediately turns and fires a jump-pass to his right toward Gant whom is set up at the top of the key for a pick n' pop. Gant receives the pass, and Tyler Lamb, who previously denied Terrence Ross, takes a step back and towards Gant. Lamb essentially forced Gant to make a decision to either pass or shoot. Lazeric Jones was recovering back to Gant, effectively rushing Gant into a decision.

Darnell Gant then feigns a pass to Terrence Ross and tries to freeze Tyler Lamb, or get Lamb to jump back to Ross. The fake fails, and that is when Gant makes the decision to shoot. He is somewhat open, albeit with two defenders (Jones and Lamb) closing out on him.

The fact that Gant attempted that shot surprised me. All day he had been hesitant to shoot from the outside, and always swung the ball around the perimeter. Lorenzo Romar later stated that the play's design was not for Darnell to shoot, but for the ball to end up in the hands of Terrence Ross. Had Gant made that pass, the play may have turned out much differently. Ross would have had Lamb scrambling to recover, thus giving him an advantage driving or on a catch and shoot. The what ifs are futile and we will never know however.

I feel that Gant shooting the final shot was an attempt on his part to prove his Senior leadership. This is all conjecture, but a leader is supposed to take the final shot, make the final decision. I believe that Gant wanted to prove to his teammates, or maybe to the world, that he is indeed a leader on the team.