Sometimes when we get out of bed in the morning, something happens and you just know that the day isn't going to be one that you would like to go through. Maybe you slept through your alarm and are late for work, maybe you woke up with some aches and pains or it could just be that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and the simple act waking up just ruined everything.
If you were with many Husky fans to start the season waiting for the Pac-12 Network to switch from Oregon State losing to Coppin State you may have missed the moment that defined Washington's season.
Desmond Simmons was already slated to miss the first six weeks of the season, which amounted to all but three games of non-conference play. It put a dent in a Husky frontcourt that had been poised to have a strong season. All-West Coast Conference honorable mention Perris Blackwell was eligible to play after transferring from San Francisco, Shawn Kemp Jr. was ready to build on a strong finish to his 2012-13 campaign that saw him average over nine points per game over the final four games of the season and 8.7 over the last 15.
The biggest potential of anyone on that Husky frontline was Jernard Jarreau. Lorenzo Romar had talked him up, saying that Jarreau was the most improved of any Husky since the end of the previous campaign. The 6'10 forward plays with the skills of a guard with the length of a center. NBA scouts have looked at him and see his physical potential. Granted, it was against Central Washington, but in the exhibition game Jarreau scored 19 points on seven-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
Two minutes into the first game of the regular season, all of that tantalizing potential was ripped away for the year when Jarreau went down with a torn ACL. That moment is what got us where we are today with the Husky basketball team. That moment is why the Huskies are sitting at home and not at the NIT. Jarreau probably wasn't going to make enough of a difference to put the Huskies in the NCAA Tournament
The Huskies and their fans were all given a peek into what could have been for Washington this season, only to see that potential be taken away in an instant. Even the way that Jarreau's injury occured oozed potential. It isn't very often that a player as tall as Jarreau is able to poke the ball loose from Isiah Umipig, an exceptionally quick 6'0 point guard. Jarreau was then ready to finish at the rim after he was able to corral the ball.
He received a slight bump from Umipig, landed ready to lay the ball in, and was unable to get the shot off as he tumbled to the floor.
All of that promise, all of that potential, it just disappeared in a split-second.
It reminds me of the beginning of conference play. The best game Washington had played all season was its first game in the Pac-12, against Arizona State -- on the road, no less. It was followed up with a strong game against NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed Arizona and wins against Utah and Colorado. Then everything came crashing down against Cal, and the potentially awesome storyline was crushed in a single game.
The high post offense works best if you have somebody who can, well, run the high post. Jarreau is the one who was counted on to play that role this season more than anyone else. Tristian Etienne is a player who looks the part for coming seasons, but Jarreau was supposed to be the guy this year. With him gone, the offense took all of non-conference play just to get back to average.
Defensively, his length and athleticism were sorely missed as well, though the return of Simmons from his own knee surgery lessened the impact lengthy slashing forwards such as Jordan Loveridge could have on the Dawgs.
The loss of Jarreau hurt Washington monumentally. He was another option offensively to supplement C.J. Wilcox and Nigel Williams-Goss. He was direly needed length in the frontcourt. He was the exact player the Huskies needed.
Do you guys have any other moments, games, stretches of games or anything else that show how the Huskies got to where they are today?