After an 11-0 start that featured impressive wins against teams such as San Diego State, Oklahoma, and to lesser extents Tulane and Eastern Washington, the Huskies shot up to number 13 in the national standings and seemed to be riding quite a bit of momentum going into 2015. However, they were unable to finish out the 2014 calendar year unbeaten, as Stony Brook came into Hec Ed and won 62-57, rallying from a 14 point deficit in the second half.
2015 has not been overly kind the Dawgs so far, as they have dropped three of four to start the new year. A big reason for their struggles is the fact that this team does not shoot the ball, particularly the three, very well. They have only shot 30.7% from three this season, and during their last five games, four of which have been losses, their percentage has dipped even lower, falling to 26.5%
The Huskies' lackluster shooting, particularly from behind the arc, has been the most glaring problem so far this season.Nearly every non forward on this team is struggling with their stroke from the three point line, so we have a lot to break down here. Let's start with the bench.
Sophomore guard Darin Johnson, and Junior guard Queyvn Winters have in all likelihood been the two most disappointing players for the Huskies this season. A big reason for that is because of their struggles from the three point line.
Johnson had a tough time shooting the ball from the three point line last season, shooting only 24.1%, so it's not as if he was excepted to shoot the ball all that great from the three point line to begin with this seasoin. However, it is unsettling to see that Johnson has regressed so far this season, shooting just 21.7%. Unfortunately for Johnson and the Huskies, Johnson is also shooting just 24.7% from the floor, and seems to have lost quite a bit of confidence.
Winters has struggled nearly as much as Johnson has from deep, only shooting 25% from the three point line. However, Winters' struggles may even be more dispaointing than Johnson's, because unlike Johnson, Winters was signed by the Huskies with the expectation to immediately contribute scoring the ball, mainly by knocking down triples. In his freshman year at Dusquene, Winters averaged 9.6 points per game, and shot 37.5% from deep on 145 attempts. He also scored 11.9 points per game at Indian Hills CC last season, and seems to have shot the ball well at every college he has played at, except for, well, Washington. Some may say that he simply cannot shoot at the Pac-12 level. That may well be true after all he has only shot 22% from deep against Pac-12 opponents so far this season (2-9). Regardless, and possibly against my better judgement, I am simply not ready to give up on him just yet.
The starting backcourt for the Huskies, Nigel Williams Goss, and Andrew Andrews, have not been much better from three. Goss' three point percentage currently sits at a dismal 20.9%, the lowest of any back court member who plays significant minutes. First of all, it is important to understand that Goss is the engine of this Husky team, it is hard to imagine that they would be much of anywhere without him. He does virtually everything, from scoring and getting his teammates open looks, to dictating the tempo and playing solid permiter defense. However, though it seems that his pull up mid range jump shot has improved, his three point percentage is down nearly 15 points from where it was last season. For as much as Goss does offensively for the Huskies, teams have started to key in on the fact that he is struggling to knock down the deep ball, and are sagging off of him as a result. He has been unable to make the defense pay for this, as evidenced by Thursday's game against Oregon State. The Beavers sat in a match up zone for most of the game against the Huskies, and Goss failed to stretch the defense, missing on both of his three point attempts. Despite his struggles, I except Goss to come out of his three point shooting slump, he showed last year, and at times this year that he is a capable three point shooter.
Andrew Andrews hasn't shot the ball terribly from the three point line this season, as he currently sits at 33.3%. He has struggled from deep as of late, as he is just 5-21 in the last five games. It's hard to know what Husky fans should expect going forward from Andrews. He has struggled from the three point line during his time as Husky, shooting just 27.65% from three during his first two years, so it is hard to know whether Andrews three point shooting has improved, or of his early season success was a blip on the map, and his current shooting slump is more indicitive of who he is as a shooter. At this point, Husky fans should be hopeful that his 33% from three holds for the season.
There have been two bright spots from deep this season for the Huskies: Donaven Dorsey and Mike Anderson.
Dorsey, the freshman forward, surprised both the fan base and the coaching staff when he came out and set the world on fire to start the season, shooting 57% from three in the first six games. However, since then Dorsey has cooled of considerably, his minutes have dwindled, he has and looked more like the freshman everyone expected. The fact of the matter about Dorsey is, the expectations weren't too high for the freshman this season, and his production at the start of the season was a pleasant surprise, but it is frankly unfair to expect Dorsey to carry the load from thtee for the Huskies this season.
Mike Anderson has been the most pleasant suprise from three this season, he has shot 40.9% from behind the arc this season, up 12 percent from last season. Another good sign, Anderson has already made and taken more threes than he did last season. The coaching staff has been pushing Anderson to be more agressive, particularly from the three point line, and with injuries to Jernard Jarreau and Darin Johnson, Anderson seemed to assert himself, going 3-6 from deep and taking a season high nine shots.
At this point in the season, it would likely be unreasonable and unfair to expect this Huskies team to drastically improve its three point shooting as a whole.
The Huskies started the process of salvaging the season when they defeated Oregon State thursday, and if they are going to see that process through and return to the NCAA tournament, they are going to need one or two players outside of Anderson and Dorsey to step and knock down more outside shots.