Lucas Shannon: As we all know, the Huskies will be kicking off their season on Friday in China. So, first things first, let's all give ourselves a pat on the back for making it through the off-season. I don't know about you guys, but this is the most excited I have been for Husky Basketball in a long time.
Ben Knibbe: Just in time for you to take over editorship - congratulations, it's a fun gig.
Kirk DeGrasse: (pats back - strains a muscle)
Jason Cruz: Should be interesting
Lucas: Haha, thanks Ben, it is indeed. So, before we kick this off, I have to address this. When is the last time a Pac-12 team has hosted an exhibition game and there has been no way to watch or listen to the game whatsoever? That was bizarre, and incredibly frustrating.
Jesse Kennemer: Wasn't that the case last year?
Lucas: No, it was on the Pac-12 network. I know because we played my school, Saint Martin's.
I would've played in that game if I hadn't retired due to concussions a month before. L
Ben: Yes Lucas, we get it, you're super tall and can play basketball, ho hum (;
Jesse: Maybe the year before that, against Central. And I don't think the Western exhibition was televised either.
Ben: The Western one wasn't, I know that one.
Lucas: No radio coverage of it at all either?
Ben: No idea on radio coverage.
Lucas: Hmm, just seems like we'd be able to get some type of coverage of it in some way. Ah well. Moving on.So the Huskies take on Texas in China on Friday, who like the Huskies, are also going through a bit of transition in their program, as they fired long time head coach Rick Barnes, and hired one Shaka Smart, one of the most sought after coaches in college basketball. So, what are your guy's expectations for this game?
Kirk: I don't have high hopes we'll win. That's a fairly talented team with much less turnover than us, and while I'm a Romar fan, you can't ignore how good Smart has been for VCU.
Jason: It will be interesting to see how the young guys respond to the attention.
Ben: I am with Kirk. The transition that Texas is going through is much different than Washington's. They are going to the most sought after head coach in a long, long time. We are bringing a whole bunch of freshmen, none of which project as one-and-done type guys.
Kirk: It will be a really interesting test of our ball-handlers. Can Baby Boy and Crisp handle the pressure from the Longhorns?
Jason: It will be up to Andrew Andrews to be the steadying force for the team.
Lucas: I think this may be one of the most hectic college basketball games of the entire season. The combination of a young and athletic Husky team that will likely be over-hyped going into the game and will be looking to implement their own full court press, going up against Shaka Smart's incredibly hectic system. I wouldn't be surprised if these two teams combined for 50 turnovers
Jesse: Especially when you consider the neutral court in a foreign country. I also don't have high expectations that we will win either.
Kirk: That's also a tall team. Four guys 6'10" or taller. I expect mistakes. What I want to see are glimpses of this team's potential.
Ben: It's a scary thought to think that Andrews might have to steady the team.
Lucas: I would be surprised if their potential didn't flash quite a bit Friday. *Whispers* I thought that Andrews showed potential as a point guard last season when NWG was injured at the end of the season.
Jesse: That's all i'm looking for. Flashes of all the talent we've heard about. And effort on the defensive end. Andrews makes me nervous but he did play very well late last season. Even his shooting was efficient.
Ben: I think that we will see effort on the defensive end, but it probably won't turn into a strong outing. There is too much youth that needs to come together for it to be a good showing.
Jason: AA said he'd look more to distribute the ball. Let's hope that's the case. Of course, he was the leading scorer in the SPU game.
Lucas: Pivoting here a little bit, what were your guy's thoughts on the starting lineup the Huskies trotted out against SPU?
For those who need a refresher, the starter's for the SPU game were as follows: Andrew Andrews, Dejounte Murray Matisse Thybulle , Noah Dickerson, and Marquese Chriss.
Kirk: Not really surprised.
Lucas: Matisse Thybulle getting into the starting lineup surprised me a bit.
Kirk: He's probably their best defender and most athletic player
Jason: Thybulle was the only real surprise but he's probably there for his d.
Ben: I expected Dime in place of Dickerson or Chriss but other that nothing surprised me. There are so many ways the starting lineup could go because of the variety of players we have, with three guys in the rotation who can run point.
Kirk: It will be interesting to see if Dorsey can challenge him for a starting spot later in the season, or if Crisp plays well enough to bump Murray to the small forward position.
Lucas: Yeah, i'd agree with that. But many around the program thought he was a bit of a project, so it's interesting to see him get into the starting lineup so quickly. But yeah, Matisse is a big time athlete. I'm not a big fan of the idea of Andrews and Crisp playing with each other at the same time, not for extended periods of time, anyway.
Kirk: My surprise from the exhibition was Dorsey not really showing much, I'm hoping that was just an off-night.
Jason: I read somewhere that Dorsey dropped a ton of weight, and should be in better shape this season. He really was disappointing last year.
Ben: I think it can be done easily because Andrews is a combo guard who leans more toward the off-guard than point in everything from skill set to mindset, just lacks the size. As for Dorsey, he didn't show much last year aside from a hot shooting streak to start the season that everyone knew was going to fade.
Kirk: But the silver lining is he really upped his outside shot.
Lucas: Yeah, the fact that Dorsey only played 14 minutes was really surprising to me. I predicted in my preview that he would start. Man was I off with that one. He's close to being on the fringe of the rotation, if we are going to read into the exhibition game (admittedly i'm probably reading too much into that game.)
Ben: With the all of the turnover, being on the fringe of the rotation is disappointing, considering his status as a prospect coming into last year.
Kirk: If Thybulle stays a starter and Green gets more minutes than Dorsey, is he a transfer candidate?
Lucas: Yeah, probably. Which would be disappointing, to say the least. I do enjoy his game, and hope that he can re-discover the athleticism he showed in high-school before he went down with his ankle injury.
Alright, to wrap this up, where do you guy's see the Huskies finishing this season? Do you guy's agree with the media, who pegged them at 11th?
Kirk: Nah. I think that was just lazy analysis. "A huge roster reboot - young players - team hasn't done that well the last couple of years." I just don't see a team with this much athleticism and raw talent finishing that low.
Lucas: Yeah, I agree Kirk.
Jesse: Agreed. I see them more like 7th or 8th with some really high highs and some really low lows.
Kirk: WSU, USC, Stanford (with all the injury issues they've had) - those are all teams we should finish ahead of.
Lucas: I really think this team will finish eighth, ahead of WSU, Stanford, Colorado, and USC. Not necessarily in that order.
Kirk: Possibly Oregon State.
Jason: I agree. They'll be somewhere between 6 and 8th in the P12.
Kirk: And really, why should we think ASU will be better?
Ben: I see us as a middle-of-the-Pac team, with the Huskies doing the Romar-run at the end of the season to work their way up in the standings. Things aren't going to start out pretty, and the 11th-place rating by the media shows the floor for this team - and the floor is pretty low. The ceiling, however, doesn't exist.
Lucas: I truly believe that no one will want to play this team by the time the Pac-12 tournament starts.
Kirk: Yeah, I think by the end of the season the defensive cohesion will be a lot better and they'll have developed into a very dangerous team.