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MBB Player Previews: Newcomers/Bench

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All of the players on the roster you might not recognize

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no Husky football game this weekend so we’re going to give you an extra helping of men’s basketball content. We’re halfway through our in-depth player studies of the 6 key returners from last season so now we’re going to take a quick look at everyone else. Here are the links to the profiles on David Crisp, Noah Dickerson, and Matisse Thybulle. These write-ups are going to be much more shallow profiles since the players either haven’t played a minute in college yet or they haven’t played enough for us to get a true appraisal of their skill sets.

Returning Bench Players

Dan Kingma Sr., PG, 5-10, 160

Former Walk On

Right off the bat I lied because neither of the above qualifiers about who appears in this article are true for Dan Kingma. Instead, we know exactly what Kingma is. He came to the UW as a walk-on but has earned a scholarship over time. That’s extremely commendable and I’m happy for him that his efforts have paid off and that he’s been able to show the younger players on the team the value of hard work and perseverance.

But at some point we have to analyze him with regards to his ability to make an impact on the court and he doesn’t have the skills to do so against Pac-12 competition. With the injury late in the year to Markelle Fultz and the leap to the pros by Dejounte Murray, Kingma got a lot more playing time than anyone expected last season. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much with it. He shot a combined 7-24 across all free throw and field goal attempts while having a turnover percentage 3x as high as his assist percentage. This team is in desperate need of a backup point guard but if Kingma’s the guy then that’s a big problem.

2017/18 Predictions:

Not part of the regular rotation.

Bitumba Baruti So., SG/SF, 6-6, 210

247sports- 3 star, #191 overall; ESPN- NR; Rivals- 3 star; Scout- NR

Baruti joined the 2016 recruiting class after Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray bolted for the NBA following their freshman season. He’s originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and only played organized basketball in the United States for 2 years prior to signing with the Dawgs. He originally committed to Utah before backing off and ending up in Seattle.

Baruti has tremendous athleticism but his newness to the sport showed when he was on the court last year. It was an incredibly small sample size but he finished the year in the 5th percentile nationally in offensive points per possession and the 1st percentile nationally in defensive points per possession. Yikes. Still, there were only 2 games in which he played more than 7 minutes so it’s entirely possible he’s able to figure it out in time. But with how loaded the Huskies are at the wing and the fact that multiple transfers will be required to make room for the 2018 class, there’s a real possibility he doesn’t finish his career in Seattle.

2017/18 Predictions:

Not part of the regular rotation.

Devenir Duruisseau Jr., PF, 6-8, 245

247sports- 3 star, #272 overall; ESPN- 3 star; Rivals- 3 star; Scout- Not Rated

The Power Forward from Palmdale, California was the forgotten man from the 2015 recruiting class which attempted to reboot the Lorenzo Romar tenure. He picked the Huskies over an offer from San Jose State. In Duruisseau’s first career game he put up 7 points and 7 rebounds in an upset win against Texas in Shanghai and I thought he might be a very pleasant surprise. However, 2 years later his career high in points is still 7.

I mentioned Baruti’s extremely poor efficiency stats above but Duruisseau’s are only slightly better at 12th percentile on offense and 7th percentile on defense. The same sample size caveats apply though and Devenir’s stats were much better his freshman year with a similar sample size. If Devenir can become a legitimate Pac-12 backup big man this year it would be huge for this team. He’s one of only 4 players at 6’8 or taller on the roster and he needs to be able to contribute to the depth or UW will have major problems when any of their big men get in foul trouble.

2017/18 Predictions:

8 minutes per game, 1.1 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game, 42%/55% FG%/FT%

Incoming Freshmen

Jaylen Nowell Fr., SG, 6’4, 200

247sports- 4 star, #75 overall; ESPN- 4 star, #59 overall; Rivals- 4 star, #75 overall; Scout- 4 star, #88 overall

The 2017 Garfield duo of Daejon Davis and Jaylen Nowell were supposed to keep up the tradition of elite 206 guards staying home. The Romar dismissal led to Daejon Davis heading to Stanford (he says it would’ve happened even if Romar stayed) but Jaylen Nowell stayed true to the University of Washington. His decision salvaged what could have been an absolute disaster for the 2017 recruiting class.

Nowell is an elite athlete with a complete offensive game that should allow him to step in and be a starter from day one. Scout touted him as the #5 impact freshman in the conference this season. Jaylen is a true shooting guard but I wouldn’t be shocked if he occasionally saw minutes as a primary ball handler when Crisp is on the bench given UW’s dearth of options there. Across the entirety of his high school career with Garfield he averaged 15.7 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 38% from 3-point range. If he starts alongside David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle it should give the Huskies three dangerous shooters and allow Noah Dickerson more room to operate inside.

2017/18 Predictions:

21 minutes per game, 7.7 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game, 43%/33.6%/68.5% FG%/3pt%/FT%

Hameir Wright Fr., SF/PF, 6’9, 215

247sports- 4 star, #80 overall; ESPN- 4 star; Rivals- 3 star; Scout- 4 star, #89 overall

The combo forward out of Albany committed to the Huskies in June after deciding to reclassify into the class of 2017. He was generally viewed as a top-100 prospect in the 2018 class but not every recruiting site updated their 2017 rankings after he switched. He was the New York Gatorade state player of the year last season while averaging 16.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game.

Wright likely won’t be a starter but he will play a major role on this roster. The Huskies are critically thin down low and Wright will likely be the first sub off the bench to replace either Dickerson or Timmins. He’s incredibly thin and will need to pack on muscle but he’s a perfect fit for the zone given his 7’1 wingspan and above average agility for someone his size. Expect to see lineups with Wright guarding the basket in a zone while stretching the floor on offense and opening up the paint for Dickerson or Timmins.

2017/18 Predictions:

15 minutes per game, 4.1 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 42.5%/27.6%/66.6% FG%/3pt%/FT%

Nahziah Carter Fr., SF, 6’6, 205

247sports- 3 star, #253 overall; ESPN- 3 star; Rivals- 3 star; Scout- Not Rated

Let’s get this out of the way. Carter is the nephew of Jay-Z. No, don’t expect Beyonce to start singing the anthem at home games. You will hear about this during every broadcast this year. It is our collective burden. But Nahz is not riding his uncle’s coattails. Carter is an explosive athlete out of New York who also made the decision to reclassify into the 2017 class. He was originally committed to Dayton but re-opened his recruitment after Archie Miller took the job at Indiana and considered a year in prep school to get more major program offers. Carter gained notice after viciously dunking on Marvin Bagley who at the time was the top ranked player in the 2018 class (and who also reclassified into the 2017 class and is now at Duke). He also pulled this off recently.

The question for Nahziah is whether he can harness his raw athleticism and become a more well-rounded basketball player. He struggled mightily to shoot the ball from distance in his high school career and that will need to change for him to get consistent playing time. This team is loaded at the wing so he will have to really turn some heads to end up as more than bench depth this season.

2017/18 Predictions:

Not a regular part of the rotation.

Michael Carter III, Fr., PG, 6’4, 190

247sports- Not Rated; ESPN- Not Rated; Rivals- Not Rated; Scout- Not Rated

Carter III will be one of the most intriguing players on the roster this season. He was originally committed to the University of San Francisco before becoming the first player to sign a LOI under Coach Hopkins. The O’Dea graduate was completely off the recruiting radar and a major let down for fans who saw a plethora of 4 and 5-star guys coming in under Coach Romar. He grew 5 inches though during his junior and senior years of high school and now has good size for a Pac-12 level guard.

Most people viewed Carter III as a shooting guard but he has been described as a point guard in every interview Coach Hop has conducted this summer. Whether that would still be the case if Nate Pryor had remained eligible is yet to be seen. Despite having the lowest pedigree of any of the 2017 class, there is a gaping hole at point guard which all but guarantees that Carter III will see decent chunks of playing time. The alternative is Kingma leading the bench unit. We’ll find out soon whether Carter III was a major steal or a reach by a coach who wasn’t yet sure what caliber of recruit he would be able to secure.

2017/18 Predictions:

7 minutes per game, 1.2 points per game, 1.2 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game 39%/29.6%/65% FG%/3pt%/FT%

Nate Pryor (not coming to UW)

Finally, I’m going to address the Nate Pryor situation one last time for those that consistently ask about it. Here are the facts as we know them. Pryor signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Seattle University. Coach Cameron Dollar was fired there. Dollar joined the staff at Washington. Nate Pryor was given his release from Seattle University. Pryor signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the UW. Then, Hopkins never brought up Pryor again when speaking about the 2017 recruiting class in subsequent media appearances and Pryor did not appear on the UW roster. Within the last several weeks, Pryor changed his description on twitter from University of Washington commit to Elite Prep Basketball Academy.

All signs point towards this being a case of Pryor not becoming academically eligible to meet UW entry guidelines. Once Pryor stopped being an official commit, Hopkins would once again be required to not talk about him publicly as is the case for all unsigned recruits. It’s legitimate to ask why Hopkins (with inside information from Dollar) didn’t know about the grades problem when he accepted a letter of intent. It’s likely that by the time it fell through that Pryor thought it would be better for his future to get his grades up and work on his game for a year at a prep school rather than a JUCO. Roberto Gittens didn’t qualify at Wazzu (which...I mean...yikes) and so is going to JUCO for a year but still is planning on heading to Pullman. Given the verbal commitment of PG Elijah Hardy in the 2018 class I can’t imagine that being the case with Pryor. I wish him the best of luck but don’t see a scenario where he ends up wearing a UW jersey on the court.

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