Washington completed the transformation of their center position over the past week today after earning a commitment from rising junior Fresno State transfer Braxton Meah. He will have 4 years to play 3 for the Dawgs with the COVID-19 extra year of eligibility.
Go Dawgs! Can't wait for next season!#committed @UW_MBB pic.twitter.com/4AX5s6aE4i— Braxton (@Braxton_Meah) May 2, 2022
The 7’1, 250 pound big man from Fresno averaged 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over the past 2 seasons backing up all-MWC 1st team center Orlando Robinson. Unsurprisingly with such a talented player in front of him, Meah only played 8-9 minutes per game in reserve duty. Meah was the 343rd ranked transfer in the portal and a 3-star addition per Evan Miya’s system. Coming out of high school Meah was the 224th ranked national recruit per the 247 sports composite. It is likely that Quincy Pondexter helped facilitate this commitment as a fellow Fresno native and San Joaquin Memorial alumni. In the CBI this year Meah had a career best 14 points on 6/6 shooting versus Youngstown State.
There’s no question that with his size Meah has the potential to be a standout protecting the rim in the Mike Hopkins system. His block rates in limited minutes the last 2 seasons weren’t exceptional at 4.4% and 6.7% but both were better than the departing Nate Roberts. His defensive rebounding rates were 14.5% and 25.0% which shows some wide variation given the small sample size. Roberts was at 22.0% last year so if Meah can simply be in the middle of those 2 numbers he will still be a quality rebounder.
On the offensive end it’s clear that Meah is still very much a work in progress. 23 of his 29 made field goals this year were dunks and he is just a 47% free throw shooter for his career so far. It is reasonable to think of a shorter but more well-built Riley Sorn on the offensive end given that almost all of his baskets have come cutting/rolling to the rim or on put back attempts. Meah averaged just 0.727 points per possession on post-up attempts last year turning it over on almost 1/3rd of those tries. He can serve as a lob threat but there’s no question that Meah is not someone you can dump the ball to down low and expect him to create his own shot.
After adding Franck Kepnang from Oregon last week there was still the need for additional reinforcements at the center position. Starting center Nate Roberts decided to pursue a professional center and former walk-on Riley Sorn is not expected to return despite having eligibility remaining although he has not made any public decision. The other bigs on the roster (Langston Wilson and Jackson Grant) both have the potential to play the 4 in the Mike Hopkins zone if necessary. Washington heavily pursued Utah Valley center Fardaws Aimaq but he announced last week that he would play for Texas Tech if he decides to withdraw from the draft.
Following Emmitt Matthews Jr.’s surprising decision to transfer last week it leaves the Huskies with a depth chart that looks like the following:
PG- Noah Williams, Koren Johnson
SG- PJ Fuller, Keyon Menifield
SF- Jamal Bey, Cole Bajema, Samuel Ariyibi
PF- Langston Wilson, Jackson Grant, Linhardt
C- Franck Kepnang, Braxton Meah
There’s some positional flexibility within that group outside of the centers as Kepnang and Meah will almost certainly never share the court due to their lack of shooting. I would expect only one of the true freshmen Johnson/Menifield to crack the rotation as the backup combo guard while Ariyibi and Linhardt are the most likely to also fall short of earning regular minutes.
Washington still has one more scholarship potentially available and we’ll see what direction they go in to try to fill it as there is certainly still talent left in the portal.
May 2, 2022