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Woof: Washington Adds Nebraska Big Man Transfer

The Huskies have a commitment from Wilhelm Breidenbach and his goggles

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Washington filled one of the last major holes on their roster today when Nebraska transfer F Wilhelm Breidenbach committed to the Huskies per his Instagram page. The 6’10 big man out of California averaged 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season as a reserve for the Cornhuskers. He was the #105 player in the class of 2021 per the 247 Sports Composite and considered a 4-star recruit.

The Huskies had a hole on their roster at the power forward spot after both Jackson Grant and Langston Wilson opted to transfer earlier in the offseason. Keion Brooks Jr. played some center in emergency moments but it seemed clear Washington needed another potential option behind Braxton Meah and Franck Kepnang. Especially since Kepnang is coming off an ACL injury sustained last December and how effective he’ll be come game one is still unclear.

Enter Breidenbach (a fellow graduate of Mike Hopkins’ Mater Dei HS alma mater) who definitely should be comfortable coming off the bench. He appeared in 10 games as a freshman in reserve duty before suffering a season-ending leg injury. During that time he struggled with his outside shot hitting just 3 of 20 3-pointers and 6 of 12 at the free throw line. He converted a little better in the paint making 58% of his 2’s.

This past season the 3-point and free throw shooting improved marginally (23% and 61% respectively) but his 2-point percentage got worse. That was because Breidenbach shot 68% at the rim and below 20% on midrange/long 2’s. Given that Breidenbach is now shooting below 25% for his career on any shot not in the paint and making better than 60% in the paint, it seems reasonable that he maybe shouldn’t really be considered a stretch 4. Still, he played in every game while starting 2 and had his best game against eventual Elite 8 team Kansas State when he scored 13 points with 5 rebounds.

On the defensive end it isn’t clear that Breidenbach can be an impact player. He played almost exclusively power forward for Nebraska so he wasn’t the primary rim protector. Still, his block rate and rebounding rates were pretty close to those of Keion Brooks last season who also played the 4 for Washington. But Breidenbach is 3 inches taller. It’s also a problem that Breidenbach is extremely foul prone but that’s less of an issue for non-starters. If Kepnang isn’t ready to go by the start of the year then Breidenbach will probably see minutes as the backup center and it’s unclear if he can fill that role on the defensive end.

With Breidenbach in the fold it means 11 of the 13 available scholarships are now claimed. He appeared in games each of his first 2 seasons but may have 3 years of eligibility remaining given he had his freshman year cut short by season-ending injury in non-conference play.

If there’s one thing clear it’s that Breidenbach with a fan favorite with the distinctive look that is his goggles. Welcome to Seattle, Wilhelm!