Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies breathed a sigh of relief when C.J. Wilcox announced he would return for his senior season rather than enter the NBA Draft. Still, UW loses three starters and will struggle to finish in the upper half of the improved Pac-12 Conference.
Last Season: T-6th, 9-9 in Pac-12, 18-16 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Shawn Kemp Jr. (Jr)/Perris Blackwell (Sr)/Gilles Dierickx (So)
PF: Desmond Simmons (Jr)/Jernard Jarraeu (So)
G/F: C.J. Wilcox (Sr)/Mike Anderson (Jr)
G: Andrew Andrews (So)/Hikeem Stewart (Jr)/Darin Johnson (Fr)
PG: Nigel Williams-Goss (Fr)/Jahmel Taylor (Fr)
Gone: PG-Abdul Gaddy, G/F-Scott Suggs, C-Aziz N’Diaye, PF-Martin Breunig (transfer-Montana)
Wilcox is one of the best scorers on the West Coast, known for his smooth outside shot and ability to stroke it from deep. With backcourt mates Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy graduating, last year’s sixth man Andrew Andrews and McDonald’s All-American point guard Nigel Williams-Goss will step into the starting line-up. Andrews is a combo guard looking to build off a solid freshman campaign while NW-G brings great size and playmaking ability to the point guard position.
There is quite a bit of inexperience with the reserve guards but JUCO transfer Mike Anderson should be an important contributor right away. At 6-5, 200 pounds, he can be a tough match-up due to his strength and three-point shooting accuracy. Hikeem Stewart hasn’t gotten much run in his first two years at UW and with freshmen Darin Johnson and Jahmel Taylor entering the fold; all three guys will compete for minutes off the bench.
Up-front, juniors Shawn Kemp Jr. and Desmond Simmons were solid role players a year ago but should see increased playing time this season due to the graduation of Aziz N’Diaye. Kemp is more of a physical presence down low while Simmons has a decent face-up game and is a factor on the boards. Jernard Jarreau will once again see minutes off the bench along with San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell who is a wide body down low at 6-9, 280 pounds. Florida International transfer Gilles Dierickx adds even more size for Washington.
Romar also picked up another big man transfer this off-season in Fresno State’s Robert Upshaw. The seven-footer was a top 100 recruit in the 2012 and gets a year to develop his still raw offensive game. He should provide a N’Diaye-like impact down low once he becomes eligible in the 2014-15 season.
Player to Watch: C.J. Wilcox
Everybody knows he can stroke it from deep but Wilcox is also a good athlete who can finish at the rim. If Wilcox can improve his dribble-drive game it will make him an even more dangerous offensive weapon and could inch him closer towards the 20 points per game plateau.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Indiana (2K Sports Classic)
11/22 vs. UConn/Boston College (2K Sports Classic)
11/30 vs. Long Beach State
12/8 at San Diego State
12/17 at Tulane
12/22 vs. UConn
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#56 Saint Mary’s
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#64 Florida State
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks