With the loss of Terrance Ross and Tony Wroten to the NBA draft, most experts are predicting a severe drop-off for Lorenzo Romar's Washington Huskies basketball team in 2012-13. They are wrong.
While the loss of Terrance Ross is huge and his talent will be hard to replace, he was not a tremendous floor leader. Ross had a propensity to disappear and did not make others accountable for their play.
As for Wroten...Tony Wroten was a distraction. He was a player with loads of talent but no substance. His addition to Huskies roster did nothing to improve them as a team. In fact, team chemistry was absolutely ruined after he came on board. He was a selfish player with a penchant for dramatic overindulgence. Consequently, the 2011-12 Huskies had 121 fewer assists than the 2010-11 Huskies. They finished the season ranked 136th in the nation in that category.
Tony Wroten's jump to the NBA should be met with resounding joy.
The vacancy created by the departure of Wroten will allow Abdul Gaddy to finally realize his potential. Gaddy will be entering his senior year and, for the first time in his UW career, he won't be the understudy. If Gaddy can live up to that potential the Huskies will see a marked increase in assists.
Entering his senior year alongside Gaddy, Aziz N'Diaye should become a more dominant presence in the paint. His steady improvement over the last three years should begin to bear fruit in 2012-13 and the Huskies will harvest that in the form of a greater ability to score on the low block.
This will open up the floor for the rest of the team and create more scoring opportunities for players like C.J. Wilcox.
Wilcox will be the linchpin for this offense. His understanding of his role and his ability to improve will be of paramount importance. The off season will be extremely important for C.J., as it will give him time to improve his health and work on his consistency.
Defensively, the Huskies will be tremendously improved, as both Ross and Wroten were notoriously poor defenders. Look for Andrew Andrews to be a presence on defense. After having to undergo offseason surgery in 2011, Andrew red-shirted last year. Once his rehabilitation was complete he was able to practice with the team, during which time he earned the reputation as a fearless defender.
Add to the mix the rebounding prowess of Desmond Simmons, as well as an older Shawn Kemp Jr. and the Huskies should be able to greatly cut the number of points allowed per game.
Lastly, with the addition of Mark McLaughlin the Huskies have a replacement for the points lost with the defection of Ross. McLaughlin led the nation in scoring at the Junior College level and has the range to score from anywhere on the floor. At 6'6" and only 195 lbs, he needs to add some bulk and develop his strength, but in the meantime his stroke will be a key to the Huskies offense in 2012-13.
While there are other pieces needed to complete this puzzle. The current roster for the Huskies will see a marked improvement in team chemistry, as well as a return to the fundamentals. This will translate into UW returning to the NCAA Tournament and possibly the Sweet 16.