Washington Huskies Basketball: Perimeter Play Needs Improvement

Kevin CacabelosSenior Analyst IDecember 13, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 12:   Isaiah Thomas #2 of the Washington Huskies drives around Austin Freeman #15 of the Georgetown Hoyas in the John Wooden Classic on December 12, 2009 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/ Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Though the Georgetown loss was disappointing, it was a great measuring stick to see exactly how good this Husky team really is. The biggest weakness of this team is its performance down low, both on offense and defense.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, and Tyreese Breshers looked pitiful against the talented and versatile combo of Julian Vaughn and Greg Monroe. Bryan-Amaning/Gant/Breshers combined for nine points and seven rebounds, while Vaughn and Monroe combined for 33 points and 14 rebounds.

How can the Huskies combat this?

Their perimeter players need to come out and enforce their style of quick, fast, and aggressive basketball. The 2004-05 team was able to have success without a dominant Brockmanesque post presence. That team filled the void by relentlessly pushing the ball. This team has as much if not more offensive potential than that team

In a slow game, the Huskies are going to have a hard time taking control. However, the one thing that separates the Huskies from other teams is its perimeter players; Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton, and Abdul Gaddy make up one of the most talented back courts in the country. So far this season, they have not played up to their potential.

There have been glimpses of solid guard play, but within a half-court game, these guards have played below-average.

Behind Pondexter, Thomas is the Huskies' second option. Thomas is going to have a lot of trouble when he faces an interior defense like that of Georgetown. He was able to penetrate, but because of the size of the Georgetown defenders, he was not able to convert as he usually has been able to. Thomas needs to realize he can not always finish at the rim against taller defenders. Instead, he should be looking to find his teammates on the perimeter.

There are some players on this Husky team that can shoot the three well, most notably Elston Turner. However, most of Turner's threes have not been created out of penetration. Turner will see more open looks if Thomas is willing to pass out of the double and triple teams he faces when he is close to the basket.

It is also important to look at the performance of Venoy Overton. Though his defense has been superb so far this season, his offensive capabilities have been limited. Besides his occasional fast-break points, he has seemed out of place in the half-court offense.

In a game against a team with a suffocating defense, Overton was pretty much useless—he finished with with points. I do not believe he should be the starting point guard for the Huskies, instead he should be utilized as a "spark-plug" off of the bench.

Much of the hype surrounding the Dawgs this season was predicated on the fact that incoming freshman Abdul Gaddy would be able to have an immediate significant impact. Though there have been glimpses of his talent, he has yet to assert himself at the offensive end. From observing him in his high school days, I know Gaddy can do so much more offensively. The ball needs to be in his hands more.

Abdul Gaddy needs to be the staring point guard.

Thomas and Overton should not be the guys bringing the ball up and controlling the offense. This kid can pass and find holes within the defense. Thomas, Pondexter, and the other Husky guards need to be cutting to the basket more often.

Currently, much of the offense has been created through one and one moves. Gaddy needs to be utilized as a facilitator for this Husky offense to be able to find a rhythm against stronger and taller teams.

The season is still in December, however the Huskies have experienced their weakness; playing against teams with strong post players. The Huskies will most likely not get a chance to play another good team like Georgetown until March.

For now, the Dawgs can not be satisfied with 20 point wins against mediocre opponents. Rebounding and defense remain suspect, but above all, the Huskies need to take care of the basketball and share it more on the offensive end.