The Huskies miss Pondexter
If you subtract a four-year starter from any college team, you have a void to fill.
If you lose your top scorer and top rebounder, you need to replace those points and boards somewhere.
If an all-conference performer goes away, it's gonna hurt.
Lorenzo Romar and his Washington Huskies are missing Quincy Pondexter this season.
His departure to the NBA has left a hole in the Huskies line-up.
Washington's record (17-7, 9-4 in the Pac-10) has not been devastated, but the Fresno native's departure has changed what the Huskies do and can do.
The following are 10 reasons why the 2010-11 Huskies aren't the same without Quincy Pondexter
Pondexter finished his career with a UW all-time best 136 games played.
His senior year, he led the team in minutes (32.3 mpg).
Pondexter only fouled out of one game in his junior and senior years combined
While these aren't the most sexy statistics out there, a star player who is rarely on the bench because of foul trouble and never misses games because of injury or disciplinary action is a huge asset.
Because of Pondexter's length and athleticism, he had the ability to defend a number of positions, anything from shooting guards to power forwards.
Using his 7'0" wingspan, Pondexter was second on the team in steals last year (1.3 spg) to Venoy Overton.
Quincy Pondexter was the Huskies leading rebounder last year, grabbing 7.4 per game.
This put him No. 3 in the Pac-10.
His 757 career rebounds may not put him in the Steve Hawes or Jon Brockman category, but that's a lot of boards to go away.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning is a good rebounder, and Aziz N'Diaye pulls down a nice number of boards per minute, but it was nice having Pondexter's rebounding ability from a non-post player.
Pondexter was not only the best overall rebounder last year, he was the team leader in offensive rebounding with 107 offensive rebounds.
Pondexter developed a killer instinct of going to the offensive glass that was contagious. When he was aggressive on the offensive boards, others followed.
Lorenzo Romar could always count on Pondexter's scoring ability.
In his senior season, Pondexter put up twenty points or more in seventeen games. That's just short of half of the Huskies games last year. Seventeen 20+ point games in a season was good for No. 4 in Huskies history.
This year, Wasington's three leading scorers have that many 20+ point games combined: Thomas (7), Bryan-Amaning (6), and Holiday (4).
To go beyond even last year, Pondexter had 30 games in his Washington career which he scored at least 20, and 75 games in double figures.
This translated into getting fouled a lot. Pondexter led Washington in free throw attempts with 226, one behind Pac-10 leader Derrick Williams.
While Isaiah Thomas is a great penetrator, and gets to the line a fair share himself, it is always great to have one of your front-court players who can take the ball strong in traffic, and draw the foul.
Not only did Pondexter get to the line, he made the Huskies' opponents pay for putting him there.
Pondexter put added pressure on the other team by knocking down his free throws.
To combine getting fouled a lot with being able to hit your free throws consistently is a killer combination.
Pondexter led the team by shooting 82.7 percent from the line.
Before getting hurt, Abdul Gaddy was the only Washington player who was shooting above 80 percent from the line this year.
A majority of Pondexter's offensive game was inside the arc.
A team is shorthanded when it lacks a dependable mid-range game.
During his senior season, Pondexter made nearly 60 percent of his shots from two-point range.
Pondexter did an excellent job going to turnaround jumpers out of his pinch post (mid-post) plays, allowing him to get off high percentage shots.
Even though Pondexter will never be mentioned in the same breath as Ryan Appleby or Tre Simmons in terms of three-point shooting, he was the team leader last year among the starters in shooting percentage beyond the arc (35.3 percent).
This was actually an area of great improvement for Pondexter from his junior to senior years. As a junior, he only shot 21.4 percent from the three-point range.
A less common but important statistic is points per shot.
Calculating how many points a player scores compared with the number of shots they take is a good way to figure out how efficiently a specific player performs offensively.
Lots of players take lots of shots to get their points. Not Pondexter.
Pondexter scored 1.5 points per shot.
A good comparison from this year's college basketball is Kyle Singler from Duke. A good scorer but his points per shot is 1.23.
There are no players on this year's team that are matching Pondexter's offensive efficiency.
Last year at this time, the Huskies went on a later-season run.
After a February 11th loss at Cal, the Huskies won five of their last six regular season games.
They followed that up with winning the Pac-10 tournament (three more games).
And then made it to the Sweet 16 before losing to West Virginia.
After Jon Brockman departed for the Milwaukee Bucks two years ago, someone had to step in to his scoring and rebounding role. Enter Quincy Pondexter.
This week's sweep of the NorCal teams has hopefully helped the Huskies get back on track.
Isaiah Thomas' last two games have calmed the nerves of some of uneasy U-Dub followers.
The Washington point guard broke out of a mini-midseason funk and played less erratically against both the Bears and Cardinals.
This week, Washington has an important 2-game trip to Arizona.
After that, the Huskies return to play cross-town challenger, Seattle.
And then finish off the season with Washington State, UCLA and USC at home.
The question still remains: Can Washington again pull off some more February and March magic?
We'll soon find out!