With three prominent Huskies — Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday — gone, UW was hit hard by the toe injury for its top returning shotmaker.
Having lost three major components of its 2010-11 NCAA Tournament entry — Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday to graduation and Isaiah Thomas to the NBA — the University of Washington basketball team can ill afford to lose another. But for the next eight weeks, the Huskies will have to make do without the services of Scott Suggs, one of the team’s leading three-point shooters.
A 6-6, 195-pound senior who had been expected to compete for a starting job, Suggs has undergone surgery to repair a fracture on his right little toe, a procedure that is likely to sideline him until almost the start of Pac-12 Conference games Dec. 29-31 against Oregon State and Oregon. Officially, the Huskies are expecting Suggs to return to action on Dec. 10.
The Huskies are seemingly stocked at the guard position, with 6-6 sophomore Terrence Ross, 6-3 junior Abdul Gaddy (just recently cleared to resume practice after rehabbing a torn ACL), and 6-5 sophomore C.J. Wilcox all returning. In addition, freshman Tony Wroten, from Garfield High School, is expected to have an immediate impact.
But UW coach Lorenzo Romar had counted on both the skill and depth that Suggs would have brought to a relatively young guard cast, as Romar explained to reporters.
“He was playing his best basketball,” Romar said of Suggs. “And he was our leading shooter, shooting 45 percent from the three-point line.” And, as Romar elaborated, Suggs is also one of Washington’s better defensive players.
The loss of Suggs also presents an obstacle in Romar’s attempt to re-create Washington’s identity and personality following the loss of three starters.
Romar said that Suggs had been plagued by discomfort in his foot for several weeks. According to Romar, Suggs considered trying to play through the problem, but finally determined that it would be better to take care of the issue now, rather than risk breaking the toe again.
If Suggs makes it back by Dec. 10, he would theoretically be available when Washington plays national powerhouse Duke at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies have two games scheduled in the New York facility, the first on Dec. 6 against Marquette as part of the Jimmy V Classic.
Suggs averaged 1.3 and 4.7 points in his first two years at Washington, but amped that up to 7.4 last year when he made 10 starts in 31 games. His 45 percent shotmaking from three-point range ranked third in the then-Pac-10. He produced a high game of 18 at Oregon State on Feb. 3, in which he dropped in a career-high five three-pointers.
“I feel badly for him,” Romar said. “I’d feel bad for him if he was a junior or a sophomore, but as a senior that’s when you want everything to go right. You don’t want any setbacks.”
Washington, which officially began practice Friday, will see its first action on Nov. 4 against Seattle Pacific at Alaska Airlines Arena on the UW campus. The Huskies will play only two road games in the season’s first month – Nov. 20 at St. Louis, Suggs’ hometown, and Dec. 2 at Nevada.