Portland players hold the keys to future.
Just an ordinary Friday afternoon turned into something that could be extraordinary for the Washington Huskies basketball program.
The Huskies not only got their man. They may have gotten both of them. Terrence Ross and Terrence Jones, once teammates on North Portland High’s state championship team, both committed to the Huskies today in a news conference.
However, Jones has not signed his letter of intent yet. He says he will but he’s also talking to Kentucky’s John Calipari.
It’s all about potential and projections and hopes right now. There are no guarantees, but with these two coming in along with two other top players 7-footer Aziz N’Diaye and 6-7 F Desmond Simmons, and a returning Huskies team that lost just one player (F Quincy Pondexter), this is a team that can compete.
This team can win the Pac-10 championship. This team can advance further than the Sweet 16, where they were eliminated this year. This team can reach the Final Four.
Can you say that? Can you imagine that? For the first time since 1953, the Huskies could advance next season to be among the best four teams in the country.
Can they win it? Who knows? Three of the four No. 1 seeds didn’t make it to the Final Four this tournament. Much depends of the draw, luck, momentum and overcoming teams that have just a little more talent.
But to answer the question, yes they can.
Looking at next season, the Huskies already were looking good. With Jones and Ross in the program, Romar is going to have so much flexibility. He can go tall, small, fast and faster.
You figure that Jones, rated as one of the top big men in the country, likely will work his way into the starting lineup early in his career here. It’s also a career that may last one year. And next to him could be 7-foot N’Diaye, although that’s not a given. I could see Romar using a faster, shorter lineup with N’Diaye coming off the bench, especially against big lines.
Regardless, it’s going to be impressive with 6-9 (Jones), 7-foot (N’Diaye) and guys such as 6-9 Matthew Bryan-Amaning and 6-7 Simmons on the floor. There’s also 6-7, 255-pound F Tyreese Breshers, 6-8 F Darnell Gant, and 6-6 F Justin Holiday. That’s a lot meat and muscle, not to mention talent. Jones averaged 32 points last season.
Then there are all those returning guys in the backcourt, such as guards Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Abdul Gaddy with support from G Scott Suggs and redshirt 6-5 freshman G C.J. Wilcox.
One ball may not be enough.
This might be a special team, one that could approach that team consisting of Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons and Bobby Jones in the early part of the decade.
We’re still months away. It’s only a paper improvement right now. But this is a big deal for the Huskies’ future.