Weekly Analysis: Huskies Gained Some Valuable Tournament Experience

The Huskies Men’s Basketball team returned home from the Vancouver Showcase Tournament after achieving a 2-1 overall record.

After watching the tournament, the Huskies gained some valuable experience playing three games in a short period of time.

Here are a few quick observations about the team…..

Noah Dickerson Is Rounding Into Form 

Coming away from the Vancouver Showcase, a huge bright spot for the Huskies was the stellar play of senior forward Noah Dickerson.  Before the tournament, Dickerson had struggled during the season to stay on the court with constant foul trouble.  Washington head coach Mike Hopkins had referred to Dickerson’s struggles as being out of shape.  In the last two games of the tournament, Dickerson really shined and looked like the All-Pac-12 First Team player from a year ago.  Against Texas A&M he finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds.  In the finale against Minnesota, Dickerson finished with 28 points and 7 boards.

Shooting Woes Continue From The Outside

The Vancouver Showcase was an avenue for the Huskies, to find their shooting stroke from the outside, but the woes still continue.  The best pure shooter on the team is senior forward Dominic Green and he comes off the bench.  Even when Green has gotten lots of minutes, his shooting performances have been streaky at best.  During the Minnesota game, the Huskies were 0 for 7 from behind the arc in the first half.  Opponents are still packing the paint and forcing the Huskies to beat them from the outside.  They will need to improve their outside shooting quickly, otherwise Dickerson will be seeing a crowded paint all season long.

The Huskies Are A Second Half Team

More often than not, the Huskies have been notoriously slow starters up until this point in the season.  They have been unable to really put the pressure on an opponent right out of the gate.  The Huskies have had to fight, scratch and claw their way through the first half and keep the game within striking distance.  There are two ways to look at this….It can be a testament to Hopkins and his staff, with their ability to make halftime adjustments and improve in the second half.  The other side is, when they face elite teams (example Auburn), the hole may be too big to overcome.  The Huskies need to start faster going forward.

Hopkins Is Trying To Find A More Athletic Lineup

During the tournament, Hopkins was tinkering with the starting lineup in hopes of gaining more athleticism and getting quicker.  Junior forward Sam Timmins came into the season with all the experience from a season ago, and began the year as the starter.  Hopkins has realized that he wants to go faster, and has incorporated sophomore forward Hameir Wright into the starting lineup in place of Timmins.  Nobody knows if the switch is permanent and if Hopkins will keep going back and forth until he solves the riddle.  Both players seems to bring something different to the table, with Wright bringing more speed to the lineup.

Still Trying To Shore Up Those Soft Spots In The Zone

It’s no secret  that Hopkins aggressive 2-3 zone defense continues to keep the Huskies in almost every game.  While that benefit is paramount, it doesn’t come without its pitfalls as well.  There are “soft spots” in the zone defense and depending on the opponent, those areas are different each night.  Against some opponents, it can be the three-point shot that the Huskies have a hard time guarding against.  Often times, they are unable to extend the zone higher and close out to the open shooters.  A glaring and obvious one is when opponents get the ball in the middle, and then run a baseline cutter to the hoop for a dunk or layup.  These kinks are still being worked on each game.