Reeling Washington hits road

UW BASKETBALL: After shocking home defeat to Albany, Huskies will face Seton Hall in Connecticut

Staff writerNovember 16, 2012 

SEATTLE – When Washington guard Scott Suggs took a shot to the head early in the first half against Albany on Tuesday, it was just the beginning of the Huskies’ problems.

Washington went on to lose, 63-62. Now, the Huskies are not sure if Suggs will be ready to play Saturday when Washington faces Seton Hall at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Uncasville, Conn.

Suggs suffered a concussion Tuesday. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said Suggs is “day to day” and will be reassessed after Washington travels across the country. The Huskies flew out of Seattle on Thursday and have a shootaround at the Mohegan Sun Casino today.

If Suggs can’t play, redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews will start in his place.

Without Suggs, a fifth-year senior, Washington was disjointed in its shocking loss to Albany. Forward Desmond Simmons also missed much of the first half after being cut over his right eye. The resulting lineups placed bench players in uncomfortable roles, Romar said.

While saying losing Suggs was a big blow – “We lost by a point, I think Scott would have scored a point” – Romar said the onus was still on the team to take control of a non-conference game like that at home. The loss was Washington’s second at home to a non-conference team since 2008.

“What we were able to control, we didn’t control,” Romar said.

Washington had a 7 a.m. practice previously scheduled for Thursday since it had to travel throughout the day. Romar said the energy at practice was high.

He also went on to point out prior seasons when Washington stumbled at the start but ended up making the NCAA tournament or winning the Pacific-12 Conference regular-season or tournament title. The Huskies were 4-4 last season prior to winning the Pac-12 regular-season crown, but that team became infamous for being the first to win the conference title but be left out of the NCAA tournament.

In 2009, Washington lost its opener at Portland State. Asked the next day what happened in that game, then-senior guard Justin Dentmon said, “I don’t know.”

That team went 2-3 before finishing 26-9 and losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Purdue in Portland. That group also had four players – Dentmon, Isaiah Thomas, Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter – who went on to play in the NBA.

“Are we accepting what happened? Absolutely not,” Romar said. “But that game does not, will not, define our season.”

The Huskies have a chance for a prompt fix this weekend. Seton Hall is 2-0. If Washington wins, the Huskies will play fourth-ranked Ohio State on Sunday.

HUSKIES SIGN ONE

Darin Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound shooting guard from Sheldon High School in Sacramento, signed a national letter of intent to play for Washington starting in the 2013-14 season.

Johnson, whose high school sports teams are also nicknamed the Huskies, is rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. Romar said he is “fired up” about Johnson’s commitment.

“Physically, he’s ready to go right now,” Romar said. “Aggressive, strong, slasher going to the basket.”

Romar also said Johnson has a good jump shot in addition to his driving ability.

The early signing period for men’s basketball is from Nov. 14-21. Romar said he anticipates that this is not the last commitment Washington will receive during this span. Nigel Williams-Goss, a four-star point guard from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., has given the Huskies a verbal commitment. He’s expected to sign his paperwork during the early signing period to make his commitment official.

FASTBREAKS

Romar said he continues to talk to C.J. Wilcox about getting to the foul line. Wilcox is an 83.1 percent career free-throw shooter, but did not attempt a free throw in Washington’s first two games. … Abdul Gaddy is tied with Wilcox at 16.5 points per game to lead the Huskies. Romar said he is not surprised. “To me, he started breaking out when we started practicing for the foreign tour,” Romar said.

todd.dybas@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas

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