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November 2, 2005The BCA Classic beginning November 13 will be the first glimpse into the future of Husky basketball for its die-hard fans anxious to know how Washington will fare after losing so much of its offensive firepower in Nate Robinson, Will Conroy and Tre Simmons.
In Lorenzo Romar's world few things are ever certain but what is clear is that much more will be asked of senior Brandon Roy now that his backcourt buddies are gone. "The ball will be in his hands quite a bit more," said Romar. "It doesn't mean he's going to score 40 a game, it just means he's going to be even more of a playmaker."
Romar said that Roy and Bobby Jones will be fixtures in the starting lineup, but it also likely that senior Jamaal Williams will transition into a regular starter at forward especially with Mike Jensen still injured. Romar will need Williams' rebounding and low-post skills; not to mention Williams also has developed a pretty sweet jump hook shot few people can stop.
Junior [db]Hans Gasser[/db] had been hoping the new season would also bring him increased minutes but the 6'9" forward still has some problem areas that will probably keep his playing time limited. "He still needs to become a better defender and a better rebounder," said Romar. "It's not necessarily that he's doing something wrong, it's just that there are other guys on this team who are a little farther along talent wise than he is."
In spite of his shortcomings, Gasser is an amazing shooter for someone his size and his ability to force defenders outside the paint remains his biggest asset to the Huskies.
Washington's freshmen are progressing at a rate pleasing to Romar but while most critics expect one of his guards to have a breakout year, do not forget about [db]Artem Wallace, a 6'8" center from Toledo, Washington with whom Romar is already impressed. "We knew that Artem was athletic," said Romar, "but we didn't know how athletic he was. We thought it was going to be really difficult for him on the defensive end in his first year but he's much further along than we thought he'd be."
Washington schedule should help the Huskies stay competitive early. The Huskies open the season playing their first nine out of 10 games at Bank of America Arena.
"It would have been really rough to have the same schedule we had last year this year," said Romar. "I don't know if we'd be ready to attack that kind of schedule. Early on I think it's good that we are going to be able to play a lot of home games."
While few expect Washington to make the Sweet-16, as they did last season, the first step in at least returning to the postseason is believing you have a team that can get there and in spite of all the new faces, Washington believes they still do.
"This team can make it to the NCAA tournament," said Roy. "The effort is there and I think we will continue to get better."