SEATTLE – The Washington Huskies set the bar high for the 2013-14 season with 21 wins last season. After an off-season coaching change that saw Kevin McGuff leave for Ohio State, the Huskies lost a couple of close games early before hitting a groove to win five of their last six games before the 2013 calendar year came to a close. We were on hand for their conference matchup with Arizona on Friday evening. The Huskies resiliency shined through clear as the sky above Alaska Airlines Arena.
1) Kelsey Plum is everything that we thought she would be.
Just a freshman, Kelsey Plum of Poway, Calif., is playing the game like a veteran. She was a 2013 McDonald’s HS All-American and the No. 7 ranked point guard in the country. Though Plum didn’t have a great night from the field shooting just 5-for-16, Plum made free throws and seemingly every big shot that her team needed finishing with 23 points on the night. Coach Mike Neighbors played the sensational mba essay service writing freshman 38 minutes giving her plenty of opportunities to showcase her smooth left-handed shooting stroke. Her competitive nature was on full display as she wasted no time meeting with assistant coach Fred Castro on Saturday afternoon to watch film individually to address the progress on a couple of additions to her skill set toolbox. Plum could very well be named Pac 12 Freshman of the Year before this season comes to a close.
2) The Huskies can survive tough nights from Jazmine Davis and Talia Walton.
That statement is a far cry from last year when they needed one if not both of them to be impactful offensively on a nightly basis. Junior guard Jazmine Davis of San Jose, Calif., was a first-team all league selection each of the past two seasons while Redshirt Sophomore post Talia Walton of Federal Way, Wash., was a first-team All Freshman team member in 2013. This time last year, the Huskies would have dropped a game like the one versus Arizona on Friday where Davis and Walton combined to go 3-for-21. Davis’ night was such a challenge that she missed four field goal attempts on a single possession. Both have essay writing my memorable day been playing at a high level including two 30-point outings from Davis in Las Vegas just before the Christmas holidays.
3) Mike Neighbors is a cool customer on the sidelines.
Dressing just seven scholarship players for a conference game in early January is enough to make even the most veteran coaches a little uneasy. In his first year at the helm of the Huskies, Neighbors handled that situation like a grizzled veteran on Friday night. Well known for his love of movies, music and play diagrams, Neighbors displayed a nice feel for when to get his team a blow with a timeout. He also pushed the right buttons offensively late with his team sputtering by calling a designed set for Plum to get a flare screen with her getting to the free throw line as a result. If Friday’s victory was any indication, the administration made a fantastic call by placing Neighbors at the reigns of the emerging Pac 12 power.
4) Mercedes Wetmore and Aminah Williams are the glue to this roster.
Senior guard Mercedes Wetmore of Lake Tapps, Wash., plays with the poise that coaches nationwide would expect from a guard with three years of essay writing my school picnic league play under her belt. She is always at the top of the league in assist-to-turnover ratio. After watching her play tonight, it’s easy to see why. She has an innate ability to make the right pass at the right time. On multiple occasions, Wetmore found junior forward Aminah Williams of Seattle, Wash., for easy baskets around the rim. Like Wetmore, Williams is a local product who serves as a steady lynchpin for this team. However, Williams provides that stability in the Huskies front court at the power forward position. Williams finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Her last two points were arguably the biggest of the game as she gave Washington the lead for good with just under a minute remaining in the contest.
5) The recruiting outlook on Montlake Drive is as gorgeous as the on-campus view of Lake Washington.
In addition to Plum, Neighbors has three freshman – Katie Collier, Chantel Osahor and Brianna Ruiz – who were ranked in the ELITE 100 as high school prospects playing limited if any minutes right now as they recover from injury. The Huskies didn’t need to address any gaping holes with their 2014 recruiting class mba essay service but still managed to score commitments from Hannah Johnson of Stevenson Ranch, Calif., and Kelli Kingma of Mill Creek, Wash. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them take an International or JUCO prospect in the spring to round out next year’s roster. Looking ahead, the Huskies staff of Adia Barnes, Fred Castro, Kevin Morrison have been blazing the recruiting trail. They have been linked with 2015 prospects including Erin DeGrate of Waco, Texas, Katie McWilliams of Salem, Ore., Brijanee Moore of Stockton, Calif., and Asha Thomas of Oakland, Calif. In 2016, they have gotten a jump on top ELITE 25 caliber talent in Destiny Slocum of Boise, Idaho and Amber Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas. With a new basketball-only workout facility in the plans for the 2015-16 season, we don’t expect the talent level to drop anytime soon.
Brandon Clay is the owner of the JumpOffPlus.com International Report, Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. The JumpOffPlus.com is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He serves as the Executive Camp Director for the Elite Basketball Academy Camps. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com