Ross might be Washington’s top dog next season

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Washington’s trying to reload for 2011-12. It shouldn’t be a huge issue given the team’s guard talent and Lorenzo Romar’s preferred up-tempo style.

Question is, which potent weapon will the Huskies feature?

Let’s move past Darnell Gant. The senior might be the vocal leader, but he’s not their go-to guy. Same with point guard Abdul Gaddy, but only because it’s unclear how healthy his knee is after an ACL tear last season.

That leaves four players.

Incoming freshman Tony Wroten’s one of the most promising prospects of the Romar era. He’s big (6-4, 195), savvy (scouts rave about his passing skills) and confident (some might say cocky). If Gaddy’s bum knee lingers, expect Wroten to step into the lead guard role, though it’s hardly a smooth transition for most freshman guards.

But as Percy Allen notes in his latest Husky Blog post, Wroten already displayed promising chemistry with teammates during pickup games, probably because he never hesitates to involve them in the offense. That’s why he’s already on Drew Cannon’s list of college hoops’ top 100 players.

Senior guard Scott Suggs might be the team’s most versatile player. He was their top 3-point shooter (45 percent) and has improved his ball-handling enough that he could play guard. He’s also big enough to play forward. Yet Suggs seems more suited as a role player, filling in where needed.

Sophomore C.J. Wilcox has the opposite problem. He’s always been Washington’s purest outside shooter, but has had issues creating his own shot. Allen notes that Wilcox’s handle has improved somewhat, but not enough to boost his role. He remains a potent weapon off the bench, not a featured player.

That leaves sophomore Terrence Ross, who impressed Allen with his aggressiveness and skill. From his blog:

Even with NBA players on the court, at times Ross looked like the best player on the floor. Still if you were drafting a team of the players Thursday, the 7-1 Hawes would probably be the first person taken. But Ross would likely go No. 2. He thrives in an open-gym setting. He wowed the few folks in the stands with high-flying dunks, alley-oop slams and putback jams. Whenever anyone guarded him one-on-one, Ross either tried to blow past them with a dribble drive or he jabbed and whirled to create room for a fadeaway jump shot. Ross, a 20-year-old sophomore, also looks much more chiseled than he did last season.

Allen’s far from the only UW onlooker expecting big things from Ross. Ross rates higher than Wroten on Cannon’s list (and will probably be the highest Husky), both for his offensive skill and development down the stretch last season when he averaged 13 points a game in the team’s final five games.

Expect more of that in 2011-12. Washington’s still lacks size, which means it’ll certainly push the pace and create opportunities for guys like Ross, Wroten and Wilcox to put up plenty of shots. The one who can create his own shot will be the main man next season. Right now, that sounds like Ross.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.