With Desmond Simmons out until sometime in December and Jernard Jarreau done for the season after tearing his ACL in a win over Seattle, the Washington Huskies don’t have much depth in the front court. San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell has been asked to lead the way, and he entered Saturday’s game against Long Beach State with averages of 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Washington’s second-leading rebounder stands all of six feet, four inches tall, and while junior college transfer Mike Anderson did manage to corral at least ten rebounds in 24 games at Moberly Area CC last season it’s unlikely that he was a player head coach Lorenzo Romar and his staff expected to have to call on for front court help. On Saturday Anderson put forth the best effort of his young Washington career, scoring 19 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the Huskies’ 92-89 double overtime win over Long Beach State.
With the health issues being what they are Washington’s essentially down to Anderson and Blackwell (18 points, nine rebounds) as effective rebounders until Simmons returns to the court. Shawn Kemp Jr. accounted for just two points and two rebounds against Long Beach State and Gilles Dierickx, who’s been pressed into more action than expected thanks to those injuries, went scoreless and grabbed two rebounds.
The Huskies were able to hold on because of their offensive balance (six of the seven players who scored finished in double figures) and their foul shooting. The Huskies made 25 of their 30 attempts compared to Long Beach State’s 7-for-16 effort from the charity stripe. With the number of perimeter options at Romar’s disposal (led by C.J. Wilcox) and the emphasis placed on limiting contact on the perimeter, Washington’s guards will have to lead the way offensively.
But that was known well in advance of the start of the season, and that would have been the case even with a healthy front court. What wasn’t known is how much of an impact Mike Anderson would have on the glass, and the Huskies have to be pleased with his start to the 2013-14 campaign.