After a second look at the 2011-12 Washington Wildcats, I’m a bit more encouraged. I can tell the summer league provided an opportunity for them to get more chemistry, to develop a bond and to turn into a team.
Of course, there’s one big change from the summer: Former center Rakim McCoy has transferred to Hogan Prep.
Still, there’s plenty of talent left at Washington.
A few notes on a brief open gym session I took in:
1. These guys are beginning to play very well together. I was impressed with the chemistry between Deandre King, Kameron Allen, Jaamie Trevillion, James Jappa and some of the other younger guys there. This team may not have experience yet, but they are talented. Many of Washington's players have played together since the sixth or seventh grade.
2. This team will have better shooters than last year’s 22-3 team did. As much as I loved that Wildcats team, they did not shoot the ball particularly well from three. Jervon Hooks was very hit-and-miss – as in he could hit four or five in a row, but then brick 10 straight. Kalen Allen was hot and cold all year last year and Tra’Vaughn White’s game was the mid-range jumper and his abilities to penetrate in the lane. This team has the shooters. Deandre King absolutely nailed three-pointer after three-pointer. The same can be said for Kameron Allen, the younger brother of Kalen. While Kameron does not have the experience or size of his brother, Kameron’s shot is a little more pure and sweet. He can make shots from anywhere on the court. Dominique Wilson is a 6’9 or 6’10 player, but he has a great jump shot for someone his size. Opponents should not think they can take him out of the game if they zone up on him.
3. Want an under the radar guy who might surprise you? Ranier Kountz-London, the school’s starting quarterback, is also trying out for the team this year. Coach Eric King expressed some excitement about him and after a quick look at him, I can see why. Kountz-London may provide that type of spark Mike Hibler did off the bench last year. Kountz-London is a 6’3 and he has hops. A great athlete like that adds depth.
4. Junior James Jappa looks much improved and showed a nice ability to get tough rebounds during the open gym. He may not be Myles Hibler, but Jappa’s another contributor who adds to the bench.
5. Speaking of the bench, it will be considerably deeper this year. Last year, they went about six to seven guys deep consistently. This year, they have the talent to go nine-to-10 deep.
6. The Washington open gym I went to this week was the single biggest open gym I’ve ever seen. About 60 kids were out there this week. Washington is turning into a basketball factory. Early indications are their freshman team will again be loaded. The toughest part of Eric King’s job this year may be picking the 10 players for his varsity team.
7. It’s easy to be excited about Dominique Wilson, but the guy I’m most interested in this year is junior point guard Jaamie Trevillion. Trevillion is hungry as hell and anxious to hit the court. He may not have the outside shot yet, but he can absolutely destroy a full-court pressure defense and can find his way inside. He has great moves and amazing speed. Trevillion will add a whole new dynamic to Washington’s offense this year and he was outstanding in the state title game last year. Though he did not fill up the stat sheet, Trevillion offered a change of pace for them that allowed Washington to creep back into the game before McPherson (along with the Three Blind Mice officials) took it back over.