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November 7, 2010

Holiday Impresses in Huskies’ Exhibiton

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 2:23 am

SEATTLE – While they enter the 2010-11 season as the favorites in the Pac-10 conference, the Washington Huskies also face a challenging question: how to replace the production lost with the departure of Quincy Pondexter, a first-round pick last June. In College Basketball Prospectus 2010-11, we suggest that Matthew Bryan-Amaning is likely to step up.

Bryan-Amaning did not disappoint Saturday, scoring a game-high 20 points as the Huskies handled an overmatched team from St. Martin’s in nearby Lacey in an exhibition game at Hec Edmunson Pavilion, but another senior also made his presence felt. Justin Holiday, heretofore known solely for his defensive work, nearly matched Bryan-Amaning with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 4-of-4 mark beyond the arc. For a player who made 11 three-pointers total in his first three years, the improved shooting was stunning. The work Holiday has put in over the summer and the confidence gained from entering the season as a starter seem to have made a big difference.

Holiday literally replaced Pondexter in the Washington lineup, sliding down to power forward to make room for wing Scott Suggs in the lineup. At 6’6″, 185, Holiday is tiny for a four-man, but the Huskies might stick with the smaller, quicker unit even after Darnell Gant returns from a groin injury. In particular, Holiday at power forward makes room for Washington’s glut of talented young wings. Suggs and freshmen Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox all scored double-figures, making a combined six three-pointers in 11 attempts. Lorenzo Romar will have a tough time finding minutes for all three players with Isaiah Thomas penciled in for 30 minutes a night at shooting guard. Thomas served primarily as playmaker Saturday, handing out a career-high 11 assists and taking just two shot attempts in 26 minutes.

The biggest curiosity on Saturday was sophomore JC transfer Aziz N’Diaye, a 7-footer from the Senegal who offers the Huskies much-needed size behind Bryan-Amaning. N’Diaye looked very raw in his Washington debut, fumbling a pair of passes and fouling out in 11 minutes. In fact, both UW centers fouled out, a scenario that could prove disastrous when the games start counting.

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