For the last few weeks now, there has been some fretting over the scholarship limit for the Husky hoops squad. With Quincy graduating, the Dawgs only had one to offer, which is going to Desmond Simmons, who signed his LOI in the fall.
Yet, the Dawgs also had a commitment from Enes Kanter, who reneged to Kentucky, and are still in hot pursuit of Terrance Jones.
Then there’s the sweet little nugget that was dropped on us two days ago with the signing of 7 foot Junior College transfer Aziz N’Diaye.
Something had to give. And, it did.
Washington’s sharp shooting specialist, and who I pegged as a key returner to a repeat Sweet 16 run, Elston Turner has decided to transfer.
The fact that somebody is leaving the team is not shocking to me. It’s not unprecedented at all for Lorenzo Romar teams to make room, and I was already running scenarios through my head as to who it might or could have been. But I didn’t see E.T. phoning back home to Texas.
My best guesses were either, Clarence Trent, or Darnell Gant.
Last week, Clarence Trent tried to walk on to the football team. Had that worked out, the moment he’d step foot on the field in a game situation, his scholarship automatically would’ve switched to football, freeing one up for Romar. Surely, Romar had to know this. Unfortunately, Trent decided to give that up after only a few practices, leaving Romar’s hands tied. At the time, I was curious, that if that were not to work out, would that have been because Clarence Trent was the odd man out? Considering, also, that he saw the least amount of playing time among scholarship players last season. He had not played football since his Freshman year in high school, so it was curious to even think that Trent could’ve been seriously interested. But, I don’t know the intent of 19 year old kids. It’s just curious to think about.
Gant, who was a consistent starter on the Dawgs Pac-10 championship team two years ago, saw his playing time slashed considerably as Tyrese Breshers took his minutes along with increased minutes for Justin Holiday. While coaches laud Gant’s attitude, he will be only a Junior next year, and there isn’t going to be any greater amount of room for him in the line-up next year.
So why is Elston leaving? He argues, his talents aren’t being used to the extent of their abilities. And, I can’t really disagree with him here. Turner was recruited as an all around scorer, and technically is a guard(though used more as a shooting F at UW, think Tre Simmons). Romar already has ball handling drivers and scoring inside the paint.
In the future would E.T. not only have his minutes increased, but offensive role increased? Even without Q-Pon?
Tough to say.
Isaiah is still in town and without Pondexter will touch the ball even more now, if that is even possible. One would expect Abdul Gaddy to increase his workload in the following season. As well as Seniors Holiday and Overton, who have both shown flashes of being able to score consistently.
The X factor in this situation is redshirt freshman CJ Wilcox. Romar was adamant in defense of his decision to redshirt the kid even when questions arose of the Huskies’ shooting woes earlier in the season. Chances are, the sharp shooting minutes reserved for Turner, were going to be turned over to, what the coaching staff believes is, a more dynamic yet still deadly from beyond the arc, Wilcox.
So where do the Huskies, and Turner, go from here? This is definitely a loss for Washington. It’s a loss anytime you’re losing a young player with potential, who is just starting to figure out what his game is like in college. But, it’s far from crippling for the Dawgs, who will be able to move on.
But is this the end of the roster shuffling for 2010? Perhaps not. Washington still has offers out for Jefferson(Portland, OR) studs Terrance Jones and Terrance Ross. What could happen if either or both were to accept? I’d keep my eye on the aforementioned Gant and Trent, and Scott Suggs. Suggs has already contemplated transferring before his freshman season, and his playing time improved last season, but with all the bodies already in the back court, and if either of these two Portland products were to commit, would there be any more room for Suggs?
As for Turner, he wants to go back home to Texas, near the Houston area. He anticipates getting interest from Texas A&M, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tech, the Longhorns or Baylor contact him as well.