WROTEN PACES WASHINGTONTony Wroten is back.
He proved that in Washington's 109-105 win over Oregon. The future Washington Husky scored a game high 42 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out seven assists in his MVP effort.
Wroten tore his ACL last fall. His July effort drew mixed reviews. On Saturday, Wroten's effort drew consensus reports: he was outstanding.
His jumper was falling from deep early in the game. Wroten scored 24 of his team's 48 first half points. His passing remains sharp, creative and on point.
With the injury now behind him, Wroten said he's trying to develop into an even more versatile player before he enrolls at the University of Washington.
"I'm feeling better than my old self," Wroten said after the game. "I think the injury was just a blessing in disguise. It made me get better. It made me fix some things that I needed to fix."
Consider the fixing under way.
FUTURE OF THE PAC-12 IS IN GOOD HANDS
The Pac-10 had a year on the hardwood that the league would like to forget as quickly as possible. This season may not be that much better. The 2011 recruiting class isn't shaping up to be fantastic, but with guys like Wroten and Oregon's Jabari Brown coming to the league, the star power is returning.
"Oh yeah, we are going to make it better," Wroten said. "There is no doubt in my mind. We are going to make (the Pac-12) better than the Big East. The Pac-12 is going to be the spot."
Wroten picked Washington over Louisville. He will be joined by Andrew Andrews, who started for the Oregon team. The speedy point guard from Benson High School in Portland scored a modest 11 points in the game. His size, speed and swagger will fit right into the culture of the Washington backcourt.
Andrews will attend a prep school after graduating from Benson before enrolling at Washington.
Brett Kingma, a 6-foot-1 guard from the Seattle area, committed to the Oregon Ducks this fall. The quick triggered shooter hit back-to-back three-pointers to help Washington claim a lead that was never relinquished. Kingma finished with 20 points with 15 coming in the second half.
Kingma's future Oregon teammate Austin Kuemper was one of the nice revelations from the game. The future Duck scored 19 points in the low blocks and was the best scoring lost post option in the game. Kuemper's commitment to Oregon didn't make a big splash nationally. He doesn't project to be a star in Eugene but he does project to be a productive, and important, player for Dana Altman. Kuemper is big at 6-foot-9 and big enough to carry updwards of 250 pounds in college. He showed that he could step out and knock down the face up jumper all the while scoring at will in the low post. Defensively he is one of the top players at his position on the West Coast.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
• Future Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer was the highest rated player in the game and he played like that at times. The 6-foot-10 big man wowed the crowd with his versatility. At times he was a precision passer from the high block and the wing. Other times, he was putting the ball on the floor and scoring on the attack. He knocked down a handful of jumpers. Defensively, he shifted over to guard Wroten. The full sampling of Wiltjer's work was on display.
• Anrio Adams was one of the few underclassmen in the game and he played like a senior. He was one of the reasons why Washington made a strong second half comeback for the win. Adams, a class of 2012 prospect, was great getting to the hole and crafty with his passes to Kingma and Wroten.
• Jordan Akwenuke, a 6-foot-6 senior from Portland Jesuit, missed the majority of the grassroots season because of an injury. Because of that, he could emerge as a nice must-see player for the mid-majors on the West Coast. He scored 17 points in the loss but revealed a good skill set and smarts on the court.
• Miles Gatewood, an athletic combo guard, scored 19 points for Oregon. He's a teammate of Kuemper at Westview High School in Portland. Gatewood is a long 6-foot-2 guard that played above the rim and knocked down a number of jumpers. He's worth a peek from the mid-level schools.
• Keaton Jackson, a long and lanky 6-foot-9 post from Prairie High School in Vancouver, was a nice revelation. He's raw but big and athletic. Probably a senior to watch this high school season.
NEWS & NOTES
The Clash of the Classes event wasn't the only ticket in town on Saturday. The Oregon Elite 40 Showcase featured over 125 players, mostly from Oregon.
The best player and prospect at the event was big man Caleb Dressler. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound center from Vancouver (Wash.) Evergreen was absolutely dominant. Dressler, a class of 2012 prospect, dominated the paint and out toughed the competition. He scored with both hands around the basket, rebounded with a purpose and defended the low blocks like an experienced upperclassmen.
According to his family, Stanford has been in to see him four times already.