Introducing the 2015-2016 Washington Huskies Men's Basketball Team, Part Two

November is here, which means the start of the college basketball season is nearly upon us. For the Washington Huskies, the changing leaves signal a rebirth for a program that has fallen on hard times of late. Fortunately, the Washington roster has been completely retooled, with the Dawgs returning just two players from last season's disappointment.

The Seattle Boys

Dejounte Murray, Freshman, 6-foot-5 PG, Seattle, Wash.

Hometown hero Dejounte Murray needs no introduction to Seattle-area hoops fans after three consecutive State Championships with Rainier Beach thrust him into the spotlight several years ago. But for those who haven't seen him, "Baby Boy" is a long, athletic point guard who has patterned his game after Seattle Hoops Godfather and close friend, Jamal Crawford. The wispy guard possesses elite quickness and speed to accompany his high-level leaping ability.  He's a gifted passer, sees the floor well, and possesses superb ball-handling skills.  Murray's length stands out as well, measuring in with a spindly 6-foot-9 wingspan. Though he's got a lot to learn defensively, he has lock-down potential in time and is also an exceptional rebounder for a guard. As a scorer, he possesses an array of change-of-pace/playground moves, including a devastating crossover he uses to gain separation. He's highly effective attacking the paint where he shines and is a highlight finisher. He also shoots a quality mid-range ball. He's an average three-point shooter at this point.

Coach Romar's take: "Dejounte Murray played at Rainier Beach, won a state championship. He is very versatile, shoot the ball, pass it, dribble it, a guy that can make plays for himself and others. Long arms. I think that’s a recurring theme you’ll hear with our guys - a lot of length. We don’t have 7-footers, but we have a lot of length, a lot of like-size guys which will allow us to play that defense and get out in passing lanes. He’s one of those guys. Brandon Roy. What position was he? I don’t know. I don’t know what position Dejounte is. He is a guy that can bring the ball in transition to make plays. He can play the point, he can play on the wing, you can run him off screens, he can post up, he is just very versatile. So you don’t want to pigeon hole him in one little position over here because he is going to be all over the place." 

Bottom line: Murray is going to thrill fans not just with his play, but with his charisma as well. But first a word of caution: Though he is undeniably gifted, Murray's body has a long way to go before he maximizes his potential. For a player that spends as much time as he does around the rim, he's going to get bounced around a lot.  He has already packed on 11 pounds of muscle to his skinny frame since arriving on campus, but still has a ways to go.  That being said, Murray possesses shot-creating skills the program hasn't seen since Terrence Ross headed to the NBA three years ago. Expect him to start and take on a major role from Day One. 


Matisse Thybulle, Freshman, 6-foot-5 G, Redmond, Wash.

Thybulle, from Eastside Catholic, rode a meteoric rise up the recruiting charts last summer, and his growth curve is showing no signs of slowing any time soon.  Thybulle is a dynamic athlete with pogo stick legs, tremendous length and great lateral quickness. As a defender, he possesses 'lockdown' potential, which immediately vaults him into the conversation for a role in the starting lineup. Those same attributes should help him become a high level rebounder as well, as he's known for his emphatic tip-dunks off the offensive glass.  He's often compared to Justin Holiday, both physically as well as skill-wise, though Thybulle is expected to play a larger role in the offense. 

Coach Romar's take: "Matisse Thybulle’s one of those guys, big-time athlete. He ran a 4:55 mile when we ran our mile. That’s the best anyone’s ever done for us since we’ve been here. Matter of fact, as a head coach been doing this about 20 years and we’ve never had anyone break five minutes. He broke it with 4:55. Long, picks things up very quickly, is going to be a very good defender. Surprisingly will be a better offensive player than people think he will be."

Bottom line: The blueprint for players of Thybulle's ilk is firmly established at Washington, and it starts on the defensive end and in transition - areas where Thybulle shines. His offensive contributions may take time to develop early in his career as he adapts to the college game, but there's a solid offensive foundation for the Husky coaching staff to work with for the long term. 


David Crisp, Freshman, 6-foot PG, Tacoma, Wash.

Originally from Tacoma, Crisp spent a championship season at Rainier Beach and a post-graduate season at Brewster Academy before heading to Montlake. That means he's no stranger to sharing the limelight with star-studded teammates. That unselfish maturity will be a welcome addition to the young Huskies, who will need all the leadership they can muster. In high school, Crisp was a more of a shooting guard than a traditional point guard despite his 6-foot stature, but he'll undoubtedly have the ball in his hands plenty for the Huskies.  He's a superb shooter who tends to be streaky, and a high level athlete with bouncy legs and nimble feet.  He's an excellent ball-handler and a solid passer and plays with a high level motor defensively.

Coach Romar's take: "Stocky, aggressive, really good athlete. Strong, picks things up really well. Won a national championship last year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He’s excited about being a Husky."

Bottom line: Unlike most incoming college freshmen, Crisp enters the program equipped with a Division-1 body and skills to match.  He also adds a confidence and swagger that the team has lacked recently, which should make him a fan favorite. His championship experience at Brewster Academy should pay dividends as well, as it taught him how to contribute in an environment where he's not expected to be the primary scorer. A decade ago, then-freshmen Justin Dentmon came from nowhere to earn all-Pac-10 freshman honors. Crisp could play a similar role with this team. 


Dominic Green, Freshman, 6-foot-7 SF, Renton, Wash.

A former Hazen High School standout, Green was one of the biggest national recruiting stories to come out of Las Vegas last summer. He rose from near-total obscurity to earn multiple Pac-12 offers in the span of a week. Like several of his new teammates, Green is blessed with fantastic length, with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet on his athletic 6-foot-7 frame.  Green is a pure scorer, with a stellar three-point stroke and a nose for the basket.  Like fellow Husky Donaven Dorsey, he's a high level ball handler considering his height, and effective around the basket showing good instincts on the glass.  He's not as polished on the defense end and has a long way to go in that regard, though his wingspan suggests promise long term. 

Coach Romar's take: "Dominic Green can really score the ball. He’s fun to watch with the ball in his hands, because he’s one of those guys that for a lot of players it may be a bad shot but for him it’s not because he knows exactly where he is on the floor. He knows how to get to his shot, he knows the spaces on the floor where he is very efficient. He can shoot the three, he can drive the ball - really good offensive player. Another guy with length; all these guys have great length."

Bottom line:  In the short term, Green will likely find a role off the bench as instant offense and he should be particularly effective off the catch and shoot. The challenge for the talented wing comes on the defensive end, where he enters his freshmen season behind most of his new teammates and his maturation on that front will be a big factor in how much he plays.  


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