There might not be a team more eager to lace ’em up and move on from last season than the Washington boys basketball team, which is coming off a 4-18 campaign that ended with 10 straight losses.
The Warriors took their lumps in their first season under Craig Nelson, but with a wealth of size in the post and a clean slate, they’re ready to get the program back around the top.
“Sometimes it just takes a little time to build the culture of your program, and these guys that we have back have fully bought into that and what we’re trying to build,” said Nelson. “I think we’re going to see some great things from these guys this year.”
Six-foot-three senior forward Brett Stanley is the lone returning starter and was the only Washington player last year to average double figures with 10.3 points per game. He’s also one of seven seniors on this year’s squad, while 6-6 center Austin Heins (4.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and 6-3 wing Kevin Nelson (3.0 ppg) will also be among the starters.
“We’re still going to have the same emphasis as last year as far as getting the ball inside. We have three or four bigs we think are capable of scoring down there,” said Nelson. “We have guards that are more highly skilled and that should help us get up and down the floor a little quicker. We just weren’t quite ready for that last year.”
Junior Deng Geu, a 6-7 forward that Nelson described as long and athletic with raw athleticism, saw action in sophomore and JV games last year after transferring from North Dakota midseason.
Meanwhile, sophomore point guard Sam Siganos could be facing the biggest challenge, not from a skill standpoint, but rather in leading a group of upperclassmen determined to go out on a better note than the seniors before them.
“They don’t want their senior season to end the way last year’s seniors went out,” Nelson said. “They’ve put in so much time and effort and put in their heart and soul for the last 6-9 months. They deserve great things.”