Tonight the Huskies face USC in their season finale. The game itself may end up being meaningless as far as standings go, but for Husky fans it will be a farewell to a senior class that has done some great things for the program.
This senior class was part of a Pac10 regular season championship, a Pac10 tournament championship, 2 NCAA tournament appearances, as well as a sweet 16 appearance. Thats without whatever they may do to finish off this season.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning is one of the most entertaining players I have ever watched, but at the same time the most frustrating. I will never forget the flying Tea-Bag against Stanford last season, it was magical. When there is a fast break, he automatically becomes the fastest player on the court, he wants the highlight dunk. When he gets it, he is going to bring the house down and light a fire under his teammates.
Then there are those times when I can't watch him play. The easy lay ins that bounce out all game long. Maybe it isn't because he misses easy ones, it is because he makes them look easier than they are. His athleticism and ball skills are tough to beat, and when he is on, he is tough to stop.
An unofficial nickname some friends and I have for him is the Bear. He just plays like a beast and you never know when he'll explode during the game. It's bound to happen, but his ferocity and beastliness are off the charts.
Justin Holiday is the kind of player who was unnoticed up until the end of last season. That doesn't mean he wasn't doing big things for the team, he just wasn't getting any attention. The lock down defender role Holiday has played at Washington has been huge for the Huskies. He can take away the opponents best scorers for long stretches in the game. He plays with a high motor and intensity that is impossible to coach.
He has gotten more credit this season as his offense has progressed. At times he may turn the ball over, but his presence on the offensive side has been a huge boost for the Huskies. He is the quiet third scorer for the team, but has also been able to keep his intensity on defense.
My fondest memory of Holiday will be what he does following every post-game press conference. As he walks out he says "You all have a good night," which doesn't seem like a big deal, but it just shows the kind of man he is off the court.
Venoy Overton is the one of these three that fans have loved for his entire career. Not that Matt or Justin weren't playing their roles, they just weren't on the level that V.O. was. When he comes into the game, the entire tempo changes. The opposing guards are know they are going to have him all over them all the way up the court. He will go after the ball and isn't afraid to foul. When he goes into a game he always has an impact, even as a 6th man, Venoy is able to be one of the leaders of the team.
Other than just defense, Overton runs the offense in a way that looks like it is out of control, but really is just based purely on quickness. He gets the ball into the front court in just seconds, and tries to make a drive right off of the bat. When he doesn't have it he slows it down and makes the smart play. He's also the Huskies closer, whether at the free throw line, or making a full court run to the hoop, he makes plays when it counts.
The first time I ever broke the no cheering as press was because of Venoy. Against WSU the steal at mid-court on the inbounds pass had be jumping up and down clapping. Oops I guess?
I came to UW the same time as these 3, and the legacy they will leave behind is a great one. The Washington program is near the top, and it is in large part to this senior class. We'll see how the season wraps up, but if the past tells us anything, the Huskies are bound to make a run.
The Huskies have some good recruits coming in to try to fill the shoes of the seniors. I doubt we'll have them all for their senior night in a few years, but ya never know. Tony Wroten Jr. may end up staying and dominating the conference for all 4 years.
Quick prediction: Washington-81 USC-64