The Tony Wroten Workout Plan, and Other Thoughts on the Huskies

I didn’t get to go to the gym on Tuesday. The Huskies were taking on 11th-ranked Marquette in Madison Square Garden. I needed to watch. Husky Basketball takes priority over any workout I could possibly accomplish. But I couldn’t let the day go to waste. I had a bagel sandwich for breakfast, a sizable burrito for lunch, and around about snack time I killed some Chex Mix. That’s a lot of carbs for one day. And I am not one to let those carbs go to waste. So I took the logical step of creating my own workout plan. Or as I’m currently calling it, the Wroten Workout Plan, in honor of Tony Wroten, Jr.

The Wroten Workout Plan is fairly simple. Every time the freshman point guard commits a turnover, I do 25 push-ups. Likewise, every time he hits a free throw, I do 25 more push-ups. The thinking here is that there are push-ups for positives (made free-throws) and push-ups for negatives (turnovers committed), so that the workout doesn’t have an entirely bad or good connotation. In the words of athletes everywhere, it just is what it is. And what it is is a way to pass the time during a ballgame. Kind of like a drinking game. Only better for you, I guess.

Regardless, the Wroten Workout Plan was a tremendous success. In one game alone, I knocked out 175 push-ups (see the above photo for an action shot). I try to do 300 push-ups every day, so 175 was solid activity. The only unfortunate part was that there were more negative pushups (100, the equivalent of four turnovers) than positive pushups (75, the equivalent of three made free-throws). As time goes on, we can only hope that those numbers will adjust. Either way, though, I certainly recommend everyone get on the Wroten Workout Plan. It has potential. You’ll get ripped.

And now for some thoughts on the team…

OMG, Romar! Why didn’t you use your time-out?!

Yes, the social networking world is ablaze in fiery angst over the fact that Lorenzo Romar did not burn a time-out with six seconds remaining in the game on Tuesday night. For those who missed it, the situation was as follows:

With just under seven seconds left to play, a Marquette player knocked down a basket to give his team a one-point lead. The Huskies inbounded the ball on the Golden Eagles’ baseline, into the hands of point guard Abdul Gaddy. Gaddy hurried the ball up court, pressured by three defenders the entire time, then launched an ill-advised desperation heave from roughly 19 feet as time expired. The shot came nowhere near the hoop. Worse yet, it was taken directly in front of the Washington bench, where, presumably, Romar could have very easily called a time-out. So why didn’t he? Good question.

I have a theory, of course. This whole point would be moot were it not for a theory. My theory is rather pedestrian, but perhaps it makes sense to some of you. Fact is, Romar doesn’t like to use his time-outs late in games because we don’t have any good set plays to execute. That’s it. That’s the whole theory.

Have you ever seen us break from a time-out with a great play? No. Never. In nine-plus seasons of the Romar regime, I can never remember us running a play out of a time-out that made me happy. Not once. That’s not our style of play. We’re a run-and-gun team. When we slow things down, we’re giving our opponent an advantage. That’s just the way it is (like Bruce Hornsby).

That said, I still love Romar. We all have our weaknesses, and his appears to be set play execution. Fine. I can live with that. I have lived with that. We all have. His strengths atone for that solitary glaring soft spot. We’ll move on from this.

Abdul Gaddy: OTFW

OTFW. Own The F**king World. It’s a mentality you have to have to be successful. And right now, the Huskies’ junior point guard does not appear to have it.

Gaddy is what you would call a “heady” player. He’s smart. He can read a defense. He has great awareness. He knows how to control his emotions. Being a heady player can act as a double-edged sword, however. Sometimes, the headiness gets the best of you and overwhelms inherent talent and instinct. That’s what appears to be happening to Gaddy right now, and it’s a problem.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: it was like Ndamukong Suh was making Gaddy’s decisions down the stretch in Tuesday’s game. Every play he tried to make failed. He turned the ball over, he committed costly fouls, he put on a how-not-to clinic on the game’s final play. Is that the real Abdul Gaddy we saw? Let’s hope not. Changes have to be made in order to improve.

Watching Gaddy play, you can almost feel him thinking. He controls the tempo to the point of over-controlling it. While the intelligence is appreciated, there are times when the 19-year-old (he’s still only 19!) needs to shut the brain off and let his ability take over. Ability requires confidence, however, and right now the dude doesn’t seem to have it. His teammates have a distinct swagger about them. Gaddy needs that. He needs to OTFW. It sounds ridiculous. It kind of is. But it works. And it will work for him, too.

OTFW, Abdul. You can do it.

T-Ross the Boss

Terrence Ross is a freak. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time together and I’m ready to say goodbye after this season, if I must. The man is a lottery pick. He just is. Sure, there are things he could work on. But when you watch him take a lob pass and nonchalantly turn it into a 180-degree alley-oop dunk, you know you’re witnessing something special.

In the annals of Husky Basketball history, I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen a player as athletic as Ross. His dunks are like coitus. His jumper is like silk. He can seemingly do it all. His game is Jordanesque. The NBA will want him badly. And we’ll have to prepare to give him up early.

Again, there are certainly things he can work on. And yes, the reality is we’re asking a sophomore to carry this ballclub. But damn if that dude doesn’t deliver every time. He sure looked impressive in crunch time against Marquette. His next test will come on Saturday versus Duke. If he keeps performing on the big stage, the world will be forced to take notice.

Terrence Ross is for real. Enjoy him while you can, Husky fans.

C.J. Wilcox isn’t so bad, himself

When he gets hot, no one can guard him. He can shoot from five feet, 10 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet, 25 feet…the distance is inconsequential. When Wilcox is on, there’s no finding the off switch. Like Ross, he, too, is a future NBA player.

Watching Wilcox go on a tear in the second half of Tuesday’s game reminded everyone that there are more scorers to stop than just Terrence Ross. And while many think of Wilcox as a marksman, the redshirt sophomore is proving he can do more than drop buckets from Jimmer range.

In addition to attacking the paint and ball-faking opponents into the stratosphere, Wilcox has displayed substantial improvement on the defensive end, as well. Against Marquette, the six-foot-five-inch swingman recorded four blocked shots, a career-high, which gave him a total of nine rejections on the year. Last season, Wilcox had 10 blocks all season long. He’s nearly reached that mark already through seven games.

If Ross leaves after this season, as many expect him to, Wilcox could very well be the main guy on the 2012-2013 squad. We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but it never hurts to do a little forecasting. Are we looking at a 20-points-per-game guy in C.J. Wilcox? We very well may be.

Aziz get better

Aziz shoot. Aziz score. Aziz fall. Aziz run. Aziz swat. Aziz rebound. Aziz do it all.

There is no one more deserving of the team’s Most Improved Player award (at least through seven games) than one Aziz N’Diaye. The seven-foot junior has been so drastically different than the guy we saw wearing jersey No. 5 last year that you have to wonder if they traded in their center for a newer model. He’s been that good.

On Tuesday night, I watched Aziz cradle an entry pass (without it bouncing off his fingertips, no less), patiently lull his defender into a trance, shake right, then come back left to drop in a beautiful baby hook on the block. It was a patented big-man move. It was clean. It was polished. I shed a single tear.

Forget the numbers. All you need are two eyes to see the strides the Senegal native has made. He just looks better. He’s more comfortable, more orthodox, more conditioned. But if you do put weight in stats, consider this: he hasn’t fouled out once this year. That alone should make you want to hug somebody. Hugs for all! Aziz play whole game!

Keep it up, Aziz. You’re on the right track.

5 thoughts on “The Tony Wroten Workout Plan, and Other Thoughts on the Huskies”

  1. Very well said. Since the final buzzer last night, I’ve been struggling with my thoughts on this this year’s team. On one hand, I found myself last night wishing we had an IT, QPon, BRoy, or even Nate that out of sheer determination would make a big play when we needed it most. On the other, I am wowed by T. Ross in virtually every way offensively (still showing too many mental mistakes on defense). Let’s put it this way, if I were Lorenzo, I’d have a hard time not running every single offensive possession through him. At least let him get a touch and a look at the basket. He’s become the best on the team at creating his own shot (and converting).

    I was also waiting for the timeout that never came, but Romar has shown a tendency to let the players try to make a play without letting the defense get organized (see VO’s drive and layup at UCLA in Jan 2010).

    I’ll still hold out hope for less turnover push-ups, more made FT push-ups, an aggressive Gaddy, another year of T. Ross, and more of the same from Aziz.

    This team needs that total “Eff You” sequence (i.e. IT’s diving save & assist), and they had a chance last night after CJ’s ridiculous block. Here’s hoping it comes soon (Is Saturday too much to ask?)!

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