Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Shawn Kemp Jr. staying in starting lineup?
By Joe Kaiser
An ineffective stretch by Washington sophomore Desmond Simmons forced Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar to shake up the rotation last week, and Shawn Kemp Jr. has thrived as a starter.
Kemp, a sophomore who played very little in his first year in the program last season, played the best game of his career with an 18-point, 6-rebound performance in a big win over Arizona State on Saturday. Most impressive was that he made 9 of 14 shots from the field against a Sun Devils' frontline featuring 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski, one of the nation's top shot-blockers.
While Simmons also responded with his best offensive game in nearly two months, 10 points and 7 rebounds, an argument could be made that his hustling, high-effort style could serve UW better in a permanent role off the bench.
The key for Kemp going forward will be his ability to finish around the basket. He has soft hands for someone his size (6-foot-9, 255 pounds), but his touch around the basket has been an issue for much of his career to this point. When the Huskies go into next season without Aziz N'Diaye, their fifth-year senior center, Kemp appears to be one of the favorites along with Simmons, sophomore Jernard Jarreau and San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell to start in the frontcourt. Of course, if ESPN 100 forward Aaron Gordon comes to UW, that will leave even more of a squeeze for minutes in the frontcourt.