Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grizzlies select Tony Wroten 1st round(25th overall)

By Kshell

The Memphis Grizzlies who have made the NBA playoffs the last two seasons selected Tony Wroten from the Washington Huskies with the 25th pick overall in the 2012 NBA draft. Wroten's selection was a historical selection for the Huskies program as Terrence Ross was selected earlier in the day marking the first time in Huskies history they had two first round picks in the same NBA draft. For Lorenzo Romar this is a good day for the program for the future of recruiting. Wroten is the sixth Husky taken in the first round and ninth Husky overall to be drafted in the Romar era. Wroten like Spencer Hawes who was taken 10th in the 2007 NBA draft was only with the Huskies for one season. Also like Hawes, Wroten will have never played in the NCAA tournament. Despite winning the conference regular season title and featuring two future first round picks the Huskies failed to make the NCAA tournament. Wroten along with Ross were both named first team all conference and for Wroten he was the first freshman to be named that in school history. Wroten also won freshman of the year for the conference as he was up for player of the year in the conference.

Tony Wroten Jr has been a legend in the northwest well before he ever landed on U-Dub campus. Wroten's dad Tony Wroten Senior was a tight end on the Don James Rose Bowl teams of the early 1980's. Wroten's cousin Nate Robinson was the first guy selected in the first round for the Huskies in the Romar era. In high school at Garfield High Wroten was the #1 overall player in the nation as a freshman and sophomore. Then he blew out his ACL playing football his junior year missing that entire season. When he committed to the Huskies heading into his senior year he was a four star recruit but after playing he was upgraded to a five star. Then as a freshman for the Huskies in 35 games he came off the bench for his first eight games of the year before starting the final 27 games. Wroten averaged 16.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.7 APG. The reason he fell was because he shot only 44.3% from the field, 16.1% on three pointers and 58.3% on free throws with 3.8 turnovers a game. Wroten would make spectacular dunks and drives while breaking your heart with the basics. The Oregon State game summed up his brief Washington career in a nutshell. He carried the team down the stretch scoring 29 points but with the game on the line down by one he missed four straight free throws as the Huskies lost. That game ultimately cost them the NCAA tournament. In the NIT Wroten didn't play well either only averaging 10.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 4.2 APG. Wroten is one of those guys who will make a bigger impact with the Huskies in the NBA as him playing well will give the Huskies program more of a spotlight to hopefully land the next Wroten.

Wroten and Isaiah Thomas were supposed to play together this year but Thomas bolted to the NBA. Thomas fell to the second round only to see himself finish 7th in the NBA rookie of the year voting while being second team all rookie team. Not bad for the last pick in the draft. While Wroten is more talented than Thomas he wasn't quite as polished as Thomas was by the time he left the Huskies. Regardless of how their careers turn out Thomas will have left a mark at Washington while Wroten just wasn't the same. Even Ross who was only here two years at least had his moments in the Pac-10 tournament championship and against UNC in the NCAA tournament. He also came up big on the final four NIT run. With Wroten just like with Hawes you will always feel like there is a huge gaping hole in their UW legacy. Sure they might go onto to be great NBA players but a guy like Jon Brockman who is barely hanging on in the NBA will always have a special spot in Huskies fans hearts over Hawes and Wroten.

From Lorenzo Romar who won Pac-12 coach of the year this was a bittersweet day. First time in school history the Huskies produced two first round picks. So when you win a conference title, have two first round picks plus the coach of the year you would think this was a special year. Instead this team missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008 as they made history being the first BCS conference champion to miss the NCAA tournament. For Ross, every UW fan expected him to go as he was ready and Romar even acknowledged that. For Wroten you are disappointed as he left with major unfinished business. This draft was loaded while next year is supposed to be extremely weak meaning had he stayed another year he'd be a top 10 pick which means more money later on. Plus you'd think after the way his Pac-12 career ended with the miss free throws against Oregon State and then his season ended shooting 4-16 with zero assists in the NIT overtime loss to Minnesota he would have came back. I won't vault someone for wanting to be a millionaire this year but the program will be hurting. With Wroten the Huskies would have been the conference favorites instead they'll be lucky to make the NIT.

So this day was historical for the Huskies and hopefully Romar can turn this history into landing some major recruits. After seeing Wroten and Hawes though should we even be excited to land these one and done type of talents? Sure they look good as they add to your NBA alumni status but far as the program goes both years were huge letdowns. For Wroten though he is going to a good team who has made the playoffs the last two seasons. He can learn how to be a team player as he fits in to find his niche. After a while hopefully he cuts down on his turnovers, improves his free throw shooting and developes something that resembles a jumper so he can be a successful guy who lasts in the NBA. Wroten was a wonderful talent and there was no freshman I enjoyed watching more than him as he "Wow'd!" me so many times. At the end of the day with Wroten you will always feel like there was something more he could have given this program. The reality is his best gift can be notority so the Huskies can land the next big time recruit and this time hope that guy can do what Hawes and Wroten couldn't do. Hopefully that guy can finally lead UW to the promise land until then we'll always wonder what could have 2013 been with Wroten as a sophomore and Ross as a junior. At least they made Huskies history right?

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