Mike Hopkins is the new head coach of the Washington Huskies. He came to Seattle after spending 21 seasons as an assistant to legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. In fact, Hopkins was even given the title Head Coach-Designate in 2015.
He was a finalist for the Oregon State job in 2014. So, he flirted with becoming a Pac-12 head coach before.
So far, Hopkins has brought new life to the Husky basketball program. He has them at 11-3 as the team visits Pauley Pavilion tonight. While their three losses came against Providence, Virginia Tech and then-#12 Gonzaga, the Huskies did beat then-#2 Kansas in a neutral site game in Kansas City.
The Huskies opened Pac-12 Conference play on Friday night by defeating Southern Cal, 88-81.
Washington’s starting five includes freshman guard Jaylen Nowell, who leads the Huskies with 16.9 ppg, junior guards David Crisp, who averages 12.2 ppg and leads the team in assists with 3.5 per game, and Matisse Thybulle. The Husky big men are junior Noah Dickerson, who leads the team with 7.9 rebounds per game, and sophomore Sam Timmins.
While the Huskies will generally play a 3-guard lineup, the three guys on the bench who have seen the most minutes are forwards Dominic Green, Naziah Carter and Hameir Wright. So, it’s possible that Hopkins could switch from a lineup of 3 guards and 2 forwards to a lineup of 2 guards with 3 forwards.
But, given that the Huskies seem to be playing better basketball, despite losing Markelle Fulz to the NBA, the UCLA Bruins need to take Washington seriously and make sure they get the ball to Thomas Welsh down low and get Aaron Holiday enough rest down the stretch if they want to make sure they beat the Huskies.