Key Losses: G Will Conroy (9.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.4 apg), G Nate Robinson (16.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.5 apg), G Tre Simmons (16.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
Postseason: NCAA: Defeated Montana 88-77, defeated Pacific 97-79, lost to Louisville 93-79 in the regional semifinals
Stanwood, WA/Transfer from Florida
Carbondale, IL/The Winchendon (MA) School
Sacramento, CA/Medical Redshirt 2004-05
Henderson, NV/Brewster (NH) Academy
Beaverton, OR/Mount Hermon (MA) School
Brockman has generated most of the buzz among the newcomers. He's a bruiser and physically ready to play right away. Appleby, a Florida transfer, should slide into the lineup as the playmaker. Johnson, a redshirt freshman, has had three knee surgeries since signing with the Huskies and his availability is unknown. Dentmon and Perry should get immediate playing time. Big men Wolfinger and Wallace might need some time to develop.
To order your 2005 Athlon Sports annual and receive $1 off plus free shipping courtesy of SI.com, click here.
Barely a month after they were eliminated from the NCAA tournament, the Huskies were back in contention for everything. National rankings. A Pac-10 championship. Another lengthy postseason run.
All it took was for guard Brandon Roy to stare into a bunch of TV cameras and announce his intention to return to Washington for his senior season.
"No one has seen the real Brandon Roy," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar says. "We saw glimpses before he injured his knee. We saw a little at the end of the year. We've seen it in practice. With him coming back for his senior year, I think the rest of the world will see how good he is. This guy is a difference-maker."
Certainly, this Pac-10 Player of the Year candidate is the difference between Washington, which lost three starters from a Sweet 16 team, submitting to a rebuilding year and maintaining its status as a contender in the Pac-10.
The Huskies still lack a dominant, back-to-the basket big man, but their frontline remains well-stocked.
A pair of three-year starters return in Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen, along with sixth-man Jamaal Williams, who was third in the league in shooting (56.1 percent) in his first season after transferring from New Mexico. Jensen is primarily an outside shooter -- almost 30 percent of his field goal attempts came from 3-point range -- while Williams does most of his work inside. Jensen will be on the sidlines until mid-December with a shoulder injury, however.
The versatile Jones led the Huskies in rebounding (5.6 rpg) and 3-point shooting (50.8 percent), and he usually draws the toughest defensive assignment. Yet his best attribute might be his relentless effort, a good example for Washington's bevy of newcomers.
One of the Huskies' rookies is Jon Brockman, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward who thrives on a physical style of play. He will be expected to make a significant contribution right away, especially while Jensen is out.
It all starts with Roy. The senior from Seattle was relegated to sixth-man duty last year after having in-season arthroscopic knee surgery yet finished third on the team in scoring (12.8) and second in rebounds (5.0). He also ranked second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (56.5). The only question NBA scouts have about his game is his outside jumper, but that's largely because Roy deferred the 3-pointer to teammates.
Roy has played all five positions for the Huskies, at times even manning the low post, but he will concentrate on playing both the point and 2-guard in his final season.
"I think my game will be pushed out farther, that I'll take more shots and bring the ball up the floor," he says.
Roy won't have to concern himself with an overload of ball-handling chores. Sophomore Ryan Appleby, a transfer from Florida, and freshman Justin Dentmon are natural point guards who should serve as able playmakers. Appleby, a Stanwood, Wash., native, averaged just 1.0 point in 23 games as a freshman at Florida two years ago.
In addition, sophomore Joel Smith, one of three players to appear in all 35 games last season, is an offensive threat (40 percent from three), while freshman Harvey Perry should help defensively.
The Huskies might be hard-pressed to match their school record-tying win total (29), but they'll continue to run and be highly competitive. They'll be bigger, but not as quick. And, of course, they will be entertaining.
The schedule is favorable, with 13 of the first 14 games at home, giving this group plenty of time to jell. The Huskies won't have to wait long to get tested, either. Washington tips off the season on Nov. 13 at the BCA Classic at Bank of America Arena. It's the earliest start in school history.
"We'll be a different-looking team, but we'll be good," Roy says. "We expect to be the [Pac-10] favorite."