Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Friday, January 21, 2011
UW's Isaiah Thomas still on a tear

By Eamonn Brennan

I'm guessing the majority of you don't play fantasy hoops with college players. Why? It does exist, after all, but aside from the licensing issues, trying to construct fantasy teams out of 344 Division I squads sounds more "Sisyphean" than "fun." But if you do play, and you can pick up Washington's Isaiah Thomas off "waivers," or whatever the college fantasy equivalent is, you should probably be doing so even as you read this paragraph.

At the very least, set your tuners to catch the Huskies point guard in action. Because he is officially on a tear.

Last night was Thomas' second-straight double-double, a 22-point, 10-assist, six-rebound effort in UW's dominant 85-68 home win over Pac-10 contender Arizona. Thomas scored his 22 points on an efficient 7-of-12 from the field and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Coupled with Washington's blowout win over Cal Sunday, Thomas has now scored 49 points, dished 23 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds in his last two outings. Yep. I think that qualifies as a tear.

Having your star players play well is always a boon, of course, but Thomas' emergence as a bonafide stat-sheet stuffer (with apologies to Clark Kellogg, of course) comes at the perfect time for Lorenzo Romar's team. That's because Romar lost starting point guard Abdul Gaddy to a season-ending ACL tear earlier this month, an injury that had the potential to derail Washington's Pac-10 and national title hopes.

Instead, it's meant more touches for Thomas, who has always been more of a combo guard than a true shooting guard anyway, and who hasn't missed a beat with the ball in his hands. As Luke Winn detailed (and yours truly mentioned) yesterday, Thomas is one of the best players in the country in pick-and-roll situations. That allows this offense to retain its dynamism; Thomas is so good on the ball, and has so many options to find off screens and in transition -- especially forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, one of the more underrated big men in college hoops -- that Washington is every bit as difficult to guard without Gaddy in the lineup.

Combine Thomas' production with Romar's desired pace -- the Huskies are one of the fastest teams in the nation -- and you get one of the most entertaining teams in the nation, one that is beginning to dominate in a manner you'd expect from such an efficient, hard-to-guard batch. Last night's UW-Zona game tipped at 10:30 ET, which means there's probably huge portion of the country that didn't see the game at all. That's a shame. Add Thomas to your fantasy hoops team if you can; otherwise, just add him to your DVR. He and his Huskies are must-see TV.