Washington gets "commitments" from guards David Crisp and Carlos Johnson, which halts a wave of defections.
The exodus of Washington men’s basketball players halted – perhaps momentarily – Sunday when David Crisp and Carlos Johnson announced they’re returning next season.
During the eight days since the Huskies hired new coach Mike Hopkins on March 19, six UW players, incoming recruits or verbally committed prospects have asked for their release or are reportedly looking at other schools.
Crisp and Johnson are the first Huskies who have publicly said they’re returning in 2017-18.
On Sunday afternoon Crisp tweeted: “Just a hometown kid tryna put on for my city. There’s unfinished business so I ain’t goin no where! #NewBeginnings”
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And Johnson wrote: “As wars come and go, my soldier stays eternal and I remain a husky!”
Retaining Crisp, a 6-foot, sophomore guard, is critical for Washington considering he’s the leading returning scorer who averaged 13.8 points last season. He was fifth in the Pac-12 with 77 three-pointers, despite shooting just 36.7 percent behind the arc.
Crisp was one of two Huskies who started all 31 games, but struggled with consistency. At his best, Crisp is a deadly perimeter threat who drained five three-pointers and sank a career-high 31 points during an 85-61 loss at Utah on Feb. 11.
He also failed to score in double figures in six games, including an 0-for-7 shooting performance at Gonzaga and a scoreless outing in the regular-season finale at USC.
Late in the season when freshman star Markelle Fultz missed six of the last eight games, Crisp took over point guard duties and admittedly struggled running the offense. He averaged 3.1 assists, 2.1 turnovers and had a 1.3 assists-to-turnover ratio.
Crisp finished a miserable 9-22 UW season on a personal high note.
During a 78-73 loss to USC in the Pac-12 Tournament opener, he tallied 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He converted 8 of 15 shots from the field and was 4 of 9 on three-pointers.
Johnson averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 31 games. He made four starts late in the season.
Prior to their announcements, the Huskies were being hit almost daily with news of a player departure.
Michael Porter Jr., the No. 1 2017 prospect, received his UW release and is headed to Missouri while his brother Jontay Porter, a 2018 top 60 prospect, decommitted from Washington. Garfield High’s Daejon Davis, a four-star 2017 prospect who signed with UW, reportedly told ESPN he’s re-opening his commitment and Blake Harris, a four-star point guard from North Carolina, is no longer a Husky.
Washington’s remaining scholarship players include: Crisp, Johnson, Matisse Thybulle, Dominic Green, Sam Timmins, Dan Kingma, Bitumba Baruti and Devenir Duruisseau. Timmins and Duruisseau are the only Huskies taller than 6-6.
If everyone stays and the Huskies retain 2017 signees Jaylen Nowell, a four-star guard at Garfield High, and Mamoudou Diarra, a Mali native and 6-9 forward playing in Missouri, then they’ll have 10 players on the roster.
The NCAA allows Division I teams 13 scholarships.
Early Sunday, Washington announced the return of Cameron Dollar, who joins Hopkins staff after an eight-year stint at Seattle University where he was 107-138. He was an UW assistant under Romar from 2002-09 before taking the SU job.
“It is an honor to rejoin the Husky nation,” Dollar said in a statement released by UW. “I have known and respected Coach Hop for years. We have the same core values about life on and off the court. Furthermore, I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to help young men grow and reach their dreams.”
Dollar, who joins Will Conroy on UW’s staff, said yes to Hopkins after Husky assistant Michael Porter Sr. left for Missouri and USC assistant Jason Hart declined an UW offer to remain with the Trojans.
“Cameron brings a wealth of knowledge, extensive experience and valuable relationships to our program that are just unparalleled,” Hopkins said in a statement from the school. “I’ve known him since he was a player at UCLA and I have a ton of respect for him, not only as a coach but as a person. Our values aligned right away. His passion to help develop young men on and off the court is so evident. We are so lucky to have someone of his caliber on our staff!”