By JOHN SLEEPER
SEATTLE – Just two games into his first college season, Seamus Boxley is making himself known.
The 6-foot-7 true freshman from Mountlake Terrace High School scored 10 points in his Portland State University debut in a loss to Washington State and comes into tonight’s game at Washington averaging seven points and four rebounds a game.
“He’ll be hard to keep off the floor this season,” Vikings coach Joel Sobotka said. “His competitiveness, versatility and athleticism are not typical of a freshman.”
It will be interesting to see tonight whether his nerves are.
Returning to near his old stomping grounds, where he led the Hawks to their first state tournament appearance since 1981 and a 20-0 regular-season record, Boxley figures to feel a few butterflies once he steps onto the court at the newly renovated Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Yet, Sobotka says Boxley already has shown a maturity well beyond his 18 years. He fit in instantly with his teammates and is quickly adapting to the next level.
Boxley represents the future of the Vikings (0-2), who take on Washington (1-1) tonight.
“Seamus has a contagious personality,” Sobotka said. “He’s all about working hard and winning.”
The Huskies would love to end their three-game season-opening homestand with a victory to gather some momentum for a trip that takes them to Wichita State and Gonzaga before they return home to face Saint Louis on Dec. 5.
Washington is searching for consistency across the board. After a lackluster 73-61 loss to UTEP, the Huskies looked improved in spots in an 81-77 victory against New Mexico State. While it hardly was a Rembrandt – Washington nearly blew a 12-point lead late in the game via horrid free-throw shooting – coach Bob Bender said his team showed much better discipline and intensity on the defensive end.
And it is on the defensive end where the Huskies must manufacture points, through steals, charging fouls and through key rebounds that start the fastbreak.
“We did a lot better things, considering that I didn’t think we had a lot of highlights after the UTEP game.”
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