SEATTLE — The “run it back” theme is gaining traction among the Washington Huskies.
Ten days after Braxton Meah used those words to announce he’s returning the Washington men’s basketball team next season, freshman guard Koren Johnson echoed the sentiment last Friday on social media.
And on Monday, Johnson’s backcourt mate, Keyon Menifield Jr., did the same.
“Can’t wait to run it back next year with my brothers!!” Menifield tweeted. “(Washington) next season (is) gone be special. We coming for it all.”
Coach Mike Hopkins made retaining the freshman guards one of UW’s offseason priorities after they showed promise this season and displayed glimpses of greatness.
Menifield, a 6-foot-1 guard, scored 21 and 26 points in his first two starts before an extended shooting and scoring slump when he went back to the bench.
Hopkins returned Menifield to the starting lineup Dec. 30, and the guard finished first among Huskies in assists (3.1 per game), second in scoring (10.0) and tied for third in steals (1.1).
“He was first on our team in assist-to-turnover (ratio), which is what led to him getting more minutes and taking over that role for us,” Hopkins said. “Keyon has shown that he can take care of the ball. … He’s also a guy that can score it when he has to. We’ve seen him have some big nights that way.”
Menifield accounted for more than half of Washington’s offense during a brilliant outing in which he tallied a career-high 27 points and seven assists during a 72-71 overtime win against Oregon.
“I was just getting to my spots,” said Menifield, who connected on 11 of 15 shots and finished with five rebounds in 43 minutes. “Not even trying to score, but make sure I get my teammates involved. Doing what I can to help my team.”
That’s five Huskies returning, including senior guard Cole Bajema and junior center Franck Kepnang.
Jamal Bey’s eligibility has expired, while Langston Williams and Jackson Grant are transferring.
That leaves five Huskies still undeclared, including leading scorer Keion Brooks Jr., senior guards Noah Williams and PJ Fuller II and forwards Tyler Linhardt and Samuel Ariyibi.
Last week, Fuller reportedly was set to transfer. However, he has not filed the necessary paperwork and is believed to be undecided.
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