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Timmins not buying into hype surrounding Huskies

There is plenty of hype surrounding the Washington Huskies this year, but Sam Timmins is not buying into any of that.

The Otago centre begins his third season of college basketball next week and, for the first time, his team has a weight of expectation.

Washington features on the Associated Press top 25 national rankings, placing 25th of the 351 division one teams.

The side took big strides last year and all its key players return, including Timmins and his room-mates, Matisse Thybulle and David Crisp.

However, the 21-year-old is keeping things low-key and avoiding the main sources of pressure.

“I haven’t had twitter on my phone for over a year and during the season I stay off most social media,” he said.

“That’s the way I deal with the external thing.

“I’ve heard people talk about it and I can imagine it’d be there, but it hasn’t affected me too much.

“As a team, after we beat Kansas last year, and Arizona, that hype started to build around us.

“But if you think about it we haven’t really done anything. We’ve won some good games but we haven’t done anything substantial yet.

“So there’s definitely no real reason to have our heads in the clouds just yet.”

The pre-season has been encouraging, the side travelling to the University of Nevada – ranked seventh nationally – and winning 91-73.

That left it confident going into Wednesday’s season opener against Western Kentucky.

After making a big improvement between his first two years, taking another step was Timmins’ focus.

He started all 34 games last season and excelled defensively at the back of Washington’s zone.

Offensively, the coaching staff restricted him to a typical interior role.

Restrictions were placed on many players, but the shooting game he was known for in New Zealand may be seen this season.

“A lot of what the coaches want me to do is the same sort of things I was doing last year, but obviously I want to do that at a higher level.

“Also maybe letting other parts of my game come into it as well.

“I’ve always been able to shoot, so I’ve worked with the coaches over summer on my shooting to the point that if I’m open they’ll let me shoot the ball.”

Off the court he was enjoying himself, but there was still no doubt where home was.

“I got to come home to Dunedin for about five weeks this off-season.

“Every time I come home it’s like I’m just going on these massive nine-month training camps basically, where I come over here and then go home.

“I just don’t see anywhere but New Zealand as being home.”

Timmins is not the only Otago product in action in college this season.

Joe Cook-Green begins his third season, his first playing with top NAIA school Texas Wesleyan.

Twins Zoe and Brittany Richards also enter their third seasons, both at division two level playing for Eckerd College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks respectively.

Former Otago age-group player Tylah King – daughter of Tracey and Leonard King – is in her final year at division one’s University of Pacific.


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