A year ago, Marcus Tsohonis used to spice up a dismal University of Washington basketball season by making people guess how he would wear his hair on any particular game night.
Explosive or tightly bound to his head.
His role with the Huskies was a lot like that, too — sometimes a 20-point night, other times a seat on the bench from start to finish.
Tiring of this wildly fluctuating role and weary from a 5-21 season, Tsohonis hit the transfer portal and ended up at Virginia Commonwealth, a school coming off an NCAA appearance.
The Portland, Oregon, product plays every night now for the Rams, though with restricted minutes. He's started two out of seven outings.
He's still adjusting to a new time zone and trying to bounce back from a debilitating groin injury.
Ironically Tsohonis had a coming-out game of sorts in the Bahamas' Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Syracuse, the alma mater and previous coaching stop for Huskies leader Mike Hopkins, the man he said goodbye to.
The guard dropped in 3 of 4 shots from behind the line, dished out 3 assists and finished with 12 points in VCU's 67-55 victory in the Battle 4 Atlantis. It helped get him over the hump in his new environment.
"It's hard really losing confidence, because that's one of the biggest things that I play with, is confidence overall,” Tsohonis told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Just going into [the Battle 4 Atlantis], I just knew I just had to perform. And my shot was going to drop, it was just a matter of time on how I'm feeling. And just getting my legs underneath me. That was the biggest thing.”
The 6-foot-3 sophomore averages 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds an outing for the Rams, an injury-filled team that now carries a 3-4 ledger.
“He's seeing the ball go in a little bit,” VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. “That gives you more confidence, because he can do that. We're going to need that the rest of the way out from him.”
While Tsohonis' shots are dropping and his legs are getting strong, his hair still remains under wraps, kept braided rather than wildly unleashed. That's either a coaching edict or a newfound personal choice. Maybe as the points pile up, the hair will lead the league again, too.
Tsohonis is one of six Huskies who fled Seattle and entered the transfer portal from last season's disastrous 5-21 team, a move that hasn't turned out well for most of them.
Former UW guard Erik Stevenson is the only full-time starter. He's opened all 7 games for 5-2 South Carolina, ranks second in scoring at 13 points per game, but continues to suffer from 3-point shooting range, hitting just 26.4 percent (14 of 53).
In the Gamecocks' most recent outing, an 80-56 loss to Coastal Carolina, Stevenson said, "We got our teeth kicked in in every aspect."
Ex-UW forward Hameir Wright has resurfaced at North Texas. Sort of. He didn't play in the Mean Green's 57-54 win over Drake last week, failing to make the eight-man rotation. He's appeared in 4 of 6 games for a 3-3 team. A not bashful and unsuccessful 3-point shooter for the Huskies, he's a mere 0-for-2 behind the line this season.
RaeQuan Battle drew just a minute of playing time and launched a shot in Montana State's 77-75 overtime loss at Northern Colorado. The former UW guard has appeared in all eight games for the 4-4 Bobcats, but continues to struggle with his outside shooting, hitting just 6 of 24 3-pointers.
Former Husky point guard Nate Pryor has come off a leg injury to play in two of New Mexico State's seven games. He drew drew two minutes and went scoreless in a 101-94 loss to New Mexico last week.
Finally, ex-Husky forward J'Raan Brooks started an exhibition game for UC San Diego but has failed to appear in any regular-season games, presumably injured.
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