As we wrote here Monday, the Huskies are again receiving accolades galore after their sweep of the Los Angeles trip – the first for UW since 1987.
When UW coach Lorenzo Romar and players met the press today (Tuesday), the theme was not getting caught up in that success.
Romar and several players said the loss to Washington State may have served as something of a wake-up call. Now they need to not fall asleep again.
Brandon Roy said he thought the Huskies “played a little selfish” in the Cornell game – a sluggish 87-71 win – that preceded the WSU loss and again against the Cougars.
“All that went out the window once we lost to WSU,” Roy said.
But Roy said it “will be interesting to see how we react” now that everyone is again patting Washington’s collective back.
What helps UW stay focused this week are the opponents – Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Saturday. The rivalry with each school is obvious, and the current players can readily recall playing some of their most memorable games against the Ducks and Beavers.
Everyone, obviously, remembers the win at OSU two years ago that’s regarded as the turning point of the program. The current players also recall that OSU dealt UW its largest loss of last season, a 90-73 defeat in Corvallis.
And every game recently with Oregon has been intense without even mentioning the “Gary Coleman” chants that so fired up Nate Robinson the past two years. That Seattleite Aaron Brooks is Oregon’s point guard further adds to the fire.
I don’t think coming out flat will be UW’s problem in these two games.
Here are some more news and notes:
Freshman guard Harvey Perry, out all season with a back injury, is on schedule with a rehab program that could have him return to the court in a few weeks. Romar, however, left open the possibility that Perry will redshirt this season, saying it’s “50-50. … I think he’d like to play if he could.”
Romar praised the efforts of redshirting center Joe Wolfinger, saying he is progressing “quite nicely. Man he’s just a tremendous worker.” Part of the plan in redshirting Wolfinger was for him to get bigger and stronger – he’s listed at 7-foot, 245 pounds. Noting that Wolfinger practices several hours a day – he usually has an individual session before or after practice in addition to taking part in regular drills – Romar said “he’ll gain more weight in the offseason.”
But Romar sounds excited about Wolfinger’s future, stating again that always displays a nice shooting touch and is increasingly comfortable working down low.
Though reserves Mike Jensen and Ryan Appleby came off the bench to help lead the win over UCLA, Romar said that won’t necessarily lead to any changing of roles. Instead, he said minutes and roles can change each game based on the opponent.
“Each game presents its own different set of challenges,” he said. OSU, for instance, is a little bigger and slower team than some others – three starters are 6-8 or 6-9 – which could mean UW will go more with a bigger lineup. And as such, more time for Hans Gasser, who played only four minutes on the L.A. trip – all against UCLA.
Jensen will have an increasingly larger role as he continues to get back in playing shape. But he said he’s not concerned about whether he starts any time soon. Or whether he does ever again. “I’d be happy being the last guy on the bench as long as we’re winning,” he said.