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September 7, 2007 at 8:53 PM

No Midnight Madness, Romar on Greece

Had a chance to catch up with Lorenzo Romar for a few minutes today as the team has arrived home from Greece.
I asked him how the trip went, as well as the team’s schedule for the next month or so, and among the things he said is that the Huskies will not be connducting a Midnight Madness celebration to kick off the season as they did last year.
“We’re just going to concentrate on preparing for our season,” Romar said. “We just want to maximize our time.”
UW held a Midnight Madness for the first time of the Romar era last season, in part due to the all the hype created by the incoming freshman class and on the heels of two straight Sweet 16 appearances. But Romar likes to take the team away to start practice (which this year will begin on Oct. 12) and may do that again this year. He felt that wasn’t possible last year with a Midnight Madness.
ON THE GREECE TRIP, Romar said the biggest thing the team got out of it was how to “really, really compete through adverse circumstances.”
Romar said the settings for the games was unlike anything the team would face during the season. For instance, most days the team did sightseeing up until shortly before game time, driving an hour or so each way “things you would never do during the season,” he said.
Also, he said “the gyms were extremely hot and muggy” and that the officials “were not U.S. officials, and I’m being very kind when I say that. There was very physical play and we were forced to play through that.” He said an example is the broken nose suffered by Adrian Oliver in the last game, which he said looked pretty intentional. Oliver is having the nose reset in the next few days and should be fine for the season.
There was also no chance to gameplan as the Huskies didn’t know what the opponent would look like until arriving at the gym. He said the teams could be called at the mid-to-high Division I level.
As for the team, Romar said he thought the Huskies “turned the ball over at times probably too much” but that he liked the team’s effort on defense. “We were looking for effort and we pretty much had that,” he said.
As for individual players, he said Jon Brockman — as might be expected — was the team’s best player throughout the trip. Brockman averaged 18.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
“He was outstanding,” Romar said. “You could see that he has become a better player than he was last year. He’s hitting his shot consistently and is becoming a better shooter.”
After Brockman, Romar said the best player on the trip was Tim Morris. “He did what we were hoping he would do,” Romar said. “He shot the ball really well and he was a presence out there. Besides Jon Brockman, he was our best performer.” Morris averaged 12.8 points and shot 52 percent.
The surprise of the trip might have been center Joe Wolfinger, who had the big outing in the first game with 17 points and six rebounds, and while he never approached those numbers again, he was able to play in all five games after having sat out last season with a stress fracture in his foot. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds.
“He exceeded my expectations for the trip,” Romar said. “Considering that in February, March he couldn’t even run, to do what he did that first game was impressive. I think after that game his legs caught up with him and he hit a wall. He showed he can shoot the ball and he was big around the rim. And while he’s not the greatest shot blocker in the world, when he just stands with his arms upraised it makes a difference. We could see that he can definitely help us.”
One player of interest heading into the trip was point guard Justin Dentmon, who has vowed to rebound from some struggles last season. Romar said Dentmon had some good moments but that overall “he played okay. He wasn’t great, but he was okay.” Dentmon struggled with his shot a little bit, hitting 3-11 three-pointers and shooting 45.8 percent overall.
Quincy Pondexter, who many figure could take a big leap in scoring this season, was tied for Dentmon for third on the team at 11.6. Romar said Pondexter was bothered a bit early on by a slight knee injury but then shook it off and played well the end of the trip. He averaged 14 points in the last two games.
The team will take a few days off but will then be able to begin holding workouts for two hours a week and doing conditioning and other work for up to eight hours before beginning full-scale practice in October.

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