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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

October 7, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Huskies feeling so happy together

One of the major themes coming out of the media availability with UW coach Lorenzo Romar and some of the players today was how well everyone seems to be meshing on and off the court.
“This team, for whatever reason, we are together all the time, hanging out and all that kind of stuff,” senior forward Jon Brockman said today. “It’s pretty cool to see.”
Added Romar: “There’s a certain closeness with our team that hasn’t been there at this level the last few years.”
Romar intimated that the biggest difference in that is the incoming freshmen, whom he said all have attitudes of wanting to do what is best for the team. No one will necessarily say so directly, but the general feeling is that some of the more recent freshmen classes came to town with a little more feeling of entitlement. And that maybe everyone figured that NCAA tournament appearances were now a birth right of becoming a Husky.
“We were just riding on the backs of the other guys when we were freshmen,” Brockman said.
But a couple of years away, he said, has everyone hungry to do what it takes to make a return.
“I’ve got to get back to that thing,” said Brockman, who is said to be in the best shape of his life, weighing just over 250 pounds. “That little taste I got as a freshman wasn’t enough.”
Romar said that Brockman “is on a mission” this season to become an even better player than he has been the last three years.
Of course, it will take more than just liking each other better to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies had some significant personnel issues the last few years — an inability to play defense the way they had in the Brandon Roy-Nate Robinson era, for instance, and not as many playmakers.
Coaches think both of those issues may be solved this season by the influx of new players, and the maturity of the old ones.
Romar said today he thinks this team will most approximate the Roy-Robinson era teams of any one since then, saying “this is the quickest and fastest team we’ve had since Brandon Roy was here.”
Romar talked of what a difference that makes in all areas — being able to defend all over the court, get to loose balls and rebounds just a second faster, rotate just a bit quicker, get to the hoop just a little earlier.
And of the newcomers, the one of whom the most is expected is guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas arrived with a reputation as a big scorer but has impressed his teammates more with his playmaking ability. “Our guys keep talking about how he passes,” Romar said.
Thomas has also impressed observer with his maturity, his ease with media responsibilities and the way he fits in with the rest of the team.
Thomas downplayed his apparent new-found passing ability, saying a lot of it is simply a function of having a lot of other good players around him and not needing to score all the time, as was his role on previous teams. He also talked of his enjoyment playing with Brockman and how well the two will work together. “It’s going to make it so much easier for me having a big guy like that down low,” he said.
On several occasions, Thomas told reporters that “you guys are going to like it.” He said coaches have told him to become a leader of the team, and that it’s a challenge he is embracing.
“I want to get this program back on its feet,” he said. “They said to lead this team, that we haven’t had anything like you since Nate left. I bring a different attitude to it like he did, that no one is going to mess with us.”

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