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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 26, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Romar campaigns for Thomas

Just seven games into the Pac-10 season, coach Lorenzo Romar said guard Isaiah Thomas is the leading candidate to win the conference Freshman of the Year award.
“I don’t see how you could not give it to Isaiah Thomas unless a lot of things change drastically,” Romar said tonight during his coach’s show on KJR-AM. “He’s leading the league in scoring in conference games. He’s leading his team that’s at the top of the league. He’s having and outstanding freshman year.”
Other candidates include USC forward DeMar DeRozan and UCLA guard Jrue Holiday. However, Thomas is averaging 16.3 points per game while DeRozan aveages 12.3 and Holiday is at 9.4.
Romar said he expected Thomas would have an immediate impact as a scorer, but was unsure if opponents would exploit the 5-8, 170-pounder.
“I was more concerned with how quickly he would adjust on the defensive end,” Romar said. “The offensive end was not a concern at all. … He’s going to score points. It’s hard for him not to score points.”
During his hour-long show, Romar addressed several topics.
(On UW’s No. 23 ranking) “If you go out and play your best and become a marked team, so be it. You don’t ever want to hold back. You want to be the best that you can be and our guys have won 13 out of 14 games now and we don’t want to hold back. If teams are looking at us differently now, we’ve been through that before. This group hasn’t, but our program has been through that before and our guys handled it well the last time and I think we’ll handle it well this time. But time will tell.”
Romar said he believes in the East Coast bias theory, but doesn’t believe it matters unless the coach’s poll keeps them out of the tournament.
(Is Husky hoops helping new coach Steve Sarkisan’s recruiting efforts?) “We always try to help each other. I know when football season comes around we try to plan our visits around one of their bigger games, one of their more electric games. If we can be of any help, great.”
(On USC) “If they finish out well and make the NCAA Tournament, somebody is going to say oops how did we get these guys. What in the world have we run across because they are talented and athletic. When you look at their team, you talk about Daniel Hacket, he could be in the NBA. DeMar DeRozan will be in the NBA. Dwight Lewis could be in the NBA. Taj Gibson will be in the NBA. Those are four guys along with (Keith) Wilkinson who start. Marcus Johnson comes off the bench. That’s a really good basketball team and a very bad matchup for us. We were very fortunate to get that win.”
(On their past free throw shooting woes) “What this year’s team has been able to do is we realize we’re not going to set the world on fire by shooting three-pointers. We compensated for that by really penetrating to basket and just being in attack mode. We try to get out in transition. We crash the offensive boards and just try to be very aggressive. As a result, I think we’ve been able to get to the line. Justin Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas those guys are constantly looking to penetrate, Jon Brockman always gets to the line and as a group, I think that’s helped us.”
Washington was shooting 63.1 percent from the free throw line in non-conference play, but have stepped it up in league play and is shooting 74.4 percent. Over the last three games, the Huskies are shooting 80-of-98 (.816) from the charity stripe. Senior guard Justin Dentmon is shooting 22-of-23 from the line duriing the span.
(On UW’s zone) “Usually we will use it if we’re having trouble stopping another team in our man or if we’re just trying to slow a team down. In the UCLA game we went zone for two possessions, and as we always tell our team if one of you is out of place it’s going to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. Well, twice one person didn’t make their coverage and it didn’t help. But in other games on the road in Oregon we used it a couple of times and it really helped us down the stretch. We just kind of have to pick and choose. That is not our bread and butter. Our bread and butter is pressure man-to-man (defense).”
(On Arizona F Jordan Hill) “Jordan Hill definitely, definitely demands a lot of attention because he’s so good. Right now he’s playing as good as any big guy in the country. He’s long. He’s very athletic. He’s developed a mid-range jump shot. He has a great jump hook. He’s a very good basketball player. We better pay close attention to Jordan Hill.”
Romar believes Hill is the top NBA prospect in the Pac-10 and he’s not alone.
(More on Arizona) “When you’re talking about Nic Wise, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, you’re talking about three outstanding players. They kind of have role players playing around those guys. They are the type of team if they can win two or three in a row, all of sudden they gain their confidence and they can be extremely dangerous down the stretch. … It will be an interesting team to play against.”
The Wildcats (12-8, 2-5 in Pac-10) beat Gonzaga and Kansas, but they’re eighth in the conference.
Said Romar: “I thought they were going to be outstanding when we watched those games earlier. They had a couple of games where they committed some ill-advised fouls down the stretch. One on the road against USC and it might have been against UAB when they had the game won and they fouled when they shouldn’t have. There’s a few games if they could have had it to do over again, they probably would have won their ball games and their record would be a little different. They are a much better team then their record would indicate.”
(On the difference seeing the Wildcats without Lute Olson) “It will take some getting use to there’s no doubt about that. It’s weird now watching them on television and not seeing Lute patrolling the sidelines. But he will be at the game. He goes to all of their home games. I look forward to seeing Coach Olson. He’s always good to be around. Fun to be around and I’m sure he’ll have some words of wisdom.”
Finally, Romar said he believes former UW star Brandon Roy will be added to the United States Olympics team and will play in the 2012 London Games.
That’s all for today. Check back tomorrow for updates from Tuesday’s practice and an early look at Arizona.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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