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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Pac-10 teleconference

Not much news from the weekly Pac-10 teleconference, but here’s the most pertinent comments.
Arizona coach Russ Pennell sounds as if he’s practically given up any hope of getting back into the Pac-10 race, which seems a bit premature. I know the Wildcats are ninth in the standings, but with 11 games remaining there’s still time to make a run.
Anyway, here’s what Pennell had to say about various topics.
(On the UW) “I’m really not surprised. Last year when I was doing radio for Arizona State one of the things that I always thought was the Huskies had really good talent but for whatever reasons they couldn’t put it together. I had that conversation with coach Romar last year and he was searching for the chemistry. I think what’s happened is Isaiah Thomas and the maturity of the older players has kind of brought a group together and they’ve got a lot of confidence. They’re arguably one of the hottest teams in America. Talent wise, I think they’re as good as just about anybody.”
(On UA’s season) “I think the season has gone about like I thought. We obviously could have won one or two more games that we kind of let slip by us. We knew coming in this wasn’t a typical Arizona team. Our depth wasn’t quite as good and it’s been chronicled that we’ve had some turmoil around here the last couple of years. But for the most part the guys have been a pleasant group to coach. They’ve worked extremely hard. They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. We got some nice wins, obviously Gonzaga and Kansas. Our whole thing right now is just trying to finish strong. I just think we got a pretty good basketball team overall and (keeping them) on the same page that’s my charge. And my staff’s charge is to keep us moving forward.”
(On Isaiah Thomas) “I’ve seen him play in the summer time the last couple of years and the one thing about this young man is he’s fearless. He comes in believing that he belongs. He comes in with some unusual leadership skills for a freshman. He’s just energetic. I love the way he plays. You can see where he would have such a positive effect on a team. I really believe that’s what’s been missing from the Huskies the last couple of years is just that one guy since Brandon Roy left and now it seems like they’ve found their chemistry.”
Coach Lorenzo Romar’s lobbying for Isaiah Thomas to win the Freshman of the Year award caused some of the Los Angeles writers to ask questions. Romar stood firm behind his point guard explaining that Thomas is the leading Pac-10 scorer in conference games.
(On USC’s freshman class) “I think it’s a little early to evaluate them because with the exception of Jrue Holiday and a little bit with Drew Gordon, they haven’t seen significant minutes. A lot of times with freshman you can’t evaluate them until they have been out there on the floor. I know Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson are outstanding guards. I watched them play quite a bit in high school. When they get their opportunity, they’ll do just fine.
“Jrue Holiday right now is finding his way. He’s an exceptional player. I think sometimes people judge him based on how many points he’s scoring or not scoring and that’s not his value. He steals the ball. He defends. If you watch their games, usually he’s on the opponent’s best offensive player. He rebounds. He does a lot of things. He passes the ball well. As a group I think it’s too early to evaluate them because they haven’t seen significant minutes.”
(On Nic Wise) “I’ve always been impressed with Nic Wise in terms of his ability to be a winner. He’s a real winner. He does whatever it takes to win. He can go down and shut down another team’s really good player. He can hit the big shot when he needs to. He just lives in the paint. He’s a great penetrator. He’s an outstanding point guard.”
(On the upcoming road games) “We’re playing some tough, tough teams. I don’t care what Arizona’s record is. Arizona is good, good basketball team. We watched them against Kansas and Gonzaga earlier and they looked outstanding. We don’t have an easy road ahead of us. I’m not going to tell y’all no problem at all. This is going to be tough. We could come back in two weeks and be 6-5.”
Romar meets with the local media at 2 p.m.

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