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Husky Men's Basketball

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

September 15, 2009 at 3:09 PM

2009-10 season begins today, sort of

Well the first day of training camp is actually Oct. 16, but today begins a month-long period in which Washington coaches are permitted to give on-court instructions to players again. During the summer offseason, coaches aren’t allowed to interact with players on the court and weight training and conditioning for players is voluntary.
Starting today, players are allowed eight hours of supervised workouts per week, two on the court and six in the weight room or conditioning.
I spoke with Coach Lorenzo Romar last week and he was anxious to get everyone back and expected everyone to return.
Because recruit Charles Garcia did not qualify and enrolled at Seattle University, the Huskies have 12 scholarship players on the roster. The NCAA allows 13 scholarships and Romar said ideally, he’d like 14 players on the roster, but doesn’t plan on using the extra scholarship.
And Romar doesn’t appear to be making it a priority to fill out the roster with walk-ons. So for now, it looks as if he’s going with 12 players, which is probably for the best because doling out playing time and starting assignments figures to be high on the to-do list.
I’ve posted below a few questions and answers from my interview with Romar, which should provide some insight into what he’s thinking heading into his seventh season with UW. It’s interesting to note Romar never talked about defending the school’s first-ever outright Pac-10 title.
(Do you haven an idea about the starting lineup?) “I think Quincy Pondexter will be a starter and I think Isaiah Thomas will be a starter and beyond that it’s too hard to call.”
(When do you want that settled?) “Usually there’s no urgency there, but always as soon as possible so you know who’s going to be starting and playing together. That doesn’t usually happen within the first few days. We like to rotate our teams every day the first couple of weeks and let guys play with different combinations. What ends up happening is you find that the same guys, regardless of who they play with continue to either win or shine and make other players look better regardless of who they with. And there’s some other players who just don’t quite get it done regardless of who they’re with. The guys begin to separate themselves.”
(So you don’t want to go into the season juggling lineups like you had in the past?) “I would think that when we start playing games, we’ll have a pretty good idea. I would imagine that those first five would separate themselves. With our team, the toughest selections are going to be 6-9 or 6-10. That’s going to be the toughest.”
(What type of a rotation are you thinking?) “We usually go about nine deep. We play about nine guys.”
(Will this team be dramatically different from last year?) “Since 2005 with Nate Robinson, Will Conroy and those guys, this will be our quickest team that we’ve had. But we’ll be longer than the 2005 team.”
(What concerns do you have going into the season?) “Just the leadership is going to be important for us. With Jon Brockman leaving, he was fantastic leading. One of the best leaders I’ve ever been around. And no one is going to be Jon Brockman, but we need to have good leadership. That’s going to be a thing that will really bring this team together.”

(I’m assuming Quincy Pondexter will be a leader.)
“There’s no question it’s Quincy. Quincy is the senior. There’s no doubt about that he will be one of the guys, if not the guy, to step out and front to lead.”
(Does he have the personality to lead?) “I think Quincy has the personality to be just about whatever he wants to be.”
(I heard you say Tyreese Breshers will be one of the biggest surprises this season. Why do you think so?) “Yes he will be. People may look at his stature and see that maybe he’s undersized. He’s 260 pounds at 6-6, but he’s one of the fastest guys on our team and one of the best leapers on our team. He’s just very nimble for his size. He blocks shots. He’s strong. He’s the strongest guy on our team. So he’s got a lot of physical gifts.”
(Not to be funny, but did Clarence Trent shrink?) “Some people have him listed as tall as 6-8. He never shrunk. They say 6-5, but I think he’s probably about 6-6. … When he plays though, he plays 6-7.”
(Can Abdul Gaddy and Isaiah Thomas play together?) “All three of those guys can play in the backcourt together, Abdul, Isaiah and Venoy Overton. Abdul is a very unselfish player. He’s a pass first-type of point guard. He’s a pure point guard that can score points.”
(Will Overton start?) “When you talk about Isaiah, when you talk about Abdul and you talk about Venoy, all three of those guys are going to contribute heavily to our team. Just in terms of Venoy, he’s a game-changer. He has the ability to take a blah game that’s maybe not going anywhere for the Huskies and turn it into a rout because of ability to defend and push the basketball and his aggressiveness nature. We’re going to be counting on him heavily.”
(Will you start all three point guards?) “Probably not.”
Some quick observations …
Darnell Gant is the only returning starter that isn’t assured of a starting job this season. No need to run rampant with speculation. The 6-8 sophomore proved in his first season that he’s a steady hand. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 34 starts. Still Romar has some flexibility here with Justin Holiday, Breshers and Trent.
— This summer, Pondexter played well with the U.S. team at the World University Games, however, Romar noted Pondexter will have more of a featured role with UW this season.
— Looks like a make-or-break season for Scott Suggs. IT, Overton and Gaddy figure to consume most minutes in the backcourt and it will be difficult for the 6-6 sophomore to crack steal time away from the other reserves.
— Going into the season, rebounding and perimeter shooting appear to be the key weaknesses. Matthew Bryan-Amaning figures to fill-in for Brockman and the 6-9 junior is stepping into some very big shoes. Still, expect UW to rebound by committee. Now the same might not hold true for the three-point shooting. Elston Turner is the only proven three-point threat (25 of 68 for a .368 percentage last season) among the returners. Thomas converted .291 of treys and the other six returners combined for 16, nine from Overton.
And finally, some links …
DraftExpress.com breaks down the top NBA recruits in the Pac10. This report has UCLA G Malcolm Lee atop the list followed by Oregon C Michael Dunigan, Washington State F Klay Thompson, Cal G Patrick Christopher and Pondexter.
The Oregonian spotted Romar in the stands of a high school football game to see Jefferson (Ore.) High 6-9 senior Terrence Jones.
MontlakeMaddness.com spoke with Alex Kirk and confirmed the 6-10 center out of New Mexico is not being recruited by UW at this time. The school appears to have set its sights on Kentwood center Josh Smith and/or Jones.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, top 25

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