Coach Lorenzo Romar met with the local media today for his weekly press conference. The mood was dour for a team that’s 6-2 and ranked No. 24 in the country.
Romar said he’s cautiously optimistic, but warns the Huskies must shoot better from the perimeter or else defeats like the one last Saturday against Georgetown will continue.
Here’s today’s highlights:
(Opening statement) “I can’t wait for football season.I am so excited that Jake Locker is coming back. This is going to be awesome. I’ve got to get there even earlier now and get my kettle corn while it’s hot and enjoy that football season. Can’t wait.”
(What went wrong Saturday?) “We lost our defensive concentration in the second half. Georgetown is a very disciplined, efficient offensive basketball team. They didn’t change offenses in the second half. They ran the same offense in both halves. In the first half, we did a pretty good job. In the second half, they continued to execute and we didn’t. That was one.
“On the offensive end, obviously we didn’t take care of the basketball. Too much standing around on offense on our end. I think we got caught up maybe a couple of guys in scoring, Quincy (Pondexter) and Isaiah (Thomas). We just kind of stood around and watched as opposed to us having five guys moving out there.”
(Is it a problem having the bulk of the points coming from two guys?) “We got to continue to still play. The best scorers are going to score. I go back to 2006. Brandon Roy averaged 20 points per game and I think Jamaal Williams averaged 14-15 points a game. Bobby Jones was around 11 and after that we dropped off with three guys at 8 or 9. So we had two guys who were are primary scorers then Jamaal and Brandon, but the other guys were aggressive as well. That’s the trick. To have everyone still be aggressive while those two guys who have obviously stood out as our top two scorers continue to play the way their supposed to play. It’s a matter of everyone moving and sharing the basketball.”
(Who do you think the third scorer could be?) “It could be anyone of 3-4 guys. When you look at Matthew Bryan-Amaning, he is shooting over 50 percent. I know there’s some chippies that he’s missed and he’d probably be shooting over 60 percent if he could have put those down. He’s right at 9 points per game. He’d be a guy that could be a third scorer on a consistent basis. Beyond that, Tyreese (Breshers) hasn’t had a lot of looks, but he’s shooting over 50 percent. Clarence Trent hadn’t played a lot of minutes, but he’s shooting 60-plus percent. But we need to be able to on the perimeter have more guys shooting close to 50 percent, 45 percent. And hopefully we can help them with that.
(How do you instill confidence in guys who appear unconfident in shooting?) “Again as head coach to continue to try to help us get better offensive rhythm so that guys understand more maybe where the shots are coming. We know it, but again, but obviously we haven’t drilled it well enough. As head coach of this team, we got to do a better job of drilling it so that we do understand where we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to react. Then hopefully shots go down.”
(Do you want Pondexter and Thomas to shoot less?)
“No. Not necessarily. They are really good scorers. It’s not as much as … What the problem is because we have not moved like we should have, the ball ends up in their hands and they’re the ones that end up taking the shots. If we have better movement, then the ball will get reversed more and we’ll have better opportunities.”
(Doing anything different for Finals Week?) “We take a little more time off. We will take two days off this week as opposed to one day off. … Which makes this a scary game this week because you’re coming out of Finals. You’re not playing a junior high team. You’re playing Portland who is more than capable of coming in here and winning a ball game. Hopefully we’ll get our minds right by Saturday and be able to come out and play to the best of our abilities.”
(Is it puzzling that turnovers have been a problem considering the guards are considered the strength of the team?) “Yes. And also that the first four games, we averaged 11 turnovers a game. That one was an ambush to me. Didn’t see that one coming. I was actually a little more surprised that we were only turning it over 11 times. Again it had nothing to do with what someone may say is the competition. If you look over the past years and look at our opponents, we may win a game by 20 points and still have 18-19 turnovers early in the year. We just were taking better care of the basketball and I’m thinking, alright good. We got that one whipped and bingo. All of a sudden three straight games averaging over 20 turnovers a game. That’s something we’ve been addressing. We started addressing it last week.”
(What’s an acceptable number of turnovers?) “Thirteen. We’ll live with 15. If we go out and play and we committed 13-14 turnovers, okay not bad. We usually have more possessions than the other team, we try to play up-tempo. Not bad. We get to 15, alright but no more than that. Nineteen, 20, 25 is unacceptable.”
(Are you considering making changes to the starting lineup and rotations?) “Could be, but don’t know what they are yet.”
(Were you happy with the shortened rotation last Saturday?) “Yes. Again, you look at the box score and if you didn’t look at the game you’d say wait a minute, the rotation was supposed to be shortened and everybody played again. Well once things started to get out of hand, now we’re looking for answers. Scott Suggs came off the bench and gave us a great lift in the last few minutes as we were looking for answers there. I thought Clarence Trent came in in the second half and with the few minutes he got, he brought us some energy. Those were guys that weren’t playing much early, but we were looking for answers and they came in and did a nice job. We’re going to try to keep it short on the rotations.”
(Do Suggs and Trent warrant more minutes?) “You go off of that day, then you also have four days of practice too. Then you have games before that that you have to look at. We just have to see.”
(Is Breshers progressing or has he hit a wall?) “Yesterday was the first day that I can remember that Tyreese went 2½ hours at practice. What has happened is you go awhile and you have to keep getting pulled out a practice, we have to save him or else he couldn’t play in the games, you end up missing out on some fundamentals. Some defensive fundamentals and different things we’re doing offensively. You can’t drill it everyday. When you start falling behind, your conditioning starts falling behind. Yesterday was a very positive day for Tyreese because he went the entire day. I would say if that continues, he’ll be on track for Jan. 1. He’ll be able to give us those minutes.”
(What are Portland’s strengths?) “Unbelievable three-point shooting team. Very disciplined. They’ve got really good size. Their point guard T.J. Campbell is about 5-9, 5-10, but then after that they go 6-4, 6-6, 6-10 and 6-10 so they got really good size. And they play well together. They shoot the ball well, but the biggest strength is they’re a senior dominated team. That team has been together for three years. Most people forget that when those guys were freshman and sophomores, they came in here and almost beat us in here. And that was when they were young, starting out. So they’ve grown together. When teams grow together and when they’re seniors, that experience, it says a lot.”
(After eight games, how do you feel about your team?) “Cautiously optimistic. That’s where I’m at. As one concern, having enough guys that can knock shots down on the perimeter or guys that can, to start doing it. The other things are fixable. We’ll get those taken care of. The defensive errors, the turnovers, the forced shots, we’ll get that taken care of, but we got to put the ball in the hole.”