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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 12, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Isaiah Thomas on post players: “We’re going to go as far as they take us”

As you might expect, practice was a little more animated than usual. The Huskies are on the court now and coach Lorenzo Romar’s voice is echoing throughout the building.
During warmups, assistant Paul Fortier worked with the big men on post-up moves. He’s done this many times before, but in the past I remember he’d have an assistant bang against the players with a pad or maybe walk-on Brendan Sherrer would be the defender.
Today Fortier defended each player himself. And he wasn’t holding back.
Without a ref on the court, he banged, shoved and grappled with the players beneath the rim. Being physical doesn’t accurately describe the exercise. And judging by the looks on the players’ faces, they were a little surprised by the hands-on approach.
When it was over, Fortier was dripping with sweat and I asked him if he was young enough to keep it up. He said: “Just getting started.”
At the other end, assistant Jim Shaw worked with the guards on dribbling. Using two balls, he had players dribble two with both hands before making them perform a layup drill.
Senior co-captain Quincy Pondexter appears intense these days, but overall the mood of the team was light.
Junior forward Justin Holiday, who didn’t play the past two games because of an eligibility issue, was one of the first players on the court and practicing pull-up jumpers from the elbow.

(What’s the mindset of your team after the weekend?)
“It seems to me that after the Arizona trip, I think we’re at a point where we, I think we’re at this point where we realize we’ve got to bring it every time we play. Every possession. We can’t just show up and win games, do well. It’s something that we’ve tried to communicate to our team from day one. If we don’t go out and really go after it, not only will we not do well, but we’ll look bad. I think our team maybe realizes that a little more after this weekend.”
(What do you think about Stanford?) Team that really plays with a purpose. A team that has role players that definitely know their roles. Sometimes we think of a role player as someone who doesn’t do much scoring. Landry Fields knows his role. He’s scoring, he’s rebounding, he’s doing it all for his team. Jeremy Green knows his role. He can flat-out shoot it. There are other players that know what’s important for them to win. Offensively, defensively, they play with a purpose.”
(How well is your team playing with purpose?) Not real good right now with it. That’s one of the things we got to do. It’s all part of what we do that we’re not doing right now.”
(What happened with Justin Holiday?) “We expect him back this week. Just an eligibility issue that academically just didn’t get resolved. He is not in any academic trouble. It’s just that rules change from time to time, and like I said he should be back (on Thursday). It’s just a technicality from one (quarter) to the next that has to get resolved.”
(What happened in Arizona?)
“I was really trying to let the game come to me. I was trying to make my teammates better. I was trying to be patient with everything. But they did a great job of putting a variety of defenders on me and trying to be physical. They did a great job of executing their game plan.”
(As a team, have you all stuck to the philosophies?) “At times I would say as a team we’re really stubborn sometimes. I don’t know what it is. We have to figure a lot of things out this week. We have to really get things rolling this week. I hate when people attack coach Romar for his coaching philosophies because we’re the ones out there playing. He provides so much for us and I felt we let him down. I really let him down. We just have to get the ball rolling.”
(On where the team is)
“I don’t know. It’s a new day. Like we always say after every game, we’re on to the next one. You have to have a short memory in this sport because there are so many games. It’s still early, but we’ve got to fix a lot of things we’re not doing good. One is rebounding. Another is slow starts. Once we do it, it’s so early, that we can make a big change in a lot of things.
(How can you rebound better?) You’ve got to have heart, first off, when it comes to rebounding. You see a guy like Jon Brockman, he’s still getting boards, and he’s in the NBA and he’s a 6-7 forward. It’s about dedication and heart and wanting to. We’ve got to install that into ourselves. We’ve got to be the fierce competitor out there first and make the first hit. We’ve been hit a lot first, especially these last two three games we’ve been hit first. We’ve got to take the hit.”
(How’s your ankle?) “About the same. It won’t get no better because I’m steady practicing and steady playing. But you’ve got to fight through it.”
(Any headaches from the concussion?) “Yeah, I hit my head. In the Arizona State game, I got hit by a pick. That’s what the game is, though. You’ve got to get right back up and fight it off. I had a little headache after, but they said I was good to play. So …”
(Were you trying to get the frontcourt players involved vs. Arizona?) “You could say that. Especially the Arizona game. They played behind our bigs, so we tried to go at them early. We’re going to keep doing that. If guys get behind our bigs, our guys are good enough to score in the low post. They just have to do it. I have confidence in them. I’m going to steady praise them. They’re our bigs, and we’re going to go as far as they take us.”



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