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December 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Lorenzo Romar: “We need to play Aziz (N’Diaye) more”

Just concluded a very long press conference with coach Lorenzo Romar and it’s obvious he isn’t over the 63-62 loss last Saturday at Texas A&M.
Romar said he’s watched the game 11 times and came away thinking UW has to improve in two areas: rebounding and offensive execution.
“Offensive execution is something that I put on myself because we just have to demand it more and emphasize is more,” he said. “Rebounding maybe it’s more a physical thing and we got to play different people. Offensive execution, I’ll put that one on me to where we have to demand that we execute.”
Romar said sophomore Aziz N’Diaye, who is second on the team in rebounding average (6.1) and tied for eighth in average minutes played (15.3), will see more playing time. He hinted at starting lineup changes, but stressed those who rebound will play more than anyone else.
It bothers Romar that UW has been outrebounded in five of nine games because the team stresses it so much.
“We probably talk about rebounding more than anything,” he said. “Not only do we talk about it, we go out and demand it and there’s consequences to not rebounding. The guys know all of that.
“I watched that game now 11 times and what could I, what could we have done better to have our team in a better position in that game and you come out with some things and one of those is rebounding. The thing I got out of it was continue to do what we’re doing but then there are certain guys that may need to play more. Aziz hasn’t given us a lot from the offensive standpoint, but due to foul trouble or maybe just when his knee is bothering him a little bit or bad matchups in the game, he hasn’t played as many minutes. But Aziz is averaging about 2 1/2 rebounds every three minutes, which is better than Jon Brockman when Jon Brockman was here. So it’s really good. So Aziz probably needs to play more. You take our team with Jon Brockman and play him 12 minutes a game, I bet you we don’t rebound as well.
“We’re addressing it. We’re working on it. If you know me over the years I will say I’m not going to panic over one game. Why is everybody in a panic off of one game. Well this has been a pattern. So patterns over a period of time has to be addressed. This has been a pattern and we have to address it. We know who are best rebounders are and we probably have to play them more minutes.
“What’s been killing us is rebounding so now we got to play guys who are stronger in that area. So we can go out and do drills and have people come in who are experts, but also play guys who are strong at rebounding. We don’t have a lot of those guys and Aziz is one of them.”
N’Diaye underwent right ACL surgery in June 2009. He still wears a brace and last week he complained of tendinitis in his left knee.
When asked if the 7-foot JC transfer is healthy enough to play 20-25 minutes, Romar said: “His knee is being worked on to where he’s going to be able to be functional in the game. … Our medical people are going to be able to manage (his knee) so that he’ll be able to play on it fine. … If he manages to stay out of foul trouble … but get him up to 20, something like that.”
When asked if he wasn’t getting enough from Darnell Gant and Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Romar said: “We need to play Aziz more. Whatever rebounding we’re lacking Aziz (makes up for it). … We got to have him in there more to compensate for not getting as many rebounding from the front line.”
Romar promised: “We can be a functional rebounding team. I’m not going to say we’re going to be plus-10 versus every opponent, but we can get to a point where we’re not going to just get outrebounded against every team we play that’s a good team or a big front line. I think it will be a lot closer and I think we will execute a lot better.”

— He said he wouldn’t have done anything different. He doesn’t regret calling two timeouts, including his last before sending the players on the court with 35 seconds left. Washington had never ran the play he called in a game and “I didn’t like how they walked off. Come back here. This means too much. Let’s call another timeout and make sure we know what we’re doing.”
Romar said even if he had a timeout after Isaiah Thomas stole the ball with six seconds remaining, he wouldn’t have used it.
“You have maybe your most dangerous guy with the ball in the open floor,” he said. “What timeout is going to get you something better than that with guys scattered around? I don’t know if you can design something like that. If we had 12 timeouts left in that position, we wouldn’t have called time out. This is exactly how we want it. This is it right here. You got your most dangerous guy with the ball, one of the most dangerous guys around in the open court, you’d love to have that. You’d take those odds every time. It just didn’t work out”
— I spoke to several players and UW’s last play was actually an option for Bryan-Amaning in the post or C.J. Wilcox curling free along the baseline for a three-pointer. Obviously Wilcox got the shot and missed.
— This week Romar added a 10-minute scrimmage during practice in which Washington works against a defense that falls back and defends the basket. In the past, the scout team ran the Huskies’ pressure defense during practice, which hasn’t adequately prepared them for what they’ve seen recently from the opposition. Romar hopes the extra session makes it clear where players need to make an extra pass and reverse the ball to get an open shot.
“These teams pack it in on us,” Romar said. “Seems like a lot of times on the road that happens. … What we’ve been doing now, we take 10 minutes, don’t play our defense and pack it in. Just sit back in the paint. Make it difficult for us to get in there.”
Romar made a similar practice adjustment about 1 1/2 weeks ago regarding inbound plays and this week has emphasized playing against a new defensive look.
— Romar said three players (Thomas, Bryan-Amaning and Wilcox) had designed plays in the final minute of the losses. Thomas missed a slightly contested 15-footer against Michigan State. Bryan-Amaning drew a foul against MSU and went to the line where he sank 1 of 2 FTs. Wilcox had the open shot versus A&M. (Romar doesn’t consider Wilcox’s three-pointer against MSU).
“If you’re talking about down the stretch, this is what we want, we want to give guys good looks at the rim or get the guy fouled and go to the basket, I think we did that all three times when we were in that situation,” he said. “It just didn’t go down. And it wasn’t just one guy. A few different guys had chances at it. And none of it is there fault. It just didn’t go down.”
— Romar said: “If we do a better job at boxing out, we’re undefeated right now. You look at how close the games have been and how many second-chance points we’ve given up, mistakes we’ve made and whatever we haven’t done. … Offensive rebound, that’s a basket right there. If we just take a few of those away every game, we really would be undefeated. So we’re working on the rebounding, the offensive execution and the effort the entire time we’re at practice. That mindset.”
— Admittedly Romar hasn’t watched a lot of San Francisco’s games just yet. He said the Dons play a 1-3-1 zone defense that’s not aggressive as Oregon State.
— Romar isn’t a big believer in moral victories.
“In 2008 we weren’t good enough,” he said. “Some crazy things happened to us in 2008 where we could have won the game, but we just weren’t good enough. This team is good enough, but we have to see it. There’s correction that can be made. Like I said the offensive execution and rebounding. You just make those corrections then with the schedule we had you can really say you’re undefeated.”
— Even though freshman Desmond Simmons is a talented rebounder, Romar will not burn his redshirt this season.
“We went through this last year when we weren’t a great three-point shooting team, why are you not playing C.J. Wilcox? That’s your problem. You can’t shoot. But we weathered the storm. … Desmond his forte is rebounding. He is one of those guys, he can do it. He can go out and rebound, but no we’re not going to. He’s healthy, but he’s missed nine games. We’re not going to take his year away now. That doesn’t even mean he’s going to come in and play 25-30 minutes a game.”
— Perhaps falling to 6-3 and out of rankings is a good thing for Washington.
“Even though we’re more of a veteran team, sometimes you still have to hit adversity before you really, really get focused,” Romar said. “Give credit to Texas A&M because they packed it in on us all game and we couldn’t knock shots down from the outside.”

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox


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