Coach Lorenzo Romar said redshirt freshman C.J. Wilcox, who missed last Wednesday’s game at USC because of a staph infection in his right hip, is questionable for Thursday’s game against Oregon.
Wilcox played Friday at UCLA, however, he logged just four minutes and finished with two points.
“He’s still struggling through it (the hip infection) a little bit,” Romar said.
When asked if Wilcox will play Thursday, Romar said: “I’m not sure at this point.”
MORE FROM ROMAR’S PRESS CONFERENCE:
— Romar said this is his best defensive team that he’s had in his nine years at Washington. The Huskies are holding opponents to 39.7 shooting from the field, which is second in the Pac-10 and the lowest for a Romar-led UW squad. He said the improved defense can be attributed to 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye, a cadre of 6-6 wings and the experience of six upperclassmen in the rotation.
— Even though Washington has one of the best backcourts in the Pac-10, if not the country, Romar believes Oregon will press the Huskies full court because that’s the defensive identity of the Ducks under new coach Dana Altman.
— N’Diaye has fouled out of the past two games and Romar said its because “he’s aggressive. Some games he’ll have more fouls than others.”
N’Diaye has made adjustments in his play since the exhibition opener and Romar said “I thought he’d actually get more fouls in setting screens. He hasn’t been getting a lot of fouls in screen setting.”
N’Diaye has gotten a lot of fouls defending the basket and Romar said he may have to give up a basket occasionally to stay on the floor longer.
— Romar raved once again about Isaiah Thomas, particularly his diving defensive play against UCLA when he swatted a pass away from a Bruins player before landing out of bounds near the UCLA bench.
“The little things that he does that people just take for granted so much,” Romar said. “And if he doesn’t have as good a game, people are very quick to criticize him. But when he has a really good game like he had against UCLA, it’s kind of like yeah well that’s what he’s supposed to do.”
— Romar on being ranked No. 23 and re-entering the national conversation: “Success is one of the hardest things to handle. We talk about that. Our guys are starting to understand you’re as good as your last game. All of that stuff can just go out of the window your next game. It’s fascinating in sports to me. If you win a couple, it seems like you’ve never lost. If you lose one, it seems like you’ve never won. I think our guys are starting to understand that. The guys who have been here over the years where we’ve had slow starts and you hear maybe we should shutdown our program and then at the end no doubt we’re going to the Final Four, you can’t get caught up into that. You have to get caught into did we get better today? Did we improve in that drill? Are we a better team as a result of our practice today? Did we approach practice the right way? And string some of those together so it becomes a habit. That’s what we have to be concerned about.”
— Romar said he was most impressed with the poise UW displayed in both games in Los Angeles. The Huskies were down 16-4 in the opening minutes at USC and they had a 17-point lead reduced to four with 4:35 left against UCLA.
— Romar likened freshman’s Terrence Ross 18-point outing at USC to Thomas who scored 19 points in his first Pac-10 game at Washington State.
— Romar expects one or two players among Scott Suggs, Wilcox and Ross will eventually emerge and play consistently at a high level, which should shorten the rotation. Still Romar didn’t sound as if he’s upset about the 10-man rotation.
— Romar on Ross: “He doesn’t have any problems shooting the basketball. Whether it goes in or not he doesn’t have a problem shooting the basketball. When you have a guy that doesn’t have a conscious that way – and we’re not necessarily trying to give him a conscious. You go play. When guys are scorers, I don’t like to say a whole lot to them. When they’re like that and they’re talented, they can score in bunches. I don’t care what year he is.”
— Romar hardly ever talks to Ross about shot selection during games, however, they do a lot of film study together about what is and what isn’t a good shot.
— Ross played just nine minutes and Suggs logged six against UCLA because they made some defensive mistakes. Twice Suggs allowed himself to be screened, which gave up an open shot. Romar said he needed to keep Justin Holiday to stabilize the defense and the senior small forward played 35 minutes.
— Romar said Abdul Gaddy had “a tough weekend in terms of scoring,” while complimenting him for playing good defense. Romar added: “I’m one who looks at patterns and I haven’t seen any pattern shown where all of a sudden you have to sit down and have a counseling session.”
— Romar isn’t a big fan of playing on Sunday because he believes the road team has a lopsided losing record. Still he understands the Pac-10 needs to do it to increase it’s exposure. He’s also never declined an offer to play on Sundays.
— Romar on Darnell Gant after he sank a clutch three-pointer that sealed the win against UCLA: “It does wonders. The look on his face after he made that shot, the emotion of it. He hit his chest. He (yelled) let’s go. He does that. And then you could just see him thinking wow that was a big shot. Man, here in LA. At home. We’re going to win the game. (And) I made the shot. You could just see that. Right after that, after the little dream he had. After the bubble burst then he said hey, relax. You know that it’s going to do wonders for his confidence.”
Romar said Gant made a big shot as a freshman at USC and against Marquette in the first round of the 2010 NCAA tournament.