After Washington’s 109-77 win over California, junior co-captain Isaiah Thomas said coach Lorenzo Romar threatened this week to bench any player who didn’t play defense.
Thomas said: “This week in practice coach said “we’re going to play defense and whoever doesn’t is going to sit next to me.” You know guys don’t want to sit, so they played some defense today.”
Romar gave a slightly different account today.
“I don’t know if it was those exact words,” he said. “But I think they guys understood that they needed to play defense.”
“There would be consequences,” he said.
Romar admitted he made some changes in the practice routine this week. Washington went away from the individual defensive drills and ran entirely 5-on-5 drills “where all four coaches watching every little detail,” he said.
Romar made the change to ensure what’s being taught in individual drills carries over into the game.
Here’s the rest of Friday’s interview with Romar.
— No UW lineup changes for Stanford. However, freshman Terrence Ross may work himself in the starting lineup before the season ends.
— Scott Suggs took three charges and UW had five as a team. Romar said the help defense was much better than it has been. He said: “We made huge strides. … A couple of first half back doors where they scored on us, that was the trade off a little bit. Maybe you give up a couple of those while maintaining your pressure the entire game. I like the returns that we had last night because we were there. We did build a wall on the weak side. If there weren’t five charges, there were 11 blocked shots. So we were definitely helping each other out. Team defense.”
— Romar didn’t really respond to Cal coach Mike Montgomery’s assertion after the game that UW fouls so much and the officials don’t call them all.
— Romar said the Huskies only had two minutes in which they did not play with intensity.
— The Huskies were panned for taking 31 three-pointers in the defeat at Washington State a couple of weeks ago, but the Huskies took 31 treys last night. The number is the same, but Romar explained there’s a big difference because UW had 14 more possessions and 13 fewer turnovers.
— Even though the Huskies played well last night with their man to man defense, Romar said the team will play zone at times this season. He said: “We can’t be so naive to think we’re that good to where we can stop anyone. We can’t. There are teams that we are going to face that what every we were able to accomplish last night defensively isn’t going to get it done. And that’s when you have to make adjustments at that point and the zone is there for us.”
— Romar said he could not have predicted the Stanford defeat and said it was not an omen for the team’s three-game losing streak. He said: “I’m asking my assistants, anything we’re missing the boat on? Is there an area that’s beginning to unravel? Are we taking bad shots? Defensively are we boxing out? Are our box outs where they need to be. Just taking inventory constantly in your program to make sure you’re doing things right. And defensively there was just no indication that this was coming until Arizona State.”
— On Aziz N’Diaye, Romar said: “Sometimes Aziz gets overzealous when all he needs to do is be there. But yet he will go out and swing. We’re just trying to get him to understand that his positioning is as important as anything he’ll do on defense.”
— On Stanford, Romar said: “They’re good defensively. They’re longer than you might think. They’re not a small team. They’re not a huge team, but they’re not small either. They’re well-coached on the defensive end. They play a conservative, packed-in style of defense. They won’t take many risks. And they try to make you score over them and they go a good job of it.”
— On Stanford’s Jeremy Green, Romar said: “He’s such a dangerous shooter with unlimited range. He’s just a guy that if you blink, you messed up. He’s going to get his shot up. You rarely see him shoot an off-balance shot. He’s always very balanced. Perfect follow through. If he gets it off, it’s got a great chance of going in. So you just got to be aware. If a team loses him for any reason, his first three could be the next 4-5 in a row.”
— On Stanford freshman John Gage, who chose the Cardinal over the Huskies, Romar said: “If he takes the garbage out, he’s going to do it well. He’ll put his his whole heart and soul into it. Kids like that. He’s a very, very good shooter. He has good size. He’s going to get stronger.”
— Romar said Matthew Bryan-Amaning “was a true fireman all over the floor” last night.