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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 25, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Wilcox remains a starter; Suggs may return next week

Photo credit: Seattle Times – Dean Rutz
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said redshirt freshman guard C.J. Wilcox (above) will remain in the starting lineup and Venoy Overton will return to the bench.
Scott Suggs, who has missed the past two games due to a strained left MCL, may return next week for Thursday’s game against UCLA.
“The thing that C.J. gives us is the same thing that Scott gave us or if Terrence Ross was starting it’s a bigger guy in the beginning of that game that forces the other team to make some decisions right off the bat,” Romar said. “Who are they going to defend?
“If you’re guarding C.J., you’re not going to leave him. Scott Suggs, you’re not leaving those guys. It just opens it up a little more. I think it frees up Isaiah and everyone else with those guys in there.
“On the flip side, with Venoy in there it frees up Isaiah in that he’s the best at making plays for Isaiah and Isaiah doesn’t have to work as hard. … The other guys free up Isaiah when he has that ball and I think Venoy frees up Isaiah to not have to work as hard.”
Wilcox is averaging 14.5 points in the last five games, which is third on the team behind Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Isaiah Thomas.
Romar said Wilcox is showing his versatility lately. At Arizona State he collected a career-high eight rebounds and Tuesday he had six against Seattle University.
“The thing I’ve been impressed with C.J. is that even in a game where he’s 1 of 8 from the field and 1 of 6 from the three, he still pulls down six rebounds,” Romar said. “He still steals two balls. He’s doing more than just shooting. … He’s been showing his versatility by having his hands in more plays than just when he has the basketball.”
Overton expressed a desire to start. However, Romar said the senior guard understands what’s best for the team.
“I know he wants to start,” Romar said. “We’ve talked enough about this over the last 3-4 years where we just kind of talk through it. If he didn’t want to start we probably wouldn’t want him on the team.
“You want a guy who is competitive and wants to be in there and feels he can help the team. That’s understandable. Everybody on that bench wants to start. The conversations that we’ve had has just been this is what we’re going to do and he’s been a team guy about it.”

— Washington State is 2-4 since beating UW 87-80 last month. When asked if he was surprised by WSU’s record, Romar said the Pac-10 is more balanced than it’s perception.
— Romar expects the Cougars will defend the Huskies with a 2-3 zone like they did in the first meeting when UW shot 37.1 percent (23 of 62) from the field and 35.5 percent (11 of 31) on three-pointers.
— Romar said UW’s biggest problem wasn’t its bad shooting in the first game. He attributed the defeat to 24 turnovers. “We needed to be a little more patient against them,” he said.
— When asked about UW’s frontline, Romar said: “Our bigs have slowly, slowly really become better basketball players as this year has progressed. Obviously Matthew was the (Pac-10) Player of the Week early in the year and has had really good games early, but Darnell (Gant) has quietly become a much better rebounder. He’s had more games when he’s getting five, six or seven rebounds out there. Where there were a number of games early in the year where he’s getting zero to two rebounds. So he’s become better. We know he’s a good defensive player. He’s made a couple of moves down there where it just shows he’s getting more comfortable.
“And Aziz just plays with a lot of energy on Tuesday against Seattle U. If he can continue to do that it really helps. Aziz is also starting to understand what we want conceptually on both ends of the floor too. And that’s helped. This is a whole new system for him and he’s been able to pick that up a lot more. With Aziz, he’s able to play now more than think.”
— Romar said home games are different when Arizona, the Los Angeles schools and WSU visits Hec Ed.
— Romar acknowledged there’s extra motivation and more trash talking among the players to compete and play well during the UW-WSU games because many of them are friends or know each other off the court.
He said he likes the extra motivation if it helps keeps guys focused. He doesn’t like it if guys go too far with it.
Romar recounted a story from his first year when former Franklin High standout Alvin Snow led Eastern Washington to a 62-58 win over Washington. Snow finished with 24 points and got the best of a trash-talking duel with Will Conroy (11 points), Doug Wrenn (12) and Nate Robinson (19).
Romar also said the Huskies strayed away from the team game when it lost early this season to Kentucky.
— Romar said the greatest trash talkers were Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Gary Payton. Among the Huskies, he listed Robinson, Bobby Jones and Quincy Pondexter.
“Bobby Jones talked a lot under his breath,” Romar said. “Nate talked a lot under, over and all of that. But Nate wouldn’t get away from what he was doing. Nate would still go play the game.”
— Walk-on Brendan Sherrer returned to practice Thursday. He suffered a staph infection in his right arm. “Disgusting,” said Romar jokingly.
— Romar watched Arizona’s defeat Thursday at USC. He knows the Huskies are just two games behind the Wildcats with three games to play for both teams. Still, he’s not overly concerned about the Pac-10 regular-season title at this point.
“A lot has to happen for that to take place,” he said. “We can’t lose sight of Sunday. You probably expect me to say that, but it really is the truth. We have a week and half of conference play. We have to take advantage of it and not get sidetracked or distracted by other issues.”

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs, UCLA


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