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September 13, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Lorenzo Romar: “2012 is not a critical recruiting year for us”

For the second straight year, coach Lorenzo Romar and I sat down for an extensive interview that covered a wide-range of topics as the new season approaches. I’ll distribute the discussion in a series of posts this week.
In Part 1, Romar talks about recruiting, what changes he would make in recruiting if he were NCAA president Mark Emmert and the fallout from assistant coach Raphael Chillious’ secondary recruiting violation.
Romar anticipates signing a recruit during the early-signing period, but it’s apparent the 2013 recruits have cast a shadow over the 2012 targets.
Here’s the interview.


(We’ve talked about this before, but describe your offseason schedule.) “April is recruiting. The whole year is recruiting. That never stops. But we can start to workout with our guys individual workouts two hours a week. Committee meetings for me. NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Board of Directors and USA Basketball. April and May that’s when those things take place. A lot of speaking during those times. June is camp month. We do the Nike coaching trip in June. July is recruiting. August is more camps. At the end of August there’s usually a time when my wife and I get away. Then back at it right now in September with recruiting. Then Sept. 15 we can begin working with our team again.”
(What does that entail?) “Eight hours total (for a week). Two hours with a ball. And the rest of the time could be anything whether it’s film, weight training, conditioning.”
(In terms of recruiting, are the days of really early commitments like Desmond Simmons over. Simmons committed in the spring, which was something like five months before he could sign.) “No. Every year is a different year. You have different needs. You have different student-athletes that you’ve been involved with. Maybe it turns out you weren’t involved that early. Some years you have your spring crowd, 3-4 guys who wait until the spring. Other years they’re ready to get it over with. It just depends on the year.”
(As far as I know, UW doesn’t have a 2012 verbal commitment. Is that unusual or normal?) “I wouldn’t say either. Based on what we’re looking at and who we’re looking at, I don’t know if it’s normal.”
(Is it cause for concern?) “Definitely not cause for concern. If we had a couple of guys that would have went into the draft at the end of the year, that would have given us additional scholarships. But right now, we only have two scholarships. I think with recruiting sometimes, if you sign a class of five for three straight years and the next year you don’t have any scholarships, then you get asked what’s wrong with the recruiting. A lot of times people think it’s like football and each year they’re signing 20 guys. It’s not like that in basketball. Right now, we just have a couple of pieces to fill. We don’t have very many holes. If we knew everyone was back, we could literally go without signing anyone and be just fine. … If we knew everyone would be back except the seniors, we would be fine. Then its do I want to sign someone just to say we signed someone. That’s kind of where we’re at.”
(Do you anticipate signing someone during the early period?) “We’re looking to do that.”
(Last year you said you’d like to carry a scholarship into the regular spring signing period. Is that a new philosophy?) “Again this is a unique year for scholarships. This a year with (2) scholarships. When you need three or four, I think that philosophy would be applicable. This year, I’m good. Again it depends on who leaves and who stays. If we went into the spring (with a scholarship) we’d have more of an idea who might leave.”
(What recruiting changes would you make if you were in charge?) “The July period we need to keep. They’re talking about different type of models within July, but we definitely need to keep July. But we also need access to our own players. There’s a push right now to be able to have access during the summer to your own student-athletes so they’re just not running wild with everyone else. And we need more time with our kids. Bottom line. We need to be around them more. The way the rules are setup now it kind of limits us with how much we can be around them. So whatever rules change in the July period, they have to be consistent with giving us access to our own kids.
“I think a weekend or two in April is important. What happens sometimes now is you see a kid play in March at the latest in high school and you don’t see them again until July. When you’re that age in high school, a kid can go from March to July and be a completely different player. If you’re able to see them in April, you get to see maybe the light turned on before July. I think it’s good to be able to see them a little more frequently so you can make better decisions in recruiting.”
(I also heard there’s a proposal to make changes to the phone call rule.) “They’re looking into the phone calls and texting and making it unlimited.”
(With the way technology is now, that seems wise.) “Yeah. The thing is kids just look at your text or look at the number and they don’t have to respond. It’s not like way back in the day when if you answered the phone you’re stuck. (Laughter) Read the number. I you don’t want to answer, you don’t answer. It makes you wonder as a coach am I working hard enough? Am I calling enough? I’ve gotten enough feedback from the kids that it just becomes counterproductive after a certain point. You’re calling too much and texting too much.”
(Assistant coach Raphael Chillious was hit with a secondary violation. What was the fallout? Was it a teaching moment or something that just happened?) “Yes it was something that just happened. You always look at the spirit behind of what was going on. There are many times you check with our guys and the league office and they’re are two different opinions with how you’re interpreting the rules. Sometimes you go out do something and you think you’re being cautious and there’s a different interpretation of it. I think that came into play here. When you look across the country and you look at secondary violations, I think those happen in most places. When that occurred, I don’t think it was done with a spirit of cheating. I know he goes out of his way to follow the rules. In fact in that article, the (writer) said (Chillious) went out of his way. But it was still a violation. So we move on. We do respect the rules.”
(You acknowledged that UW hadn’t received a verbal commitment for 2012, but is that the case for 2013 or beyond?) “Those are ones that we can’t comment on those. But I’ll say this, in our recruitment I think we’ll be okay. Again 2012 to me is recruiting one or two guys for a specific need if guys leave early. Aside from that, 2012 is not a critical, critical recruiting year for us because we have a lot of things in place right now. 2013 can be a critical year.”
(I hear a lot about that class and I know you can’t talk about it in detail. But I hear it could be the best class in UW history.) “Whenever you’re looking to sign 3-5 kids, there’s players out there where it could be. I would say we feel real good about the kids that we’re on in that class in that they fit in with what we do. And when I say that, whether that ** or not. I’ve said this before, we don’t recruit based on the number of stars next to somebody’s name. That’s not how we put our recruiting classes together. C.J. Wilcox was not a five-star recruit. We have players in our program that weren’t necessarily five stars, but they end going to the NBA. They’ve been all-conference guys. They fit what we do. And I think sometimes with recruiting classes, they’re judged based on how many stars you got coming in and now what that player is going to do for your program.”
(To play devil’s advocate, if you’ve built UW to a point that if the Huskies are recruiting a kid, his rating probably goes up.) “Well. Who knows. But if we recruited that way, we’d miss on a lot of kids. There’s some 4- and 5-stars who end up not doing anything. They’re overhyped. We’re not recruiting on hype. We’re recruting a guy right now. He’s not going to be a 5-star, if we get him I guarantee you he’ll play like a 5-star. Tre Simmons. You watch him play now – he’s playing internationally – and you’d say oh he had to be a 5-star. But he wasn’t close to a 5-star. He might have been a 2-star. But he was arguably the best offensive player we’ve ever coached here. But he was not a 5-star. Do they fit what we do? That’s it’s all about.”

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox

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