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Husky Men's Basketball

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

September 14, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Romar: “What we have this year is a giant ‘P’ for potential”

In Part II of our series of interviews with Lorenzo Romar, the Washington coach draws comparison to 2011-12 team and the 2006-07 squad that finished 19-13 and failed to earn an invitation to the NCAA tournament or NIT.
He talked about the loss of his top three scorers (Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday) and his plan to replace them. Romar is a big believer in solving problems such as who starts and who makes the rotation in practice.
And finally, Romar touched on the importance of summer league games.
Here’s the interview.

(How much do you get to monitor your players in summer league games? How much gets back to you? And do those games even matter?) “People are constantly reporting back to us. A lot of people go to those guys. And they’re telling us. The players are telling us how the games went. They’ll say this is what happened. People that are there get back to us because obviously we can’t watch those games. The summer time is always to me a time where you work on your own individual skills. If you’re playing on a summer league team obviously you want to win, but late April to September you work on your individual game and become the best you can be. October to April, you’re working on what’s best for the team. In the summer league maybe that’s when you experiment and do some things maybe you weren’t good at during the year and need to improve on. The way our summer league here it builds commarderie. Guys being around each other. I think it’s really good for the freshmen because even though there’s not a lot of defense being played, they’re still going up against some older guys. They get a chance to play with and see your teammates up close even though its basically a pickup games. A lot of times pickup games help you more than a summer league game.”
(Unlike other sports like say football, in basketball you can simulate what’s going to happen during the season in a summer league game.) “To a degree you can. The other thing about summer league is there’s officials. In pickup you go to the basket and a guy takes a charge. ‘That’s a charge man. What! Man get out of here. There’s no charges out here. Play ball.’ You don’t have that when there’s a ref standing right there.”
(And there’s fans, which brings into play that entertainment factor.) “That too. But especially the officiating. Time and score comes into play. You have a shot clock and game clock. You got to make the right decisions down the stretch. So yeah, playing in those types of games can help.”
(As I look at your team, you’re young. Is this the youngest team you’ve had?) “I think so. No. It’s not. The youngest team we had was 2007 when Ryan Appleby and Joel Smith I believe were juniors and everyone else was freshmen and sophomores. We had Jon Brockman, Artem Wallace, Joe Wolfinger, Justin Dentmon and those guys along with Spencer Hawes, Adrian Oliver, Phil Nelson and Quincy Pondexter. That’s eight freshmen and sophomores. Right now we have 6-7 juniors and seniors. No. No. No. Let’s see. Two seniors. C.J. Wilcox is a redshirt sophomore so he’s a third-year guy. Aziz (N’Diaye) and Abdul (Gaddy). Right there that’s five. All of those contributed and have played. We didn’t have that in ’07. That was the youngest team we had.”
(Suffice to say, you lost a lot.) “Definitely we lost a lot.”
(For lack of a better analogy, there seems to be a power vacuum or a void in established leaders on your team. Seems like former role players have to step up.) “Unlike any other year.”
(Personally I think it’s fascinating to discover who’s going to step up. How do you manage that?) “It’s less managing than people think. When we go out there and we start practicing, those players are going to manage that. There’s some guys that are going to step up and just say – by the way they’re playing – I’m your guy. We’re going to see that. They’re going to stand out. There’s going to be some guys day in and day out, they’re going to be a cut above the rest. And they’re going to show that they can put the ball in the basket. And there’s going to be some others that you just don’t notice them as much.
“I always say the coach decides who plays, but the players bring information to the coach. The players are the ones and come in and just show you day in and day out. We’ll talk about it as a staff after practice and say something like Jon Brockman he was the best player on the floor yesterday. Matthew was the best player on the floor. There’s some players that never, ever get that said about them. They were never the best player on the floor. And what happens a lot of times is players and their parents want favors. They’ll say: ‘Well you know what he did in high school.’ Well, this is not high school. We have to go with the players that make the best team. And that may not always be the most talented player.”
(We’ve talked about that a lot in the past.) “Five players that make the best team are the ones you go with. And then those that come off the bench are the ones that complement that. Day in and day out, the players make their case. And the ones that make the best case wins. If anything the coach is like the jury and judge. Guilty or not guilty on playing time so to speak. What we have this year is a giant P for potential. That means they haven’t done anything yet. We don’t have anyone that averaged more than 8 points a game. When we were really young that year (2007), I don’t think there was anyone other than Ryan Appleby – he was Newcomer of the Year – and he averaged nine or eight points a game. Jon Brockman averaged 8.5 points a game. He was Freshman of the Year. So that year was similar in that no one had really done anything yet. We’re pretty similar in that way. That team was younger, but this team is just not proven.”
(Did you learn anything from that 2007 team? Did that team underachieve?) “I was disappointed. Even though we were young, I felt like we had the pieces in place where we were literally – I believe – a weekend away from being in the NCAA tournament. We went down to the Bay Area. Had no time on the clock and we missed free throws. We lost that game (77-69 OT to California). We were up seven with a minute and half at Stanford. We lost that game (78-77). We win those two games, we’re in the NCAA tournament because we would have had 21 wins. So very disappointed. We had gone to the tournament three straight years. We had never gone four straight years. Here we are again. We’ve gone three years in a row and this is the fourth year. You have the so-called pieces in place, but it has to come together. I remember that year. Spencer was hurt and sick. I think with a healthy Spencer Hawes that year, we would have probably made it to the tournament. I always say, I’ve said it a 1,000 times, Spencer Hawes did not slow us down.”
(Everyone seems to think he did.) “Yeah I know. But that’s not the case. This year’s team we have more experience. Darnell Gant started off and on for three years here. He’s a fifth-year senior. We didn’t have that. We didn’t have Scott Suggs. Scott Suggs is going to be a senior. Abdul and Aziz played in NCAA tournaments. Abdul played in two Sweet 16 (games). I think that (2007) team, four of our guys had played in the NCAA tournament. Ryan, Joe, Brockman and Justin. They got minutes. This team we have more players with more experience, but like I said early it still has to come together.”

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs


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