Had a chance to checkout the opening minutes of Washington’s first practice last night at Edmundson Pavilion and thought I’d pass along some observations.
— The Huskies worked out for about 2 1/2 hours. They worked mostly on defensive drills at the start. The first drill had players working on closing out to defenders on the perimeter, racing back beneath the rim and and taking charges. Assistant Jim Shaw made a point to instruct the freshmen on how to take a charge. A few were leading with their hip and he told them they had to take the hit with the chest.
— Got to say the new semi-circle beneath the rim should help players, officials and coaches understand what’s a charge and what’s a blocking call.
— It was good to see redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons practice without a brace around his surgically-repaired knee. He moved freely and without limitations.
— It was also good to see Tyreese Breshers on the court helping the UW coaches with instruction. Breshers retired last year.
— Many players were padded up, which might have been an indication that it was going to be a physical practice.
Coach Lorenzo Romar talked about the team’s trip to Olympia where they’ll spend the weekend. I’ve referred to it as training camp, but that’s technically not correct.
“Getaway is more accurate,” he said. “It’s just us. We’re together. We all go to practice together. The entire time we’re together. So it has a little bonding effect.”
(Is it two-a-day practices?) “It’s twice Saturday and then once on Sunday. Then we’ll head back. We usually do something like bowling or movie or something of that nature.”
(Is the trip intense?) “It’s business. This is the first time that you got to be on time for the bus. You got to make sure you get up on time to be where you’re supposed to be. You got to be there for the meals. So much is thrown at you at that point. You’re learning something as a freshman for the first time. It’s like being in a foreign language class. You don’t get it in the beginning, when they go to the next part then you’re behind. That makes it pretty much business like.”
(If players fall behind, there’s still time for them to catch up?) “Oh yeah. You just got to put it in the budget that the freshmen will have a tough time. It will shock me more if a freshman whizzes through this and doesn’t make hardly any mistakes. … We’ve had some All-Pros and All-Stars and (NBA) first-rounders that didn’t whiz through it.”
(Do freshmen tend to breakdown?) “Just confused. Like I can’t get it. Frustrated. A bunch of these [Romar claps twice].”
SATURDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Seth Curry will start at point guard for Duke.
— New Georgia State coach Ron Hunter has turn around the culture of ambivalence surrounding the Panthers. They were 12-19 last season and averaged 915 fans at home. I’m guessing the Panthers may be in awe when they open the season at Edmundson Pavilion in front of 7,000-8,000 UW fans. Still the Huskies shouldn’t underestimate GSU, which beat NCAA tournament Final Four finalist Virginia Commonwealth last season.
— Here’s a video clip of Marquette coach Buzz Williams, who pushes the Eagles through a conditioning drill.
— Nevada is hoping to rebound from last season’s 13-19 finish, which was the Wolfpack’s first losing campaign since 2000-01.
— Saint Louis lost its top assistant coach just before the start of practice and needed to scramble to find a replacement.