Washington junior center Aziz N’Diaye returned to the court today after suffering a concussion Oct. 30 during a closed scrimmage at Santa Clara.
He missed last Friday’s 77-60 exhibition win over Seattle Pacific and Tuesday was the first time doctors cleared him to work out with restrictions.
N’Diaye will likely play in Saturday’s opener against Georgia State and he should be in the starting lineup.
Coach Lorenzo Romar hasn’t designated starters, but last week indicated N’Diaye will likely remain a stater. He started 25 games last season.
Other notes from Tuesday.
— Senior G Scott Suggs (broken toe) is walking without a protective boot and no longer appears to be limping. Suggs underwent surgery Oct. 14 and hopes to return in early December.
— After reviewing the exhibition, Romar said the Huskies need to improve in three areas. 1) They need to be more consistent on defensively. 2) The ball has a tendency to remain on the wings or at the top of the key and the guards need to pass the ball rather than hold it and wait for something to happen. 3) Players tend to watch teammates when they have the ball instead of cutting, screening or making a play.
— Washington had 22 deflections against SPU. Romar said the goal is to get 26 per game.
— Romar talked about the freshmen big men. He said Jernard Jarreau, who had three blocks and two rebounds in the exhibition was good. Martin Breunig “finished really well.” And Shawn Kemp Jr. “everyday you see a little bit more of what he’s capable of giving us after sitting out two years. Yesterday in practice he had a really good practice. Each day he gets in better condition, understands what we want and feels a lot more comfortable.”
— On Desmond Simmons, Romar said: “When you play pickup basketball, you pick your team and it doesn’t matter who’s in the gym and you say I got him because he’s going to help you win the game somehow. There’s other guys who can score. There’s other guys who can do a lot of things. (But) somehow this guys finds a way to get in there and help you. That’s what he is. He’s that guy. Some nights he might do it scoring a lot of points, another night a lot of rebounds. Another night because defensively he was great. And them some other times it’s just because when he came in the game his energy lifted the team. And that’s all you needed that particular night was a lift of energy. That’s what he gives.”
— Romar said Simmon’s six rebounds in 13 minutes last Friday was exceptional.
— When asked if Terrence Ross can be the go-to guy, Romar said: “There’s several guys that can step up and make a play for us at the end of games. I really do. Whether it’s a playmaker penetrating and dishing to someone else. Or us putting somebody on the block to score. Or just running somebody off of a pick for a jump shot. I think there are (several) guys.”
— In light of the scandal at Penn State, Romar was asked about the trust that exists between coaches and players. He said: “That’s at the core of what we do. If you don’t win games you get fired. Pretty plain and simple. But if my only focus was on winning games and nothing else, nothing off the court, I would imagine there would be a lot of highs and lows. The highs would be when we would win, but there would be an emptiness to me. It’s almost taking advantage of the profession. To me it’s a privilege to be able to coach young men like we do. It’s a privilege and it’s a big responsibility. You just want to hope that as long as anyone is under your watch as a worker or a student-athlete you’re going to try and do the right thing by them. Sometimes that means you got to show tough love. You got to sit down and talk to them face to face and make some hard decisions. But I think it’s really important.”
— Romar was asked if the Penn State situation is a black eye for college athletics. He said: “Whenever someone asks a question like that, I always have to say let’s just make sure look across the board in all of society. There are leaders in the medical profession. There are leaders in the law profession, politics and everywhere. I think we have an imperfect society. The imperfections that are out there, I think people make mistakes and use bad judgement in all professions and all walks of life. The high-profile situations are magnified, which is why it puts even more pressure on those that are in high-profile situations to higher the right people and to do the right thing. It’s across the board things like that. Unfortunately it happens. It’s real important to deal with those things in the proper fashion when they do happen.”
— Romar said ideally he’d like to retire after winning 12 national championships at UW. He said he didn’t want to coach as long as Joe Paterno who is 84.
— Romar talked about the large gathering of former UW players behind the bench during the exhibition that included Will Conroy, Nate Robinson, Spencer Hawes, Brandon Roy and Isaiah Thomas. He said: “People always ask me what is your most memorable moment. It was great that we got the Pac-10 championship. We did a lot of things like that. But things like that (the former players at the SPU game), I saw those guys sitting up there during a timeout and did a double take. I froze for a second. … They were right there supporting us. That was pretty good.”
— On Georgia State, Romar said it has a new coach, with veteran players and it plays uptempo. It will be a different test than Seattle Pacific, which did not score a point in transition.