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December 9, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Lorenzo Romar: “We’re two stops away from being 6-1”

During a teleconference call Friday, coach Lorenzo Romar talked about Saturday’s game against No. 11 Duke, senior guard Scott Suggs who decided to redshirt this season and former Washington star Brandon Roy who will reportedly retire.
Romar also offered an explanation for Abdul Gaddy’s spotty performances at Saint Louis and against Marquette.
Here’s the transcript of the interview.

(Historically your teams have peaked late and rallied to get into the NCAA tournament. Does that just work with your system or would you prefer to get some big wins early?) “We definitely don’t plan in the preseason well we’ll blow these games in the beginning so that we can do well at the end,” Romar said chuckling. “That’s not quite how we’ve drawn it up, but it’s just worked out that way. We’ve come up short in the two losses. We’re probably two possessions away, two stops away from being 6-1 right now. We’re close, but that doesn’t count. It just means we weren’t good enough to for those games. From the Saint Louis game until now, we’ve made big improvements. If we can continue to make those improvements, we’ll be fine down the stretch.
(Were you surprised by Suggs’ decision?) “I was a little surprised. This wasn’t something that I came to him with and said hey you need to think about this. Him and I talked. The other thing about it if he were to come back and play a couple of games … now he’s lost for the whole year. He didn’t want to do that. And you can’t get that year back after a certain point. When he talked through it, it made total sense. But I was surprised that he would do it because I know he had just talked totally about coming back and playing and he wanted to know how soon he could come back. If he would have been able to come back sooner like say the Nevada (game). If he would have come back for Nevada, he probably would have gone on and played. He hasn’t told me that, but I would guess that was the case. It went a little further along than he had thought.”
(Is Abdul Gaddy making progress?) “Early on in the first three games he was all-tournament (in the World Vision Classic) at home. So he was playing fine basketball. Going on the road things haven’t gone his or our way as much as you’d like. They say when you come back from a knee injury, you can come back and be physically 100 percent, which he is physically. But in terms of getting all of your explosiveness back or all of your timing and all of that it takes a little longer. That may be something that Abdul is going through as well.”
(What are you most concerned about with Duke?) “They have a lot of things to worry about. I think their ability to shoot three-pointers helps them big time. They’re shooting 50 percent overall and about 42 percent from the three-point line. If they get going, they can really destroy teams. We have to find a away to not allow them to go crazy on the three-point line.”
(What does UW need to do in end-game situations and why didn’t you use a timeout on the final possession against Marquette?) “We just need to – it’s kind of simple – but we need to execute better. We need to be able to execute under pressure better. Sometimes it comes down to being in the right spot when we’re able to convert the shot. Sometimes it comes down to one team executing and the other team not executing because they didn’t make their free throws. Little tweaks here and there.
“I would say with six seconds on the clock when we got the basketball our philosophy is to take the ball and you bring the ball down the floor. If you call timeout, especially with Marquette the other night, they had a 3/4-court press they can put on and a team can pick you up and press you and kind of zone you in the back court. Sure you can break it that’s not a problem. But to be able to get through that and get a quality shot in six seconds, maybe you don’t want that. Maybe you don’t want them to be able to decide we’re going to take this guy away and that guy away in their defensive huddle. A lot of times when you’re just able to get the ball and go and get it up the floor, you get a better shot than you would if you would have set something up. But maybe we weren’t clear on that last situation to know what we wanted to do. … We’ve been able to do that before and get it up there.”
(Do you embrace the big-game idea tomorrow or treat it like just another game?) “It’s no doubt it’s a big game. In terms of the type of profile game, it’s a big game. No doubt. The entire nation is watching. You’re playing against one of the top programs in the history of college basketball and they are very good. They have a Hall of Fame coach leading their team. It’s being played at Madison Square Garden. The profile of the game is definitely big. In terms of a big game for our season, this one is big, but Marquette was big too. And next week Santa Barbara is going to big and I said that one before. We can’t play like well we have to get up for this game because it’s a bigger game. Hopefully we play at the same level every time. We’ve not done that.”
(Have you received the leadership you wanted from the veterans?) “I think our leaders are trying. Remember Scott hasn’t played at all so he’s been trying and a good job of leading from the sidelines. But I think our veterans are really trying to lead.”
(What’s the impact of losing Suggs for the season?) “Our guys that are in there now playing they’re just going to get more consistent minutes. I just think statistically they’ll be better and I think they will grow up quicker. You talk about C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross who were not starters for most of the year last year and weren’t necessarily the go-to guy all year, they’ve been going through that role this year.
“Now we’ve played seven games and we’ve been up and down with it, but these guys are getting great experience. Abdul Gaddy coming in off of his knee injury. He’s played a year and something games here. It’s going to help him. A guy like Tony Wroten also who I think is really, really coming into his own. I think he’s starting to really, really play good basketball. I know he’s turned the ball over a bit, but I still think he’s making adjustments and I think about to really be exceptional. He already shoots twice as many free throws as anyone else. He almost makes twice as many free throws as anyone has shot. That shows you he’s been very aggressive. He’s tied for the steals leader on our team. He gives us a real presence.
“Those guys are just going to continue to grow the more they play. It kind of changes the dynamic of our team. Scott was going to bring a general know how and experience, but these guys now are getting experience under their belt as well.”
(How are you better today than you were two weeks ago?) “We’re playing more with a purpose now. In the Marquette game we told our guys they were Saint Louis defensively with better athletes. That’s what we told our guys and yet I thought our guys did a pretty good job executing for the most part in that game. We’re understanding more our roles. We’re settling in that way in terms of our roles and our rotations. I think we’re rebounding the ball better. … We’re improving in all areas.”
(Have you seen the reports about Brandon Roy retiring?) “I have not. I have been in practice. I have not seen any headlines.”
(If they’re accurate, what would it mean for Roy to retire at a young age?) “It’s not anything you wish upon anyone. In the NBA when you get into your fifth and sixth years that’s kind of when you’re really into your prime. Those are your best years. You’ve figured it out. You play at your own pace. Brandon already did that. You really understand how it works. You hate to see somebody get to that point and miss out on those years if it’s true. I don’t know if it’s true. I haven’t talked to Brandon about this. But I do know this, this isn’t something that Brandon started thinking about last night. Brandon has been going over his future for awhile now. Although the public may find this out if and when it happens, in Brandon’s mind and in his family’s mind they probably talked through this. Whatever decision he makes, he’s fully aware of what he’s going to do.”
(Where would the program be if Roy never played at UW?) “I don’t know if I’d still have a job. [Laughs] I don’t think we would have gotten to where we are. Those guys Brandon and Nate Robinson and Will Conroy, Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen and I could go on and on those guys got us off on the right foot. Those are the guys that got us going. A lot of those guys were gone and Brandon was still there. Brandon gave us a lot of credibility. Brandon and Nate Robinson were two guys we could go all over the country with and everybody knew who they were. There’s only two jerseys hung up there in our arena and (his) is one of them. There’s been a lot of outstanding players that have played at the University of Washington.”
(How would you describe Roy to a recruit?) “I’d tell them that Brandon learned to work hard and once he really did that he was an unbelievable basketball player. But also that Brandon is an unbelievable person. Brandon was so responsible. He just always did the right thing. He always knew the right thing to say. He represented the University of Washington and he represented the Portland Trail Blazers really well. He just had a special gift.”

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


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