Washington is giving sophomore guard C.J. Wilcox as much time as possible to rest after it was discovered he has a stress fracture in his left femur that causes him hip problems.
He will not practice this week and the Huskies will subject him to a battery of tests Thursday before deciding if he’s fit to play that night against Arizona State.
“He’s making progress,” coach Lorenzo Romar said Monday night on his weekly radio show. “He will not practice this week. Thursday we will test him and it will be a game-time decision as to if they are going to allow him to go out there and play or not.”
When Thursday rolls around, Wilcox will have sat out 17 straight days and missed three games. The Huskies are 2-1 without their best perimeter shooter and third-leading scorer who averages 15.5 points per game.
Wilcox is averaging 31.5 minutes per game, but if he’s cleared to play, Romar doesn’t anticipate he’ll play major minutes.
“If he’s able to get in there, it’s just one other guy that you have to keep your eye on,” Romar said. “You know you have to guard C.J. Wilcox. That opens it up for someone else just is presence on the floor. And he does know our system. He has a lot of game experience, road experience. So no way is it going to hurt us.
“If he had to go out there and play 30-35 minutes, I don’t think he’d be able to compete all of those minutes, but If he’s able to play a few minutes it will help us and I think he’ll handle himself just fine.”
MORE NOTES AND QUOTES …
— Washington returns to the road where it is 1-5. Romar believes the Huskies have figured out how to win away from home.
“I’m pretty optimistic about our approach and how we feel as a team going into this road trip,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m pretty optimistic about just our outlook and what we think is required to win on the road.
“We understand the importance of offensively not coming down and shooting too quickly if we don’t have it. I think we understand the things we did against Stanford, getting most of the loose balls, getting more deflections and just being very aggressive on the defensive end is what it’s going to take to go on the road. We have to generate our own energy on the road. We don’t have the Dawg Pack, the great crowd in the background for us. We have to generate out own energy.”
Washington has a goals board with six offensive and six defensive categories. Romar said the Huskies met only one offensive goal, but was able to dominate Stanford because they met five of six defensive goals.
“If we can go out and defend and rebound and do those things, the toughness plays that impact winning … we can still outscore the other team because we’re holding them down,” Romar said.
Washington won its last road game, a 57-53 victory at Utah. Romar believes UW’s five-game road losing streak is a distant memory.
“That’s out the door,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned we have a win streak on the road. We’re going to look at it that way.”
Romar also said it’s time for the Huskies to put whatever problems they had on the road behind them.
“We’ve had some experience,” he said. “We’ve played a number of them now. Up to this point, we’ve probably have played more road games with this many games to go than we’ve ever had since we’ve been here. So if it’s ever going to work, it’s got to work now.”
— Washington has won 7 of the past 8 games at Arizona State. The Sun Devils are 6-13 and 2-5 in the Pac-12 this season. The Sun Devils average 4,912 fans, which is the fourth lowest in the conference.
“We have been in there when that place gets loud and it can really get loud,” Romar said. “They haven’t been drawing as well, but if we remove ourselves from the stands and go to the floor we do have to play against that matchup zone that is very problematic for a lot of teams and we’re going to have to be nails against it.”
QUICK NOTES …
(On ASU) “Trent Lockett has been out their last few games. Without him, that’s a huge, huge loss. I would imagine if he returns, they’ll be a better team than the were in Utah.”
(On Lafayette ‘Fat’ Lever who will be honored Thursday at ASU) “Over the years I’ve learned to really, really admire and respect Fat. He deserves it. He’s one of the best guards to ever play in our conference. And as good as a basketball player he was, he’s just as good as a person.”
(On ESPN GAMEDAY crew at Arizona) “If the game is anything like it was last year, it should be a fantastic game to watch and a fantastic game to see in person.”
(On 100th Pac-12 win and 300 Career victory) “It beats the alternative to not have won any of those games. … The 300 and 100 is great. I’m glad it didn’t take another one or two to get there.”
(On joining Stanford’s Mike Montgomery and UCLA’s Ben Howland as the only conference coaches with 100 wins) “I respect both of those coaches.”
(On UW’s recent four-game homestand) “The way we try to define success with our team is were we at our best and if that’s the case we were not at our best during our homestand. In terms of victories, we did pretty good. We’re a 1/2-game out of first place. That’s pretty good. But we weren’t at our best so I would say it wasn’t as successful as we needed to be.”
(On the big minutes last week by Terrence Ross, Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten Jr.) “I think they’re holding up pretty good. I thought we were fresh had good legs today in practice. I was more concerned with the Saturday game in terms of our legs and getting guys rest because there were guys who played a lot of minutes in the Thursday game against Cal. … With a few days rest going to Arizona, I think we’ll recover quite nicely.”
(On how UW played against Stanford) “We were gritty against Stanford. We were gritty and we were blue collar. You could just tell the way we were going out we had a business-like approach and I think that’s the main thing. If we can go out there and play with a workman-like attitude, bring out hard hats to the floor and play with energy, I think everything else will take care of itself.”
(On the unbalanced schedule and not playing Cal again) “I look at it from the standpoint we just wish we had played better in the first half because if it comes down to and we’re fortunate enough to where we both have identical records at the top. If we’re both 14-4, 13-5, 15-3 or whatever it is, they get to win it because they win the tie-breaker. So that one game is crucial.”
(On the loss to Cal) “Let’s look back in about a month and see if that will have an effect on what happens. … Let’s hope we don’t look back at the Cal game and say that was the game that was very costly. Let’s hope we can rebound from that and play good basketball”
(On Desmond Simmons) “Another energy guy. Understands his role and cherishes his role. He doesn’t see his role as ‘Aw man these guys won’t let me play my role and I got to play this other role.’ He knows who he is. I think he enjoys going out there and getting floor burns and getting deflections, getting offensive rebounds and getting putbacks and snatching the ball from the other team and putting it back in the basket. He likes doing that so that’s very helpful.”
“You see a guy who really gets after it defensively, he can become contagious. And a guy that guy that just continues to pass the ball and makes the extra pass, that becomes contagious. So someone who plays with a lot of energy on the floor and plays for his team and is so selfless out there, it does become contagious.”
(On Darnell Gant who rebounded from an 0-for-9 shooting performance against Cal and had 17 versus Stanford) “That’s a great credit to Darnell. He did not let that game linger. Just a two-day bounce back. He came back and not only shot the ball well, but he defended really well and he rebounded well. He impacted the glass and attacked the glass as well as he had in the four years he’s been here.
“You could just tell that he took it hard. He took it hard in the right way. In that that is not going to happen the next time I’m going to go out here and play. I’m going to make up for that.”
MORE NOTES …
— If the choice is installing a 20-game regular-season schedule or keeping the conference tournament, Romar would rather keep the tournament.
— Romar said there’s too much parity for a college basketball team to go undefeated.
— Romar went on a little tangent about players who transfer and put the bulk of the blame on parents who coddle their children.