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February 3, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Tony Wroten Jr.’s status unclear for USC

There’s no definitive word on whether freshman guard Tony Wroten Jr. will play Saturday against USC.
Spoke with Lorenzo Romar at 1 p.m. and at that time the Washington coach hadn’t received word from the medical staff about Wroten, who suffered a thigh contusion Thursday.
Wroten was unavailable to the media today. He received treatment and was spotted walking gingerly around Edmundson Pavilion.
If history is an indicator, Romar believes Wroten will be ready to play.
“My thought is Tony is a warrior and he’ll find a way to play,” Romar said. “But I haven’t heard an official word yet. I don’t know.”
Romar noted Wroten took a hard spill and severely bruised his tailbone on Jan. 10 and played 36 minutes the next two games.
On Thursday, Wroten took a knee to the thigh with about 17 minutes left in the first half. He also was inadvertently kicked in the shin in the second half. The bruises partly explain why Wroten, UW’s leading scorer, missed seven of 11 shots and played just 27 minutes. It was his fewest minutes logged in the past 14 games.
“Tony is a tough kid and didn’t to say ‘Coach I can’t move on this like I’d want.’ ” Romar said. “He stayed in and tried to play through it. But you could just see as the game wore on, it got tougher and tougher for him to play through that.”
Wroten’s injuries also partly explain why he didn’t play the final 8 /12 minutes when Washington erased a 10-point deficit, finished with a 16-4 run and won 65-55.
“Down the stretch I think it was about 8 1/2 minutes and you could just see he was just laboring on the leg,” Romar said. “You could just see it. It’s like a prize fight. You’re watching your fighter go out there. He’s got a cut and he’s trying to fight through it. And you could just see man this is kind of bothering him a lot. So we took him out that way, but the attention wasn’t to keep him out the rest of the game.
“The group that was in there was playing so well together. He came out with about 8 1/2 minutes left and with six minutes we caught fire and we just kind of went with that group down the stretch.”

(On Terrence Ross ) “We’re playing and then down the stretch Terrence is kind of taking the team on his shoulders offensively. He was the one that hit the big shot at Utah to extend the lead to where we were comfortable. He’s the one that went for 26 in the second half against Washington State. He hit the big shots last night. … Terrence Time or whatever it is he’s just starting to emerge as a guy down the stretch where he’ starting to take over games and make big shots.”
(On Shawn Kemp Jr. vs. UCLA on Thursday) “Those were Shawn’s best minutes this year. … I thought those were very, very productive minutes for Shawn in a game that wasn’t a 20-point blowout. It was a game that meant something. He had quality minutes when he was in there. I was proud of him.
(On the chances Kemp gets more minutes) “Could be. You know how we are. When a guy goes out, coaches don’t make the decision about playing time. They act upon what the players are doing.
(On why it’s taken Kemp so long to make a meaningful contribution) “It might have something to do with not playing in two years. As a result of not playing, doing everything within his power to get here. Holding down a job. His conditioning was behind. His timing was behind. It’s not like he did after a year of college basketball, he never played college basketball. We were hoping around this time is when he would play a little bit better. He certainly did the last game.”
(On what Kemp does best) “He has very good hands. He runs the floor and he’s getting to where he finishes around the basket.”
(On if it looked as if Kemp has a chip on his shoulder) “It’s February. He’s gone through a lot of practices. Sometimes when you sit over there and you’re watching. I know when I played I’m thinking coach if you ever put me in again, I’m going to make you look bad. People are going to wonder why he wasn’t in before. That was my attitude. Great. I hope that was his attitude. Whatever it was, I think it had a lot to do with he’s been playing for a lot longer now and he understands what we’re doing and understands what it takes. Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) did set forth a pretty good example the first game that he played that weekend. He watches Aziz and he plays against Aziz every day. I just think hopefully he’s learning.”
(On sitting out Wroten and Wilcox because UW is at home against USC) “Absolutely not. Not as far as I’m thinking. SC doesn’t let you get away from them. They find a way to hang in there in spite of guys going down. They find a way to play you very competitively. We got to go in with all barrels loaded.”
(On resting players if you have a big lead) “Yes absolutely. (Wilcox) will not play as much. If last night we could have gotten up 15-20 points and been in control of the game, then he would not have played 26 minutes.”
(On if Wroten falls in the same category) “Don’t know Tony’s status right now. They may tell us Tony will be fine tomorrow.”
(On UW’s resiliency) “What hurt us maybe in some people’s eyes is South Dakota State and Saint Louis and Colorado. Just some bad losses. Not in terms of the teams, but how we performed. People were down on us and had not seen some of the other factors that had gone on this year of being a team that’s relatively young, having it’s ups and down and trying to learn and my opinion played through a fair amount of adversity this year. Still hanging in there.
“You take the Saint Louis, South Dakota State and Colorado game away and we’ve played great. Before the year if they say you’re 8-2 in your first 10 league games, you want to take that? Yes. Let’s take that. I’ll go with that. So the wins have not been picturesque, but somehow I think our guys have found a way in a different way of doing it. We haven’t been out getting 90 points a game. We’ve been in a lot of grinder games and I think our guys have done a great job in playing in these games on the road and at home and finding a way to pull those out. I’m pleased with teh direction that we’re headed. I still think we can get a lot better.”
(On Desmond Simmons’ so-called slump) “Dez hasn’t been hitting his shots, but you watch him. He’s still working hard and going after the basketball. He gets the basketball sometimes. The last game where he was really, really effective was Stanford. I remember him taking the ball out of one of their guy’s hand and making a basket. He just hasn’t been able to get his shot to go down. There was a stretch where he was playing ‘Dez Ball’ for lack of a better way to put it and he was making shots along with that and he really looked good. Now he’s not doing a whole different in terms of his approach, it’s just that his shot hasn’t been going down as much.”

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