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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

June 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM

UW summer homework assignments

Even if the gloomy Seattle overcast skies say otherwise, summer officially began this week.
I had a chance to talk to coach Lorenzo Romar recently and asked him about what players need to do during the offseason. Many Huskies begin summer league action Monday at North Seattle Community and thanks to a new NCAA rule coaches can work with players two hours a week during the offseason.
Romar said Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs are the co-captains for a second straight year while Alex Wegner, a freshman walk-on last season, will not return.
Here’s the transcript from Romar’s interview.
(How is the new NCAA rule that allows coaches to work out with their players during the offseason going to change things) “That helps. Hopefully you can teach them what they’re supposed to be learning with your program. You can interact with your guys a little more. You won’t have guys leave in the summer and come back and be totally different and have a different mindset to where you’re like whoa what happened to you? They might be working with someone that has their own agenda in mind and are totally trying to change the thoughts and philosophies that you’ve tried to teach the young man.”
(Can players get better defensively during the summer?) “They could, but I think no one thinks like that. Playing defense for most is not natural. No one walks down the street in a defensive stance.”
(Exactly. When kids go into an empty gym, they shoot. They’re not working on boxing out.) “Rarely does that happen. Now there’s some. Some say I’m just going to go and play against the quickest guy I can find everyday and just try to keep him in front of me. I think kids do that. In that regard they can work on defense. But I don’t think anybody works on team defense.
(You think more defense will be taught during the two hours coaches have with their players?) “Sure. But you know we get eight weeks in the spring, eight more weeks in the summer and I see the progress our guys make in the gym. So you can continue those eight weeks in the summer and those guys will improve more and trust a little more also.”
(Improve on the defensive end?) “Overall. I don’t know if everybody is going to work on defense. Obviously if someone is really behind, you spend time working with them on that.”
(I’m harping on the defense because after the season you made it a point to say the defense will improve next season. In fact, I think you guaranteed it.) “Yeah. We will.”
(So is that a focus in the offseason or a focus once you get the guys back in the fall?) “In this particular year – we got to talk differently because we’re going on a foreign tour – so in addition to those two hours a week we have 10 practices for the foreign tour. And then the seven games. So we got a whole lot of time to work on that aside from the two hours.”
(So for the summer it’s a time for players to get better offensively?) “Yes. For the skill development period.”


(Okay let’s talk about each player. I’ll name someone and you tell me what that person needs to do this summer. Let’s start with Abdul Gaddy) “Continue to work on his shooting and his quickness.”
(Can he improve leadership skills during the summer?) “Yeah. The summer is a big, pivotal time for leadership because the coaches aren’t there. Your guys are playing pick-up games. I remember coming back before school started – coming back a few days early – and calling my teammates when I was in college here. Just letting them know, hey we’re going to play at this particular place. We would play at Seattle Pacific and I’d left everyone know, we’re playing at Seattle Pacific at 6 o’clock so everybody meet at the Graves building at 5.”
(So you were organizing games?) “Yeah. That’s leadership. That’s big. Guys who say I’m working out on my own and I don’t want anybody to see me, that’s not leadership.”
(We say this every year, but it’s amazing that Abdul is heading into his senior year.) “From that 17-year-old kid. Too young. And now he’s going to be a senior.”
(What type of game do you think you’ll see from him next year? He’s started virtually every game his UW career.) “I think people will be pleased with Abdul Gaddy. He had a great spring. You can just see when someone just totally understands what’s going on around here. Totally understands. Totally gets it. He’s had Isaiah (Thomas) and Tony Wroten with him. Andrew Andrews is a very good point guard and ball handler, but I just feel Abdul will feel maybe he’s just more of an elder statesman and will be a lot more comfortable.”
(Scott Suggs) “Scott is another that I think people forget about going into last year Scott had a great chance of being in the starting lineup. Scott has maybe matured more than anyone from when he first came. I’d like to say he probably has. From where he started to where he is now. He’s really mature. He’s gotten stronger and people forget he was our leading three-point field goal percentage shooter his last year.”
(So what does he need to do this summer?) “He needs to continue to play and finish around the rim.”
(Aziz N’Diaye) “Understand what’s going to make him the best player. He can be one of the best defenders out there. He can be one of the better rebounders out there. And he has to work on finishing around the rim. If he can finish around the basket – and obviously he has to shoot free throws better – he can be really, really good. It’s interesting that whole free throw thing. In the NBA, just about every team has someone that’s a 40-50 percent foul shooter. In the NBA. And that’s all they do is play and practice and having experts around them. Sometimes that’s just not what someone does well.”
(Not sure if anyone has ever done this research, but I’d be interested to know at what age or stage in a player’s development do they become the free throw shooter that they’ll always be. You know what I mean? Can coaches really turn a bad free throw shooter into a decent one after high school or college?) “Oh yeah. I think you can. I think guys can get better. There’s some that can and there’s some that can’t. I should say it that way. There are some that can get better.”
(I think it would be fascinating to track bad free shooters and determine if they’ve always been bad. The same thing with good free throw shooters. Are they naturally inclined to shoot better at the line or is it a skill that can be developed?) “I think circumstances come into play. A kid that’s not comfortable and comes in as a freshman and he’s just a little nervous and a little jittery and doesn’t get to the foul line that much – I bet if you track his foul shot shooting from his freshman year to his junior year and a lot of times you’ll see that thing increases because he’s more comfortable. But there’s some others that it never gets better.”
(C.J. Wilcox. Personally I think he’ll be the most interesting player to watch on the team.) “Same thing. Finishing going to the basket. He started going to the basket last year. Just get better at it. Those guys – our perimeter guys – those guys will do a good job.”
(Fair to say C.J. could have a breakout year?) “What do you mean when you say breakout year because he averaged 14 (points) last year. If he were not hurt, I think he would have been an all-conference guy as a sixth man. I really do.”
(I got to disagree with you there.) “You think how many games he played last year where he was hurt and he scored eight points or just couldn’t give it everything he got.”
(Hate to cut you off, I think I know where you’re headed, but you know your fellow Pac-12 coaches are not voting for a reserve. I don’t know. I disagree with the notion, but it hasn’t happened and it’s not likely to ever happen. Again personally I thought he was one of the top 15 players in the conference last season and should have been recognized, but I got to think coaches think if a guy is so good, then why isn’t he starting?) “Maybe. But if he was our leading scorer, they’d have to think twice about putting his name on that list. He could have been. He played so many games hurt. He played 10 minutes against Arizona State where he made four points at the free throw line. If he was healthy, man. But anyway, I know where you’re going with that.”
(Getting back to the breakout idea. And I don’t really know what that means. Not sure if that’s 20 points per game or what, but it seems as if he’s put himself in position to be a star next season if he can stay healthy.) “Yeah. He’s gotten stronger. He really could.”
(Can he create his own shot?) “He creates his own shot in a different way. He can catch the ball and go by you like that. Shot clock down to 10 or 8 and he’s got the ball at the top of the key, that’s not where he creates his own shot. Terrence Ross could create his own shot that way. Isaiah could create his own shot that way. Even Scott Suggs can create his own shot. But C.J. creates his shot by moving without the basketball. It’s hard. You know he’s going to shoot it, but yet he still finds ways to get open. He creates his own shot by he comes off a curl and you’re right there, but he’ll take one step to get away from you – that extra dribble. So he does it in different ways. He’s not right now to the point where you see him 1-on-1 and I’m just going to take you, you can’t stop me and I’m going to score.”
(What type of player would he be if he added that dynamic to his game?) “Lottery pick.”
(I thought if I were C.J., I’d spend at least one week this summer and not shoot. Just be a playmaker, run the pick-n-roll, work on dribbling and protecting the ball and creating shots for teammates.) “You got to look at Brandon (Roy) and Quincy (Pondexter) who has done things like and improved like that. C.J. has moved in that direction. And he is only going to be a junior. He’s not going to be a senior.
(Think this might be your last year with him?) “It could be.”
(Mark McLaughlin) “Continue to get stronger. Continue to work on his shooting. He’s a good shooter, but he’s a scoring type of shooter. And learn our system.”
(Desmond Simmons) “Work on being able to score around the basket. Get better when he gets the ball with his back to the basket and work on his shooting. And defensively be able to guard on the perimeter.”
(It seems as if summer ball is great for a guy like Desmond where he can really work on his offense in pickup games where defense is mostly non-existent.) “If he works on the right things. What happens is – and I tell all of our big guys this – bigs today want to be outside. There’s not many back-to-the-basket players. All bigs want to work on their perimeter game. They say I want to be versatile so I got to work on my perimeter game. Well if you’re always on the perimeter, you’re not versatile anymore. You’re never on the block. So you’re one-dimensional. You’ve just shifted. You got to be able to do both to be versatile. So I think Desmond needs to spend a lot of time working on his perimeter, but he needs to work on the block as well.”
(Martin Breunig) “Martin defensively needs to get better and work on his shooting.”
(Again how do you get better defensively during the summer?) “He’s aware of it. Go out and guard the best guy. Now if the guy is killing you, your teammates are going to say ‘Man watch out. I got him’ But take pride and say I’m going to guard this guy and you can keep record of what this guy doing. I’m going to hold this guy scoreless. He can take pride that way.”
(Abdul once told me that Martin is a pleaser in the sense that he wants to do everything just right and the way it’s coached. But we know this is a bottom-line business. Either you get it done or you don’t.) “Just get it done. It helps if you conceptually understand what you’re doing though. Then get it done from there. There’s some that just don’t know what they’re doing when trying to get it done and that catches up to them.”
(Shawn Kemp Jr.) “Finishing around the rim. Post defense.”
(Could he be one of the bigger surprises next season and find his way in the starting lineup?) “To the public he could be one of the bigger surprises and yes he could be a starter if he were to be consistent. He has some real gifts.”
(In terms of size, Kemp seems to have what you guys need.) “If Shawn Kemp went out and did the things he’s capable of. I mean if he really got serious and attacked each day to be the best he could be, it could be a situation like where Aziz and Matthew (Bryan-Amaning) were our starters. He could start along with Aziz. He just has a lot of potential.”
(I don’t want to jump on every word you say, but is his work ethic not what it should be? Is he not attacking each day or not focusing each day to be the best player he can be?) “It’s hard to tell because when you spend two years out of basketball without conditioning, he had to bust his tail to get to where he could just make the mile (conditioning test) last year. Now the mile is not an issue. He kept fighting these conditioning battles. Then timing battles. Last year was almost like a redshirt year for him. He just had to learn so much.”
(Hikeem Stewart) “Obviously his shooting. And I think Hikeem is a guy that could really make noise by becoming a really good defender.”
(Andrew Andrews) “Just time on the floor. Andrew shoots the ball well. He’s strong. He handles it well. He has an edge about him. I think Andrew is going to do fine.”
(Jernard Jarreau) “Again finishing through contact and getting stronger.”
(Does he need to get bigger? We’ve seen skinny guys in basketball do wonderful things. Anthony Davis will be the No. 1 pick in next weeks NBA draft. Kevin Durant is a three-time scoring champion.) “Strength and girth are two different things. Jamaal Wilkes back in the day was skinny, but he was on the all-defensive team because he knew how to use body. Reggie Miller is another one, but did it on the offensive end. Those guys were skinny, but they were stronger than you thought. Jernard still has to get stronger. I’m not telling him he needs to get bigger, just stronger. So that when you’re dribbling the basketball someone (nudges you), then you don’t get knocked off. You take your step, beat your man and going to basket, but someone hits you and now you’re taking a fall-away jump shot. You got to be able to absorb that contact and finish. That’s an and-1. That’s the difference between strength and being a big guy.”
(Austin Seferian-Jenkins) “Learn our system. The biggest thing with Austin is he didn’t know everything we were doing. He could not totally relax when we played because while we were running sets, we’re on the bench directing him. Everything he did was on instincts last year.”
(Do you think you’ll have him for a second season?) “I think so. Not sure, but right now he’s talking about doing individual work this summer. He wants to do it.”
(Perris Blackwell) “Conditioning. Once he’s in great condition, he’ll be fine. He uses his right and left hand around the basket. Soft touch. Experienced. He just has to be in condition to do what we’re doing and all of that will take care of itself during his year here.”
(Will he go with the team during the summer overseas trip?) “No. He’s not allowed to.”
(Alex Wegner) “He won’t be back next year.”
(What happened?) “He’s just going to concentrate on school.”
(Any walk-ons next year?) “No. Not at this point. You never know when school starts.”

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, Mark McLaughlin

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