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Husky Men's Basketball

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

August 9, 2012 at 12:38 PM

UW set to begin practices for exhibition tour

Washington begins practices Friday it’s exhibition tour to Spain, France and Africa with three straight days of workouts.
Schools are allowed 10 full practices before their trips.
I had a chance to talk with coach Lorenzo Romar recently and he raved about the benefits of the extra workouts in addition to the new NCAA rule change which allows coaches two hours each week to work with players.
There’s also a potential downside, he said.
“We have to be careful that we don’t burn them out before (fall) practice,” Romar cautioned. “We got to make sure strategically we’re with them for two hours, but you have to guard against practicing twice a day and grueling 2 1/2 hour practices.
“Now you’re on your foreign tour for two weeks. You come back and you’re after it again. I’ve seen that happen before where teams are burned out by January. So you still can be with a team for two hours, but maybe you watch film. Maybe you walk through some things.”
Romar expects senior center Aziz N’Diaye, who underwent surgery on his wrist, will be available for the overseas games.
Here’s most of the interview with Romar.

(Last year when we talked about the tour, China was on the schedule. So you’ve taken that out and added Africa and I’m sure Aziz is happy about that.) “Absolutely.”
(How did that happen?) “China was going to be a good situation. A different group was going to handle that. Then what we decided just to do something a little different since we didn’t do China. That’s when Spain, France and the Africa piece came in. We’re going to do it again where there’s going to be a class taught in conjunction with the trip. Culturally I just think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our guys.”
(You know much about the teams you’ll play?) “Not yet.”
(Club teams or pro teams?) “They’ll be probably pro level.”
(Is winning the focus or something else?) “To be the best we can be, which is our normal focus. It will be how much better can we get when we go out there?”
(Is it fair to say you’ve used non-conference games in the past to allow guys to find their roles?) “I’d say we have not treated them like exhibition games in the pros. In the pros the exhibition games a lot of times teams will play like they want to win, but they will risk the score not being in their favor because they want to play three rookies just to see what they’ll do because they have to make a decision. They may want to bring some vets in there, so they bring them along slowly and may only play them for a half. They don’t put both barrels out there. So we don’t handle it like that. We’re out there trying to be the best that we can be, but within that we probably play some reserves a little longer than they would play in conference.”
(Now you have this foreign trip. Do you think it will change how you’ve used the non-conference games. Essentially I’m trying to ask will you use the foreign trip like you did the non-conference games in the past?) “Yes. We’ll do that more so to give guys looks. Who’s developing? Who’s going to fit with what? I would imagine this year will be the earliest or close to the earliest we’ll ever make a decision in terms of rotations.”
(Think you’ll know that when you return from Africa?) “By the time we play our first game, we’ll have a pretty good idea who’s going to be in the rotation.”
(Normally that’s not the case.) “No it’s not. Usually we don’t know for sure probably until December or sometime mid-December when you have more of an idea. And some years we don’t know for sure until the middle of January because you have some guys who play one way early – maybe they’re struggling – and then all of a sudden they figure it out and start playing. There they go and there our team goes. But they weren’t giving you that earlier in the year for whatever reason. So it’s hard to say this is our lineup and then all of sudden this player comes on like gangbusters and now you have to make a decision.”
(The danger in determining a lineup so early is as you said not giving guys an opportunity to show what they can do in a game situation. You’ve talked about your playing days when guys were locked into a role and they hardly improved over the year, which means the team hardly improved. You worried about that?) “No because we have more of a veteran team. You know what Abdul Gaddy is going to give you. You know what Scott Suggs is going to give you. C.J. Wilcox. Aziz N’Diaye. Even like a Desmond Simmons. You know at the minimum what he’s going to give you. For guys like Shawn (Kemp Jr.) and Martin (Breunig) who haven’t played as much, those are the guys that you have to watch closely to see how much they have advanced from one year to the next. It will be more guys like that that you have to make sure you’re watching them closely.”
(Is the idea of setting the rotation early a byproduct from last season or is it an offshoot of this foreign trip?) “It’s unique to the foreign trip as well to the number of veterans we have. We’ve had so many teams where you’re younger and you’re just not sure because you don’t know who’s really going to step up. On paper when Isaiah (Thomas) was a freshman – after the sophomore year that Venoy (Overton) had and the year that Justin Dentmon had – I was thinking it’s going to be hard to beat out Isaiah and Venoy. They could be the starting guards. Well Justin Dentmon comes in and right away and says ‘No they’re not.’
(He played like a Pac-10 MVP candidate for half the season.) “Yeah. I’ve said it many times, coaches don’t decide who plays or who starts. Players decide. The players and the parents they can say whatever they want, but players decide every day in practice and what they do in the games. They make those decisions. For coaches, the decision is to act on what you’ve seen and put out there the players that make the best team.”
(What do you think about the non-conference schedule?) “I think it’s an extremely balanced schedule. It puts us in position to where we should not have a problem with our RPI. But you know, we got to win games. Last year, the RPI issue wouldn’t have been an issue if we would have done a better job in a couple of those games.”
(You win just one that you lost and it’s a different story.) “Yeah. The schedule was set last year for us to have a good RPI. But we didn’t do well in non-conference. So we got to do a better job in the conference this year.”
(You only make two trips outside the Seattle. Is it challenging enough to get you experience to win on the road. Especially in a hostile environment.) “We’re at UConn. We’re on the east coast for the (Hall of Fame) tournament. Again we have a veteran team. We should be fine.”
(I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask about the possibility of adding Gonzaga to the schedule again. What do you think?) “I don’t put much thought into it.”
(Midnight Madness this year?) “No.”
(Still going away to start fall camp?) “Yes.”
(UCLA is opening a brand new Pauley Pavilion. Oregon State is building a new training facility. I remember two years ago you talked about renovating Hec Ed, where are those plans?) “Still talking about it. Hopefully that’s something that can happen. I think most with our conference have that type of facility like what they’re doing at Oregon State.”
(So it sounds like folks here are still in the planning stage.) “We’ve definitely talked about it. But we got to get it done. So we’ll see.”
(Is it about waiting your turn and waiting until Husky Stadium is completed?) “Yeah that’s a big project. There’s a lot of projects that are going on. There’s baseball. The soccer field. There’s a lot going on.”

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


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