Lorenzo Romar spoke today via a teleconference to talk about Washington’s game Saturday at Stanford.
Here’s a transcript of the interview.
(On Cal game and being able to overcome poor shooting) “It’s happened a couple of times, but not in as many areas. I think it took all those area to work out like that. You mentioned holding them to what it was 37.7%. With that (they shot) 16.7% from the foul line. We committed six turnovers with 10 assists, but also 48 rebounds led to 20 offensive rebounds. When you combine all those things, I don’t remember us ever doing that.”
(On being healthy) “In the preseason early we weren’t playing as good as we are now. We weren’t playing as good of defense, as tenacious of defense, we didn’t get it offensively. Some of those things obviously were there, but when you have all of your players, even with those shortcomings, I think we still could have scrapped a couple wins out of there. So we didn’t look good some nights. We looked bad. But I just think, you have some of your guns in there, and healthier guys, you can find a way to will your way to a couple of those wins and we weren’t able to do that. So I still think it comes back to that. I think it helps that we have everybody back, but also offensively I think we’re playing easier now. I also as I reflect back on it, I think our offense sometimes affected our defense because we’re thinking a lot of offensively and just never got kind of in a rhythm. Not often. I think that affected our defense also.”
(On Stanford) “A dangerous team that potentially is very explosive offensively. (Chasson) Randle scored 27 points in a half in the conference tournament last year and ended up with 30 in a game. He was playing really good offensively later in the year. I think when they really need a bucket, I think Aaron Bright is a guy who steps up and takes and makes big shots for them. He had been hurt. And I think that’s hurt them with him being out, with his ankle sprain. And then even when he came back, he had to knock the rust off a little bit. Well you get those two guys playing at a high level, I think Bright helps Randle when he’s in there with him, those guys are playing well together. They’re not even the leading scorers. The leading scorer is Dwight Powell. So you have those three, but then you have John Gage who seems to never miss a shot. Their support players on to Rosco Allen, Josh Huestis is there. He’s kind of their heart and soul in some areas. They just have a lot of weapons.”
(On how Saturday’s defensive plan differs from past two games) “Well it’s definitely going to be different. The other thing that’s different about this game and game planning is that in Brock Motum we felt we had someone who could attempt to try to defend him. Someone that could match up with him. Whether it worked or not, we into the game thinking we could at least try to match up. But we knew when Desmond (Simmons) was out of the game, then we had a tough time matching up with them. Against Cal, whether we stopped them or not, we felt we had at least someone of comparable speed that could match up with their guards. In this game, they have a couple of front line players that step out a lot. We just feel like it’s a little tougher to defend them and game plan for them because across the board, we may not match up very well with them.”
(On Powell) “He doesn’t shoot threes a lot, but he’s capable. He’s shooting 41% from the three-point line I believe. But he does shoot it well. He drives it, you gotta box him out because he’s good offensive rebounder and he’s athletic. He’s become a pretty well-rounded player.”
(Is Powell the most mobile big man Aziz will face?) “Brock Motum is the most mobile that’s been on the other team. But obviously Powell is mobile also.”
(On N’Diaye becoming an offensive force) “You just see our guys are much more comfortable with Aziz. When he’s set and in position I think our guys are more comfortable throwing him the basketball. They feel he’ll catch it and then do something positive with it. You know they double-teamed him the last game. That’s the first time anyone’s done that this year for that long of a period. They’ve done it a few times, but not for as long as Cal did it. Aziz made really good decisions passing the ball out of double teams. I think our confidence is definitely grown in throwing the ball to him.”
(On N’Diaye improving the offense) “It certainly frees up the shooters, the perimeter guys – to balance that out. It just makes everyone else a better offensive player because now you have to guard Aziz. When everyone becomes a better offensive player, your offense in itself becomes better. There are no magical offenses if you don’t have players that can make the passes and make the baskets. No offense works if you don’t have that. So the more guys you have on the floor that can make plays, the better you’re going to be offensively. And Aziz is helping with that.”
(On the toll playing on the road has on the team) “Eventually it will take its toll. When you look at traveling across country to UConn and then coming back. Then we were on the road to Wazzu and then getting back at 2:00 am yesterday – flying back from Cal – and then going back. Eventually it will take its toll. But hopefully we can still be strong enough mentally and have our legs under us to do it one more time tomorrow. And then we’re off the road for a week before we get it again.”
(On who has stepped up) “I’ve said it many times, veteran teams potentially are better on the road than really young teams for that very reason. They’ve been there. They understand the noise and the other place and everybody yelling at you, they (the fans) don’t mean any harm. They can’t touch you. They can’t put their hands on you. Just go play the game. They understand – the older guys – tempo. You can’t go three minutes and take bad shots and not defend for three minutes. That’s enough to get you blown out. When you have older players, they kind of set the tone a little bit.”
(On being upset with Andrew Andrews at Cal) “I wasn’t upset with Andrew, I was upset with his decisions first of all. That is not what got me more upset. I was more upset with how he handled the response to his decision. Andrew would be further along now if he wouldn’t have hurt his ankle. Andrew on our foreign tour was playing really good basketball. He he was playing really good basketball before he hurt his ankle. He wasn’t able to get his shot to go down, but if you look before he hurt his ankle his assist-to-turnover ratio was very good. It was a little more than 2:1, right at 2:1. As a freshman, the more he plays, the better he’s gonna get because he’s not intimidated by his surroundings.”
(On impact of the Sonics and benefits of a pro team in Seattle) “Well it’s fun for the city. I think basketball becomes even more important when you have a professional team here. I remember Ray Allen and those guys, Nick Collison and Reggie Evans playing with our guys in our facilities. Our guys getting to know them. Now there are enough NBA guys that played at the University of Washington to where we have that same effect with Brandon (Roy) and Nate (Robinson) and Spencer (Hawes) and John (Brockman). Even Jamal Crawford, who didn’t come here, but he’s always around our guys. You still get that NBA feel and interaction with those guys, but the more interaction the better. The guys that played for us, they’re either gonna be playing for the local team or they’re gonna be coming back in town. We get to watch them play. So all in all I just think it’s great, I think it’s a positive. People say you think your attendance could be hurt by it? Well I think if you look at our attendance, our attendance may have been better when the Sonics were here than it has been here in the last couple of years.”