Apologies for the delay in posting video from coach Lorenzo Romar’s press conference Tuesday. But here it is. Be forewarned it’s lengthy, which is partly why we broke it up in two videos. However, there’s plenty to digest.
For starters Romar talks about the 18-16 season and says the Huskies just couldn’t get over the hump and was too inconsistent. “That was the story of our season,” he said. Romar also took responsibility adding: “There’s something as a head coach I did not do so that we were more on the same page. … It goes back to me.”
Here’s a few takeaways:
— Romar has met with C.J. Wilcox, who is contemplating leaving school a year early to declare for the NBA draft. Wilcox has submitted paperwork to the NBA Undergraduate Committee, which gives draft hopefuls feedback from NBA team executives. Romar believes the information in the report will be the No. 1 criteria Wilcox will use to base his decision.
— Romar talked about sophomore forward Matin Breunig, who decided to transfer. He supported the decision. He said Breunig chose to leave to find a place where he could get more playing time. Romar called Breuning “a great guy.” Breunig will remain at UW at least through the spring and will workout with players.
— Romar blamed many of UW’s problems on a lack of depth, which he admits has been an issue the past two seasons. He touched on the loss of Mark McLaughlin, the junior college star given a scholarship but never played for the Huskies. Romar promised a lack of depth among the perimeter players will not be an issue next season. He didn’t talk about it because he can’t due to NCAA rules, but Romar was probably alluding to the addition of JC standout Mike Anderson, a 6-5 guard.
— Romar admitted Washington didn’t have the personnel to apply the type of defensive pressure in the backcourt that’s been characteristic of Husky basketball. The Huskies hardly ever pressed full court and no one other than Andrew Andrews really got up in opponents to make them feel uncomfortable. Romar reasoned because UW didn’t force many turnovers, it led to fewer transition opportunities and fewer points. The Huskies averaged just 5.2 steals, which he said is one of the lowest if not the lowest in the past 11 years.
— When pressed about how he plans to squeeze more points out of the offense that averaged 67.9 points – the fewest since 2001 – Romar gave a vague response. He didn’t have a good answer other than to say: “We’ll have more basket-makers. Sometimes it’s that simple.” But it’s not. At this point, it’s a leap of faith to believe the Huskies can dramatically improve offensively when they’ll lose at least three of the top four scorers. If C.J. Wilcox takes off for the NBA, then Andrews (7.8 points per game) is the leading returning scorer.
— Romar said Perris Blackwell, who sat out last season after transferring from San Francisco, is a basket-maker. He’s tough. At 6-9, he’s not ideal at center, but he’s strong enough to take on most post players in the Pac-12, per Romar. The coach also likened him to a bigger Jamaal Williams. Romar said Blackwell can play alongside Shawn Kemp Jr.
— Speaking of chemistry, Romar believes Andrews and star recruit Nigel Williams-Goss can mutually co-exist even though both are natural point guards. It would seem, one of them will have to take on more scoring duties as a second guard, but Romar isn’t filling out the starting lineup right now.
— Romar said Kemp averaged about 8.5 points in the last eight games, which is a good sign. He called Kemp a freshman knowing full well the big guy is a sophomore. But because Kemp had a long layoff before arriving at UW, it would seem Romar doesn’t think his freshman season was indicative of what type of player he’ll be. Romar thinks Kemp’s performance down the stretch this season bodes well for the future.
— Romar was equally optimistic about Jernard Jarreau, Hikeem Stewart and Gilles Dierickx.
— What you won’t see on the video is Romar talking about the Huskies taking charges. It’s one of the hustle statistics Washington charts and he believes it’s an indicator to gauge whether the defense is dialed into an opponent. He often talks about wanting players to get as excited about taking charges as they do about dropping a dunk on an opponent. Anyway, Romar didn’t have the exact numbers, but said UW did a poor job this season taking charges.
— He also said he was hoping to add a couple of recruits. Granted he said that before the Anderson news, so theoretically the Huskies have just one slot open.