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In the video (above), Coach Lorenzo Romar talked about Sunday’s season opener against Seattle University, the loss of Desmond Simmons, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this week and having the most offensively balanced team since he’s been at Washington.
Here’s a partial transcript of the interview.
(On Simmon’s knee surgery) “It was what they anticipated. Everything went pretty smoothly given the circumstances.”
(When do you expect he’ll return?) “Mid December to late December is what we’re hopeful for.”
(What does his absence mean?) “He is probably the toughest, physically toughest. Perris (Blackwell) is a banger in there, but Desmond is probably our toughest inside player. He just has a knack for getting his hands on the basketball and getting you extra possessions. He’s a really good defender as well. It means someone else is going to have to step up and provide some of those things for us or provide in more minutes what they can bring to the table. A guy like Shawn Kemp who is not the guy that’s out there flying all over the place (and is) your best defender, but he’s giving what he gives – his specialty. He’s able to get in there and give us more scoring in that regards. So it gives someone else an opportunity to hopefully compensate what we’re missing with Desmond.”
(If you had him Sunday, would he have defended Mark McLaughlin?) “No he guards big guys. Never does he guard perimeter guys. Rarely does he guard perimeter guys, I should say. Like Brock Motum, he did a great job against Brock Motum last year in two of the three games. Brock was a bigger guy.”
(Anyone No. 2 in terms of having a junkyard mentality?) “Oh we have other guys. Mike Anderson is scrappy. Nigel (Williams-Goss) is scrappy. Andrew Andrews is scrappy. But we’re talking about big guys. Out of of the big guys, I would say Perris would probably be second. But I don’t think that’s a knock on who’s not, I just think Desmond does it at such a high level that it’s so hard … It’s like comparing a rebounder to Jon Brockman. He’s not as good as Jon Brockman. I always tease my wife. She says ‘Do you like this outfit?’ I’ll say it’s OK. (She’ll say) so you don’t like it. I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I just said it was OK. It’s average. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I think in Desmond’s case, it’s just that he is such a junkyard dog at such a high level, there’s not many people around anywhere that has that type of mentality. He has a special gift that way.”
(Are you thin on the front court?) “If someone were to get in foul trouble. But if that were to happen I think we would just go small and put it on the other team hopefully – we’d be a mismatch problem potentially.”
(How do you feel about the team headed into Sunday’s opener? Excited or curious?) “Those two together. Curioexcited? How would you say, put them both together. I don’t know. But yeah, curious and excited. I like our pieces. I like what we have to work with. I like the fact that we have depth. I really like that. Even with Desmond out, I believe we still have depth. I like the fact that we share the ball the way that we do and probably 95 percent of the time on the floor, there’s five players that can make a play for themselves or others. So that’s helpful.”
(What are you curious about?) “Defensively how are we going to play? How we’re going to rebound. And then with the newer guys – these are real games now against quality opponents – can we carry over what we’ve been seeing in practice to the games immediately or will it take awhile? Those would probably be the things I’m looking at.”
(When was the last time UW had a front court as prolific as this team?) “2007 – Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes. I’m not saying our guys are as good as those guys, but I’m saying our guys now they can make things happen. We just haven’t had that as much here recently. I think our big guys combined for something like 11 assists in that game (Central Washington exhibition). That says a lot right there. Not only did they score, they rebounded. Someone will be quick to say, well it was a Division II opponent, but we’ve played Division II opponents in the past and in a lot of cases – even with our teams that ended up doing really well – because they were quicker to the ball, because they smaller and awkward to play against. And it wasn’t like that this time. I thought our guys did a good job of controlling what was going on.”
(Why have your teams been so guard-oriented? Philosophy or personnel?) “It was the personnel. It was what we had. We played to our strengths. Now I think we still have really good guards, but now we have inside play that balances it out a little more. We have never really been a balanced team in terms of inside and outside. Now this gives us a little more balance in the perimeter as well as in the paint. That’s what you want. That’s what we’ve been recruiting for and we’re looking forward to having. I think we’ve made some major steps, some major strides in getting there.”