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April 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Q&A with Lorenzo Romar, Part I

Lorenzo Romar address several off-court topics. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson - Associated Press)

Lorenzo Romar address several off-court topics. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson – Associated Press)

Had a chance to chat with coach Lorenzo Romar who talked about several topics, including newcomer Quevyn Winters, Nigel Williams-Goss, Robert Upshaw, Andrew Andrews and Desmond Simmons.

Here’s the first half of the interview.

(What are your expectations for Quevyn Winters?) “A guy that can come in with experience and know how. He’s not going to be intimidated on the road. He’ll be able to come in and learn our system, be able to knock down shots for us. He’s a good three-point shooter. He averaged 10 points a game when he was at Duquesne. My rule of thumb is if you can score eight points a game as a freshman on a decent team, you’re probably going to be pretty good. He averaged 10 so we would expect him to come in and be one of our better three-point shooters.”

(I remember you saying junior-college transfers don’t really hit their stride until the start of conference season.) “They tend to be at their best at that time. They tend to show a whole lot of improvement, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come in right away and compete and make their case known. He has experience and he’s a winner. So you bring those intangibles to the party, he can help this team.”

(Do you see him competing for C.J. Wilcox’s old spot?) “I don’t think there’s anyone that won’t compete. What it means is there’s a starting guard that’s gone. So whoever is the starter next year, then there are minutes off the bench. … So it’s an overall minutes thing and not a starter thing. We don’t know who’s going to start.”

(Thoughts on Nigel Williams-Goss testing the NBA waters.) “When players do that intelligently, the rule is there for that. I don’t sense it as being any betrayal or a guy’s head is in the clouds. It’s there to test and see what would happen if I were to do that. I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t know how many freshmen around the country that had the numbers that he had or did what he did that wouldn’t have a chance to take a look.”

(Did it surprise you or were you expecting it?) “I didn’t really expect it, but when it happened I understood.”

(Was it unlike any of the guys who have recently flirted with the NBA? Guys like C.J. Wilcox, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten Jr. and Isaiah Thomas.) “I think those guys, I thought that they really looked hard into the process. I think Nigel had more of a poke my head in and see what’s going.”

(It appears as if Nigel’s situation is similar to Brandon Roy, who contemplated the NBA early on.) “A little bit. Brandon, Quincy (Pondexter), Jon Brockman, those guys – all three of them kind of went more through me on that just to say: ‘Coach find out what’s out there.’ We checked it out, but it just wasn’t publicized.”

(Any negatives to testing the NBA waters. Fair or unfair I think a player could get the reputation of someone who isn’t entirely committed to his college team and looking to bolt at the first opportunity.) “I think for some it could be that way. Not with Nigel. You watch how much time and effort he puts into this program, you don’t doubt one bit about his level of commitment to our program.”

(What are you expecting from him next season?) “Him to be an improved player in all aspects. Nigel being an improved player means that we’re an improved team.”

(I don’t expect you to put statistical goals out there, but if Nigel averaged 13-4-4 last season I’d imagine he could get to 15-5-5. And if he did that, it would be quite an accomplishment. I can’t think of the last UW player to put up numbers like that.) “It would be great. That is not something that is out of the question with him. I think more with Nigel is improving upon his quality of play next year overall. As good of a player as he is and as good of a year that he had, he’s still figuring out a lot of things during this season, especially in the nonconference. Next year there won’t be that. From Day 1, he’ll know exactly what to expect. For that reason alone, if he had the same numbers this year, it would be more quality. They would be more impactful. But as hard as he works, I definitely see him making a big improvement next year. I don’t know what that looks like numbers-wise.”

(What are the expectations for Andrew Andrews?) “Andrew will be another improved player. I believe Andrew’s shooting percentage will take a big jump next year over the last couple of years.”

(Why?) “I think he understands more about who he is and shot selection. Let’s not forget – with the exception of the last game when he had food poisoning – in six games he averaged 17 (points) a game and 6.6 rebounds in Pac-12 play. I always talk about patterns. You do that over six-game stretch, that’s a pattern. So you can say towards the end of the year, he made a big jump. So that’s why I say his shooting percentages will go up because I think he understands exactly where on the floor he’s really effective. I also think he’ll put in a lot of the time and effort into improving as a shooter and improving as a basketball player. I see him making a big jump.”

(The argument against Williams-Goss and Andrews improving is those guys got open looks because Wilcox titled the defense towards him. Without Wilcox, they’ll have more defensive attention.) “If you would have done that this year with Andrew being a sophomore and Nigel being a freshman and kind of feeling his way, then maybe that would have made it more difficult for them. But now those guys are experienced so they’ll find their way. And C.J. is not here, but someone else will step up. And even if those guys have improved and teams key on them, well, that’s what you get when you’re improved. That’s what happens. But good players find a way to play through that and I think they’ll do that.”

(What’s the update with Robert Upshaw?) “Same.”

(What does that mean? “He’s going to school. And I feel stupid just saying the same thing over and over, but taking care of business off the court.”

(Do you expect him to be a part of the team next season?) “I don’t know.”

(I can’t think of a situation that you’ve had like this at UW.) “No we haven’t.”

(So then, how do you approach it?) “Like we’ve been approaching it. It’s on him. He has to make sure that he’s taking care of everything that he’s supposed to take care. All of his business is done in the right way. You know, you look at it later and see what’s going to happen.”

(Did Desmond Simmons leaving surprise you?) “I would say this and I’ll stick with this, nothing surprises me when kids decided to leave anymore. There were 544 transfers last year. And I just keep reading every day there’s 2-3 and sometimes five a day that are transferring. I imagine the final count will be more than 544. It has become a culture that kids transfer. So none of them surprise me.”

(From what I know about you, you’re not a big fan of the new Transfer Season.) “I think there are times when a kid should transfer. I’m one for sticking with it and not being a quitter, but I do think there are certain circumstances where it’s just not the right fit. I just think kids transfer for the wrong reasons. I think there are too many outside influences. I hear talk among some coaches that someone signs three forwards and they haven’t even started school yet and they’re saying who’s going to end up leaving because they signed three forwards. It’s ridiculous. As soon as a guy hits his first five games, he looks at the stats and he’s playing 8-9 minutes, (people) around him are saying if this doesn’t change we’re going to have to get him out of there. That’s after five games. So I’m not a fan of that. I’m not a fan of that at all. I’m not a fan of that in any walk in life where the first few weeks don’t work out and now you’re abandoning ship, especially in a team situation. But the way the culture is now, a lot of times the kid is disappointed and it’s not working out, but in his mind he’s going through it. But you’re getting all of these people (saying) you need to look at going somewhere else. They’re not letting you do this. They’re not letting you do that. And the kid is say yeah, I guess. Then after awhile they give into it.”

(Even though you said you weren’t surprise Simmons left, it still seems puzzling because he was starting. He was part of the culture and he had minutes to improve. So what were his reasons?) “I wonder if we would have had more successful seasons, if he still would have made that decision. I don’t know. But when you’re not doing as well, a lot of times it’s disappointing for a lot of people. When he first came here, he came into a situation where we are in the NCAA tournament his red shirt year. He didn’t get to experience that. Then he wanted a bigger role. He felt like there were things that he could that maybe he wasn’t able to do while he was here. And if he were to go somewhere else, he may get those opportunities.”

 

Comments | More in Lorenzo Romar | Topics: Andrews Andrews, Nigel Williams-Goss, Quevyn Winters

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