Here’s video of coach Lorenzo Romar before Wednesday’s practice talking about Thursday’s exhibition opener against Saint Martin’s.
Here’s a partial transcript.
(Do you have a starting lineup?) “Shawn Kemp, Jernard Jarreau, Mike Anderson, Nigel (Williams-Goss) and Andrew Andrews. That’s who we’ll start with in this game.”
(On Jarreau) “Still trying to regain his – touches isn’t the word I’m looking for. (But) he’s got to knock the rust off a little bit. His timing I guess. Regaining his timing with some things. But it’s been really good to have him back. Not only have him back, but the new and improved Jernard. He improved last year, but now he’s doing those things with more muscle, a little more strength. You can run your offense offense through him. He can guard 1-5. He can switch any position. He can put the ball on the floor and make a play for himself (or) others. His versatility and his length just gives you a dimension that’s hard to find.”
(On Robert Upshaw) “He is such a presence in the middle defensively. It’s one thing to be able to block shots. It’s another thing to know that you’re good at it. He has developed a little bit of a good blend of – when you’re going to the rim against a really good shot blocker, you need to have a plan. You need to go hard. You can’t tip toe through there or fall away. They’re going to block your shot. Well now you get everything together, you grit your teeth and say c’mon big fella and he’ll take a charge. Not a lot of guys do that. So he kind of balances that. He’s good at protecting the paint. We didn’t have that luxury last year.”
(On Kemp) “Shawn is totally different. First of all, he’s much stronger. Forget about the illness. I’m not talking about that. I’m talkign about in the weight room. He moves guys. Guys defend him in practice and he posts up and you see guys take a step back. He now when he’s in that game understands what we want so much that he’s just been steady. He’s been steady all the way through.
(On if there’s been improvements with Kemp’s defense and shot blocking) “Not as much. His defense is better because his floor position is better. He rotates better. He knows where to go. He’s not an intimidating shot blocker. That’s not who he is. But the things that he do, you better run the floor with him every time because he runs the floor. He’s fast. You know we talk about Robert knowing he’s a good shot blocker Shawn knows he’s fast and knows most big guys can’t run with him. So with our guards pushing the ball up the floor, Shawn will get a lot of run outs.”
(On what he wants to see Thursday) “Like in the scrimmage and again I can’t say much about the scrimmage, but to continue to execute the things we’ve been working on offensively and defensively. One of the main things that we’re looking at is how long we can sustain an effort? Because in the beginning we’ll be down in a (defensive) stance, we’ll talk and we’re running the floor. Can we do that for 40 minutes? That’s what we have to do. Today we haven’t been able to do that for 40 minutes.”
(On the team’s identity) “This team is definitely tougher. This team definitely has more of an edge to it. We were talking this morning in our staff meeting. When you look at Shawn Kemp who is a senior. When you look at Andrew Andrews who is a senior academically. When you look at Mike Anderson who is a fifth-year senior because he redshirted in college. Jernard (it’s) his fourth-year in college. And then Nigel just plays beyond his years. A guy like Quevyn Winters who has already played Division I basketball at Duquense University. We’re sneaky old, this team is. So we’re tougher and we’re older and I think we have more experience.”
(On playing up-tempo) “Like we’ve talked in the past, if you can’t impose your will on a team defensively, then they can hold the ball all they want. And we have not been able to impose our will the last couple of years. I think this year we’ll have more of a defensive presence, which will enable us to get the ball in situations where transition has been created. But then again as you mention about finishing, a lot of times we were up tempo and we couldn’t make the shot so it didn’t matter. We have more players that can make plays and finish. It’ll be different hopefully this year.”
(On establishing roles early) “I can’t remember maybe 3-4 years ago where roles were being defined this early. Our role is further along in terms of each guy know where they are and what we see then it’s been in a long time.”
(On rotations) “The five that starts here may not start the rest of the year, but it’s getting pretty clear who the 8 or 9 guys are going to be. That’s becoming pretty clear.”
(On replacing C.J. Wilcox) “Every practice, every inter-squad scrimmage, the closed-door scrimmage and shooting drills we keep saying is this real? Because coming in we had doubts in our mind how good of a shooting team we were going to be. Up until this point there’s been multiple guys that make threes. With C.J. I think we depended so much on C.J. that he would knock those things down. Not a lot of other people helped C.J. doing that. So when you say replace C.J., I think this is different because we got three, four, five guys that knock them down now. So me personally I like that better. I prefer five guys in double figures than two. You’re much more difficult to defend when you have five guys in double figures versus one guy averaging 20 a game. It’s harder on that guy averaging 20 a game too. Sometimes he’s easier to defend because you’re concentrating on him so much.”
(On Anderson) “He’s playing on the perimeter. He has not played hardly any possessions. When we go four guards, he is not having to change anything right now. As a result, he’s been doing a good job because he’s a facilitator. He’s worked on his shot. He’s knocking shots down. He’s playing with more confidence from the perimeter. He’s one of our best perimeter defenders and know we know he can rebound. All that battling he was doing last year when he would go in there fighting and scrapping, now he’s going to have some bigger guys helping him doing that.”