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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 15, 2015 at 10:11 AM

Huskies hoops links: Can Lorenzo Romar, Washington win with big men?

Sophomore center Robert Upshaw, right, and the Washington Huskies try to snap a four-game losing streak Thursday night against Oregon State. (Photo credit: USA Today Sports)

Sophomore center Robert Upshaw, right, and the Washington Huskies try to snap a four-game losing streak Thursday night against Oregon State. (Photo credit: USA Today Sports)

At the midpoint of a season that began with so much promise, the Huskies (11-4, 0-3 Pac-12) are suffering from an identity crisis and a four-game losing streak that has them on pace to miss the NCAA tournament for a fourth consecutive year.

So here’s the question UW has yet to answer: “What’s the offensive identity?

It would seem Nigel Williams-Goss is best suited to lead the Huskies. The sophomore point guard is coming off a brilliant performance (30 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals in 40 minutes) last Saturday during the 80-77 defeat against Washington State.

And yet 6-9 senior forward Shawn Kemp Jr. and 7-0 sophomore center Robert Upshaw give Washington a formidable front-line tandem it hasn’t had in years.

It’s an interesting concept to examine. During his 13-year tenure, coach Lorenzo Romar has built guard-oriented teams. Only twice has a big man led the Huskies in scoring. And those years weren’t exactly successful.

The 2006-07 Huskies began 10-1 before dropping six of the next seven games and finishing 19-13 while missing the NCAA tournament and National Invitation Tournament.  That team never maximized the potential of Spencer Hawes, who led UW with 14.9 points during his one year with the Huskies. He was taken 10th overall in the 2007 NBA draft. Jon Brockman averaged 14.2 points.

In 2007-08, Brockman led the Huskies with 17.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. The Huskies finished 16-17, just the second losing season under Romar.

Romar, a former UW point guard who played in the NBA, has built an respected pipeline that’s sent several guards to the pros including: Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten Jr. and C.J. Wilcox.

There’s no questioning Romar knows how to coach guards.

However, his track record with big men is far less established. This season Upshaw has garnered attention as a possible first-round NBA pick. Still, it remains to be seen if the big man will be the one who leads the Huskies back to the NCAA tournament.

THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:

Bud Withers is bullish on Oregon State. He writes: “Twenty-five years removed from the last Oregon State trip to the NCAA basketball tournament, I think they’ve got it this time. I think they’ve hit on the right guy to get them back there sometime down the road.”

— UW guard Andrew Andrews on his season: “I’m not playing that great, so I’m trying to turn it around. At the beginning of the year, I was playing really well. So I’m trying to get back to that.”

Shawn Kemp Jr. is focused on winning even though there’s going to be plenty of the Sonics reunion in the stands – Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp are expected to attend the game.

— Many things have gone wrong during UW’s four-game losing streak. One of the biggest problems is the Huskies haven’t shot well on three-pointers.

— After knocking off then-No. 7 Arizona on Sunday, Oregon State is riding a lot of confidence and momentum into Thursday’s game against Washington at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Connor Letourneau at the Oregonian gives five things to watch in tonight’s UW-OSU matchup.

— The Arizona-Colorado matchup has been testy in the past, but both teams will need to figure out their inner-conflicts before trying to tonight’s basketball.

— I said it after the game and I’m likely to feel this way the rest of the season: The most baffling loss during Washington’s four-game losing streak is the 81-75 defeat at California. How in the world the Huskies surrendered 31 points to Jordan Matthews is astounding. At any rate, the Golden Bears have lost four straight since beating UW.

— UCLA is riding a four-game winning streak.

 

Comments | More in Links, Lorenzo Romar | Topics: Robert Upshaw

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