Here’s the transcript of Tuesday’s interview with coach Lorenzo Romar who talked about Wednesday’s game against Oregon.
(On keeping an eye on football signing day) “I don’t know who we have all signed, but most years, I have a pretty good idea of the top ones that get signed. I’m always pretty excited. … Somehow it comes my way. I’m always fired up to see who we’re going to be able to cheer for in the coming up year.”
(Any sense of progress from last two games?) “There wasn’t a lot of progress made in the Stanford game. We got the news on Monday and we played on Wednesday. We had to take our mandatory day off on Monday, so we could practice Tuesday and that was it. That wasn’t enough time to really shore up and change some things. But from Stanford to Cal, in spite of giving up far too many layups, I thought we made a lot of progress in some areas.”
(Which areas?) “Well for one, we scored off of our defense for a change. That hasn’t happened a lot, but we generated offense by forcing turnovers. I thought our guys were active, and I thought the price we paid for being so active is we started to lose our integrity, so to speak, and not have a wall defensively. It’s one thing to have a shot blocker back there. That’s great. But it’s another thing to still be in position. Andrew (Andrews) took two charges. Being in a position to take more charges. We still hugged our man a little too much, anticipating maybe … being a little more active defensively. So we paid a price for it. But there was progress made there. offensively, I thought we played kind of a free type of offense, and I thought the guys had fun playing offense the other night. So that was progress.
(Has identity of the team changed?) “Earlier in the year, you talk to anyone – it was all about defense. All about defense. And I don’t hear that as much. We’re talking about it, but when we have to defend a different kind of way, trying to sort all that out … it shouldn’t change, but it probably has a little bit. You want to become a better offensive team, so while you’re working to become a better offensive team and you start to do it, your identity can all of a sudden change to ‘yeah, we’re scoring points now.’ It can’t be that. We have to be able to do both.”
(On how hard it is to play same level of defense without Robert Upshaw) “When I talk about the offensive thing … no one wants to play up-tempo and score more points than we do. We want to do that. But you can’t just concentrate on that and not play defense. It’s going to be tough to win ballgames. We have to have that mindset. Going back to what you were saying, I used to keep kind of in my head and check, what was our defensive field-goal percentage with Robert on the floor and with Robert off the floor? And it wasn’t as good with Robert off the floor, but it was better than any team we’ve had. Field-goal percentage defense, when he wasn’t on the floor, was still better than any team that we’ve had. It was still under 40. The best defensive team we had was 41 I think. Something like that. So we still had the right defensive mindset. The issue is, we talk about the absence of Robert, but it’s the absence of Robert and Jernard (Jarreau), now together. So you had your 1 and 2 best rebounders, your 1 and 2 best defenders. Now you take both of them out of there, we have to really get creative. And the thing you could really do, maybe you just run around, you press everywhere. It’s a little late in the season to do that, and then we don’t have the depth to sustain that type of effort right now.”
(Is a 90-88 result more likely now than a 49-36?) “Hopefully 90-70, but not 90-88, I hope. Realistically, I would hope we can keep teams under 70, realistically. And obviously with that, we need to score more than 70.”
(On the team allowing high point totals recently after holding teams to 36, 40s, 50s) “We haven’t had that in a while. Unfortunately for us, we haven’t been playing as good of defense, so no one’s getting 36, 46, 50. Teams are scoring more right now. … I always say, you look at the margin of victory and the field-goal percentage defense. Sometimes a team would like to boast, ‘well, they’re holding teams to 50 points a game.’ Well, there a very, very few possessions because of how a team may play offense. So just because a team holds somebody to 50 points a game – now that’s good, but what is that team averaging offensively? Is it 56-60? That’s why the field-goal percentage defense is more important, and points per possession. Those tell the story. If a team comes out and scores 70 points a game on us, and we’re scoring 85, we’re beating teams pretty good. But what’s your field-goal percentage defense? How many possessions are in a game? If it’s a whole lot of possessions, more points can possibly be scored.”
(On Williams-Goss’ performance last Sunday) “He had a very exciting 32 against Oregon State last year here. I’d have to go back and look at the box score and see what else happened. And he had 30 earlier in a game this year I believe. But when you look at the fact that he still had five assists, not one turnover (and) six rebounds. I think he was 11 of 17 from the field, 3 for 6 from the three-point line and 6 for 6 from the (free throw) line. And I thought he attempted to play good defense. And he never came out of the game. That’s expending a lot of energy to accomplish what he did. And hit for about 20 seconds what was the game winner. He had a phenomenal game. It’s a shame for us that we lost the game in general, but it’s a shame that that wasn’t recognized, the type of game that he had. It was at a high level. I don’t know if they have many players in our league that can have that complete of a game. There’s guys that have scored more, but that complete of a game is pretty good. Pretty impressive.”
(On if Williams-Goss has to be Superman for UW to win) “If no one else is doing anything. That particular game game, yeah he played well. I thought Andrew Andrews stepped up and scored and did some things. Some times every now and then when it’s just not going well for anyone else someone may have to be Superman for you. I’ve seen that happen. But you don’t want it to come down to that. You want it for everyone to just be normal. You don’t have to be special. Just be normal. Do what you do. Don’t play below what you’re capable of. When you have a number of guys playing below that’s what makes it tougher and that’s what creates it to where somebody has to be Superman.”
(On Williams-Goss confidence) “He hit one and on the next one there was zero hesitation. He hit the next one. So right away, you’re talking about one game that one shot that went in from the beginning was a nice rhythm shot and he went from there. So if you remember, this was about where he started last year shooting 42 percent from the three around this time.
(More on Williams-Goss) “I think the fact that he works so hard and spends so much extra time shooting, he’s earned his confidence. I’ve seen you go through several games, go through a period where you don’t see that ball go in and you don’t have that success, yeah your confidence could waver for a little bit. But not for long with him. He works too hard. You earn confidence by how hard you work. And he works hard.”
(On if goals are still attainable) “Yes. We just have to right now, immediately, keep guys in front of us. We don’t have much margin for error once a guy gets by us and gets in the paint. So we have to do a better job of doing that. If we can do that and continue to start to shoot these higher percentages, then yeah we definitely can reach our goals.”
(On UW’s defensive belief) “I think our belief has wavered a little bit with our guys being out. It’s wavered a little bit. But again, nothing that practicing and having some success in a game won’t change. We just have to do it a different way.”
(On Oregon) “They are really good pushing the basketball. They have multiple scorers. And they play better at home. And they have a guy that I say can just go get you a bucket Joseph Young. Those guys are pretty good.”
(On Oregon since game at UW) “I don’t know. They’re not playing a whole lot different I don’t think. We played them here and it was a road game for them. They’re always better at home.”
(On Matthew Knight Arena compared to Mac Court) “Matthew Knight Arena when you drive up and see it, you’re impressed. When you get off the bus and you go inside and you begin to look around, you’re impressed. I’ve been able to see the surrounding parts, the training room, the practice (courts), you’re impressed with all of that. They did a fantastic job with it. The student section is at a different place than it was in The Pit. When you get to The Pit, it didn’t look as much as an arena as I don’t know how to describe it. It didn’t just jump out at you. You go in and it just seems like the fans are more accessible to the players – the visiting team. You almost like you’re going through a line of their fans. Underneath while you’re warming up in the locker room – and I think they knew you could hear them because they would stomp. You’d here them right above. You could hear them stomping up there like getting ready for the kill. When you went out on the floor it was older. There’s no doubt about it. It was not nearly as glamorous as Matthew Knight Arena, but when you went out there everyone was right here. I mean they were right next to you. The officials would even allow you to stand in front of the line out of bounds. You didn’t have to stand behind the line to take the ball out. That’s how close everybody was and the official were good with it because if you take the ball out behind the lines, you’re going to be in the stands. So you add all of that together and it was just really, really intimate. So it was just a whole different look. This is more of a spectacular look the way the arena is now. Before it was probably more of a blue collar, we’re going to get you type of a place.”
(More on Mac Court) “Been in there as a player. Been in there as a coach. Been in there with really good teams and just average teams. It was just always the same. It was a place that you didn’t forget about. We don’t have to go in there any more. I miss it to tell you the truth. The only bad part about it was I think if you were the play-by-play crew and the color person, you had to sit way at the top. You weren’t as close and it wasn’t as nice. But it was something to go in there and play in The Pit. Not that it isn’t hard now because we haven’t won there yet, but it was definitely intimidating, The Pit. Could be.”