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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 12, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Lorenzo Romar on No. 7 Arizona

Here’s the transcript of Thursday’s press conference with coach Lorenzo Romar who talked about Washington’s five-game losing streak and Friday’s game against No. 7 Arizona.

(On team’s mindset and recent losses) “I don’t think you can forget. In fact, some of it you shouldn’t forget to remember what you shouldn’t do. But I do think we’re moving forward. I think we know that we have a tremendous challenge with Arizona and Arizona State coming in nhere. But I think our guys are ready to move forward and try to meet the challenge.”

(On Arizona) “They’re difficult to score on. They not only have great length, but they are athletic and they work hard on the defensive end. And that’s probably if there is a concern, we have to make sure that we come down and execute and get good shots.”

(On Arizona this year compared to past years) “Different personnel, but same idea. They don’t have Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon this year, but they’ve added Stanley Johnson. When we played them, they had Brandon Ashley last year. But Brandon was out for some of their games and he’s obviously back. Arizona is going to defend very well, they’re going to crash the offensive glass and they’re going to be very disciplined on offense.”

(On improving rebounding) “We improved a little bit last game against Oregon State, but at the same time we just have to make sure that we rebound by committee. We can’t leak out depending on one or two guys to get the rebound. All five guys have to come back and rebound on the defensive end. And then offensively, we have to work a little harder to get to the glass ourselves to come up with some offensive boards.”

(On Jernard Jarreau) “He’s getting close. He’s starting to participate in a couple of drills here and there. We would think by Washington State he should be back for sure.”

(On Jarreau playing this weekend) “I can’t say no chance, but right now, if I had to say, I’d probably say he couldn’t. Like I said earlier, the more you gain your strength, the more you gain your confidence, things can happen just like that. But in this case right now, I don’t think he’s quite ready to go out there. But we practice again today. Each day is a different day.”

(On Darin Johnson) “He’s improved a lot on the defensive end with us. He’s doing that. He’s definitely made some progress. I think two of the four games he’s been in there, he’s been a double-digit scorer. He just has to keep making progress.”

(More on Johnson) “Continue to defend and rebound, and play with a maximum effort. And that might be No. 1 – play with a maximum effort. If he plays with a maximum effort, he has the tools to get a lot done on the basketball floor.”

(On Arizona’s T.J. McConnell) “He’s out there in front and he gives them a strong belief for starters. He’s defending the ball. He’s stealing the ball from the other team’s post players. He’s got quick hands. He plays with a certain level of confidence out there that can inspire his group. He’s second to our Nigel Williams-Goss in assists in our league. He distributes the ball. As of late, he’s scored a lot of points. He’s one of those guards that has kind of been giving them whatever they need from game to game.”

(On Williams-Goss’ six turnovers at Oregon State) “We had nine turnovers as a team the game before that and against Cal, seven turnovers. So that hasn’t been happening. Every now and then he’ll have a game where there’s some turnovers, but I just thought that particular game was a game where he had more turnovers than he or anyone would have liked. A couple of those are marked as his turnovers, but guys didn’t catch the ball and they gave him a turnover. I won’t even say he needs to cut his turnovers down, because his turnovers aren’t up. In that game they were. But like I said, as a team, we had nine, seven, and again, Nigel leads our league in assists. He leads our entire league in assists. So with that, I look at more assist-turnover ratio. If a guy had five turnovers a game, that would not be a problem with me if he had 10 assists or 15 assists a game. Five turnovers a game and you’re getting one or two assists a game, that’s not good.”

(On 22 turnovers at Oregon State) “I wouldn’t say it’s a concern because I think we turned it over 19 times against Stanford – on the road – in the first week of conference. Other than that, you look at our turnovers – 12, 13, 11, 7, 9 – it hasn’t been a big concern. The Oregon State game it was bad. Our turnovers, even if there are 11, too many of them lead to baskets. That’s the other thing. As a team, you may say okay, like I just did, well you only had nine turnovers, but eight of those turnovers led to direct layups. Well, that’s a problem. I’ll be more concerned with how we’re turning the ball over, as opposed to the number, because our numbers haven’t been high. Oregon State game, they were high. Far too many. We did not do a very good job. We had multiple guys turning the ball over, but if you look at the pattern, we haven’t done that that much.”

(On if belief has wavered) “In hindsight, I felt that way one game. The first game that we had lost Robert Upshaw against Stanford here. I felt like we were just kind of in a fog when we were playing. We just weren’t right. And I think since that game, we lost at the buzzer, almost at the buzzer, close to it. We had a chance to win at Oregon. Oregon State we turned it over too many times. But I didn’t feel like we went out there without a belief. I haven’t sensed that, with our team, a lack of belief.”

(On having a team identity) “We don’t yet. We’re working on it. Hopefully our identity has to be one of grit and like I said earlier, we’ve got to be a blue-collar team right now. We’ve got to regain our defensive identity. Those things. We’ve made a little progress there, but it’s not where it needs to be.”

(On ASU’s win over Arizona last week) “They made seven threes or nine threes I know that. That helped them. But I don’t take a whole lot from that game because they play an entirely different way than we play. Arizona lost to Oregon State also (and) Oregon State plays an entirely different way than the way we play. I think the first question that was asked of me is what concerned me and I said we got to make shots and we got to find a way to score. Arizona State made a bunch of threes and that helped them. Not that we have to make a bunch of threes although I’ll take it for sure. But we just have to be able to take good shots and make baskets.”

(On Dorsey) “He’s done well shooting the ball from the three-point stripe and I think teams when they scout they make sure they don’t leave him. When we played Oregon the last possession that we had they substituted to put a guy on Donaven Dorsey. You could just tell they said look you stay right with him and you don’t leave him no matter what. That’s a credit to Donaven because other teams respect him, but it makes it a little harder for him to get decent looks because they’re just all over him.”

(On Arizona) “Our guys always look forward to playing against Arizona in the past. That’s for sure. Arizona, it’s a credit to them because of their success and they’re high profile. A lot of the (former) players they want to know when do you guys play Arizona. That’s the one I want to come to. That type of deal. So they know what type of games have taken place when us and Arizona have played in the past. Even more recently two years in a row every game was decided by a buzzer beater or a block shot at the end to prevent a buzzer beater. So there’s been some exciting games over the years.”

(On dealing with criticism during hard times) “The biggest thing is to try to not allow it to affect the players. As coaches you kind of know that’s what you signed up for. If you start to drop a few you’re going to hear your fair share of criticism. The players that play college basketball for some of them this is the first time they’ve been criticized in their lives. We told them earlier that you’re going to hear a lot of negatively. You’re going to hear a lot of people saying you won’t win another game. You’re not going to be able to accomplish this or that. You can’t concentrate on those things. Because a lot of the same people were saying this year you  may to to the Final Four when we were 11-0. So you can’t … like I’ve said before John Wooden I’ll never forget what he said: ‘When you’re being criticized don’t get too down because you’re probably better than people think. And when you’re being praised because you’re doing well, don’t get a big head because you’re probably not as good as people are saying you are.’ Work hard. Earn your own confidence by doing the right thing and go out there and play.”

(On a sense of urgency) “Oh there’s no doubt. We don’t have another 10 games. We’re down to seven games and we have two home games coming here. We’re talking about getting an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, we have to make our move. There’s not a whole lot of margin for error in that regard. But fortunately for us the game in front of us is as big as anyone and it’s against the No. 7-ranked team in the country. And it’s not a fluke. They’re good. So the timing of it in terms of urgency is right here. There are a number of reasons why.”

(On how big this game is) “This one is the biggest game of the year (laughs). You should have sat here and I should have sat there and you would have answered that for me. … Every team that plays Arizona feels like if we can come out on top in this one you can make a lot of noise (and) it being an impact on postseason and all that. Yeah it’s big. But again, if it were a team that wasn’t doing very well, we’d say the same thing. There are a number of reasons why this next game is a big one. It’s the next one and it’s a great team you’re playing against and it’s an opportunity for us to really, really start to feel good about ourselves.”

(On last time he saw blue-collar identity) “In different parts of our last game, but it wasn’t our identity. If it’s your identity, that’s what you do. That’s your standard. It can’t be a buffet where you pick and choose when it’s going to be your identity. You have to do it the entire time. And I have to look back. I can’t think of the last time we did that for 40 minutes. Probably Stanford, at Stanford, is what I would say.”

(On different challenge this season) “The closest we came to this was 2007. We were 11-1 or 10-1 in preseason and I think we started out 1-6 in conference play, I think. And we ended up 8-10 in league. So there was some similarities there. We didn’t lose a couple of our best players. I continue to say, we talk about Upshaw, but Jernard Jarreau has been out also. He was a starter for us (and) second-leading rebounder. But no, this definitely hasn’t been something that we’ve had a whole lot of training for over the years. But me in particular, I wasn’t the McDonald’s All-American type. I was probably always an underdog for me, myself. I always look at these challenges as challenges to go out and see if we can meet it.”

(On talking with Upshaw recently) “He’s hanging in there. He’s hanging in there and he has a positive outlook.”

 

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