Lorenzo Speaks

"Isaiah is going to enter the draft. What a career he's had up to this point. Three years of championships of one type or another," said Lorenzo Romar of his junior point guard. "(It's been) a lot of scoring, a lot of thrills, and a lot of hard work. It's been great to see the positive impact he's had here."

Romar said that Thomas has always been doubted because of his size, so this will be the ultimate experience for him. To go out and play in the NBA.

Isaiah's leaving is going to have two big impacts, according to the Husky coach.

"Number one, it takes away experience. He would've been a senior and obviously a leader. He would've been our captain again, and he played by far more minutes than anyone else. Number two, it will allow other guys that are talented to be big contributors next year. Others will be able to step up. It is going to be an opportunity for those guys."

Romar had talked to a number of NBA people to get as much information as possible regarding Thomas' chances.

"The NBA people are very careful, they speak with caution unless you are a sure fire lottery pick. There seemed to be a general consensus that he would be drafted."

Would another year at Washington have been a benefit to Thomas in terms of draft position? Romar was non-committal about it.

"Isaiah is unique. He didn't need to work on his body. He is very strong. He was able to show what he could do at the point guard position for 20 games this year. He went out and was the fourth leading scorer and leads the league in assists. He did a lot, and in terms of the NBA, he was able to showcase what he did this year."

Most think Thomas could still improve on his long range shooting, and at decision making. Romar agreed with this, but added, "he made a lot of progress. If Isaiah wanted to choose to come back, he would've broken a lot of records. But his goal was to make the NBA. That is what he wanted, and that's what he's gonna go do."

The bottom line – Isaiah Thomas wants to play in the NBA. It was now so close to reality, it was something that he just decided to try it now. He worked as hard as anyone on our team to improve his game. Now it's his time to show he's ready.

"Decision making will be the one area that he will have to show that he is capable. I guarantee you that when he works out for some one, he will shoot the ball well. That happened with Quincy Pondexter last year. He worked out for some people and they came back and said, ‘Wow. I had no idea he could shoot this well.' I think Isaiah will do the same thing," said Romar.

So is there a scenario where Isaiah might come back?

"I think you'd have to ask him, but I think he made it pretty clear today that he's headed in one direction. It's been my experience that once you make up your mind about this, you're done. The mindset is such that you can't just go at it and train for it while you are not committed to it. The way he's talking now, you can tell that he's going to go for it."

Washington recruited Portland area point guard Andrew Andrews with the intent that he would attend prep school in 2012 and matriculate to Washington the following year. Does Thomas' departure change this situation? Possibly.

"You want to fill your open scholarships, and Andrew Andrews chances are improved in terms of joining us in the fall as a result of this. We haven't talked about it yet. There is nothing official, but it is certainly an option," said Romar.

Washington will lose Matthew Bryan Amaning, their top rebounder, Justin Holiday, the team's top defender, and now Isaiah Thomas, the team's leading scorer and assist man. Those are big losses, but it's nothing Romar hasn't faced before.

"Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen, Brandon Roy, and Jamaal Williams were the biggest we've had to replace, probably. Bobby was an NBA player, Jenson was a four year starter, Brandon Roy was the 6th player taken in the draft, and Jamaal was one heck of a scorer. The year before that we lost Will Conroy, Tre Simmons, Nate Robinson, and Hakeem Rollins. That was a pretty big loss too."

It seemed that Thomas was going to return for his senior season, and he intimated as much shortly after the Pac-10 tournament. So what made him change his mind?

In a word, timing.

"I think he made the decision made on the information he had at the time when he was talking about staying. I think today he has different information.

If Thomas does decide to return, he would be welcomed with open arms by Romar.

"Absolutely. Why wouldn't we? This is not a slap in the face at all. The rule was put into place for this specific reason. There is nothing underhanded about this. He can go and attain his dream in the NBA, and come back and get his degree. I am excited for him. If something changes and he wants to come back, we will welcome him back."

Was it difficult for Romar to talk to Thomas about his leaving? If it was, you'd never know it by the coach's demeanor.

"I was honest with him. I didn't try to change his mind. I talk to guys and I have a feel usually. I have learned that when guys have their mind made up, all I can do is be honest with them and let them make the best decision. We did the same thing with Brandon Roy. Brandon didn't need to test, he knew he wanted to come back. It was the same with Jon. He was invited to the pre-draft camp, too. Quincy Pondexter decided that he didn't even need to look at the pre-draft information before he decided that he wanted to come back. Nate Robinson's mind was made up. When came out, he wasn't really in any of those mock drafts and he wound up going #21. It's all up to the individual, each case is different."

So looking at next season, Romar still is excited by what he sees despite the attrition.

"Next year, our perimeter is potentially really good. But potential means you haven't done anything yet. But with Abdul coming back, and with our three wings – Scott Suggs, CJ Wilcox, and Terrence Ross, and then we add Tony Wroten and Hakeem Stewart to that, I like that group. I really do. What those guys can do on the perimeter potentially, with their size and length next year, I really like."

And he gets his point guard back.

"Abdul will be ready. There is no question. In September and October he may not be able to go all out with the drills but by the time we start playing games, he will be ready to go," said Romar of Gaddy's rehab on his torn ACL.

In terms of the loss of leadership, Romar will look to his upper classmen.

"We have a couple of seniors in Darnell Gant and Scott Suggs. I think Darnell is a fiery guy, works really hard, and sets a great example. Abdul Gaddy was a leader as a freshman, so now that he will be a junior, he will really get a chance to lead. As we look to the future we will look to these guys as our leaders."

Dawgman.com Top Stories