Lorenzo Romar press conference notes

SEATTLE - Dawgman.com was on hand Tuesday for Washington Men's Basketball Media Day, and the centerpiece of the event was Lorenzo Romar's press conference. The UW Head Coach spoke for over 30 minutes on a variety of topics, including the state of the Pac-12, his incoming freshmen, the makeup of his team, and the fact that this year will be his tenth season coaching the Huskies.

General Comments - Romar said he's always anxious this time of year to get going. A few days away from starting officially, and the team has been working and conditioning hard. Good camaraderie with the group. Bigger group, but they haven't compromised quickness.

It's going to be playing some high-profile non-conference games. Interesting team makeup - half are veterans, half are true freshmen. More true frosh than any other Romar team ever at UW. It'll be interesting trying to get everyone on the same page.

Biggest thing for this group is to learn what Husky Basketball is all about. The veterans have an obligation to help the young guys learn the system. And when everyone is comfortable, have to find out what mixes put out the best team on the floor. Who is going to pick up the system the best to make the best team possible? It takes time.

On the frosh having to learn faster than others before them? - The team has a core of veterans who have been there before. The team won't fall apart or panic, but the others have to learn how to be like that. When you have someone to show you the way, it can hide warts and accelerate your growth.

On if this team has an elite player - We have the potential to have guys that can have outstanding years. When it's all said and done, if they do what they are capable of doing, they'll be recognized.

On size in the backcourt and how it helps - It's going to help in rebounding and defense. Already finding it difficult to complete passes in practice. Just because of size and length, deflections are happening at a larger pace.

Other than youth, what's the biggest concern? - We have a great potential on the defensive end, but it's just potential. We have to become a stellar defensive team, and they are capable. Lost some great defenders in Holiday, MBA, IT and Overton. That's a lot to lose on the defensive end, so people have to replace those roles.

Is there a dominant personality that can take over games? - I think over time, that is something that takes care of itself. The last four or five years, at this time there's always been a question like that. Started when guys like Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons and Will Conroy left. Who would replace them? Brandon Roy. And down the line…those things tend to sort themselves out.

On if frosh more ready-made coming out of high school - From an intimidation standpoint, freshman are more ready. Very rarely does a freshman come in ready to handle defense. Rarely does a freshman come in understanding the level of intensity needed. With travel ball, playing on TV, playing in All-Star games - guys aren't intimidated anymore. They know each other. They are friends.

On players that have expanded their games in the off-season - Give our guys a lot of credit. They took it upon themselves to work on weaknesses and strengthen their strengths. They worked hard during the spring, and they carried it through the summer. You can see it now that players have picked it up a level and have expanded their games. Won't mention specific players.

On Wroten being a different recruit than others - No question. A lot of people want to see and follow Tony. Many people have watched him play for a long time. First year Nate only had a couple practices coming out from football, and two minutes into their first game it was like 'Where's Nate? We came to see Nate!' Lot of people are anxious to see him get out there, just like they were with Brockman and Hawes. People wanted to see Isaiah, and Tony's the next guy people want to see.

On backcourt size and whether it helps more on offense and defense - Defense, it allows us to get our hands on a lot more balls, it helps us rebound. It helps in the paint offensively. You don't always have to get all your post points from posts. Wing players can score in there too. Gives us more versatility.

On Wroten's game being scrutinized and all the opinions on him as a person - Romar cited a story where he saw former Piston Isiah Thomas at an AAU game. He told friends that Thomas once picked off Doc Rivers in Chicago, hands the ball back to him, steals off him again, and then dunked it. He asked Isiah, and Isiah said 'Yes, I did it.' Thomas then went on to say that if the media was back then like it is today, they would have told me that I had a bad attitude for doing that. But it was just his competitiveness and having him. Sometimes players get a rep because they are that competitive and they are enjoying themselves, but people read them the wrong way. The coaches have been working with Tony close to a month, and he's done everything with a capital E that we've asked him to do, with zero resistance. Been very pleased with his approach and eagerness to be a team guy and do everything we've asked. And every player we've ever coached has had to make adjustments. If UW's Isaiah Thomas was here, he'd tell you that defense wasn't a big deal going into college, but became one of their go-to defensive guys. Never a concern that Tony couldn't do it. He played with USA Basketball, and their coach said they wouldn't have won the gold medal without Tony. He cheered on his teammates from the bench, and the moment he did get in the game it would change because defensively he would lead the charge. That was pretty impressive.

On the fact that he's such a good passer give rise to generalizations about Tony - When you see a guy so many times, you pick apart everything they do. And when you're competitive…how many people who are critical of him also play golf and when a shot doesn't go their way they throw their club? When you're really competitive, sometimes emotions come out. And since he's been at an advanced stage for so long, sometimes you get bored, and at that age, sometimes how you react to things isn't the best way to do it - but that's not him. That's no who he is.

On offensive productivity in the post - Are posts will score by committee. Our guards are exceptional, and with their ability to penetrate and score will allow for easy baskets from the posts. They will get their share of run-outs. Still have to see if one will emerge to put pressure on to get fouls on other players. But the posts will score points.

On Aziz's improvements - When you see him right away, he moves more fluidly. His toe and knee aren't bothering him. He's had a year under his belt of conditioning and knowing our system. He has a clearer understanding of where he needs to be. During a 1-1 drill in open court, he wanted to defend C.J. Wilcox, and he's one of the fastest guys on the team. He's just that confident in how he's moving. He's going to run the floor, and we know he can rebound and defend too.

On Desmond Simmons - He understands what we want. He got to sit and watch a lot. When you're not emotionally tied to it and you can see the game objectively, you tend to learn more. That happened. He's in good shape, which has freed him up to be who he is, which is a relentless player on the boards. He'll dive on the floor, dive in the stands, he's got no fear out there.

On who will redshirt - One guy - Andrew Andrews.

On Jernard Jarreau - He's been impressive in the pre-season. He's 211 pounds now, was 193 coming in, so he's huge now. He made a move during a workout - from the right wing, put the ball on the floor going to his left, totally natural - very impressive in some ways.

On Shawn Kemp, Jr. - He's getting in much better shape, and has been at times impressive with what he's done. Started at 265, down to 251.

On rotation numbers - Not sure what it will be this year.

On what to expect from Terrence Ross - He has improved as a defender. Expect Terrence to be one of those guys when they play against a team with another talented player, he's one of the guys we could use to defend and neutralize him. His feet are quicker, he's moving to the right spots off the ball. He can also give us a consistent effort across the board. He'd never had to do that before, so it was new to him. He's in better condition to be able to do that. It was a new world for him last year. Offensively, he can do what he wants - but defensively he's taken a big step up. Last year it was tough for him.

On Ross being touted as a lottery pick next year - His ability to go out and get a bucket, and the way he does it…you can count on one or two hands guys that can shoot it like he does that can also go down the middle and score over the top of people. He's one of those guys. The thing we're trying to impress upon him, he has the ability to control games when the ball isn't in his hands. If he defends and plays consistent, the rest will take care of itself.

On the scoring trio of Suggs, Ross and Wilcox - Never have had a wing group like that who can shoot it, score it, defend it and are all athletic at the same time. It's fun just watching them, because they can be impressive.

On their presence affecting Gaddy and Wroten - Gaddy and Wroten aren't 'conveyor belt' passers…they are aggressive offensive players. Because they have the ability to break down defenses, defenders are going to have to make quick decisions to stop the basketball. They present problems, and the two points fit well with the trio of wings.

On the Pac-12 and if there's a team to beat - Don't know if there's a team to beat. Some obvious standouts in Arizona, UCLA and California. Teams like Oregon and Stanford can be dangerous. You saw it at times last year, but weren't consistent. They could get over the hump this year.

On comparisons to Jarreau's body type - When you look at him, Kevin Durant. Also Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and North Carolina's John Henson. And Jarreau weighs more now than any of those guys going into college.

On comparisons to Jarreau's skill set - Don't think he shoots it yet like a guy like Durant, but from a ball-handling point of view, he's more like a guard than a forward or center.

On expectations for Gaddy - You'd have to remind him that Abdul had ACL surgery, because he's quicker than ever before. Right now he already plays with a lot of poise. He's been in college a little bit, and he wears experience on his sleeve. He's only been playing back for a month and is playing with as much confidence as ever.

On if he learned too by having to sit and watch - Yes. He would come to me and say, now that I saw it, you were right. He was able to see things from a coaching perspective. If players could coach before becoming players, they'd be better.

On going back and watching the Arizona Pac-10 Championship Game - I haven't moved on from it. I watch all the games from last year to make sure I find things that will help us be better. But just for fun, I will throw in the championship game and watch Isaiah's shot again…and again…and again…and again.

On it being a decade of coaching at UW - I didn't know what to think. I just knew that this was UW. I went to school here and I wanted us to be as good as we could be. I didn't know we would get the support that we've had. I didn't expect that we would sell out games, but that's how Seattle sports fans are. When you have success, they will come out and rally behind you and support you. That's been fun to see. And the number of guys that have come through here and have had success on and off the court - when you look back at it, it makes you smile.

On seeing more from the wings - I think you'll see a lot more complete games from the past.

On that happening with Scott Suggs - I think when you watch him play, you'll see it. It'll jump out at you. He'll put the ball on the floor, driving to the basket, finishing, getting to the foul line more, getting more involved in the hustle plays. He's always been talented, but now he has the confidence to fulfill his potential.

On looking back to the story with Scott and his 1-1 game when he was a kid in St. Louis - We talk about it every now and then. It's been about 11-12 years ago. That's happened quickly.

On the system of Husky Basketball being there from the start, or has it been tweaked over the years - We've tweaked things to improve how we run offense or defense, but for the most part it's been the same since the beginning.

How would you describe Husky Basketball? - Attack Mode. Relentless pressure, offensively or defensively. It's not like 40 Minutes of Hell, because we don't full-court press. They press you when you get off the bus; we don't do that. Our pressure is designed so we can get the ball and put the pressure on.

On the frosh that picked up the Husky Basketball system the quickest? - Bobby Jones. Never had to talk to him about intensity. Had to teach him what to do defensively, but didn't have to do it twice.

Dawgman.com Top Stories