State of the Union - Lorenzo Romar, part I had a sit-down with Washington men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar recently, where a variety of subjects were covered. Part one of the conversation focuses on the coaches' and team's regimen in the off-season. Also discussed were Romar's thoughts on his newest signees - Hans Gasser, Chester 'Tre' Simmons and Hakeem Rollins, as well as the inclusion of New Mexico transfer Jamaal Williams. Describe what the players have been up to since the season ended.

Lorenzo Romar: Obviously they're getting their academics in order. Going to class. They've been doing individual workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We get a maximum of four in the gym at a time. So we get an hour on Tuesday and an hour on Thursday. They've been lifting with our strength and conditioning coach. So they're pretty much at it five days a week.

Dm.c: How much of that do you supervise?

Romar: We are only there for the individual workouts. For no more than two hours a week.

Dm.c: So how many times a week do you see your players?

Romar: We see them everyday at some point.

Dm.c: Is CJ working out with the team?

Romar: It depends on what you consider workouts. He had been in lifting with them. He had been coming to individual workouts before. If we needed an extra one then he would be there. He's been playing full court with the guys. But as far as working out with the team he hasn't consistently been there.

Dm.c: Has he decided where he'll be next year?

Romar: He's not totally sure yet. He's looked at Santa Clara and Kentucky Western.

Dm.c: What about David Hudson?

Romar: I don't think David is going to play basketball anymore. He's really a talented rapper, so he may work with that. I think he'll stay at the U.

Dm.c: Describe how your schedule has been since March.

Romar: I find myself hearing people saying ‘can you come here and speak and do this, do that.' It's so difficult during the season that it ends up that I won't have any free time at all until May. So guess what happens, May fills up so that May is busier than the season. June is camps and July is recruiting. I'm going to finally have to say no more, and just take some time with my family. It's been non-stop. It hasn't slowed down since the season ended.

Every year you say to yourself, I gotta take a week. But the one person you say ‘I can't do it' to is the same guy who says ‘the nerve of him, is he too big time for us.' I'm learning that I'd rather some people be upset with me than my family upset with me. Sometimes you just have to say no.

We have a coach's tour where we go to 12 different cities and play golf during the day and have dinner at night. Since I'm a horrible golfer I just show up at night. We all speak about our programs. We've been Yakima, South Kitsap, Olympia, Spokane, Everett, Woodinville and we're going to Bellingham. While that's going on we still have individual workouts and my speaking to different groups. The recruiting is done on the phone, or kids are in town, or local kids will come by the school on unofficial visits. We'll meet with them. It's all of the above in May. I could let other people handle it, but I enjoy it all too much. I'm one of those guys that asks you about your car then all of a sudden I'm under the hood all oily because I enjoy it so much.

Dm.c: Did you see any of the AAU ball that was in Hec-Ed last month?

Romar: We were not allowed to attend those sessions.

Dm.c: When does your off-season end and preparation for the new season begin?

Romar: We've been preparing during the individual workouts as far as I'm concerned. The lifting and conditioning is all for next year. If you mean deciding how we're going to work with this year's personnel and such we usually meet sometime in the fall.

Dm.c: I read that quarter schools are at a disadvantage because you can't start individual workouts until school starts. Is this true?

Romar: You can only have workouts during the academic year. So in our case, October 1st til June we can have those workouts. So the way it works out, if you're on semesters then you get there in August and you have more time to work on your current season as a team. If you're on quarters you spend more time on individual stuff in the postseason. You do more team things when you're on semesters. You hone your skills more at a quarter school. For player development quarters are better. For team development semesters are better.

Dm.c: Do you have a preference?

Romar: I like both. Obviously you'd like to have more time to have your team prepared. We'd always been on semesters. When we were at Pepperdine we were on semesters, at Saint Louis we were on semesters. This was the first time that we only had two weeks to prepare before our first practice. This year with all the stuff we're doing now and Cameron (Dollar) back in we'll be much further along than last year.

Dm.c: What affect does Husky football have on your program?

Romar: Some say ‘You don't want to coach there, that's a football school.' There are several examples around the country where football schools are no longer just football schools. Oklahoma, Texas, USC went to the final eight a couple of years ago. I think it's great to have a great football program. We bring recruits in and they're fired up to go to Husky football games. They know about Husky Football. They get to tell people that they saw a game at Husky Stadium. There are so many people that follow football that those people support the University of Washington. If you have another sport that comes along side of it and do really well, we only need ten thousand to pack our arena. Places like Tennessee and Connecticut have pressure on their men's teams from the women. We have pressure on us because of football. So I love that we are such a big football school.

Dm.c: Why will people come to Hec-Ed next year?

Romar: Winning. People came this year because of our effort. It was our effort and our style of play. Once we start winning we'll raise the number of sellouts. We had two this year.

Dm.c: Do you know your non-conference schedule?

Romar: It's not totally done, but the big home game is Gonzaga. We have a home and home with NC State where we start there. Gonzaga will be the biggest.

The Gonzaga game is big because they'll be a top-10 or 15 preseason team. It gives us an early measuring stick. If we can get a win it helps with our RPI. It gives us a lot of exposure, and it's a home game. You don't want to lose your home games.

Dm.c: Do you have an early goal for the next year?

Romar: Definitely the tournament. I think top five in the conference will get you there.

Dm.c: How did Anthony Washington's foot surgery go?

Romar: He's had his surgery. He'll start playing basketball around August. He's doing pool work now. He'll be good to go.

Dm.c: Tell us about Tre Simmons.

Romar: He's a complete basketball player, accentuated by scoring. He can shoot, drive, pull up, and he can finish. He's an extremely complete guard. There aren't a lot of complete guards out there. Guards that can pass handle and shoot, and he can do that.

He was on a team in high school that he was overshadowed a little bit. Plus he hadn't finished developing yet. You get a guy like Duane Wade, who's going to be a lottery pick, wasn't that highly recruited out of high school. On his high school team he was the star. He scored around 40. But on his summer league team he played with Darius Miles, and Matt Lottich and guys like that. He didn't get to shine that much and that's a little like Tre.

Dm.c: Will he move over to the three spot?

Romar: You've seen us play. Who's the three when Will, Nate and Curtis are in there? We don't have a three. We don't have a two. We have three perimeter and two bigs.

Dm.c: You've played even four perimeter players, that doesn't bother you does it?

Romar: Nah. It's the players that give us the best team at the time. Look at the (Dallas) Mavericks. They have a lot of guys that do the same things. Bobby Jones is a perimeter guy, but he's 6-7 and he's quick enough to give a guy problems. We're not afraid to go the other way either. Tre Simmons, Bobby Jones and Brandon Roy could be our perimeter, and that would be a great perimeter. Who's the three in that? I don't know. Who's the two?

Dm.c: What was your relationship with Hakeem Rollins' Mesa Junior College coach (Alton Lister)?

Romar: We played together for Milwaukee.

Dm.c: Would you have been in on Hakeem otherwise?

Romar: No. We heard about him around Christmas time. Then we went to go see him. Coach Bone saw him play in high school, but he wasn't developed yet.

He's really about 6-7, but he's really an inside guy. I would compare him to Kenny Thomas. He's that style of player. He's got a nice touch around the outside, but he's not going to drift out there.

Dm.c: Is he ready to contribute right out of Junior College?

Romar: Absolutely.

Dm.c: When were you first in on Jamaal Williams?

Romar: When he was in the eighth grade. His mother and I went to the same Junior College. In eighth grade he was bigger than everyone and we just followed him. We recruited him at Saint Louis, but he didn't come. It was too far away from home. But now here he is.

Dm.c: When was first contact made about the transfer?

Romar: Last year when we first got here he contacted us because he wanted to leave. We advised him to stay and stick it out. They had a new coach and we thought he should give him a chance. So first contact was way back then. Richie (McKay) and I talked about it and it wasn't brought up again until this year when he decided he needed to leave.

Dm.c: Did Hans Gasser emerge this year or was he a player you've always had your eye on?

Romar: We've always known who he was. First of all he gained 30 pounds, and it's not fat. That's a good sign that someone was willing to work at that type of level to do that and work on his body. The next thing was that we watched him early and we thought he had a chance, but we didn't know if he'd be good enough. Then he kept getting better. We watched him at state and he kept playing very well against good competition. As we began to talk to him and his coach and others we realized what a good work ethic he had. He's a great student, he's got great work ethic, and he's shown that he's going to keep improving. We're really excited about Hans. He's a really, really good shooter. He's not afraid to mix it up, but he can step out and shot the ball. He'll probably end up around 240.

Dm.c: Is he a redshirt candidate?

Romar: At this point we don't have a lot of room to be talking about redshirts. We have Anthony, Mike, Hakeem and Ben. Ben hasn't played as much, so we can't just say that this guy is going to redshirt.

Dm.c: Where is leadership going to come from this year?

Romar: First of all Curtis Allen and Will Conroy are team captains. The difference between this year and last year are the freshmen. Our freshmen, one hadn't played in two years, one hadn't played in a year, another joined us with no practice and another joined with no practice and no non-conference games. Bobby Jones was really the only freshman that had played the last year and was there from day one. So it's not just a young team in terms of age, but they really lacked in experience and they were rusty. This year these guys are all game tested. They're coming in with a little more experience. Age wise we're still young, but experience wise we're a little better off.

Dm.c: You'll have much more continuity at the beginning of your season.

Romar: Barring someone getting hurt, we'll have 14 or 15 guys on the first day next year. We have some walkons that are here and we may add someone else. Last year we had 13 guys last year and a couple were walkons that didn't make the team. With those, Marlon Shelton couldn't go everyday because he was rehabbing his knee. This year we're stronger. It'll be more competitive, and probably more spirited practices. The other thing is that this is a healthy team mentally. Sometimes you can have a team that's physically healthy but no mentally healthy. This is a wholesome team. These guys are all together. I can't look and see a guy that's going to rebel or not do what we ask him to do, and not be enthusiastic about it.

Dm.c: Was that not the case last year?

Romar: Last year there were habits that we had to change. We had to form new habits of doing things. This year we're much better at all those things. Top Stories