State of the Union - Lorenzo Romar, part II

In part two of's conversation with Washington's men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, the head man gives progress reports on all his charges, as well as his thoughts on the new head coaches in the Pac-10 and his appointment as assistant coach for the US Pan American team. Tell me about each of your returning players and what you want from them this year, starting with Curtis Allen.

Lorenzo Romar:You can see that he has picked up every part of his life right now. He's picked up the pace. He's just doing everything he's supposed to do right now. It's going to be fun to see how things work out for him. He's very talented. Aside from David Hudson, he was probably our best shooter that year. I just watched the Arizona game from last year on tape and I think he scored 17. He had a great game. I think he'll have a good year next year.

Dm.c: Will Conroy.

Romar: Leadership and decision making. If he's able to provide those two things we're going to be a pretty good team and he's going to be a much improved player. He already plays hard, he's already a warrior. He was the MVP of our team last year. He's shown that he can make big plays in big games. He plays on the road. He's not intimidated by the road. He does a lot of things. For us to get to the next level someone has to make good decisions with the ball. Whoever that is, is going to get the most minutes in there.

Dm.c: Nate Robinson.

Romar: His decision (to play basketball only) hit me out of the clear blue. It blindsided me. Did I think that one day he's play just one sport? Yeah. But I didn't know that he was going to do this until Coach Neuheisel told me.

Dm.c: How do you keep him in your offense without quelling his energy?

Romar: Nate is at his best when he's almost out of control. That's when he's creating the most havoc and when he's got your team going. Getting rebounds and steals. I've been criticized at times about his decisions and shot selection. This year sometimes we lived with his mistakes because he brought so much to the table. Some people will criticize that, but we wouldn't have been in the game without some of his plays. We won't continue like that. Hopefully he's matured. We don't want to put the handcuffs on a really talented guy. You take away all the initiative if you do that.

Dm.c: Brandon Roy.

Romar: It would surprise me if he's not all Pac-10 when he leaves the University of Washington. If Brandon Roy leaves this program and is not all Pac-10 at some point I'd be shocked. He's got things about him that you can spend hours and hours, year after year teaching, and guys will never get it. He's got it. He's got an innate ability to score and get out of traffic. I don't care how much it seems he's in trouble, he gets out of it with very little effort.

The toughest adjustment for him is over. Our last few games he averaged 15 and 6 for us. Against UCLA in our last game we were up seven when he hurt his ankle. He's a freshman, but you saw our guys' heads drop a bit when he went out. Our guys that fast had grown to depend on Brandon Roy to help us win. That says a lot for a freshman. He's going to make some mistakes as all young players make. But he brings more good than bad.

Dm.c: Bobby Jones.

Romar: Bobby is not an excuse maker. When you tell Bobby something, he allows you to coach him. Some guys don't allow you to coach them. They may not talk back to you, but they say ‘yeah I know.' Then they'll make the same mistake forty more times. They'll make excuses, but Bobby is not like that. You couldn't wear Bobby out to the point where he would say ‘Coach I'm tired.' He's not concerned with who's getting shots or how many shots he's getting. His main concern is winning. If you have 12 or 13 guys on your team whose only concern is winning then you'll win a lot of games guaranteed. You watch. Bobby will improve immensely because of his work ethic and how coachable he is.

Dm.c: Mike Jensen.

Romar: Mike really did a nice job this spring. I think he'll be a much-improved player next year. People don't realize that he shot 45 percent this year from the three-point line and that was after a slow start. You could just see that he was becoming more comfortable in the second half of conference play this year. I think he'll pick up where he left off.

Dm.c: Can AW (Anthony Washington) be your true center?

Romar: Yeah. Anthony Washington is most definitely a low post presence. He can block shots and be that guy in the middle that we need.

Dm.c: Ben Devoe.

Romar: Ben had so far to come. He's just getting to the point where he's got a solid foundation. His conditioning wasn't very good, his strength wasn't very good, but now he's coming on.

Dm.c: I've counted your scholarships and it looks like you only have one more to offer next year. How will you manage with so much talent out there?

Romar: I don't know what to expect. I didn't expect Doug to go to the NBA and that CJ would transfer. Nor did I know that Jeffery Day wouldn't be with us. It just seems that every year that the unexpected happens. Who would've said that Erroll Knight and Josh Barnard would leave last year? You just never know. We just go recruit. We have to cross those bridges when we get to them. We're recruiting right now actively trying to get the best players to make us the best program. But we're done for this year.

Dm.c: If Jeff Day comes back will there be a scholarship for him?

Romar: We have to wait and see with that. It's all speculation at this point. We could play that game, but you just don't know until it happens.

Dm.c: There are two new head coaches in the conference. What does Ben Howland bring to UCLA?

Romar: Toughness. Coach Howland was a tough, hard-nosed player and that's the way he coaches. They'll play hard and no doubt be well coached.

Dm.c: What are your thoughts on Dick Bennett's hiring?

Romar: I don't know if they could've done a better job for that spot than Dick Bennett. When I was at Pepperdine we were able to play against his teams. I was able to experience through my assistant Brad Soderberg, who is now the head coach (Saint Louis) and was coach Bennett's assistant, what that was like. He has the ability to take five guys who didn't get picked during the pickup game and take them for a week and bring them back and clean up the gym.

Dm.c: Is he going to be there long term?

Romar: I don't know if he's long term at Wazzu. I'd say more than two years, but if you get in past five then I don't know.

Dm.c: How were you picked for the Pan-Am team? Do you have and previous experience with the other coaches involved (Tom Izzo, Michigan State, Quinn Snyder, Missouri)?

Romar: Coach Izzo and I don't have any previous relationship. The committee selects those coaches. I got a call from USA basketball that said you've been selected. When you represent your country that's a great honor. Plus you get to work with some great basketball minds. You always end up better by being around other guys who are really good. The more experiences you have the more things you see. It gives our program credibility.

Dm.c: What's missing from big time college basketball at the University of Washington?

Romar: It all comes down to winning. We need to do our job. It's as simple as that.

Here's part one of our conversation with Lorenzo Romar Top Stories