Raphael Chllious Breaks It Down

Washington Assistant Basketball Coach Raphael Chillious joined the guys from Dawgman.com - Kim Grinolds, Scott Eklund and Chris Fetters - on SportsRadioKJR 950 AM Saturday morning to talk about the youth movement at Montlake, and what to expect from eight new faces - Dejounte Murray, David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle, Dominic Green, Marquese Chriss, Malik Dime, Matthew Atewe, and Devinir Duruisseau.

To listen to the full interview with Raphael Chillious, click on the link below and then go to the second hour of the Dawgman show. The interview is at the beginning of that hour.

Dawgman on KJR Podcast Page

Here is a selected transcription of quotes:

Going to be some hair-pulling moments with this young group? - “I think anyone that coaches a young team, whether it’s us, Kentucky, NBA team - there’s a huge growth curve. But when you have compliant kids and people who’ve won games and are talented, I think that’ll mitigate some of the growing pains.”

Brought in guys used to winning - “I think it’s really important because none of them, honestly, have won at this level - yet. But winning is in their DNA. Sometimes you bring players in and you’re teaching them how to win as well as teaching them the game at this level. When guys played on teams that have won, especially on teams where they are not the only star. Noah Dickerson played at Montverde with Ben Simmons, and Ben Simmons is the number-one player in the country - but if you look at it statistically Noah’s right behind him.

David Crisp goes off to Brewster Academy and he’s playing with five other high-major, Division-1 players - so they’re used to not having to share the load and carry the load. They are used to situations where they have to share the load and play a specific role. And they won. That’s immeasurable. Obviously every player you get isn’t going to be in a situation where they’ve won national championships and three or four high school state championships like (Dejounte) Murray did, but if you can get kids out of winning programs there’s some sort of formula. Those teams win.”

What do you have to do with this team when there is so much turnover in the roster? Have you experienced it before? - “Not at this level. When I was at South Kent (Prep), almost every year you’re getting almost a new team. Some things are consistent. First and foremost you have to establish what your culture is right out the gate. Whatever it is that’s one of your non-negotiables - whether it’s accidentally or intentionally - they step across one of those non-negotiables, they get slammed for it right away. So you have to establish your culture.

“Secondly, or 1B, is to put challenges in front of them that are greater challenges than they’ve ever had. Physically, emotionally, mentally - to see what they are made of early. You keep putting them in situations where they have to overcome those things. I think those two things are really, really important.”

In talking to Romar last week, he mentioned a return to the old culture - “We’re called the Dawgs for a reason - we’re Huskies. It’s a Dawg mentality, the Alpha Dawg mentality. When we do our individual workouts, you can’t bend an inch at your waist to bend over, because we’re training you to be a soldier, and to be mentally tough. In everything we do, we require you to not get distracted by things that have nothing to do with the game. When you have a young group, sometimes that’s harder, but so far this group is, ‘Okay, coach. What you got next? That was tough! But what do you have next?’

“And getting guys to move on to the next play. It’s not to disparage the previous group, but it’s a thing we’re re-establishing everything this program is about.”

How much did not having homegrown talent affect the mentality? - “That happens in every college situation where a huge part of your program’s DNA comes from local kids. When the local talent is down for our level of play, it makes it extremely difficult because now you don’t have a bunch of kids on your team who grew up watching the Huskies, and used to seeing Will Conroy and Isaiah Thomas dive 20 feet out of bounds to save a loose ball - and watch the Dawg Pack and watch the crowd go crazy when one of their local kids does something great. That may not be even making a basket; but they are doing something that’s part of that winning culture.

“When you don’t have a lot of guys who witnessed that growing up, they are coming from other places where they are going to be competing and they are going to be good basketball players, but they may have the value invested in the University of Washington as the local kids do. Now with the Seattle talent level being so great, that’s having four new players that are from here and grew up in this state and watched the Huskies and always wanted to be a Husky - you can just see it. They’ve been great in terms of telling the new guys coming in the history of Husky Basketball. Not the previous two years, but the previous 10. And that goes a long ways.”

How much should UW fans expect out of a very young group this fall? - “I don’t know what the fans should expect, but I know what our expectations are; every time we go out there, whether it’s practice or a game or a scrimmage, we’re going to compete to our personal best. Every player, and as a team. Whatever the results are, that’s what they are. But this team will not be a team that doesn’t show up and give their personal best - and do it together. That’s our expectation.

“We have talent. As you know, we have a lot of new pieces but don’t forget - we have a fifth year senior (Andrew Andrews) who is coming back as one of the leading scorers in the Pac-12. He’s been through the battles. We have Malik Dime, who is a junior college player transfer but he’s an older player. And whether Matthew Atewe gets to play or not (this year) - he’s a grown man out there.

“So it’s not like you’re going out there with a bunch of 17-year olds trying to win games. Secondly, everyone can talk throughout the year about how young we are; we’re not doing that. We’re talking about - we’re just a new basketball team. We don’t want to build in any internal excuses to not be our best.”

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