VIDEO: Lorenzo Romar Tuesday Briefing - UCLA

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar spoke Tuesday to the press ahead of Washington's crucial California road swing, starting first at UCLA Thursday and finishing up Saturday at USC.

On Utah taking advantage of the Huskies switching screens and putting guards on bigs: You said they were able to take advantge a couple of times. Only two times. When we had a guard on a big, they didn’t get scored on that often. When we front the post and we play behind. Then the third component is ball pressure. It’s not as easy as it looks. Sometimes the team will abandon what they’re doing to try to take advantage of that. It will hurt us on the boards a lot, but we take the trade off. It gets teams out of running their offense.

On switching and help defense: They have a clear open path, but Marquese Chriss was in position to come get a block. People tend to only remember the one time it doesn’t work instead of the five times it does work. That’s why it looks like they were doing this all game.
On this team having the personnel to front the posts with guards: We’re versatile enough to cover enough ground. We’ve always fronted the post until the last couple of years. Our length and quickness allows us to be in the paint. Utah did a good job doing skip passes. Our guys got out to shooters well too.
On if it is ideal for him to switch every screen: Ideally yes. You rarely have the personnel to do it at all five positions.
On defensive pressure: We play up in the lanes. We were playing Air Force and they had four backdoor baskets on us. They attempted 18 times. The other 14 times were blocks or turnovers. We take the tradeoff. There are teams that press the whole time and sometimes give up layups, but they’ll take the trade off of making teams uncomfortable. We send four guys for the boards on offense. We might give up a fast break but we’ll take the tradeoff for offensive rebounds.
On teams he’s had that can defend as athletically as right now: The closest was when Mike Jensen was our five. He and Bobby Jones were our bigs, but they were more like wings.
On switching screens: There’s an art to it. There’s a certain way. One of those layups Pueltl got was because one guy switched and the other didn’t. A lot of the mistakes are breakdowns. You have to teach it.
On the team getting better at defense as the year goes on: I look at the Arizona game in the first half and the Utah game in the first half and say we’ve made tremendous progress. We just sometimes have second half slippage.
On second half slips: It may have something to do with guys playing too many minutes int he first half. Then we’re more tired in the second half. We may need to rotate bodies quicker.
On Marquese Chriss’ football past having an impact on the way he plays: A little bit. He’s not afraid of contact. Marquese started playing basketball in the ninth grade. He’s quickly learning. He’s recognizing it now. There’s progress.
On Marquese Chriss’ athleticism: It’s very unique. He’s a good athlete. He’s so athletic. Sports are easy for him. Coach Shapiro during their conditioning went and played a touch football game. Marquese was throwing 50 yard bombs and covering people like a DB. He’s gifted.
Where do Matisse Thybulle and Marquese Chriss rank among the best jumpers he’s ever coached? Terrence Ross. Nate Robinson was pretty good too, but that’s unfair. Those two and Terrence Ross. KJ Garrett gets up there too. Those guys are the best. 
On Andrew Andrews being held without an assist against Utah: Patterns. Before that game he was leading the league in assists in conference play. He’s doing fine that way. That was just the nature of the game. We didn’t have many assists as a team and we didn’t make that many shots. He can score and pass. That speaks to his versatility.
On Andrew Andrews suggesting or calling plays: Oh yeah. It’s not uncommon as we’re going through scout for the other team and we’ll talk about it and Andrew might suggest something. When I was with the Bucks, my coach was willing to listen to his teammates. I think in some cases that’s a good thing. Andrew does that from time to time. We were playing Arizona in the championship and the time was winding down and Isaiah Thomas looked at me and told me that he had it under control.
On Matisse Thybulle: Matisse puts out fires. He can guard his own guy and everyone else guy. There was a play in the Colorado game and he was denying on the wing and then he turned and stole a backdoor pass. He’s quick. He blocks shots and gets his hands on passes. He’s also starting to make shots and free throws for us. We want to get him to the point where he’s making more of a consistent impact on offense.
On Matisse Thybulle’s natural ability to defend: I mentioned Bobby Jones and Justin Holiday that understood defense when they walked in the door. Matisse came in a very instinctive defender, and he’s learning quicker.

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