"I've been going non-stop," Romar said. "We started out in June with camp. From camp we went out recruiting the entire July period. But for me this year that time was cut in half because I was an assistant for the Pan-Am team with Tom Izzo and Quinn Snyder. I was going to the Dominican Republic there for a few weeks. I came back, camp was on again. I spent a little time with my family, and now recruiting is starting again. It's just been nonstop."
Even for a long-time coach like Romar, there was a lot to take out of the experience.
"It was great. Especially working with a guy like Tom Izzo because he's so knowledgeable and he's such a great guy to work with," the Husky coach said.
"I always try to learn from those guys. It was a great experience."
Much has been said over the past year about the heightened level of conditioning under Romar. Former coach Bob Bender, like every college coach, devoted time to it. But Romar took it a step further from the start, making it a part of the team's new identity.
That helped make the Huskies one of the most exciting teams in the Pac-10 a year ago, and this season Romar hopes it'll translate into more wins.
"Our guys have worked their tails off this summer," Romar said. "They've gotten a lot stronger. I think our guys are going to be in shape. I think our guys will come in as good of shape as they've been in since they joined Washington."
Adding to the good news is the fact that the team will be with the services of two of their best play-makers, Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson, from the start of the season. In 2002, Roy was battling to get enrolled and Robinson was a star cornerback on the football team.
"We are a little more prepared coming into this season," Romar said.
The Husky coach singled out the duo as two players who will likely make big strides in their games as second-year sophomores.
"Nate will shoot the ball better from day one," he said. "What people don't realize is that as good of a year as Nate had last year, he played on instincts. He didn't understand exactly what we were doing offensively and defensively until the end of the year. He just kind of fit in there somehow. This year he will understand, he will have his basketball legs under him, and I think he'll have a great year."
"The other guy is Brandon, who is in condition now and has played a little bit. I think he could surprise a lot of people in terms of how well he does."
Just because Nate-Rob has decided to give up football (at least for this season) and play basketball exclusively, that doesn't mean Romar is completely content.
"I miss him out on the football field," he said, "because I enjoyed watching him last year just like everyone else."
The Huskies will begin practicing on Oct. 18, closing only the first weekend of practice to the public. Last season, when Romar and his assistant coaches needed to overhaul the system, the first week of practice was closed.
"Our guys will understand a little bit more about what we want from them this year," Romar said. "It won't be like last year when we had to start from scratch."
The regular season home-opener is scheduled for Nov. 21 against Portland St.
Tre Simmons: The team looked to have taken a real blow when 6-5 swingman Tre Simmons was reportedly ruled academically ineligible by the University of Washington for the 2003-04 season. However by last week, Simmons had been cleared to enroll as Washington and will be a part of Romar's squad, after all. Simmons is being counted on to add some offensive spark to this year's squad. He had two 50+ point outbursts at Green River Community College this year and averaged nearly 30 points and 9 boards per game.
Wesley Washington still undecided: Washington is retaking his SAT exam and will try to gain enrollment in January, but he is undecided as to where it will be. He was originally a Minnesota Golden Gopher commit, but was not accepted to the school. He reopened his recruiting once his LOI was declared null and Washington was his other choice besides Minnesota. The Gophers are still recruiting him and hope to resign him. Right now, Washington appears to be his fallback choice.
Romar's Army ready to roll
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