Coaches' Reaction - Louisville

ALBUQUERQUE - Here are comments from all the Washington coaches after UW's 93-79 loss to Louisville in the Sweet 16 at the Pit. They were all quick to praise the Cardinals, who impressed the coaches with their length and their tenacity. Here's what they had to say about that, as well as what their expectations are for the future of the program.

Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement: "You know, I read Paul Hewitt's comments - after their game against Louisville and how he talked about how good of a team Louisville was and that they were a better team. He was very impressed. Well, I would echo those comments. We were very impressed with Louisville. They are a very good basketball team. They went out and did what was needed to win this ball game ... very impressive game, I thought, by Louisville. But at the same time, we didn't get it done tonight, but how could I not tell you how proud I am of our guys? And I know coaches say that at the last game of the year, but not a whole lot of people have believed in these guys that last couple of years. They continued to work and work and work and do things right to where we got to this point where we're here before you. We would have liked to have gone further obviously, but there's no finger-pointing here on our guys. They gave every ounce of effort that they had.

On how Louisville played: "The closest thing I think this year that we saw was in the Pac-10 conference championship and Arizona's Salim Stoudamire went to work in the first half, but it was pretty much him. Tonight, Francisco Garcia got going - he was probably the main guy - but yet as a unit they were all in sync and they were all in a rhythm. Francisco got away from us a couple of times. He hit some tough shots, but that's how they played. Will mentioned about the way they played with driving and kicking. That's something I know I talked to people about. It is difficult to prepare for. Guys go in for lay-ups ad you converge and they do a great job of spacing out the flanker areas and the guys get those threes. The first half when they go in that rhythm, it kind of coincided with Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons both getting in foul trouble. The way that they were playing, I don't know if it would have mattered at that point, because they were playing very, very good basketball."

On the game swinging with Robinson's third foul: "The thought process at that point was not unlike ... we had been in that position before, where Nate had picked up a foul and we had played him. For periods of time, our guys have done a great job compensating for someone who is out with foul trouble, and we have been able to get through at other times ... at Oregon, there were a lot of fouls being called. We had a lot of guys in foul trouble and lots of guys stepped up and we were able to make it though. Nate is obviously an emotional leader. He was ready to play tonight. Obviously, he wanted to win the game as much as anyone. It just didn't work out when he went down. Like I said it coincided with them going on a run as well."

On trying to slow down Louisville's balance: "The weak link would be if they are not hitting their threes, you know, but I'm sure many teams ... they have won 31 games. I'm sure 31 times teams have said the same thing - if they don't hit the three... The quote was given by Will Bynum. "If they are hitting the threes, they are hard to deal with." We wanted to look at some zone to throw them off their rhythm. That's a team that's tough to guard against and they are playing the zone quite a bit now. They are able to pretty much remain fresh throughout the game. You look at the stat sheet, they really played six guys and yet we have depth and we played a lot of guys. But Coach Pitino - I heard his comments at the end - he said maybe they got a little worn at the end but for the most part they continued to make shots."

On the disappointment of not advancing: "I think if you have an opportunity and you are granted that to go to the Final Four, whether it's in Russia or St. Louis you are fired up. Sowe would have been fired up, but the fact that we had an opportunity to go back to St. Louis ... When we were there, the fan support was unbelievable. They were great. They were really good to us and you know, that would have been icing on the cake to be able to go back there."

On not having Nate and Tre carrying over to the second half: Well, who knows? You know, when you lose, you can try to point to a lot of things as to why you didn't come out on the front end. but in the first half, when those guys went down, we had to kind of adjust our rotation. We had settled in on a pretty good nine-man rotation. I think all the guys knew when they were going in and out. That was disrupted tonight, but you got to give Louisville credit. They put us in those positions where we had to foul or where we did foul."

On Washington's future being bright: "We certainly hope it's bright. We do feel good. It took three years to do it, but I think now we have something that every coach looks for when our freshmen come in next year. They will be able to look at some senior leadership that has accomplished a lot. They can watch and see what type of culture has been created here and they can fit right in. We think that our seniors have learned what Husky basketball is about, and they are going to expect certain things from our young players. Anbd when you get your program to a point to where that's the case, I think it puts a smile on your face. I think that's where we are now. Although we'll have a lot of new faces and it may take some time to get totally there, I like the direction that we are headed."

On Jamaal Williams' role next year: "Jamaal came in this year and we talked about how he may not be there star. He may not be the go-to guy we go to every night. He may not be the leading scorer. He was like, 'I understand coach, I'm just going to work my tail off'. And that is what he's done. Tonight he was phenomenal. There have been games this year where we couldn't get anything going where Jamaal Williams stepped up and provided some offensive punch for us. We're excited that we got him back for another year."

On Williams stepping up with leadership next year: "Jamaal is a very, very intelligent young man and an intelligent basketball player. He understands what is right and wrong and he has sold out to this program. If you are smart, you are sold out to the cause, and you want to see things done well. There's no doubt in my mind that he is going to be a good leader for us."

Jim Shaw:
On Louisville: "I thought today they were the best team we've played all year. I wish them the best. They are extremely tall and long. The guys are 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 on the perimeter, and because they were in a zone he had to deal with their length and height. In man-to-man you can sometimes move him (Nate Robinson) around, but because they stayed in a zone it was their height and length more than anything else. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off and wish 'em good luck. They played so well."

On the early foul situation: "To lose Nate and Tre both at the same time hurt, and that's when the momentum probably swung. We just can't be fouling in those situations."

On Louisville's guards: "They are so long and big. Most college teams have at least one guard that's not that big. It's like me going up against 6-8, 6-9, 7-footers. Those three guys with their height, length and strength were very good."

On not taking more three-pointers late in the game being a factor: "I don't think so. I thought we did a pretty good job offensively in the second half. Again, they weren't giving us threes, so we took what we could get. I thought Jamaal (Williams) did a good job around the basket, scoring some baskets. So I think we did a good job in the second half. We shot 45 percent and went to the line 28 times. We needed to put down more foul shots. At the same time I thought we did a good job in the second half. Our scoring in the first half was impacted by the fact that our two leading scorers (Robinson and Tre Simmons) were out with fouls."

On who Louisville resembled: "They were more similar to Syracuse when I was at Oklahoma to beat us to get to the Final Four. They were so tall and long it was hard to get through their zone and they had Carmello (Anthony) at that magical level where (Francisco) Garcia is at right now, where they always had a guy they could go to."

Cameron Dollar:
On the turning point in the game: "The turnaround was probably the early foul situation and them hitting some threes. Mentally, we didn't handle those situations very well and that took us out of our gameplan. We didn't stay mentally focused."

On handling their 2-3 zone: "I think what it comes down to it, you've got to drive. They can't pack it in and be extended. They can't be both. If they are extended then you've got to read the defense and drive it. And more than anything, their quickness and their ability to play in the passing lanes and then get right back out was what affected us the most in those situations."

On the youth of the team relative to deep NCAA tourney experience: "I don't think it attributed to anything at all. We had our scheme and they had their scheme and they just executed it better than we did. The result is the result. But as far as program and what we've done, I think the program is where it needs to be. It's progressing and growing. We were at a point where we could compete at this level and we just didn't get it done."

On whether or not he saw this team making the Sweet 16 at the beginning of the season: "I probably wouldn't have had a straight answer at that point, maybe during the conference or at the end of conference play. I'm excited that we made it to the Sweet 16, but at the same time we're good enough to win it all. But it's not underachievement."

On what to expect for next year: "I think the guys coming back have tasted the Sweet 16 and they'll be itching to go higher and higher. You point to this game and certain areas where no matter the situation and adversity you have to stay focused, play through and execute. Like handling foul situations. There were a couple of times earlier in the year where we were in foul situations and we didn't handle it well playing through fouls. Your only expectations at this point is that you compete and that you compete at a high level. That's all you can hope for."

On the 'three-point psychology': "A lot of times their three-point shooting makes you feel like you're down more than you really are. You might feel like you're down 17 points, but it really might be 9. You're in the game, but sometimes you feel like you've got to press or that you're not in the game. Maybe with experience you handle it better because you have gone through it, but those are things you build on."

Ken Bone:
On the expectations for next year: "One, the recruits that we've got coming in. We've got some nice players coming in for next year, but we've got a lot of nice players coming back to play. Look at Jamaal. he had a great game today. Brandon had a great game today. We have a lot of guys coming back that can play. So you take the nucleus of what we have coming back plus the recruits...will we make the Sweet 16 again? We'll be very good next year and maybe we'll be better than this year. It wouldn't surprise me."

On whether or not he expects to see Brandon Roy or Nate Robinson back next year: "I expect to see one of them back, the taller one."

On their gameplan early and getting the guards involved: "On the offensive end we were having a lot of success getting the ball to Brandon and Jamaal. They were doing a great job of scoring. But our perimeter guys weren't scoring at all. So we tried to mix the two together a little bit, have the guards try to get to the middle to penetrate, but Nate penetrated one time in the zone and got fouled. That's the only time in the first half that I can remember, so there weren't a lot of gaps in there to penetrate. They can really shoot the ball. We knew that coming in, and they had two guys shoot five threes each."

On Louisville's defensive pressure: "One thing they do is contest shots without always trying to block the shot. And they did a great job of looking like they were trying to block every shot. So we told our guys to shot fake and drive. So we started faking our shots and they weren't leaving the floor. They did a great job of knowing when we were going to shoot and when we were not shooting. When we were shooting, they were flying around and contesting shots. When we weren't shooting, they were staying down on the floor. So a lot of the credit has to go to Louisville. That's the way they play. They have a good coach in Coach Pitino and they have great athletes. It's a unique style but it's very efficient."

On who was more physical, Louisville or Washington?: "I would say without looking at the video that it was a standoff. I felt that a lot of teams do back away from us because we're scrappy and we're tough and we get after teams, but Louisville is the same way. They are very similar to us and they play in Conference USA, which is a very physical conference. I thought it was a standstill just from the physical standpoint of the game."


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