Coaches' Quotes - Illinois

SAN DIEGO - Here are the quotes from both UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber during their off-day press conference in preparation for the UW-ILL second-round NCAA Men's basketball matchup Saturday at Cox Arena.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement: "We're looking forward to playing in this second round. You're always a little bit antsy in the first round, regardless of who the opponent is, because you want to give yourself a chance to advance. we were fortunate to do that and now we play against a very, very good and talented, hard-working Illinois team. We're going to have to play at a higher level if we want to continue to advance in this tournament."

On the start of Brandon Roy's career at Washington: "He was ineligible, he hadn't qualified academically yet. He was waiting to do that and studying to do that. He was just working on the side and trying to stay in the best shape that he could. It's hard to simulate the type of shape you need to be in when you're sitting out and he had not played any college basketball before. He would come around, once in awhile. He would come to practices and it was difficult for him to come, because he wanted to be out there. He'd come to our games and sit way up at the top (of the stands), to avoid the same questions. 'When are you going to be ready to go?' He finally was able to join us and we went up into the side gym and, I think, myself and a couple of managers walked him through our offense. This was January, and he learned it (the offense) in 45 minutes. Now you can say, 'Well, your offense was probably just very simple.' There wasn't much to it, but the truth of the matter was, his basketball IQ is at such a high level, he just catches on very quickly and we went from there."

On playing against Illinois' Dee Brown: "Lately, we've been putting bigger guys on the point guards I'm sure Bobby Jones will be there, Brandon (Roy) will be there, Justin (Dentmon) will be there. A lot of guys will be probably guarding Dee Brown."

On his relationship with Illinois head coach Bruce Weber: "I knew who Bruce was when he was an assistant at Purdue for Gene Keady. He just minded his own business and went about doing his work in an unassuming manner, but you could tell that he was into doing his work. He became the head coach at Southern Illinos and we were (coaching) at St. Louis, and I was really impressed when we played their teams at how well-drilled they were. They were a lot like they are now. They ran their offense efficiently, they defended very well, they got back and they didn't give you a lot of transition stuff. They were very well prepared when you played against them. When he became the head coach at Illinois, it didn't surprise me that they ended up doing what they've done."

On Justin Dentmon's connection to Illinois: "You get excited to play against the hometown team or the local team. His local team actually is Southern Illinois, obviously, but you hear so much about Illinois when you live in that area. I'm sure he'll be excited, but if he is really amped, I think he will settle down soon enough."

On Illinois' size: "We're very concerned about them on the glass, but not only that, they do a very good job of getting the ball inside to those guys. Those guys catch it, they do something with it, they produce down there. We don't want it to be a situation where, half their points are coming from getting that ball inside or rebounding the ball inside, we just can't allow that to happen. We've got to do the best job we can to prevent that from happening, but it is a concern."

On the importance of guard play in Saturday's game: "It's very important. I think it's important in general, but in the NCAA tournament, teams are so good defensively, they take away a lot of your strengths. You have to have guards out there with that basketball offensively that are good enought to make plays. Defensively, you have to have good enough gards that can get through all the mini-screens that are set through these high-powered offenses. You have to have guards that keep people in front of you so you don't allow penetration."

Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber:
On playing Washington: "We are excited to stay in San Diego for another game. We have a tough opponent in Washington. You study them closely, their wins, losses, they had eight in a row at the end of the season. Then to have a crazy game against Oregon in the (Pac-10) Tournament, one of the Oregon players went crazy in the second half. I think he (Chamberlain Oguchi) has 22 or 23 points and hit a bunch of threes. If they win that and maybe advance to the finals of their tournament, I'm not sure they are a five (seed). They have one of the top players, not only in the Pac-10, but in the nation in (Brandon) Roy. They have other good athletes. They play very aggressive on defense - denial defense. They make it tough for you to get into any type of offense. They are good in transition and they are good in rebounding. They have a pretty complete team that will be very tough for us to deal with."

On what kind of game he expects vs. Washington: "We will run. We are pretty effective when Dee (Brown) gets the ball. (James) Augustine can run, Brian Randle can run. I think the key spot for us is to stop them from running, make them play some half-court basketball. Not that they are bad in it, but they are just so much more effective in transition. Some of that will be taking care of the basketball. If they get steals and runouts we are going to be in trouble. I don't see it being that high-scoring to be honest, because I don't think we have the weapons to compete with that. If it gets up to the 80's, I would be surprised."

On defending Washington's Brandon Roy: "There is no doubt we have to keep Brian (Randle) out of foul trouble. That has been his major downfall all year. He seems to get two quick fouls, a lot of them useless fouls, stupid fouls away from the basket - things that are not normal plays. That will be a key, because he is the one person that has the size, the length, the athleticism to contest (Brandon) Roy. After that it is going to be hit and miss. We are going to have to see who else can stay with him. You are right, it has to be a team effort. We have to be there ready to make him pitch it, make him make some other guys make some plays. We've talked to our guys and maybe if we got a charge or two against him maybe that would slow him up a little bit. How we limit him along with the transition defense and rebounding will be the keys."

On what makes Brandon Roy a special player: "I think he is the Player of the Year in the Pac-10, so he has not only exceeded the guys on his team, but all over their league - definitely one of the top players in the country. Watching film, I'm wondering why he is still in college, to be honest. He is just such a talented player and he has that size and ability and athleticism, plus the ball-handling skills. You have to have that sense of urgency against him. You let down, he is going to get you."

On Brandon Roy being the best player he has faced this year: "He is maybe a bigger, longer, lengthier Shannon Brown. He is just so versatile. He may be the best player we've faced."

On Dee Brown's impact on the program and Illinois: "He has just made us so much more visible. His charisma, his energy, I think every little kid in the country can identify with Dee (Brown). He gives them hope. He plays basketball like it should be played - with a passion. He also lives life with a passion. He has graduated. He does so much in the community; he is like a rock star. He has given us so much exposure nationally. Whether it's recruits from soccer or tennis who come on campus or whoever, they all (ask) can they meet Dee Brown."

On James Augustine's play vs. Air Force: "He sat on the bench quite a bit and that kind of broke up his rhythm of the game. It is a different game for a big guy. When you play Air Force because you are out on the court, you are guarding people - you are doing things that you normally don't do. It was a little bit of a tough game for him. When you look at it, we get by winning a game in the NCAA Tournament with eight point for him and eight from Dee (Brown). I'm not sure we can do that again. When you say what is their roles, for us to be successful tomorrow, they have to step up."


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