Dawgs looking forward to GU

Lorenzo Romar was quick to point out on Wednesday that, while criticized for not going out on the road last year before Pac-10 play, the 05-06 Hoop Dawgs were veterans and road-tested. You could say the exact opposite of this year's team, especially when two sophomores and three true frosh will be taking the floor Saturday in Spokane.

Here are quotes from Coach Romar and some of Washington's players talking about the Huskies' upcoming in-state tilt with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs just lost to Washington State, but Romar took little solace in the fact that his team might be catching GU at a good time.
Lorenzo Romar:
On seeing the GU/WSU game: "I didn't get a chance to see it on TV. I will eventually watch it."

On Gonzaga's mindset going into the UW game: "Win or lose, they are a very good basketball team. They've won 44 consecutive basketball games. Win or lose, they'll always be fired up to play basketball. They are accustomed to winning, and when you are accustomed to winning, you know when to bring it, so I don't think it matters."

On getting on the road: "Hopefully since October 13th we've been preparing for this. It's going to be a fun challenge in that this is the first chance this team will experience the road. Last year we were criticized a little bit for not going out on the road but we had a veteran team. We had our best road record in-conference since we've been here. We were 6-3. It didn't matter if we went on the road or not. But this team, we do need to experience the road."

On extending the UW-GU series: "It definitely won't happen next year, but the year after that, we'll revisit it and see. It's great for the fans, I think it's great for the state and great for basketball here. On a national stage, the games that we are playing like it (@LSU, @TAMU, pre-season NIT) are going to be televised in front of a national audience, as opposed to the state just seeing it. And I think eventually we'll end up doing both. It just didn't work out for now."

On who determines the schedule: "(UW Athletic Director) Todd (Turner) and I work real well together as a team. Everything thing we've wanted to do, he's supported us 100 percent, as far as things that could be done. We're on the same team."

On why the GU game didn't work with next year's schedule: "It's just too crowded. If we were an independent, we'd probably do it. But we play in one of the toughest conferences in the country. In terms of our scheduling philosophy, in the non-conference we try to get a lot done and it's good to try to stay at home and play a fair share if you can afford to do it. And this game, you have to go on the road every other year. It's just something that where our program is headed, it's just one of those years."

On expecting Gonzaga to be as good as they are right now: "I didn't think they would be this good at this point. But Gonzaga is not a fly-by-night program. Gonzaga is here to stay. They are not going to go away. They aren't like UCLA in the Wooden years, but don't look for the year when they are going to be down. They are here. I thought they would be an NCAA tournament team and I thought they could win their league. Last year they had a chance to win it all. I didn't know if they could win it all this year. But they haven't taken a step back so far."

On Josh Heytvelt: "I don't like to throw things around like this, but I think that he's probably a future first-round draft choice, whenever that time comes."

On Washington State: "I'm not surprised. They beat us twice last year, soundly. I think double-digits both times. So we know what Washington State is capable of doing. UCLA is probably the best defensive team in our league, and after that, Washington State is right up there. It's only an upset in terms of the rankings, but you play them night-in and night-out and you know that they are a good basketball team."

On Spencer Hawes and playing his first game on the road: "I think he's ready to play. Kids today, if they don't play well, it's because they didn't play well or they got outplayed. It's not because they are intimidated by this place or this player. I don't think they see it that way."

On Matt Bouldin: "He is so good. One thing you can't teach is feel. You can't teach feel, and Brandon Roy was like that. You can put him at any position on the floor with any other four guys and he's going to make your team better. I think he's outstanding."

On whether or not they'll guard big on Derek Raivio like WSU did: "I would say that throughout the course of the game, the way we play - you'll see our guys on everyone. Throughout the next three days we'll get that sorted out and get to the game and see what happens. And whoever starts the game may not finish there."
Justin Dentmon:
On the GU/WSU game: "It showed that the Zags can be beat. Washington State is a good team though. They are 8-1. That's good. I hope we play as well as they did."

On his key to the game: "I'm just going to try and disrupt as much as possible. I'll guard either (Derek) Raivio or (Jeremy) Pargo. I just want to do my best to make them feel uncomfortable all night."

On Gonzaga: "I think they are better than last year's team. These guys actually play defense and are shotblockers, so I'll have to watch out for them going to the cup."

On not seeing Adam Morrison out there: "It's going to be weird, but they have another guy with hair (Matt Bouldin)."

On going out on the road for the first time: "I think it's going to be difficult for our freshmen. For me, I just try to get lost in the game. That's what I'm going to try to do, so the crowd won't faze me as much."

On having balanced scoring: "Our offense is just like a football team - we have a lot of options. There's a receiver, a running back, the quarterback - we have everything. People step up on different nights and that's the amazing thing about us. You don't know who to key in on, so I think that's going to be hard for defenses."
Jon Brockman:
On the Gonzaga game: "It's going to be one of those tournament-type games where it feels like March, but it's the first week in December."

On what Gonzaga's demeanor should be like: "They aren't going to drop drastically. And Washington State is a good team. They showed us that...twice. But good teams don't lose twice in a row very often."

On what he learned from last year's Gonzaga game: "We got a taste last year of the environment and the intensity. When you look at the schedule, it's one of the most-exciting games just because there are so many players from Washington on each roster. It just makes it a little more special."

On not playing Gonzaga next year: "It draws a lot of attention, but there are a lot of other great teams too. If we don't play them, we might be playing an ACC team."

On what they are expecting in the Kennel: "We've played in hostile environments before...at Arizona, at Oregon. When we get there, we can't let them affect us. That's something I'm going to be talking to the young guys about...you can't let the fans get to us. Once you give them a little glimpse, they are on you the whole game. But that's part of being on the road. In high school I heard all sorts of stuff, and you're even closer. You learn to block things out."

On GU's 44-game home winning streak: "It's almost like you're going to have to win by 15, because if it's a close game, it's more likely they are going to win it. It's more of a challenge. Bring it on...it's going to be fun."
Spencer Hawes:
On Washington State beating Gonzaga: "It just shows that in a situation like that, anything can happen."

On Josh Heytvelt: "He was a senior when I was going into my sophomore year, so team camp was the only time I went up against him. He's really athletic and really versatile. He can shoot or he can take it inside. I'm just looking forward for a battle."

On playing on the road for the first time in college: "Just treat it like no one is in the stands. You have to learn how to blank everything out. We've learned how to do that, but it's still a test for us to be able to do it. And you don't really know what to expect until you get there, but you deal with it the best you can. I think it's exciting for everybody when it's a big stage and so much is riding on the game. It just adds to everything else."

On playing ranked teams like GU: "You always want to play against the best players, because it brings the best out of you. When you play against the best, that's when you play the best. It's an opportunity for us to test us as a team and see if the improvements we've started to make have paid off. And there's no better environment than to go over there to see how it all turns out."

On finding the right chemistry: "I think we're still adjusting a little bit, but more and more we're finding rotations that work and there's been noticeable improvements."

On finding a groove early: "It's definitely tough, especially for big guys, because it usually naturally takes us a little longer to get in the flow of the game. If you haven't been in the flow, there's a tendency to rush things, to make up for lost time."

On what he took from the way WSU played GU: "The way they spread the floor and moved the ball quickly - especially against the zone. They didn't just sit there and try to make the home-run play. They analyzed the situation, and if it they didn't have it, they moved it quickly. I think that's one thing we can take from how the Cougars were successful."

On GU's 44-game home win streak: "To a lot of people, they'd call it intimidating, but we look at it as a challenge. It's something that will be a great test for our team, but when it comes down to it you have to put that all out of your mind. It's just five-on-five, U-Dub versus Gonzaga."

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