Lorenzo Romar Press Conference 02/25/03

With a strong outing and a big win over Oregon to give them a boost out of the gates, the Washington Huskies (9-15, 4-11) hit the road for the rest of the way for three straight road games. At his weekly press conference, Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar discussed what the next three games have in store for the Dawgs.

Rough road ahead

The Huskies are on the bubble for the eighth and final spot for the conference tournament and these next games are as crucial as they can get. People know that the Huskies are capable of playing well in front of a home crowd, but can these same Huskies play with the same type of game on the road?

"I certainly hope so," said Lorenzo Romar. "With all three road games remaining, I hope so because it's going to make us or break us right now.

"You've got to think it was very important that we were able to play better on the road in spite of losing against quality teams."

The road can be a tough place for the Huskies, who have only a 1-8 record away from Bank of America Arena, and have not won a conference road game in over a year. (February 21st 2001 at Oregon State) However, the strong showing in the last two road games against Stanford and Cal has the Huskies head coach more optimistic.

"We have got to come to play," said Romar. "If we come to play, then we can be competitive.

"You get blown out four times prior to that on the road, you're not sure. But it wasn't one game; it was two that we were able to play well in."

Romar on the Pac-10 Tournament

It has only been a year since the Pac-10 Conference tournament had been resurrected, and already there are flaws that coaches are pointing out.

While some conferences open up their conference post-season tournament to all their teams, the Pac-10 only allows the top eight teams to be a part of it and that does not sit well with some of the Pac-10 coaches.

"Lute Olson and Arizona will probably make the Pac-10 Tournament every year, but he would love to see all ten teams invited to play in the tournament," Romar said. "I think all of us would like to see all ten. You compete against each other and you challenge each other all year, but also in your own way, you pull for each other. You don't want to see anyone miss the Pac-10 tournament."

There have been many instances where Romar has seen the lowest seeded team in the tournament eventually make it to the finals and in some cases, win the whole thing.

"You'll never know," said Romar. "We were the ninth seed when I was at Saint Louis, and we won the conference tournament. If only eight teams could get in, we wouldn't have had a chance."

Huskies adjusting to new roles

One of the biggest adjustments the Huskies have had to make throughout the course of the season was their acceptance of new roles. With the season almost complete and the first year of the "Romar System" under their belt, these Huskies are starting to feel comfortable in their new roles

"Our guys have done a great job," said Romar. "When Nate Robinson came, guys' roles changed. When Brandon Roy came, guys' roles changed again.

"You start with Doug Wrenn. He was just a straight go-to guy last year. Now we have four guys in double figures now. There are more guys taking shots. I think Doug has tried his best to handle that situation and it might not be the way he scripted, but he's trying to handle it.

"Curtis Allen has played nothing but the off-guard position, and he's trying to handle it. I don't think C.J. (Massingale) has gone multiple games in his career when he has not come off the bench. He and I have talked about it. As hard as it is, when we get on the floor, they give it all they've got, and that is what a team is all about"

Jensen making progress

Mike Jensen's redshirt-freshmen campaign has been progressing, "slowly, but better" by Romar. The forward out of Covington, Washington has started 19 out of the 24 games he has played in and is averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Jensen did not score any points against Oregon, but did pull down seven rebounds to lead the team along with Brandon Roy.

"There was a stretch where things didn't go right for him," said Romar. "Now things are going more right, than they are not going right."

Jensen is playing his first full season of basketball since his junior year at Kentwood High School. Without having the benefit of a senior season and an injury-plagued true freshmen season, Jensen had to knock off a lot of rust this season.

"Those are two big years in terms of development. When we recruit a kid during his junior year in high school, we project what he can do for us in two years from now, because in those two years, that's a lot of improvement that he can do. He did not have those two years.

"His shot will become more consistent than it has," Romar projected of Jensen. "I also see him being much more of a low-post presence than he is right now and becoming a better rebounder."

The future of Doug Wrenn

After his breakout sophomore year, Doug Wrenn toyed with idea of declaring for the NBA Draft. Instead, he did return to school with many people predicting that this would be his last season. A down year may have changed those plans however and those same people are pretty much expecting to see Wrenn back with the team for his senior year.

"We have not a full discussion on the topic," Romar said of Wrenn's future. "I know before the year he was thinking about it (declaring for the draft) but we'll see."

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