Recent Huskies success grows from weeks of work
Since Washington’s shocking home loss to South Dakota State, the Huskies have bounced back with a 23-point win over Cal State Northridge and a 15-point victory over Oregon State on Thursday to open Pacific-12 Conference play.
However, coach Lorenzo Romar doesn’t attribute the recent surge to hard lessons learned against the Jackrabbits.
“I don’t know if it was because of South Dakota,” he said Friday after practice at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. “… If you plant some seeds, there’s something growing underneath the soil. You just can’t see it, but something’s developing. And then one day you drive by, and you look, and there it is. I think that’s what we’re beginning to see. Some seeds had been planted probably two or three weeks ago about getting better defensively and doing some things better offensively. You couldn’t see the results at first, but I think we’re just starting to see the results.”
Another of those seeds involves consistency. And the Huskies will be tested on that tonight, as they try to complete a home-court sweep of the Oregon schools with a win over the Oregon Ducks.
“We’re happy with the (OSU) win, but we understand that we have a lot to learn and a long way to go if we want to be good this year,” forward Desmond Simmons said. “So, we’re happy with the win, but we’re still trying to get better in a lot of areas.”
The Oregon State game also marked dramatic development for Simmons, a redshirt freshman, and guard Tony Wroten, a true freshman.
“They’re both junkyard dogs,” Romar said. “They’re not intimidated. In terms of how they play, they’re totally different players, but they have a mentality where they’re going to fight you. They’re not going to back down.”
Wroten had the flashier stat line against the Beavers: 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
However, Romar went out of his way to note the contributions of Simmons, who hustled his way to 13 points and eight rebounds.
“I don’t think we run one set for Desmond, and yet he finds a way to make his presence felt and score – a lot like Bobby Jones used to do,” Romar said. “Three years Bobby Jones averaged 11 points, yet we rarely ran stuff for him. Desmond is a lot like that.”
Simmons said he gets his points by remaining active, especially when the ball is in Wroten’s hands.
“You’ve still got to keep moving,” he said. “Even though he’s driving hard, you still have to keep moving because he’s a terrific passer and he’ll find you. So we definitely can’t get caught standing around watching him play.”
Simmons, who is 6-foot-7 and from Vallejo, Calif., sat out last season with a knee injury.
He said he doesn’t feel any affects of that now. And with a spot in the rotation and an average of 6.5 points and 6.2 rebounds just 12 games into his college career, he even has come to think of the injury in a positive light.
“I took a lot from last year and translated it to this year,” he said. “I can’t do the what-ifs. For me, I just look at it like it was a blessing in disguise, and it helped me out in the long run.”
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports