As news of Washington’s firing of Lorenzo Romar trickled out Wednesday afternoon, players and recruits responded in support of the longtime coach.
Perhaps the strongest rebuke was from former UW forward Quincy Pondexter, an All-Pac-10 performer in 2009-10, who tweeted that Romar’s firing is a “huge mistake!!”
Included among them were consensus top recruit Michael Porter Jr., and his brother Jontay. The two Nathan Hale High School stars had committed to play at UW for Michael Porter Jr.’s godfather, Romar, and their father, an assistant coach for the team.
The brothers, winners of the 3A state boys basketball title at the Tacoma Dome two weeks ago, were both wistful in their remarks on Twitter.
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The brothers had been seen shooting hoops at Hec Edmunson Pavilion earlier Wednesday.
Freshman point guard Markelle Fultz, who was last year’s top recruit in the country and already announced plans to declare for the NBA draft, also offered support to Romar.
Former players, including Romar’s first recruit, Bobby Jones, also jumped in, mourning his departure from the school.
Even Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse had great things to say about Romar.
Former Huskies assistant T.J. Otzelberger, now the head coach at South Dakota State, told The Spokesman-Review that if his son got the chance to play college basketball, he’d want his son to play for Romar.
“He’s been an unbelievable mentor to me, leader, graduation rate with young men,” Otzelberger said before Romar’s firing was announced. “Everything he’s done as a head coach has been first class. I know that the wins and losses at this point in recent history aren’t where he’d like them to be, but I’m confident Coach Romar appreciates the relationship he’s had with me.”
Otzelberger’s Jackrabbits play top-seeded Gonzaga in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Romar, 58, coached the Huskies for 15 seasons, with a 298-195 record and a 143-127 record in the Pac-10/Pac-12. He took the team to six NCAA Tournaments including three Sweet Sixteens, but went six seasons without making it back to March Madness.
The Huskies’ 2-16 Pac-12 record in 2016-17 was the school’s worst ever; they finished 9-22 overall in Romar’s final season.