Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar met with reporters this morning to preview tomorrow night's game against Oregon. The transcript is below, but first, a few injury notes:
--- Jernard Jarreau's arthroscopic knee surgery on Saturday morning -- moved back a day -- was successful. Romar said the timetable for Jarreau's return is still four-to-six weeks, as far as he knows.
--- Darin Johnson could return from a strained quadriceps to play against Oregon, Romar said, but he's still day-to-day.
Here's the rest of what Romar said:
(How is the health of your team?) “Let me make sure I go through everybody. We know about Jernard Jarreau. Darin Johnson felt much better yesterday. Not sure where he is today. Each day, he’s making big progress. He’s kind of game to game, I guess day to day at this point.”
(Johnson’s status for tomorrow’s game?) I’m not sure yet. Each day, ‘how you doing today?’ With those types of injuries, guy comes in, ‘oh man, I feel great today.’ Other times, ‘still bothering me.’ Every 24 hours you’ve got to check, re-evaluate.”
(Does that kind of injury remind you of hamstrings?) “I’m more familiar with the contusions, you get kneed in the quad. That’s a little different. But rarely have I been around where you have a strained quad. It’s more the hamstring, what you’re talking about.
“What happens with those, especially with the hamstrings, is it’s feeling pretty good, and you go make a quick move and those muscles fire, and there it is again. So you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing really well.”
(On adjusting to playing without Jarreau) “We definitely have to make some adjustments. We had to make some adjustments against Oregon State without him. Jernard doesn’t go out and he’s not giving you 15 points a game, 20 points a game. He’s not giving you double-double performances every night, but he just does little things that really help your team. Again, just a big guy that’s in there that can defensively guard someone his height, and then go out on the perimeter and pick up a 6-3 guy. He’s able to do that. He, offensively, you can run through him. Anything in the high post, he can catch it, make a play. He’s pretty good about those things. Just little subtle things that Jernard does that really helps our team. Sometimes the statistics don’t show it, but we all understand what he is.”
(Is there some of that on-the-fly feeling, like last year?) “Not nearly as much as last year. I think there’s just a little more emphasis on certain things that we already have within our package. Last year we had to totally revamp everything we did. We’re not going to have to totally revamp everything, but we are going to have to tweak some things without his services.”
(On Robert Upshaw playing more minutes) “He did a great job. The other night, that’s one of the things with Jernard being out in that game, we were kind of forced to play more zone, and I thought that allowed him to stay in the game longer, to tell you the truth.”
(On Upshaw starting for the first time) “We never talked about him eventually starting. And then when the decision was made for him to start, we just said, ‘you’re going to be starting.’ ‘OK.’ And went from there.”
(Can you practice the way you want with the injuries?) “In October and November, we practice two and a half hours. In December, it cuts back to two. In January, it’s about an hour and a half. We’re moving into February, we get to about an hour-15, hour-20, because you’re in condition now. This time of the year, if something like that is to happen, it’s better because we’re not going for long periods of time in practice, because you want to save guys’ legs. When these things happen – and they’ve happened before to us – in October, November, early December, it really hurts, because you can’t do the things you want to do up and down the floor. The competition also within practice, when you have your full complement of players, is much higher. Guys have to go at it. They get challenged even more when that happens. So especially early, that’s when you need that.”
(On Quevyn Winters adjusting to D-1 ball again) “I think the things that we’re doing offensively and defensively are very different to what he’s accustomed to doing. Every day, he’s trying to pick it up. With shooters, if you’re thinking of anything other than that ball going in the basket, and my mechanics need to be right, and my feet need to be squared, and this is about to go in – if you’re thinking about anything else, it bothers you as a shooter. And a lot of times people don’t understand that. If I’m thinking defensively, am I supposed to be in the right place, and that’s in the back of my mind and I go to shoot – sometimes it can affect you. So hopefully he continues to get what we’re doing.”
(When can you tell he’s thinking too much?) “The other night he had a couple of pretty good looks that he turned down, and he’s not supposed to do that. He was maybe thinking.”
(Was he maybe giving up a 3-pointer to throw it inside?) “He doesn’t fall under the category of giving up a 3-pointer. Even though he’s not shooting a high percentage, right now you’ve got to hope – he shot in the 40s as a freshman in college. He wasn’t in a high-school, lower-level, jungle league somewhere. In college, in the Atlantic 10, he shot somewhere in the 40s. So he’s capable. When you have shooters, me as a head coach, I don’t say a whole lot to shooters when they can shoot. If the ball’s not going down for them, if that’s something they bring to the table, that can really help our team, we have to encourage them to keep shooting. Now, if there’s a hand in his face, that’s a different story. Those are the ones we try to avoid. But guys that can shoot, and they have wide-open shots, you’ve got to take them. Don’t think. Shoot it.”
(Is he the only one with a green light?) “Donaven Dorsey. Those two have it. I mean, Andrew Andrews, he gets a wide-open shot – what happens with Andrew sometimes is he shoots it quick, and he has such a strong belief in himself, he just feels like he’s going to knock it down, and sometimes it’s contested maybe a little too much. But when he’s squared up and open, he’s got to shoot it. I said that was it, but you know, Mike Anderson needs to shoot it, too. Shoot it with confidence. Like he did the other night. He finally let ‘em go.”
(What’s the ideal offensive output for Anderson?) “He’s giving us 7.5 right now. If he could give us double-digits every game, that’s huge right now, with our team. We know we have four guys averaging double-figures right now. If he could come along and get to that point, that makes us even more difficult to guard. It helps. If you look at our games all year, win or lose, if we have not shot the ball well, we’ve been right there. Every game. We’ve either won them, or had a chance to win them, or had the lead – when we didn’t shoot the ball well. When we shot the ball well, we always distance ourselves from teams. Regardless of who we’ve played, if we’re defending and we’re making shots, we’ve been extremely successful. But when we’re not making shots, we’ve still been able to keep it close, based on our defense. And the Cal game, we didn’t guard very well in the second half, and we were up, and that was the difference in the game. Washington State did a great job of scoring against us and we didn’t pull it out."
(On better transition defense vs. OSU) “Yeah, but we’re talking about two different situations. Oregon State doesn’t push the ball nearly as much as Washington State does. Oregon does. So we’ll be able to judge that a little better when we play Oregon, because they’re going to push it in a similar fashion to the way Washington State did.”
(What stands out about Oregon besides tempo?) “They really pressure you. They’re undersized, so in order to kind of negate teams’ size against them, they really get after you, try to pressure you.”
(Could it be challenge having only two bigs against a team that runs so much?) “It could be, yeah. It could be. We’ll see. I wouldn’t say as much (for) Shawn. Shawn can run all night. He’s in great shape.”
(On the job Dana Altman is doing at Oregon) “There are several coaches in this league right now (who) I’m really impressed with, the jobs they’re doing. Dana Altman is one of them, with how much they lost, and still right now, they’re very, very competitive in our league.”
(On Oregon’s defense) “They will change defenses. They will trap in the halfcourt, they’ll trap in the full-court. They have a lot of different defenses they can throw at you.”
(Are teams trapping you less?) “We played Oregon in the Pac-10, then, the Pac-10 tournament, and that was the year Isaiah was a junior. I believe that was the year that Venoy Overton wasn’t able to play in the Pac-10 tournament. And we played them in the second round, and I think we played four games and Isaiah played every minute but two, and that game, Oregon came out and they denied him the ball after makes. They were going to try to wear him down, because they knew he was pretty much the only point guard we had. And I say that to say, starting with I believe the Oklahoma game, teams started to attempt to do that with Nigel Williams-Goss. They started to pick him up full-court and try to deny him to get the ball. So this won’t be the first team that will do that. Teams have been trying to do that. Fortunately with us, we have Andrew Andrews, as well, back there who plays point guard, too. So that helps.”
(On Nigel Williams-Goss being able to bring ball up the floor and do other things) “He’s pretty versatile. He can do both. You saw Nigel in the middle of the zone the other night making plays. He can do that, he can bring the ball up, he’s strong with the ball. So we can kind of spread him around, depending on what we need him to do.”
(What makes Joseph Young such a good scorer?) “He can really shoot the ball, for starters, and he is one of the rare kids these days that has a mid-range game. He’s extremely athletic, so he can get all the way to the rim on you. You have to get there and contest his shot, or it’s going to go in. and if he gets a couple steps on you and you come up from underneath with your big, he can pull up from the mid-range. Him and (Chasson) Randle from Stanford – those two guys from our league, they can go get you buckets when you need a bucket. Joseph Young, he’s been able to keep them in games single-handedly. There are some guys that are really good shooters and they score top-five in the league in scoring, but if you’re really there with them, you’re really there with them, you can limit their production. Young, it’s a tough task, a tough challenge for 40 minutes.”
(Tough to go from playing OSU, which slows it down, to Oregon, which likes to run?) “It could be. If you have some versatility within your team, I think you’re all right. But if you’re one-dimensional, you can only play one way, it can be difficult.”
(You mentioned Young’s mid-range game – is there still an important place for that in today’s game? Is that worth teaching?) “It’s gone the way of the buffalo. The mid-range game – I hate to say, ‘when I was a youngster’ – there was a time when the mid-range game, if you didn’t have one, you weren’t a complete player. You had to have a mid-range game. Get in there, the defense comes up, and you just pull up on a dime. I mean, you practiced that hours upon hours. But very rarely do they show the mid-range jumpers on SportsCenter. They show dunks and 3s. And that’s what a lot of people work on right now. But the mid-range game is such a great weapon to have, and very few have it. But Joseph Young, he has it. That’s another reason he’s such a dynamic scorer, as I mentioned earlier.”
(Can you get anything out of Gilles Dierickx?) “We’d like to. Right now, G was out for a couple of months, and you’re in the middle of conference, every possession is so big. The more he practices, the better condition he gets in. But if G, when he gets his opportunity, he comes in there, if he can give us something, it would help our team immensely. We’d love to see that.”
(Could Mike Anderson move to the 4 at all, like last year?) “No. Nah, he won’t play that position this year, unless our numbers just go way down again like last year. Donaven Dorsey’s kind of doing what Mike Anderson did last year. And I think Mike is flourishing now in the perimeter role.”
(Where is Donaven Dorsey at, in terms of learning the defense and adding those extra elements to his offensive game?) “He’s still working at it. He’s still trying to learn the basics as a freshman, trying to learn the basics there. He’s a smart player. He can really shoot the ball. Just that teams don’t let him out of their sight when he gets in the game. ‘you do not give Donaven Dorsey an open look.’ So they’re always contesting his shots. So, couple shot fakes. He tried to make a move the other night and they called traveling on him, but it was good to see that, put the ball on the floor, try to make a play.”
(On Robert Upshaw already breaking single-season blocks record) “What word can I come up with? I’m pretty basic. It’s impressive. He makes blocking shots an art when he goes up. I’ve never seen anyone – I mean, I was young when Bill Russell played – but aside from that, someone who just kind of flips it. He’ll go up, the momentum of him coming over and the guy coming at him, going up, and just kind of flips it to keep it in bounds. He had a block against Stanford, against (Stefan) Nastic, where Stanford went under the rim for a reverse layup, and Rob just put his hand up, just there, and didn’t even do that – didn’t swing – just put his hand up where the ball hit his hand and just dropped, and it was his. I don’t see anyone in the game doing that, where he not only gets to the shots, but is just soft enough to where you can keep playing out of it. That’s a gift that I don’t know how many people have in the world.”
(Because most guys want to swat it away) “Oh yeah. You’ve got guys that finally get their opportunity – ‘get that stuff out!’ – you know. Every now and then, he’ll do that. But for the most part, he’s just going up, He knows he’s going to get it. That’s the thing. He knows. There’s a certain way he sees where the ball is coming – ‘all right, I got this one’ – and he just touches it. Just flicks it, just a little bit. It’s pretty impressive to watch.”