FROM SALT LAKE CITY -- Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar met with reporters after practice today at the Huntsman Center, where Washington will face No. 12 Utah at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Here's everything Romar said.
(On building momentum after Colorado win) “With our team, we feel like we have to be who we are at the highest level, and if we do that, we can be competitive. … We approach this like every game. Got to come out and play to our highest level and see what happens.”
(On the difference during three-game winning streak) “I think we’re defending a little better. I think it didn’t happen as much in the Colorado game, but the Oregon game, we stepped up and made shots. Playing just a little more efficiently right now. I say that – a couple things go our way in the Stanford game, a couple things don’t go our way in the Colorado game, (and) that’s different. So this game is one play here, one play there makes a big difference."
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(On what makes Utah so good) “Defensively, they’re difficult to score on – really difficult to score on. They play great position defense. Very rarely do they get themselves extended where they’re out of position. Very rarely is there not help, and they get back, they keep you out of transition. They make it difficult for you to score. And then offensively, they have a phenomenal, I mean, a phenomenal point guard in Delon Wright. And then Brandon Taylor who kind of plays off of him. Those two guys, they make so many plays for the team. And the rest of the group plays around those guys, and they set the table, they distribute and they score, and the rest of the group plays off them. It seems like everyone on their roster can knock the shot down from the perimeter, so they have some good pieces that fit their system.”
(On what makes Delon Wright hard to defend) “His size. His ability to get to the rim. His ability to get in the paint and seal the defense and kick it out, or get all the way to the rim. He’s tough to deal with in that regard. But the other thing with Delon Wright is, he can score eight points and still control the game, because he can rebound, he’s in the passing lanes, he has quick hands, and he’s so quick and such a good ball-handler and passer, once he gets a steal it’s a transition bucket in a lot of cases. A lot of their transition comes off of his steals.
(How impressive is Utah’s rise as a program?) “To walk in here right now and see that they’re one of the top-ranked teams in the country, to look at their record, to see where they’re at, to see what they’ve accomplished, to see the excitement around this basketball team right now, to see them nationally recognized – that’s impressive. But what’s more impressive to me, is he (Larry Krystkowiak) took over a team the first year where there were some guys that didn’t really want to buy in. so they weren’t here any longer, and they came in the next year and kind of started over. Well, then the next year there was still some guys that didn’t want to buy in. They weren’t there again. And the administration here backed them and they stayed right with them, and they weren’t successful at first, but he was putting something in place. And if you don’t want to do it and buy in, then you can go play somewhere else, and that’s what guys did. Most of those guys, you never heard of them again. But now he has a group of kids that want to buy in that are invested in this program, and now look what’s being accomplished. That’s what’s really impressive to me – what it took to get this program off the floor, and to get it to where it is.”
(On seeing the Huntsman Center fill up) “I think it’s great. We know when Rick Majerus was here, that’s what it was like. They took a step back for a little bit, and then Coach (Krystkowiak) got them back to where they are, him and his staff did a good job to where it’s very, very exciting. It’s very good for the Pac-12. I’ve got to say this – when they first joined the league, along with Colorado, the question was asked of me: what do you think? Is this going to bring the league down, or what’s going to happen? And my response was, as a youngster growing up, I followed the Pac-8. My first year at the University of Washington, they added two new teams and it became the Pac-10, Arizona and Arizona State. And people would think, well, those two teams, they’re kind of messing with the credibility of the league. Well, look at what Arizona is doing now, and Arizona State has had their moments. Now, look what’s happened with Utah. Now they’re a nationally ranked program, and we know what Colorado has done. It’s been great having them both in the league. I think they’ve upgraded our league.”
(On Andrew Andrews playing for Krystkowiak in China and whether he has any insight into his coaching) “Larry played for Mike Montgomery, knows Mike Montgomery real well, and what Mike Montgomery was doing in 1983, 1990, is what he was doing his last year there. So there’s not a whole lot of secrets. They know what we do. We think we have an idea of what they’re trying to do.”
(Is the Utah-Colorado trip the hardest in the conference?) “It is hard to deal with. You’ve got two programs that are doing really well that have great, great home bases, and there’s a lot of excitement around their team. They make it hard to score. It’s a tough road trip.”
(What makes it difficult?) “I think it has a lot to do with just those two teams. This is a flight, where Oregon it’s a drive, Cal and Stanford it’s a drive, SC and UCLA, it’s a drive, Arizona-Arizona State, so on and so forth. But this one is a flight. But the two teams play a really good brand of basketball, make it hard for you to be successful, and that’s the main reason this is a difficult road trip.”
(Six-man rotation? One time thing?) “We can’t continue to do that. It just kind of worked that way.”
(On Sunday games being hard for road teams) “That’s one thing I talked about several years ago, about these extended stays. I’d like to go check the record over a three, four-year period, of teams that travel and play on Sundays and see what their record is, versus their other road games. I think sometimes it makes a difference.”