Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar met with the media for about 20 minutes on Tuesday afternoon to preview Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game against Colorado at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (Pac-12 Networks).
One personnel note -- Romar said freshman forward Devenir Duruisseau, who missed UW’s last two games due to a concussion, is still questionable for Wednesday’s game, but he expects him to be available on Sunday against Utah. And Andrew Andrews’ ankle is apparently fine, because he practiced fully on Monday.
Here’s the rest of what Romar said.
(On bouncing back after the Arizona loss) “I think that’s kind of been characteristic of our team. I think our team has met a lot of challenges this year, has stepped up to the plate. A couple of times, we didn’t, but I think our group has been pretty good that way.”
(What did you tell your team after that game about bouncing back?) “We talked about the difference in the first half and the second half against Arizona. We acknowledged that Arizona was a very good basketball team, but we also acknowledged that they were the same team we played in the first half. There were some things that we didn’t do. Now, they imposed their will on us, caused us to shrink a little bit, mentally. But still, in all, if we play the way we’re supposed to play, that’s what we need to concentrate on, and we can be OK. So when we go back and play in this next game, Arizona’s over. Let’s make sure we do what we’re supposed to do, and our guys were totally dialed in from the beginning.”
(Do you use the 24-hour rule like in football?) “We don’t say the 24-hour rule, per se, but we talk about having a short memory and make sure you learn from the experience.”
(Do you try to pace Andrew Andrews’ minutes, since he’s so important in crunch time?) “We definitely try to get him a little rest in the first half, because he is playing a lot of minutes, and those are physical minutes that he’s playing, but he is in pretty good condition. He’s in really good shape. And there were a couple of games this year, I think an overtime game here earlier, where he had played quite a few minutes and was able to get a steal and really elevate for a dunk, so it shows you the kind of condition he is and how strong his legs are. So he’s able to handle it.”
(Where have you improved the most since you played in the Bahamas?) “Well, our level of confidence. We’re a lot more sure of ourselves because we’re a lot more sure of what we’re doing, in terms of our system. In the Bahamas, we were still learning. It was really, really early. We were still trying to determine roles and what’s a good shot and what’s not a good shot for each individual. A lot of that stuff was going on, and the defensive instincts weren’t close to being there. And I think now, guys understand much more what we’re trying to do, what’s our purpose out there on the floor. So I think we’re playing much more purposeful basketball right now.”
(On David Crisp’s confidence as a shooter) “We’ve told him from Day 1, you’ve got the green light, David. We just don’t want early, contested shots. I think good scorers and good shooters every now and then will take a bad shot. Every now and then. And as far as I’m concerned, we’ll give you that. Every now and then, that’s going to happen. but we want scorers and shooters to play with the utmost confidence, and that’s a process to learn how to do that. That’s a balance. But he does, he plays with a lot of confidence, which is good.”
(On Crisp making corner 3s after running the baseline) “I’m kind of finding that out, that’s something he’s always done. But it’s one thing when he is sprinting – spacing the floor is what we call it. You’re spacing the floor, you’re not standing. But on the move, he does such a good job of turning and getting his feet set, that he can just catch it and go right back up with it.”
(Does a two-game swing like last week illustrated how important Andrew Andrews is to the team?) “The answer is yes, and the reason I hesitate is, before we played a game we – he didn’t have to score (only) nine (at Arizona) for us to understand the importance that he is to this team. In the summer we knew how important Andrew was going to be to this team. Thank goodness Andrew is here. Thank goodness Andrew redshirted, because if Andrew hadn’t have redshirted, we wouldn’t have this luxury, to have this fifth-year senior right now that not only to me is having an all-conference, Player of the Tear type of situation, but an All-American season. You can say, ‘well, I wouldn’t go that far.’ You look at what Andrew has done, he’s playing like an All-American. And that’s something that we were hoping he would be able to contribute at a high level, and we knew he was going to be very important to this team. We knew it.”
(On the idea of more freshmen redshirting) “I always say if I had a son, if he wasn’t a guy that was just so good he’d be a one-and-done or something like that, I would really encourage him to redshirt. I really would.
(On the benefits of redshirting) “They learn so much, their freshmen year when they are ready to play, they’re so much less stressed and understand so much more with what’s going on. What Sam Timmins is doing right now is going to be great for him. It’s going to do nothing but benefit him. although this isn’t an entire year, but it’s two-thirds of the year he’s sitting out, and when he steps in he’ll have much more of an idea of what this is all about. So I think for guys that are able to do it, it’s always helpful for them.”
(Do you think guys coming early can be a trend?) “I like that better than the other trend of all the transfers. Guys leaving. I like them coming in early. That’s good, if they’re ready to do it, if they’re mature. Obviously if they finish their studies in high school. They wouldn’t be able to do it if they hadn’t.”
(Why are you guys better in close games this year?) “One, Andrew Andrews. He’s, again, how many of these games down the stretch has he hit big shots or made big plays? We can’t limit what h’s done to just big shots. How many times has he been able to get a huge rebound for us? The rebound he got against Washington State, where he just willed himself to get the rebound. The rebound he got against USC, the offensive rebound, to put us up with the go-ahead basket. He’s done that several times. So that helps. And then we have more guys that can make baskets down the stretch. We have several guys – you look at that game the other night. Matisse Thybulle hits two big ones. Even Dominic Green, who is getting to play a little bit more, he hit a big one. David Crisp has hit big 3s in the clutch. Our guys have made a lot of good shots in the clutch. Dejounte Murray, down the stretch, he’s a guy that you have to contend with. There are more weapons this year, and the senior leader Andrew makes a big difference down the stretch.”
(On his philosophy with freshmen) “We expect them to learn as fast as they can, because we’re going to need you. That’s how I see it. And if you look over the years, you’ll see we’ve had some freshmen come in and contribute early, freshmen that have come in and started for us. Especially this year, we definitely needed those guys to come in and contribute early. So the general rule is, we need you. We are recruiting you to play. Now, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes they don’t quite get to that level where they’re ahead of the other players. But I love freshmen to come in and play. I like them to come in and play early. It’s a balance, though, when some aren’t quite ready. They go through the fog period a little bit, where they begin to lose a little confidence because the game is faster, it’s a new system, the guys play harder, that pass you were able to complete so often, now, that one’s getting stolen, because the guys anticipate more. So it takes a little longer for them to break in, but still, in all, the earlier, the better.”
(On being more patient with freshmen) “This year, we have. We’ve had to do that because of so many freshmen, so many new players. We’ve had to take our time a little more. We’ve had to be a little more patient. But when they come in before, when it’s just a couple, they have the luxury of watching the other guys around them and see how it’s gone. This group didn’t have that very much because we only had a couple guys that were back.”
(On if the Jarmal Reid ref-tripping play can be a teaching moment) “Oh, yeah. We talk about maintaining your composure. I’m a horrible ref, but I’ll get worse in practice, when I’m refereeing in practice, and sometimes that’s by design. Most of the time I’m just not very good, but by design, we will purposely call something against you, and just watch your reaction. And if you react the wrong way, there will be consequences. And we’ll say, ‘it’s the road. You’re on the road. That may happen. You can’t react to the officials. You have to play. You have to continue to play.’”
(With the fouls, do you think your team can develop a reputation to where officials call more than usual against you just because they know you tend commit so many?) “I remember Mike Montgomery preparing the officials every year when he would come up here, and just say – he’d do it subtly – ‘we’re going to have to really be tough, because up there … because up there … they let them get away with a lot of fouls.’ So that’s not anything new. And we’re aggressive, so we’re not going to go games without fouling. What we talk to our team about again is maintain our aggressiveness but stay away from the unintended fouls. You’re not being aggressive, you’re just out of position. You just couldn’t resist to slap at that ball when you shouldn’t have. We have someone trapped, we have them in great position to force a turnover, but we get anxious and we slap. We’re running down the floor, we can’t stop and we run into someone. Instead of hands straight up, we slap down. Those are the ones we need to stay away from.”
(Devenir Duruisseau’s status?) “Devenir is probably questionable at this point, but Devenir is much, much better. I’m sure he’ll be avavilable by Sunday, but we’ll have to wait and see if he’s available tomorrow.”
(Andrew’s ankle?) “Good, Andrew was good. He came back and practiced yesterday, fully, so he was good.”
(Do you try to coach those fouls out of them?) “Well, yes, but it’s like what I mentioned just a little earlier – we talk about those very things. Keep your hands up. You guard this way, not that way. There are a number of things that we talk about. But just have to get better at it.”
(On telling guys not to try to block every shot) “Yeah. We also talk about being the second jumper, not the first jumper, on contested shots a lot of times.”
(On tempo and possessions per game) “Every game at halftime, I get a report on how many possessions there are. It gives us an idea on the pace of the game. We don’t have a problem at all going down the floor, taking a shot with four seconds off the clock … if it is a good shot. What I continue to harp on is the balance between doing that, and if the shot is not there, trying to force it in five seconds. We don’t want to do that. We want to get the ball out and see if we can create an advantage. If there is an advantage, we want to take advantage of that. If there is not, we’ve got to be smart enough not to take that shot. I think our guys are getting a lot better at it.”
(Is that totally different from last year?) “Totally. But what’s interesting is, that was the intention the last two years. We weren’t good enough to do it. You show me a team that’s good in transition, I’ll show you a team that has finishers. We didn’t have as many finishers and we weren’t able to push the ball up as well as we would have liked to be able to do that. But throw all that out the window – our defense wasn’t at a level where it could create those situations. So we had to just kind of wait, wait until they miss, and then try to push it, and you just can’t do it that way. We could not impose our will on anyone defensively, so that made it a lot tougher. But the intent has always been to push the ball.”
(What concerns you about Colorado?) “Their front line. They’re very good. Josh Scott is extremely good. He’s a senior, his back is fine, his health is fine, and he seems to me to be even quicker, he can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot now. And then they complement that with some guys that can really knock the 3-ball down. So I think they’re a really good team.”
(On Tacoma native and Buffaloes guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher) “Tough, good defender, has developed his shot to where he can knock shots down.”
(On Dominic Green playing more) “Dominic is one of those guys that as a freshman came in and it was different for him. There were a lot of things he was being asked to do that he hadn’t really done before, and it was tough on him and he got down on himself at times. But through it all, he worked his tail off, he maintained a great attitude. He’d come early, he’d (stay) late for practice and in his mind it was very important for him to do the right thing, and he continued to do it. And to Dominic’s credit, he’s starting to play better. he had a practice yesterday where he was just knocking shot after shot down. You like to see that and you like to reward someone that has that attitude. And a lot of times, kids don’t understand – it’s between you and a couple other guys for playing time, and man, you can go one way or the other. This isn’t Little League where you pout and get your way. We tell that to our team all the time. He didn’t pout. He looked at, ‘what do I need to do?’ and he got better defensively, he understands, he was willing to play wherever we put him on the floor, and playing time has been given to him now.”
(On determining playing time with guys like him) “There’s not one way to do it. Each individual situation is different. Effort, though, effort and attitude when it’s real close in terms of production, the guy with the better attitude and effort is always going to get the nod. And the guy with the worse attitude is always going to get the short end of the stick. But if the guy’s effort is not quite as good, but it’s a blowout in terms of his production, well, we probably go with that guy, too. We try to tell guys all the time – take your minutes. Coaches don’t make those decisions as much as you think we do. Players make the decision. You get out there in practice, you get out on the floor, and sometimes guys have the attitude, ‘well, I didn’t make any mistakes today, I don’t know why I’m not playing.’ No, you have to be a factor. Coach is saying, ‘how are you going to impact that game and make us better?’ That’s what we’re looking at. Not if you didn’t make any mistakes and were even. And the guys that understand that and make an impact, I think, get the edge.”