Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar joined Dave “Softy” Mahler and Brandon Roy on Sports Radio KJR 950 AM on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the end of UW’s season, and the future of Huskies freshmen Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss.
Both are expected to strongly consider entering the NBA draft this summer, and Romar was asked a series of questions about how and when those two might make their decision to stay at UW for their sophomore seasons or go pro.
It was an interesting conversation -- the back-and-forth between Romar and Roy, embedded below, is worth a listen -- and led to a couple of interesting bits of information.
For one, Romar said that “NBA people” tell him both Murray and Chriss would be selected in the first round of the draft if they entered this year.
“I hear from the NBA people that they would be first-round picks if they were to make a decision to come out, and they have to get that information, and we’re still gathering information,” Romar said. “Those are the preliminary talks. Here pretty soon, we’ll get the official – not where they’re going to be drafted for sure, because they could be off a few spots, but it’s usually a general consensus where a kid is going to be drafted. We’ll get that here pretty soon. But right now from the preliminary talks, the NBA people feel that they would be in the first round.”
That led to the obvious follow-up: would Romar ever encourage or expect a potential first-round draft pick to return to school?
“It’s such an individual case. Each one is an individual kid. The NBA drafts on potential a lot of times. And I think it’s up to the kid. Again, we use Brandon – Brandon would have been drafted his junior year, there’s no doubt about it, but it wasn’t a surefire first-round pick, and Brandon would have gone to a camp and he would have played and they would have seen how good of a basketball player he was, and he would have made the NBA,” Romar said.
“But I think Brandon wanted to go into the NBA and be an impact player, not just be in the NBA. And that was the goal. I think if a kid’s goal is to, ‘I want to sign an NBA contract and I want to be there, and if I’m in the D-League back and forth, and I’m not getting much playing time, and it takes me a couple years to get there, that’s OK, I want to be in the NBA,’ I can’t tell that kid to come back, because those are his goals.
“If a kid says, ‘no, I don’t want to sit on the bench, I want to go in there and be an impact player right off the bat,’ well then, you can safely say, looking at his best interests – not the program’s – at that kid’s best interests, if those are his goals, well then, you need to come back another year and develop so that you can be that player.”
Romar was also asked about rumors that some other college programs have contacted him about their head coaching vacancies, and he again said that he has no desire to leave Washington.
“There have been people that have reached out to see if I would be interested in going to a few places, but I have no interest,” Romar said. “And I’ve always said I wanted to retire here at the University of Washington, and that hasn’t changed.”
--- I wrote a bit in today’s newspaper about the Huskies’ biggest on-court weakness in 2015-16 -- their inability to possess defensive rebounds. An excerpt:
Forgive the recap if you’ve heard this before, but remember:
Arizona beat Washington in a thrilling, 77-72 contest at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The Huskies shot a higher percentage from the field and committed fewer turnovers. The teams made the same number of 3-pointers and Arizona made only one more free throw than UW. But the Wildcats won because they collected 17 offensive rebounds and scored 21 second-chance points.
Colorado beat Washington, 81-80, in Boulder. The Buffaloes shot slightly better from the field, but the Huskies made more 3-pointers and committed eight fewer turnovers. But Colorado out-rebounded them 55-35, and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds on 41 missed field-goal attempts — and scored 20 second-chance points.
Oregon State beat Washington, 82-81, after the officials missed an obvious traveling violation just before Stephen Thompson Jr.’s buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer. But it would never have come to that if the Huskies hadn’t been outrebounded 41-25, the Beavers turning 15 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points.
And in UW’s 83-77 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals, the Ducks grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and scored 17 second-chance points.
That’s four games the Huskies had a legitimate chance to win in spite of themselves. Imagine how different those four games could have been if they’d rebounded just poorly, instead of really, really poorly. According to KenPom.com, the Huskies allowed opponents to rebound 35.7 percent of their own missed field goals. That ranks 338th out of 351 teams. That isn’t good.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple