Tony Wroten now considers himself a man.
Not literally, of course. Just within the age of University of Washington basketball, where he is one of the Pacific-12 Conference's most explosive scorers (16.0 points per game; scored 10-plus ppg in 10 of 11 games), is arguably the league's most ridiculous passers (good way) and is slowly gaining some national recognition as a true freshman.
More than likely, UW coach Lorenzo Romar will keep the Seattle product in the starting lineup for the conference opener Thursday against Oregon State. He should. The guard has earned it.
"I stopped feeling like a freshman," Wroten said, "in training camp."
The stakes are higher now. And the scouting is more thorough. Wroten knows that. He is well aware that Pac-12 opponents will go the extra mile to try and limit his impact.
"It is league, so it is definitely going to be two times harder," Wroten said. "Everybody is going to be defended differently. It is going to be harder. I am not going to be able to just go like I usually do. I’ve got to be smarter about every move I make."
But, oh, how Romar sees his guard's high ceiling - miles up.
On Tuesday, the UW coach said Wroten reminds him of a former Seattle icon - Gary Payton.
"His tenacity when he gets down, and his confidence and his ability to impose his will on the opposition," Romar said.
There are a few things Romar would still like his freshman standout to get ironed out - like cutting down on turnovers without sacrificing an aggressive style.
"There are times when the flashy pass, if it is not done with the intent of being flashy but with the intent of being deceiving, it is a good thing," Romar said/"If it is done just for show cause, that might not be the best thing. I think he is learning the difference."
Just part of the growing process, Romar added.
"As talented as he is, you don’t skip the learning curve," he said.
Quick hitters: Even though 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye (knee) has returned to action full-time without restrictions, Romar said he has not settled on a starting lineup for Oregon State. The UW has started four guards - Wroten, Abdul Gaddy, Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox together the past three games, and especially liked the way the team shared the basketball in the Huskies' 74-51 victory over Cal State Northridge last Thursday. ... Romar said the team is relatively healthy going into conference play. Wilcox did have root canal work done in the past couple of days, but should be ready to go Thursday. The guard also had a wisdom tooth extracted earlier in the year. … Wroten said he still has lingering wrist soreness after a fall in his last game, but did not think it would be a hindrance. … With tipoff and the Alamo Bowl kickoff starting at the same time Thursday – 6 p.m. PST – the football game will be shown on the big scoreboard screens in timeouts, at halftime and at the conclusion of the basketball game. … With Bob Rondeau in San Antonio with the football team, Mike Gastineau, of 950-AM KJR, will do the basketball play-by-play broadcast with color man Jason Hamilton.