Huskies Insider Blog

Quoting Lorenzo Romar on defense, Shawn Kemp Jr. and Richard Sherman

Plenty of interesting thoughts from Washington coach Lorenzo Romar during his media availability this afternoon. Most revolve around basketball. But he also chimed in on the Richard Sherman discussion. You can read that at the bottom.

(On looking at film from last week) “I think we took a step back defensively in the bay area. And it is something that is very correctable. I think we recognize it. We talked to our team about it. We worked on it yesterday. So we saw that. I think it was pretty obvious when you watched our other four games, how we defended vs. the two in the last game. We had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on in the Stanford game. I thought in the Cal game, that night they were just better than us. Just one of those games. We had a tough time. They did a good job scouting us and taking us out of what we wanted to do, I thought. And when we did get an opportunity I thought their bigs bothered us inside with (David) Kravish blocking four shots. Stanford has size as well. They were much better than we were, but I thought our guys still did a good job in that regard.”

(Were mistakes mental or physical?) “In those games, it was more, if we are going to define mental as not being where you’re supposed to be, then it would be mental. We were too spread out. We got too spread out, defensively, and that’s not how we defended in the last three weeks.”

(Effort?) “Effort-wise wasn’t bad. The effort wasn’t bad. It was just we did not execute. There was slippage. If anything, there was slippage.”

(Have teams adjusted to your new defense and do you adjust off that?) “Our adjustment is back to play the way we were playing. That’s our adjustment. We’re not going to do anything different. I don’t think those two teams necessarily adjusted to how we were guarding. I think they played their games. We watched them on film, they didn’t do anything different than they’ve been doing offensively. But we just have to get back to what we were doing the other four games. We didn’t do that in those two games. We didn’t play the way we were supposed to. We didn’t execute defensively the way we were supposed to, the way we had been doing it. So if there is an adjustment, get back to how we were the week before, the last three weeks.”

(On protecting the rim) “In terms of blocking shots, we don’t have a great shot-blocker in the middle. I think Perris, when it comes to drives to the rim, we try to get over there, but going back to what Percy had talked about, we played six conference games. If you take these last two away, I don’t know if we’re having this discussion right now, because that wasn’t an issue in the last four. So it’s not this is doomsday from here on out because we can’t do it. We did it for four games, and two of them we didn’t do as good of a job. And when we’re talking about Stanford, we’re talking about one guy. Now, he had his way with us, Randle. But it wasn’t like their entire team just kept driving by us. So it just goes back to even without a guy that’s one of the top five in the league in blocking shots, we didn’t have that guy in the other games either, and we did a decent job of not giving up a whole lot of stuff inside. And that includes playing against a couple of 7-footers and another huge team in Arizona.”

(On Stanford shutting down C.J. Wilcox) “When you watch the film, there are a number of times where C.J. came off a screen or dribble off a screen, whatever it was, where they just doubled him. One time there were three guys on him. Give C.J. a lot of credit. A lot of times he gave the ball up to the open man and it seemed like Stanford’s gameplan was, if we lose this game it won’t be because Wilcox beat us. We’re going to guard him tight. We’re not going to let him out of our sight. And the rest of the guys are going to have to beat us. And that night we weren’t able to knock shots down.”

(Does that mean other guys had to step up?) “When someone keys on one player, you take that same game, the same place, and dial the clock back one year, and the exact same thing happened to Cal. We won the game, I think it was 62-47, and Allen Crabbe had nine points. C.J. Wilcox had nine points. And we won that game by 15 and I thought our guys did a good job of guarding. Cal was good. I think Cal ended up having a good season. It’s just that particular night we were able to get it done. So now it was reversed this year and it kind of happened to us. Teams have keyed on C.J. This wasn’t the first game C.J. played where teams said ‘someone else has to beat us.’ But in other games we were able to make shots by other people. When other guys are able to make shots, now that loosens C.J. up again, so now in the second half, he comes out and now he’s loosened up to make shots.”

(Is there a common thread in Oregon’s losses?) “I don’t know if there’s been a common thread. What we told our team is don’t necessarily concentrate on the team that’s 1-4, but the one that was No. 10 in the country and was 13-0. they’re capable of that too, now. So we see them as a dangerous team that can put up a lot of points up there. In terms of a common denomination between their losses, I don’t know. I know OregonState, in their last loss, they played really, really well in that game. You look at Cal, Cal’s playing exceptional basketball right now. So, a few of those games, and they won another one. They’re playing against some good teams, too.”

(On Nigel Williams-Goss) “You can just see it, he’s coming down like a hunter when he’s got that ball in his hand. He’s surveying the floor, seeing what’s down there. Really putting the heat on the defense. I thought last game, seven rebounds, and he hit 3s late in the game and had 17 points, but he also had six assists with one turnover on the road. I think sometimes, people take Nigel for granted. Based on your question, you’re not doing that right now. But I think a lot of times people do. Not many freshmen out there that play with the calm and resolve that he plays with out there on the floor. He certainly has times when he makes mistakes like anyone else, but when you look at his entire body of work, he’s doing a really nice job for us.”

(Has Darin Johnson hit freshman wall?) “I don’t think so. No. Not at all. I’ve seen this with freshmen many times. In fact, most times. We’ve talked about it where freshmen come out and the opponents don’t quite know what to make of them yet. They’ve seen them in high school but they haven’t seen them in this type of system. And they come out and the play well, but now you have to learn to play against the scout, and when conference starts, that’s what happens. The scouting steps up a couple of levels, and I think freshmen play through that, take a look at it, observe it, survey it, they figure it out, and as conference play progresses, they start to play even better. So I wouldn’t say that.”

(Does he just need to slow down and figure it out?) “You have new systems, some freshmen play and stat out really high in high school … it could be the best system in high school in the country, but the system in college is entirely different from that system. So sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated, because you’re thinking so much of how I’m supposed to do this, how I’m supposed to do that, and you have to get to where you’re comfortable where you’re not thinking, and you’re just playing. And I think Darin is making those steps, where early on I think Darin sometimes was erratic and he was just going. I think now, he’s playing much more calculated and having much more of an understanding of what we’re trying to do. Like clockwork, the next step is they start to play more comfortably and they start to play without thinking. Because the thinking, I think, has already taken place. He took one shot last game. One shot. Usually he gets them up. He took one shot, because I think he was trying to play the right way. He was trying to play the right way on defense. And it won’t be long before he’s getting that understanding, and then he can just go play freely without thinking. Some may call it the freshman wall. I just think it’s maturation at this level. That’s what it is. And he’s headed in that direction.”

(On what to expect from Shawn Kemp Jr.) “I’d have to go back and check. I can’t remember exactly when he started to play the way he played against Stanford last year. He was averaging close to 10 points a game, if not 10 points a game, and I think he did that before he was even placed in the starting lineup. It’s so easy to forget that Shawn was sick earlier in the year and lost a ton of weight. He’s just now got all his weight back, he’s got his strength back, and what he’s done now, he’s playing the way he was at the end of the year. So, I say all that to answer your question: I don’t know why we would expect anything different, because that’s how he was playing at the end of the year. It just took him a while due to the fact that he was sick earlier.”

(What’s the most important thing he provides to the team?) “Where Shawn has really improved to me – we talk about how he would score double-figures last year – he’s really improved on the defensive end. Rarely is he out of position right now. He’s usually in the right spot, does a good job. Last game he stayed out of foul trouble. But Shawn is a guy that finishes around the rim. He can score baskets.”

(Can he be a rim protector?) “He would protect it in a different way. I don’t think he’s the guy right now that when you go in for that layup he’s throwing it out of there, like a (Jordan) Bachynski or Aziz N’Diaye. I think he just does it a different way. He is 6-9, 6-10, 255 pounds with strength. So around there he can body people up, he can be there, he can get big, wall-up as we call it, and he can help in that regard.”

(Is 3-3 at this point acceptable? Do you say ‘we’ll take it?’) “Since it’s all said and done and we can’t do anything about it? Four games on the road that we’ve had so far. And I think we’ve played some good teams. We’ve played two teams that are undefeated in our league right now in Arizona and Cal. We played I thought two tough opponents, it hurts with Spencer Dinwiddie going out, but he was in for half the game and they were 15 in the country, so there’s a third team there. I think Utah’s a good team. We play against Stanford at their place. That’s another one of the road games. When we went to Arizona, Arizona State I think was 11-2 at the time. So you go through all that and you end up, right now, 3-3, and now we’re coming home for two, I definitely think we’re in position to still be able to make some noise. I don’t think we’ve shot ourselves in the foot at all right now.”

(How is Jernard Jarreau doing?) “He’s doing very well. He’s doing very well. He’s continuing to strengthen the knee. He shoots free throws. He’s on the court shooting. He’s handling the ball. He’s just not jogging or anything like that yet, but he’s doing really well.”

(On Richard Sherman’s interview) “I was talking about this on our radio show. And what I said was, would I encourage that? No. In fact, we have someone who comes in and speaks to our team before the season starts about that very thing and will show video footage of rants, certain outbursts, just saying, ‘understand when the game is over, your emotions are running high. Take a deep breath, take a step back, and just be careful, because that’s the time you’re most vulnerable.’ And we talk about that because it’s so easy to do. Now with that being said, they’re going to the Super Bowl. That alone, your emotions are way up there. You’re going to the Super Bowl. Secondly, he makes the key play at the end of the game to help them get to the Super Bowl. By whatever controversy, whatever was being said, you’re out there, you are a gladiator, you have your gladiator hat on, you’re thinking like a gladiator, you’re out there, you’re fired up, you’re going at it, and right after that, the mic is put in your face. And if he had it to do over again, I think he said he would have handled it differently. Yeah, probably should have. If you can think about it, you probably should have handled it differently. But given the situation, I can’t vilify Richard Sherman. That man is an intelligent man, he does stuff for the community. I don’t know how much we’ve heard about other situations he’s been in like that. And we’re going to form a profile off of that? That’s ridiculous to me. People will remember that. People won’t forget it. But I think there’s a whole lot more to Richard Sherman than just that small little interview, and I think it’s all positive.”