Note: Todd is going to post some video later.
With practice officially beginning today, Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar held his preseason press conference to discuss the upcoming season.
Here’s a few notes from gathering.
From a coaching staff standpoint, newcomers Brad Jackson and Lamont Smith along with long time assistant coach Paul Fortier will be doing the coaching on the floor. Jim Shaw, another longtime assistant, will oversee recruiting and other administrative details, and won’t likely do any coaching during games. The NCAA restricts the number of coaches on the bench.
Individually, Smith, who coached with Romar at St. Louis and was an outstanding defensive player, will help oversee the team defense and work with the guards. Jackson, the longtime Western Washington head coach, will work with Fortier with the post players. Because Jackson’s teams at Western used the UCLA high-post offense that Washington is switching to this season, he will also help with that aspect.
Speaking of the high post offense, Romar was pleased with how the team has adjusted to it. Often times players can be skeptical of such changes.
“Our guys really have embraced it,” he said.
Because of the summer trip to Europe and Africa which allowed the Huskies to practice 10 times and play six games, Romar feels the offense is ahead where it would be without the trip. . And there shouldn’t be some of the growing pains early on in the season because of that trip.
“Still it’s an offense that will be better in January than it is now,” he said.
There is no one player set to fill that high post spot. Romar said that will rotate between post players and that actually any player on the floor can man that spot. While some teams who use the high post offense, use a two guard front, Washington will employ a one guard front with point guard Abdul Gaddy handling the ball and making the decisions.
“This offense puts more pressure on Abdul to be a good decision maker,” Romar said. “You are really going to see why he’s such a good point guard.”
From an injury standpoint, Romar said the team is completely healthy. Aziz N’Diaye had offseason surgery on his left wrist, but was 100 percent on the trip to Europe. N’Diaye actually was able to work on his free throw shooting in the offseason, shooting one-handed foul shots. Romar thinks it may even help him to be a better free throw shooter in the end.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is listed on the team’s roster. Romar said that ASJ told him he planned on playing again, but ultimately the decision would come down to Seferian-Jenkins and Steve Sarkisian.
Other Romar tidbits …
“We need to play well early because the toughest part of our schedule is early,” he said.
The schedule features two trips back east as well several nonconference home games. He noted that games against teams like St. Louis, Colorado State and others might not have name value recognition, but they are strong opponents.
“We know how good they are,” he said.
On Gaddy: “I think Abdul is going to his best year as a Husky.”
On Scott Suggs: “Scott has to and will emerge as a player to help shoulder the load.”
On Andrew Andrews: “He’s got that personality you talked about. He’s a little pit bull. He’s not intimidated by anyone.”
On the lack of a big personality as a leader: “We don’t have a lot of charismatic on the floor, but we have some quiet assassins.”
On the disappointment of last year being motivation: “I sense our team has a quiet chip on their shoulder.”
On his biggest concerns: “I’m curious to see – 2 minutes left in the game, who’s going to take over. We have some candidates.”