Because of the holidays, our regular meeting with Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar was moved back to Thursday. He again said he’s intrigued to see what his complete team can do. No new injuries to add to the list and no news on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, though, this late in the season, it seems unlikely he will join the team. Romar’s quotes after the jump:
On Brock Motum) Maybe the most versatile player in our league. Guys 6-8 and above love to say, ‘I’m versatile,’ they love to play on the perimeter. Well, then you’re not versatile because all you do is play on the perimeter. If you’re versatile, you can do it all. He plays on the perimeter, he shoots it from the perimeter, he drives it from the perimeter, he can post you up, he can pass, he makes free throws at 6-9, 6-10. That’s a tough cover anywhere. That’s what he does. When you’re that versatile, it’s pretty easy to have a lot of options. He can come off screens, he can set screens and pop. You can put him on the block, pick the picker, he can set a screen or receive another screen. He can do so many things. He’s a guard and a big. all in one. A guy like that at that size who can do all those things is difficult to deal with.
On the non-conference) In terms of wins loss-record, I thought we’d be a little different at this point. I wasn’t expecting three home losses.
Most disappointed in and please about in non-conference) Disappointed with us defensively, early, thought we could have been better. I thought in spite of the injuries, there were still opportunities where if we defended better we still could have been more successful.
On-ball defense) It hurt us in every game early. We played against UConn and those guards are really good and I thought our guys did a pretty good job against them. They scored, 14, 13 and the next game at Marquette one scores 29, one scores 16. I thought our guys did a good job. Coming down the stretch here, we’ve been playing better on-ball defense.
And the team D is better?) No doubt. It’s not just you and your guy. It’s everyone focused on if you get beat, you’ve got help. We’ve improved in that area.
Has that improvement been game-to-game?) It’s been a process that’s taken several weeks that we’ve seen, slowly, we’ve been making progress. It didn’t happen overnight.
Same as last year’s on-ball problems?) I thought last year, just on the ball by itself, we didn’t do as good a job. This year, I thought it was compounded by we didn’t do as good a job and we didn’t help off the ball like we should have.
Surprising with an older group?) Yeah. A little bit. Again, what we ask our teams to do is very demanding and when you play six guys, six-and-a-half guys, you wear down trying to do it. Or what you end up doing is pacing yourself subconsciously. I know I’m going to play a lot of minutes, subconsciously, I’ve just kind of paced myself without realizing it and not putting forth my best effort. Not because I’m lazy, I’m just playing a lot of minutes. I’m worn down. And, I think that had something to do with it early. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, we’ve been getting better, more guys to rotate, all of a sudden our defense gets a little better. Time takes care of that, too. In reference to having more veteran guys, you’d think it’d be better earlier, but because of injuries I don’t think we’ve been able to sustain it as much. I think in the back of our mind, I’m thinking, I’m going to be tired. I’m going to be worn down. I think that’s kind what has happened with them.
Do you put a lot of stock in allowing 67 points per game) You can look at it two ways. Look at how many years we’ve allowed 67 points a game. That’s never happened, so we have allowed less points. We’re allowing less points. I always look at the field-goal percentage. Last year we finished at 42.2, I think we’re at 42.3 right now. We need to be better. I think we can get that lower. Early on, teams hurt us from the 3-point line. Not as much lately. The situation with Cal Poly, they made eight 3s, but those were down the stretch when the game was a little out of sorts. We need to get to the 3-point field-goal percentage down.
Pac-12 last year and this year) I think last year there were a few teams, due to a lot of injuries, like a USC or defections, like Utah, because of those reasons that made it very tough on them and they didn’t win as many games. I don’t think that’s the case this year, whoever, whoever the bottom teams end up being, they’re going to be a lot better which makes the league better.
Non-conference) It’s not a video game where you can start over and push a button. But, I just think we are much better than we were early. Our record doesn’t reflect that, but we see the improvements that we make.
Does this team have a chance to overcome tough non-conference start like past teams have?) I think the potential is there. You mentioned some of the veterans, the veterans on this team weren’t the guys that were carrying us when we came back from some of those deficits, but, they were there. Again, we have the rest of our team back now. I just think that makes a big difference. Somehow in sports, we feel like if we don’t have our players it shouldn’t matter. We should still be just as good. That’s just not true. Should we have played better without our guys? Yes. In our guys’ absence there were times we should have played better basketball, obviously. Today, in January, I feel we have the ability and potential to be a much better team down the road because I feel we have a much better understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively. Also, with the experienced guys back, on the defensive end, yeah, a little disappointed we weren’t as far along. But, on the offensive end, we’re learning something new, too. All those things are improving.
Does road experience help?) I think it helps. I think veteran teams have a better chance to win on the road. I think young teams, unless they’re just far superior in talent to the other teams, I think they struggle a little more on the road.
Who has made progress this year?) I think Desmond has improved a lot. To average close to nine rebounds a game, I think there is an improvement there. We haven’t totally seen it yet, but I think Shawn Kemp has improved a lot, too.
Do you have to play differently on the road, like at Utah last year?) You have to guard, first of all, when you go on the road. You must guard. Secondly, you have to play with poise and you have to have great shot selection and take care of the ball. You have to do those things. There were times last year on the road our shot selection wasn’t very good. You’re committing basketball suicide that game.
Have you seen those issues this year on the road?) I thought there was a five-minute stretch against UConn, about the 13-minute mark, we were up about 16-10 and we went 13 possessions where we lost our minds. We took bad shots, we didn’t execute. We were executing very well up to that point. One thing led to another and we began to unravel. As I thought about it, that might have been the road. We were on the road against Seattle U, but we had a lot of our fans here. We were on the road in Connecticut before, but those were neutral sites, though the crowds were more pro-Ohio State and Seton Hall. This was more of a road game where everyone was against us. I thought for about a five-minute stretch, we saw it. Other than that, we were fine. We were fine in the other games on the road. We came out against Ohio State and Seton Hall and played good basketball in the first half. So, I think we’ve been decent on the road.
Open shots on the road, 3-pointers, take those shots?) By the right guys. The right guy is the guy that can make them, he can take them. Don’t pass up an open shot for a really good shooter.
Where does Pullman rank in road venues?) No. 1, in the history of basketball, is Southern Mississippi. There’s no other place that’s more difficult, in my opinion. No. 2 is Wyoming. Southern Miss, you didn’t know if you were going to be able to get back. Just didn’t know. Where are we? Wyoming, we were a little psyched out by the altitude. I thought the locker room was brown, green. The room is dark and put you to sleep. We got down 17-4 there. Pullman is actually a tough place to play, but, when we get there, they’re always festive. Waiting for us, cussing at us and all that stuff. It’s definitely not a blah place to go and play the game. They make it festive. They make it quite festive.
If you stop Motum, you have a pretty good chance of winning) It helps your cause. Certainly helps you. But, they have other guys that are capable, as well. DaVonte Lacy, he’s burned us before. He burned us here when he was a freshman. He’s certainly capable. Woolridge has played collegiately. Michael Ladd has been playing college basketball. They have some guys that are definitely capable of going out there and playing. They’ve played as good as defense as they’ve played in a while, I think. I thought there game against Gonzaga, they were pretty impressive.
Playing against Ken Bone) It’s a battle. I don’t see it as , ‘oh, we’re going to play against coach Bone’s team.’ We’re playing Washington State and coach Bone is the coach. Curtis Allen is an assistant on their staff. They’re coming to battle us, we’re coming to battle them. I don’t see it as a mark the calendar game. We get to play against my frat buddy, I don’t see it that way and I don’t think coach does either.