When Washington did not renew the contracts of Paul Fortier and Jim Shaw, it lost 17 combined years of coaching experience under Lorenzo Romar.
Assistants are often viewed through the same lens as baseball prospects or backup quarterbacks. If a team is less successful after certain assistants leave, fans often point to their departure as a reason why. Around modern Washington hoops, this is known as Bone-Dollar Syndrome.
Washington has two (sort of) new assistants.
Raphael Chillious is back after a year away at Villanova. He’s more of a known quantity, at least out here, than his new colleague T.J. Otzelberger, who came from Iowa State.
Chillious is talkative and demonstrative, even referring to himself as “boisterous” Tuesday. He’s more of the flash in this new duo.
Some points from a conversation with him:
> Chillious repeatedly referenced Washington being able to beat up and wear down other teams when he was previously on staff from 2010-12. He was talking about effort for loose balls, defensive pressure and the like. When told that seemed to be missing last year, he said he thought it had a lot to do with personalities.
> He said junior college transfer Mike Anderson can score. Chillious said Anderson is not a pure shooter like C.J. Wilcox, but, can get to places on the floor with his dribble. One of the key transitions for Anderson, as it is with every Juco player, is becoming accustomed to Div. I structure and grind. Chillious also said Anderson never waffled on his commitment when he found out Shaw was leaving. Chillious was in on Anderson’s recruiting at the end.
> Chillious thinks picking up the tempo of the game is a three-fold process. He said you need to score to set your defense, play pressure defense and have point guards who know how and when to push the ball. For instance, picking the right time to pass ahead as opposed to push off the dribble is a key.
> Chillious mentioned Perris Blackwell repeatedly and the benefit he anticipates the offense as whole receiving from him scoring on the block.
> Chillious also said incoming freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss is similar to Isaiah Thomas in attitude. Chillious thinks Andrew Andrews and Williams-Goss can play together and will complement each other.
Otzelberger came from Iowa State, where he was an assistant for 10 years. He’s a 35-year-old Milwaukee native. Some points out of the conversation with him:
> He met Lorenzo Romar about 10 years ago in L.A. Otzelberger said they have a lot of mutual acquaintances in the basketball business, it’s a tight group, and when Romar was looking for a certain type of new assistant, some people mentioned Otzelberger may match up with what Romar was looking for. Otzelberger said their initial conversations went very well and they seemed to have a lot of philosophical things in common.
> Otzelberger thinks a few things are crucial when trying to close the recruitment of a top player: Showing a path to the NBA, showing how he will be used in the system, showing him how he’s going to be exposed (i.e. time on national TV, in the tournament and the like). Many coaches will tell you, as will Otzelberger, often, the prime concern for a high-end player is making it to the NBA. It’s not winning games in college.
> Otzelberger is a big Ken Pomeroy guy. At Iowa State, the Cyclones actually had a private deal with Pomeroy. The staff would put together its pregame scout and assessment, but it would also receive one from Pomeroy. Otzelberger said he’s not sure that Washington will do that, but did say he’ll likely stay in personal touch with Pomeroy and use his advanced numbers when formulating his scout of opponents.
As far as Sunday’s alumni event goes, Romar said Quincy Pondexter may not make it. He’s in Singapore. Bobby Jones, who is playing in the Italian League, which is in the playoffs, may not make it either. Other than that, it seems a pretty healthy roster of former players will be in attendance. Despite ongoing knee issues, Brandon Roy is expected to play in the game, not just watch.