Lorenzo Romar met with reporters earlier today to discuss Washington’s season-opener against Seattle University on Sunday.
Not much news to pass along, though Romar did say surgery went as expected for Desmond Simmons on his right knee. He’s still expected back in mid-or-late-December.
Romar also discussed his curiosity level heading into the season, and the development of Jernard Jarreau.
Here’s a partial transcript:
(On Simmons’ toughness) “He is probably the toughest physically toughest … Perris (Blackwell) is a banger in there but Desmond is probably our toughest inside player and he just has a knack for getting his hand on the basketball and getting you extra possessions. He’s a really good defender as well. It means someone else is going to have to step up and provide some of those things for us … or, provide in more minutes what they can bring to the table. A guy like Shawn Kemp who is not the guy that’s out there flying all over the place, your best defender, but giving what he gives, what his specialty, maybe he’s able to get in there and give us more scoring, in that regard. So it gives someone else an opportunity to hopefully compensate for what we’re missing with Desmond.”
(Do you have anyone who matches his style of play?) “Mike Anderson is scrappy. Nigel’s (Williams-Goss) scrappy. Andrew Andrews is scrappy. … Out of the big guys, I would say Perris would probably be second. I don’t think that’s a knock on who’s not, I just think Desmond does it on such a high level. It’s like comparing a rebounder to Jon Brockman. I always tell my wife, (when she asks) ‘So you like this outfit?’ … ‘It’s OK’ … ‘So you don’t like it?’ … ‘I didn’t say I didn’t like it. … I just said it was OK.’ It’s average. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I think in Desmond’s case, it’s just that he is such a junkyard dog at such a high level, there’s not many people around anywhere that have that type of mentality. He has a special gift that way.”
(Does losing Simmons make you thin in the frontcourt?) “If someone were to get in foul trouble, but if that were to happen I think we would just go small and put it on the other team, hopefully we can just be a mismatch problem, potentially.”
(How would you categorize your feelings going into this season? Curious? Excited?) “Those two together. Cur-excited? How would you put both together? But yeah, curious and excited. I like our pieces, I like what we have to work with. I like the fact that we have depth. I really like that. Even with Desmond out, I still believe we have depth. I like the fact that we share the ball the way that we do, and probably 95 percent of the time on the floor, there are five players that can make a play for themselves or others.”
(What are the things you’re most uncertain of?) “Defensively, how we’re going to play. How we’re going to rebound. And with the newer guys, these are real games now against quality opponents. Can we carry over what we’ve been seeing in practice to games immediately, or will it take a while? Those will probably be the things I’m looking for.”
(Last time you had this strong of a frontcourt?) “(2007). Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes. I’m not saying our guys are as good as those guys, but our guys now, they can make things happen. We just haven’t had that as much here recently. I think our big guys combined for something like 11 assists in that game. That says a lot right there. Not only did they score but they rebounded. Someone would be quick to say, well, it was a Division-II opponent. But we’ve played Division-II opponents in the past, and in a lot of cases, even with our teams that ended up doing really well, because they were quicker to the ball, they were smaller, they were awkward to play against. It wasn’t like that this time. I thought our guys did a good job of controlling what was going on.”
(You’ve been guard-oriented in the past. Was that personnel or philosophy?) “It was personnel. It was what we had. We played to our strengths. And now I think we still have really good guards, but we have inisde play that balances out a little more. We’ve never been really a balanced team in terms of inside and outside. Now this gives us a little bit more balance on the perimeter as well as in the paint. That’s what you want. That’s what we’ve been recruiting toward, and looking forward to having. So I think we’ve made some major strides in getting there.”
(Did Jernard Jarreau change his game any?) “Same Jernard, it’s just that he’s stronger, more confident and plays with more of a purpose. He has a better understanding of what we want to do so he’s able to play with more of a purpose. He’s more efficient now. He’s bee in college now three years. He redshirted his first year. He’s just playing with more confidence. He’s maturing. Somehow that happens. Guys mature as they get older … he’s not the finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s coming along, and you can see in the preseason that he’s been making progress.”
(On going against Cameron Dollar) “I pull for him all the time. I don’t know how you describe this one, either. I don’t know what word you can use here. There’s a certain excitement of playing against them. I think they’re going to have their best team this year. It’d probably be better if we played them down the road a few games, instead of the opener. I do think they’re going to be really good. I think we’re ready. They come at you.”