Here’s what Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had to say about Nigel Williams-Goss and UW’s 87-81 victory over Oregon State on Saturday.
(Opening statement) “That Oregon State team always concerns me. Always. Just seems like they’re just so hard for us to play against. Muhammad Ali vs. Oscar Bonavena. Don’t know if you remember that. You guys are probably too young. But it was just a tough one for Ali. Not saying we’re Ali and they’re Bonavena. Just tough to play against their size, their length. But I’m so proud of our team. That one group that was in there when we were down, they went in there and scrapped. They were on the floor for at least 11 minutes together and it was the difference in the game. They played with so much enthusiasm and so much life and they were so united. It was great to be able to watch our team go out and play like that.
“Nigel, I think that’s probably one of the best freshman performances maybe we’ve seen in this building. I can’t go all the way back to know about that, but what a performance he put on. He was just very, very efficient offensively and defensively. Perris Blackwell was good, he was aggressiave, he attacked. The unsung hero to anyone who didn’t watch this game would be Mike Anderson. Just battled and scrapped and passed and made other players better and played with so much energy. It was good to see.
“In a game where (Eric) Moreland’s a pretty tough guy to score against, and in a game where they were really paying close attention to (C.J. Wilcox) with Moreland, it was great to see other guys step up when C.J. wasn’t able to get as loose as he could.”
(On Williams-Goss recognizing openings) “Nigel throughout the game is making comments that are so applicable to the game. So something like that that he would see doesn’t surprise me. He’s a very heady player. He notices a lot of things offensively and defensively out on that floor.”
(On same group playing for 11-plus minutes) “One of the greatest joys as a coach to see — we talk about a zone, where shooters get in a zone and they can’t miss. When those five out there playing are in a zone, that’s what you see. You see defensively, everyone’s in sync, in unison, moving together. You see guys battling on the boards together. As big as that team was, we out-rebounded them in this game. Offensively, for 11 and a half minutes, no one cared who got the credit. Just five guys playing together and I feel like they were just kind of in a zone, playing together that way. We left them in. they got winded down the stretch, but just thought that was the difference in the game. Mike Anderson, a couple rebounds he got, just gritty plays he made kind of got us charged up.”
(On Shawn Kemp playing a bigger role) “He did, and he’s been playing bigger roles for us. He was a big body out there that you had to deal with. With their size going into the game, I just kind of thought when they had two of their real big guys, Brandt and Collier, their two strong guys, we probably had to play Shawn more today. Too bad he got in foul trouble, but I thought he filled in pretty nicely.”
(On Williams-Goss’ big game) “Here’s the thing. I know it’s high school and it’s not college, but when he was in high school, that’s what he would do. The bigger the game, the bigger potential for him to do something like that. He just kind of gets … he’s very aggressive. All of a sudden I just think everything opens up and the game is in slow motion to him where he can just see it. And I think he was in one of those zones. He wasn’t in a shooting zone, although he was 3-for-4 from 3, he was just in a zone in terms of playing at a high, efficient level, and I’ve seen that before.”
(On Williams-Goss’ floater) “Him and I were talking just recently. I said man where did you get that? He said when he was 13, he played up with the 17-year-old kids, and the only way he could get his shot off was to shoot the little floater. So he shot it so much he perfected it. And what he’s able to do is create a little space, knock you off and when the next guy comes, he’s able to float it right over the top.”
(On Williams-Goss not committing any turnovers) “When I talk about efficiency, that’s part of the equation. Efficiency, no turnovers. I even thought as we were making our comeback, he became real aggressive on the defensive end and came down an doubled down on Angus Brandt, a couple of their big guys … it was just a great all-around game for him. Like I said, I just thought he was in a game zone. Not a shooting zone, a play-making zone, just in a game zone. Just really dialed in.”