UW Huskies Insider

Lorenzo Romar talks transfers, recruiting, job status during interview with Sports Radio KJR

Post by Christian Caple on April 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm with No Comments »
April 21, 2015 4:02 pm

Huskies basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was a guest yesterday on Sports Radio KJR 950 AM with Dave “Softy” Mahler. Romar discussed what he thinks is a promising pair of recruiting classes, the transfer of Nigel Williams-Goss, questions about his job status and more.

Here’s a transcript of his comments:

(On where the program is at right now) “We’re all in the kitchen preparing a meal. I think we’re all – the guys that are coming back, they’ve been working individually, they’ve had great attitudes. We know that we still have five or six other guys coming in that have already signed with us that haven’t been here yet, but until they get here, the guys here are working really hard.”

(On why Nigel Williams-Goss decided to transfer) “Well, I think Nigel, the way he has said it is that there’s been a lot of things going on here the last couple of years, we’ve had some turnover, and he was just looking to make a change.”

(Did that surprise you?) “Over the years, there have been kids that have talked about transferring that didn’t do it, and when they talked to me about it initially, I thought, whoa, wait, this makes no sense whatsoever. But they didn’t. They were talking to some people and maybe they thought they should play more, take more shots, play a different position. But they settled down and they stayed here. Well, I’ve learned over the years that you just never know. And in more recent years, with the number of transfers that go on, I talked about a kid who transferred and was one of the top five scorers in the country, and definitely that team’s leading scorer, he left. He transferred. With an approaching 500 transfers right now, I keep reading that guys are continuing to transfer. In this day and age, it’s more like free agency. And I think the NCAA is doing some things to try to discourage kids from transferring at such a rapid and frequent rate. So at the end of the year, you kind of brace yourself, and say OK, there’s a chance that anybody could be leaving. So when you say, ‘does it surprise me?’ The way the game is today, in the landscape of college basketball, I don’t think too much surprises me.”

(Did you try to talk him out of it?) “We talked through it. It’s the same as going to the NBA draft, potentially – you talk through it and if you feel they’re making a mistake, I will say ‘you’re making a mistake,’ and obviously we felt he should have stayed here, but his mind was pretty much made up.”

(What does losing Williams-Goss do to the team next year?) “For one, it gives Andrew Andrews a chance to have the ball in his hand more. He’s played off the ball pretty much his entire time here, and I think people will be very pleased with the job that he will do. He’s strong, he can shoot the basketball, we know he scored the basketball this year. He pushes the ball in transition. For starters, when you have a guy who’s a fifth-year senior with the ball in his hands, I think it’s definitely going to help. So we have the guys that are coming in, along with the guys that are returning – I do think that people will be pleasantly surprised at what we can put out there on the floor. And we’re still maybe adding a piece or two here.”

(Can you see any other players leaving the program?) “Well, again, I wouldn’t have told you – if you’d have said, ‘predict who’s going to leave,’ I probably would have been off on that one. So it’s hard to ever predict. But let’s just hope we can continue to move forward from here.”

(On adding Matthew Atewe to the team) “right now it looks like he’s going to sit out. There are ways that you can maybe try to – if this were last year, I’d tell you he’d definitely be able to play, but they’ve really cracked down on the waivers right now. They’re not giving very many out. But we’ll see what happens. He played his freshman year at Auburn with a shin problem, a lot like what Tyrese Breshers went through with us, where he eventually had to have surgery and a rod was placed in there. he played the entire year with that pain, so his freshman year wasn’t as good as it could have been if he’d have been totally healthy. So he sat out last year with the surgery. He’s feeling much better now. He should be good to go, and should be fine.”

(On whether he’s still the right coach for UW) “I’ve said this before – if I had never been a head coach and we just took over this job and coming in we missed the tournament a few years and people were not looking favorably on the program, I could see that. Sooner or later, you’ve got to show that you can get it done. If the last few years would have been years where we were 10-20, where we were 9-21, those type of seasons, that wouldn’t look good either. However, we have been successful. We have had many years where we’ve done really well. We have been very average, mediocre, but we’ve not had losing records during these last few years. And finally, if there was nothing down the road to look forward to, or if the recruiting from this point forward wasn’t very good, well, then that’s an issue as well. But even in that situation, not only is the 2015 class one of the tops in the country, and those guys can play, but we’ve already started on the 2016 class and when it’s all said and done with that, I would imagine before we play our first game, we would have had the ’15 and ’16 class pretty much complete. So the future is definitely bright. I think when you look at when we’ve had the personnel that has gone out and been able to perform at the level we wanted to, we’ve done pretty well. In short, we know what to do, we know how to have success, we know what to do when we have the right ingredients to make a team really, really solid, and I think we have that going forward. It’s not wishful thinking. The hay is in the barn.”

(How long should fans have to wait for improvement?) “I don’t know the answer to that. I know I’m not looking to continue to dwell in mediocrity. As far as me being the head coach of this program and an alum of this university wanting to see us do well, we need to make progress. And you can have all the passion you want for Husky basketball and maybe be upset for how things are going, but you’re not going to have more passion than I have, and you’re not going to be more upset than I am. So I’ve kind of taken that charge to move on, and I don’t want it to take long. I’m ready to move on and get this thing going back the way it was before. We know how to do it. We’ve done it before. And we’ll do it again.”

(On what progress might look like next season) “I would like to see … where there’s more of a buzz around our program again based on what we’re doing out there on the basketball floor, and it starts with recruiting. It starts with getting those guys out on the floor that are going to be hungry, competitive, see guys flying around on that floor playing defense, diving for loose balls, taking charges – Husky basketball. Husky basketball the way that some people have grown ot love over the years. Get back to playing that style of basketball. And I really believe if we’re doing that, the Dawg Pack on a consistent basis being into the game, our guys feeding off the crowd that way – if we start to do those things, I think everything will take care of itself.”

(Next season do-or-die for making the tournament?) “I can’t say that. Like I said, we want to show that we are headed in the right direction, making progress, and if the only way that’s valued is if we go to the tournament, I don’t know if I can say that. But me, my thinking, we want to go to the tournament. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that happens.”

(On relying on so many young players next season) “Well, again, a senior point guard in Andrew Andrews helps offset any of that, but you’re talking about the majority of these guys, and three of them are from here, that have always wanted to be Huskies. They can’t wait to get out there on the floor. They’re not thinking of the pressure. They’re saying, ‘I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.’ A kid like Marquese Chriss who could have gone, eventually, just about anywhere he wanted to go in the country, he’s that talented. He committed without taking another visit. He believed in this program that much. And then Malik Dime, who’s already here, he’s already doing a great job recruiting for us. He believes in what we’re doing so much. So these guys I don’t think are approaching it as, ‘boy, that’s going to be a lot of pressure for me to come in and contribute right away.’ That’s why they came here. That’s what they’re looking forward to doing.”

(What happened with T.J. Otzelberger?) “Went back to Iowa State. I just think in his long-term future, for him in the big picture, it was something he felt was a great move, and I think sometimes when situations happen like that, you scratch your head and you wonder, but if you just wait and you’re patient, it’ll all begin to make sense. And I think his will make sense.”

(Any update on his replacement?) “Not yet.”

(Given your love of the UW basketball program, would you resign your position if you felt you were no longer the right person for the job?) “There’s no question. But you know what, again, I hate to harp on the same thing, but it is the truth. When you go out and you bust your tail, and you see the results of the players that you’re able to go out and secure to bring into your program, and you do it in back to back years. I really do feel like in back to back years, we’ll have as good of classes as we’ve had since we’ve been here at the University of Washington. To me, that speaks to someone who is determined and someone who is not content at all. Someone who is driven and is going to do everything in his power to get this back in the right direction. So the talk that what you’re saying, I’m not thinking that at all. We’re ready to go.”

(Do recruits ask you about your job?) “Oh, it comes up.”

(Is that uncomfortable?) “I think it’s just part of the job. We’ve not won national championships like Jim Boeheim and Syracuse, but I’ve been knowing Coach Boeheim for a while, and they ask him that question. I think in this day and age, if you go a couple years without making the tournament, I think people begin to speculate, regardless of where you are.”

(Think other coaches use it against you in recruiting?) “Oh, they do it. Coaches are ruthless when it comes to that. Wherever they feel like they could gain an edge, they will try to do it. But when we were winning championships and going to Sweet 16s, they would find something to use then, too.”

(How many available roster spots for the 2015-16 season?) “We’d have one or two, if we use them.”

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