Hawes & Romar Team Up with Junior National Team
June 23, 2006
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - They started the player-coach relationship earlier than expected.
Washington men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar spent the last week with his prized center recruit, Spencer Hawes. Romar is serving as head coach for the United States' under-18 team on which Hawes has been competing for a roster spot.
Following nine practice sessions since completion of the 2006 U18 Trials on June 18, USA Basketball announced Friday that the list of U18 finalists had been reduced from 16 to 14. The 14 finalists, who are 18-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1988), will continue to train in San Antonio, Texas, looking to earn a roster spot on the official 12-member USA U18 squad.
The team is preparing for the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men that will be held in San Antonio from June 28-July 2.
Joining Hawes (Seattle Prep H.S.) among the remaining finalists are: Chris Allen (Meadowcreek H.S., Ga./Michigan State); Jerryd Bayless (St. Mary's H.S., Ariz./Undecided); Michael Beasley (Oak Hill Academy, Va../Undecided); Johnny Flynn (Niagara Falls H.S., N.Y./Syracuse); Donte Greene (Towson Catholic H.S, Md./Syracuse); James Hickson (Wheeler H.S., Ga. /Undecided); Taylor King (Mater Dei H.S., Calif./Duke); Gani Lawal (Norcross H.S., Ga./Georgia Tech); Stanley Robinson (Huffman H.S., Ala./Connecticut); Kyle Singler (South Medford H.S., Ore./Undecided); Nolan Smith (Oak Hill Academy, Va./Duke); DaJuan Summers (McDonogh School, Md./Georgetown); and Lance Thomas (St. Benedict's H.S., N.J./Undecided).
'We trimmed our roster down to 14 and we're going to have a couple of scrimmages against Brazil over the weekend and I think by the time those two scrimmages are over we'll be able to make a further cut,' Romar explained. 'There's too many guys right now who are too close together and a couple of people have not separated themselves for us to make a decision right now. The attitude and willingness to work together is what I've been pleased with the most and our overall quickness.'
Assisting Romar on the USA staff are Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt and DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright.
Coach Romar recently gave the team a respite from two-a-day practices. After a three-hour session at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility earlier in the day, Romar elected to spend Thursday evening at a bowling alley.
Hawes proved a much better scorer on the basketball hardwood than the bowling variety. He posted the lowest composite score, partly due to his penchant for trick shots. Hawes displayed an array of unique shots, delivering them from behind his back and between his legs.
Coach Romar's two-game total of 288 bested all bowlers.
The bowling break was brief for the USA U18 finalists, who are scheduled to practice Saturday and Sunday morning and conduct evening scrimmages against Brazil at Bill Greehey Arena, St. Mary's University. The team is also slated to continue its training with morning and evening practice on June 26 and 27.
'I told him I was gonna do this before he even knew, or at least before he told me,' Hawes said of Romar's role as USA head coach. 'And then I got a call one night and he was like, `I'm gonna be your coach.' It's just two-and-a-half weeks right now that no one else can have with him, you know even that's on his team back home. So, I see this as invaluable experience in terms of that.'
As a senior at Seattle Prep High School, the 6-foot-11 Hawes averaged 19.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.0 assist and 3.1 blocked shots per game. He led the Panthers to the state championship.
Hawes debuted for USA Basketball in April of 2006 as a member of the 2006 USA Junior National Select Team that defeated the World Select Team 109-91 at the Nike Hoop Summit in Memphis, Tenn. He tallied eight points, three rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes.
A first-team Parade Magazine All-America selection, Hawes was named to the five-member 2006 USA Today All-USA Prep Basketball first team. He was the 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Washington.
Romar also has prior experience with USA Basketball. He was an assistant to Tom Izzo at the 2003 Pan American Games-the U.S. squad was 2-3 for a fourth place finish, and an assistant under Rick Majerus with the 1997 U22 World Championship Team-which finished 6-2 for fifth place. As an athlete, he was a member of the 1978 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team that was 1-3, earning a bronze medal.
'Whenever I've gotten a chance to work with USA Basketball, I've always felt honored,' Romar said. 'To represent the United States in the United States is going to be a first for me, and I anticipate it is going to be very special.'
Romar compiled an 84-42 record in four seasons at Washington. In 2006, the 26-7 Huskies reached their second straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, tying a school record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1984-1986). Romar was honored at this year's Final Four as the winner of the 2006 John Wooden 'Keys to Life' Award.
Washington's 29-6 finish in 2005 tied the program's record for wins, set in 1938, and saw the Huskies earn their first No. 1 seed into the NCAA Tournament. Romar was named the Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year and the Black Coaches Association National Coach of the Year.
The top four finishing team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship will qualify for the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship format divides the eight teams into two preliminary round groups consisting of four teams each. Preliminary round play will be held June 28, 29 and 30, and each team will play the other three teams in its preliminary group.
The top two finishing teams in each preliminary round group will then advance to the Saturday, July 1, medal round semifinals and play for 1st-4th places. Teams placing third and fourth in each preliminary round group will advance to the consolation semifinals and play for 5th-8th places.
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Men Finals will be held Sunday, July 2.
The host nation United States was drawn into preliminary round Group A with Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, while Group B consists of Argentina, Bahamas, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the tournament has been held every four years since 1990. USA men's teams boast of a sensational 25-1 overall record in the U18/junior qualifiers and have won gold in 1990, 1994 and 1998, while capturing bronze most recently in 2002.
The awarding of the U18 Championship For Men to USA Basketball and San Antonio marks the first time the event has been hosted in the United States.
Some of the top players who have represented the United States in past U18 tournaments include Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1994); Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Dee Brown (2002); Nick Collison (1998); Grant Hill (1990); Allan Houston (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Stephon Marbury (1994); Mike Miller (1998); Quentin Richardson (1998); and Deron Williams (2002).
(Some text provided by USA Basketball)