Coach Lorenzo Romar Talks about the 2007-08 Basketball Season

July 12, 2007

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Lorenzo Romar begins his sixth season as head coach of the Washington men's basketball team. He directed the Huskies to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back Sweet 16 berths in 2005 and 2006.

Coach Romar met with to talk about the much anticipated 2007-08 season. What comes to mind when you review last season?

Lorenzo Romar:'When you look back on last season, what it came down to is was that we were two different teams, at home and on the road. We were able to beat UCLA, USC and Oregon at home. When we beat UCLA, we were up by 16 at one point. So, we were successful at home, but we obviously weren't as good on the road.' How can you eliminate that disparity next year?

LR:'I think experience will take care of that. It would be interesting if you went back and compared Brandon Roy's first team and this one. I think we won maybe two games on the road. We won only two this year, at Arizona State and in the Pac-10 Tournament. The difference is that we could not have beaten a UCLA at home that year.' What impact will last year's post-season snub have on the players?

LR:'It will definitely be in the back of everyone's minds. Not that we're going to show the NIT anything, but that we've got to make sure we don't put ourselves in a position like that again. We want to take any guesswork out of any committee's hands.' What are your expectations this season?

LR:'I expect us to be a more mature team and a better defensive team. That will allow us to be more up-tempo. Some say that Spencer slowed us down, but I disagree with that. Spencer and Jon (Brockman) were both very effective inside. We ended up playing where we were just trying to go inside to those guys all the time. We were probably forced to play more in the halfcourt because we forced less turnovers this year than we have in the last four year and teams shot a higher field goal percentage against us. The result was that we slowed the ball down. So we are looking to improve in those areas.' What impact will the loss of Spencer Hawes have?

LR:'The impact is that we will find guys like Quincy Pondexter and Justin Dentmon, and somebody else perhaps, who will step up and play more significant roles offensively.' What will be the team's strength?

LR:'We will more athletic than last year. Experience will also be a strength. Amazingly, in only one year all of a sudden we are experienced. All of a sudden, Artem (Wallace), Jon (Brockman) and Justin (Dentmon) are juniors. Ryan Appleby is a senior. Everyone has one more year of experience, plus we add veteran players like Joel Smith and Tim Morris. Washington State got experienced in one year and so did Oregon last year.' How would you describe the incoming freshman class?

LR:'I like the fact that the guys coming in are all long athletic. They are all very excited to come. They will all have opportunities to contribute, but the season won't be on their shoulders. They will not have to carry the load. Although one or two of them, whichever ones they are, will probably step up and play significant roles for us.' What are your concerns coming into the season?

LR:'Everything that we are speculating, everything that we are predicting, has to happen. We have to see it happen. We are still at the potential stage. Potential means you haven't done anything yet.' Who do you see as a breakthrough player this season?

LR:'I think Quincy Pondexter is going to have a good season. I think Justin Dentmon should regain his form and then some.' How will the foreign trip to Greece in late Auguest help the team?

LR:'Ten more days of practice and five more games will help this young team tremendously. We can work the kinks out. We will not be able to have our freshmen with us. It gives our returning guys an opportunity to establish identity with a different team this year, especially red-shirts like Joel Smith, Tim Morris and Joe Wolfinger.' How difficult is the schedule this season?

LR:'It will be close to being up there with the schedule we had we when were a No. 1 seed in the country. This year we've got Oklahoma State, LSU, Pitt and the preseason NIT. We will be tested at home and we have some challenging road games.' How do you see the Pac-10 race shaping up?

LR:'It will be as good, if not better, than last year. It's hard not to pick UCLA with them only losing one guy. Everyone else is back. It's hard to count Washington State out because they didn't lose anybody. From top to bottom this is probably the best I've ever seen the Pac-10.' What has it been like to lose several players to the NBA in the last three years?

LR: 'We've been fortunate to have had the experience of success in the last few years. We've had some good players and in the last three years six of them have gone on to play in the NBA. It definitely shows that playing at the University of Washington gives you a chance to succeed at the collegiate level, but it does not hurt your chances of going to the NBA.'

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