Huskies Work To Build Hoops ‘Machine’

By Mason Kelley

Washington is trying to build a machine.

Each time the Huskies take the floor, they work toward smooth repetition. The goal is for the team to carry the same approach into everything they do. From practice to games, consistency is key.

The Huskies are 6-0 so far this season, because the machine is taking shape.

“Coach always talks about building a machine,” sophomore point guard Nigel Williams-Goss said. “You build a machine by playing the same way, creating habits by doing the same things every day in practice. We’re going to focus on the things we’ve been working on and just keep improving on them.”

So, when No. 13 San Diego State travels to Alaska Airlines Arena at 6 p.m. Sunday, Washington simply plans on playing the style that has worked through its first six games.

“We’ve said since Day 1 this is just a more competitive atmosphere,” Williams-Goss said. “We’re just focused on never being out-competed. That attitude and mindset has gotten us to this point so far.”

This group has plenty to prove and it has shown early in the season.

“A lot of it just has to do with a lot of the guys who are playing major minutes this year were on the team last season,” Williams-Goss said. “We had the taste of not accomplishing what we wanted to get done, so we’re calling on our adversity, reminding ourselves what it’s like to be on the other side.”

For the Huskies, where they are now is a result of spending the summer together. They have been able to build the machine, because they got a head start.  

“The coaching staff had a plan when they wanted us to stay here this summer,” guard Andrew Andrews said. “They wanted us to build that camaraderie. (Strength coach) Daniel Shapiro had us going through a lot of stuff that would build us up as a team, so if we have down moments we know we’re still a team.”

The Huskies were able to rally in back-to-back games in the Wooden Legacy, edging UTEP in the championship game, because they started to trust each other long before the season started. Each win this year has served to cement that bond.

“When you’re winning, everyone is up in the air,” Andrews said. “I just see that everyone is a little more focused. We feel like everybody is dialed in. We have a whole team that has bought in.”

This new-look machine the Huskies are assembling on Montlake has been impressive so far, but San Diego State provides the toughest test of the season so far. Win or lose, coach Lorenzo Romar is pleased with the progress.

“This team is fun to coach because of the pieces, their willingness to win, and the way they get along,” he said. “We feel like we’ve found a certain way to play with this team that can be successful.”

So far, so good.

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