Depth Will Come Into Play During AIA Classic

Nov. 10, 2009

Tuesday Press Conferences: Lorenzo Romar | Isaiah Thomas (paid subscription required)

SEATTLE - The depth of all four teams -- Washington, Wright State, Belmont and Portland State -- will be put to the test this weekend during the Athletes In Action Classic. Each team will play three games in three nights, a rare occurrance for college basketball teams that usually only takes place during end of season conference tournaments.

While it may be daunting for some teams, Isaiah Thomas believes the Huskies will be up for the challenge.

'It's going to be tough,' said Thomas, 'But, we've got the core group of guys that we can do it with -- especially for me. We've got a lot of guards and I can take breaks when I need to.'

For players like Thomas playing three-straight days of games beats practicing over an equal span of time any day. Plus, playing under the format will better prepare the four teams for the end of the season.

'This early, you're thrown into the fire right away,' says Romar. 'We've been in this situation before with tournaments. It's definitely something we can draw from later when we play in the Pac-10 Tournament.'

Still, Romar is a little weary to pronounce his team ready for the task ahead. They are fully recovered from the flu bug that limited them early on in practice, but the disruption may have put the Huskies a little behind where they wanted to be at this juncture of the pre-season.

'I don't know if you ever feel like you're ready,' says Romar. 'It's like getting ready for an exam and you wonder 'did I study enough and am I ready?' but we'll defintely show up and get after it.'

Wilcox To Redshirt
During his weekly press briefing, Husky basketball coach Lorenzo Romar announced today he intends to redshirt C.J. Wilcox, a true freshman guard from Pleasant Grove, Utah, this coming season.

'C.J. Wilcox will redshirt this year,' said Lorenzo Romar out of the blue during today's press conference. 'The bottom line is, we think C.J. can be at least an all-conference player. Right now he would be sharing minutes. It wouldn't surprise me if he (had) played this year if he would have passed a lot of people up. We think he would have a great chance to be in the rotation.'

The year off will give Wilcox a chance to get stronger and learn the system, while not having to concern himself with getting minutes on the court. Romar pointed to the benefits that having a redshirt season had on Darnell Gant and could have for Tyreese Breshers.

Wilcox seemed very open to the idea, explaining the decision to reporters before practice.

'When next year comes, I'll have a head start,' said Wilcox. 'In playing with the guards in practice, Quincy and the other guys, I'll become a better player. Now I can just focus and not worry about getting playing time. I can just work on my game.'

Romar on the Field
While the perception from some may be that the teams playing in Seattle this week are lower-level competition, don't tell that to Romar. The media tried to point out that the competition is not like last year, when the Huskies had to face Kansas and Florida early during the Pre-Season NIT. Romar quickly refuted that idea and reminded the media that they lost their opener to Portland last season.

The three teams playing at Bank of America Arena each won 20 or more games in 2008-09 and Portland State played in the NCAA Tournament and lost by just one to Washington in December of 2008. Belmont has made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, too.

But, Romar's immediate focus is on Wright State, a team out of the Horizon League that has three-straight 20-win seasons under its belt.

'They're very good and they will not give us the game,' said Romar about the Raiders, out of Dayton, Ohio. 'We're going to have to take the game if we have an aspirations of doing well. They are a senior dominated team. They play good, solid strong defense. They are very organized offensively. It is going to be a tough opener for us.'

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