Its on to the next for Washington.
The NCAA Tournament is still going on, but Washington is back home on spring break. Head coach Lorenzo Romar spent an hour with the media and covered everything from program building to next years freshmen.
It was expansive, so well divide it into a few parts. Heres part II:
Which juniors could make a big jump like Quincy Pondexter and others did in the past? I think Scott (Suggs) could take a huge jump. He really could. Darnell (Gant) could, too, for that matter. Thisll be the first time in Darnells career where he comes in with a great, great chance to make a big impact early.
I think in the other years, after his redshirt year we won the Pac-10 championship, he was just trying to get on the floor. I think a little of that last year, as well, when Quincy was here, just make his mark. This year, he made more strides, but I think next year will be the first time in his career where hes coming in and were going to ask him to make sure youre prepared to take on a bigger role. I think hell be prepared for that and he can improve. Scott, I thought, from last year to this year, has made big strides. He was in our starting lineup in our last game, so he definitely could make a jump.
Are Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy going to be interchangeable again next year? Well have Tony Wroten, also. Whenever you have ball-handlers like that on the floor, they take the pressure off of each other, and I think they also can put the pressure on the defense, if they both are playmakers that can make you pay. If you have two of them on the floor and one of them, say, is not a very good shooter, the defense doesnt really have to pay because they can drop off and sag off.
I think when youre talking about Tony Wroten, Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy, those are all guys that can make plays for themselves and for others. Theyre all dangerous. Now, with Abdul probably being the guy thats really just looking to run the team, but all three can run a team. But in our situation with (Terrence) Ross and Suggs and (C.J.) Wilcox, you have some wings that are all three really good. So any of those combination of guys can go out and make us pretty effective.
Do you expect Terrence Ross to add muscle? No doubt. I would say hed add 5-10 pounds of muscle over the summer. I could see that happening. We told our guys one day in practice, when Terrence was on the block, get him the ball. I said guys, I cant think in practice or games, I cant think of three times he didnt score when we got him the ball down there. And we give him the ball against North Carolina down there on the block, what does he do? Scores it right away. I thought of that to myself, I said there he goes again.
So without 5-10 extra pounds of muscle, hes already shown he can score on the block. I think hes going to be a player that will be able to show a lot more versatility next year, inside.
His personality allowed him to move on quickly from game to game. We were talking about this as a staff this morning. You talk about a guy being able to turn the page. Terrence Ross can turn the page. Think about it now. He was 0-5 in the Georgia game. He played 10 minutes and just didnt have a very good game. He comes back the next game and look what he does. So his ability to bounce back is something thats going to really benefit him and our team in the years to come.
I think Ive said that in the conference before, when he didnt play in the SC game, I said it wouldnt surprise me if he comes back the next game and gets 20. What does he do in the next game? The first time he did it, I havent been surprised anymore. When we went on the road, first league game against a very good USC team. And that was the first time he did that to where it was like this is his senior year and hed been on the road every game and never played at home. Thats how he went out there and played, and once he did that, I knew that if he came out (and) he was ready to go, he was capable of doing those things.
What is your postseason assessment process? We will meet individually with our guys here in the next (week). We talk to them about how theyre doing academically, how much they need to graduate, if they need to do a better job, commend them for doing a good job academically. Well talk to them about their summer plans, do they need a job? Do they not need a job? Currently, academically, the classes theyre enrolled in, how you think youll do, that type of thing.
Where are you going to be in the summer? And then we talk about what they need to do to improve individually and improve to help this team. We ask them first: what do you think you need to improve upon? They talk about, what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are? Then we give them our opinion.
I will go back and literally watch every game we played this year. I usually dont do it a week after the season. I usually wait a couple of months after emotionally, youre just detached. Its interesting how we can walk into another teams practice and vice versa, and point something out right away. Thats not working. Right away. And coaches have done that to us. You know what? Thats a great point. Because every day you see the same thing. Sometimes its good to get that. So if youre a couple months removed from the season, now you go back and watch every game and you look at it.
How do you specifically evaluate the players? I end up doing my own little chicken-scratch scribbling. But heres what happens. You have to be patient and you have to take your time with it. Its like a two-month, month-project, because you start watching how you defended the ball-screen, which is an area we have to get better at. You watch how you defended the ball-screen, and as you continue to watch that, all of a sudden you realize this other team were playing against, theyre pretty good at running the ball-screen. Lets go back and look at film on them, how theyre running that ball-screen, so we can get better at that. Throughout it all you get off on all these tangents, but when its all said and done, you cover a lot of ground.
Do you think there will be any transfers? That one you never know. You never know. I didnt know Phil Nelson was going to transfer when he transferred. He just walked in one day and said he was going to do it. I had an idea about Elston (Turner) at one time but because of the way he finished the season, I thought he was going to stick it out. Then he walks in and says he was going to go. So you never know.
Did you learn big lessons about how the regular season can affect the postseason? Even though we were an older group, I think, to a certain degree, we kind of felt like, whenever we want this to be all right, it will be all right.
In spite of the many warnings that we gave our team all year, I just think somewhere deep down were good enough to where we can turn it on whenever we want to turn it on. Again, I dont know if that is why we dropped some games, but I think next year I think our team will have learned from this. I dont know whos going to predict what about how good were going to be next year, but I dont think our guys will pay a whole lot of attention to that. I think our guys will come in from day one knowing you get what you earn.
What do you think of the Pac-10 next year? I think the Pac-10 next year will be as close to the way it was a few years ago. I think the league will really be improved next year. if you just look at the low number of seniors. A lot always has to do with the draft. Nikola Vucevic, is he going to go pro. I heard he may come back. I think he should go pro. Those type of guys, are they going to come back.
I dont see very many O.J. Mayos and Jerryd Bayless, guys that are just sure-fire top fives. Maybe one or two. Maybe. I think a lot of guys will be back. Around this time you talk to NBA people and they start asking about different players and theyll ask about player A and youll say wait a minute, hes only a junior. Yeah, hes probably going to come out. What?! Is he really?! Theyve been right 100 percent on that. No way hes coming out! No, hes coming out, And sure enough, theyre gone. I havent heard that buzz this year as much in the Pac-10.