SEATTLE - The Washington Men's Basketball team received some big news on the recruiting front Monday…
Spring Cleaning: Lorenzo Romar
On fitting in the trip to Senegal - "The thing is, we've never had a chance to see Aziz's people at all. And now we have a chance to go there and meet his family. They get to see the group he's been hanging out with, and also I think it's also a great cultural experience for our guys to be able to see that part of the world."
On any thought of going to Germany because of Martin Breunig - "Yeah, but we're doing a lot here right now, so to work that in…there just wasn't time. We haven't gone in-depth about it, but you can only go to so many places."
On basketball things he learned during last summer tour to Greece, and how those might carry over for this team in their evolution - "The physicality and the mental toughness needed to go on tour is something that's required when we play our games. It's even more physical on the foreign tours, and sometimes the officiating is different than what you're used to. You're not used to games being called the way they are. The playing surfaces…sometimes the games might be played a little late…you have to be prepared for anything. I just think that helps you with your mental toughness."
On the genesis of the Connecticut home-home series - "We've been trying every year to maintain some type of high-profile series ever since the Big-12 Challenge. UConn wasn't the only school we talked to about this; this was the one that ended up working out."
On any other scheduling announcements on the horizon? - "Nothing major."
On injury updates. Will Aziz be recovered by the time he goes back to Senegal? - "By the time we go there, Aziz should really be recovered. We have to wait to see what happens. Worst-case scenario, I think he should be ready to go and ready to start working out…to where it's going pretty good right around that time. I think he'll be ready to go."
On Andrew Andrews' hip surgery - "It was something that he could have gone without getting the surgery, but you didn't know if it was going to flare up this year. Now it's done and taken care of. Now it shouldn't be an issue. It'll be behind him now. He should be back jogging here in the next couple of weeks."
On the timing of the surgery - "Five weeks ago, approximately."
On the latest with Scott Suggs and his foot - "During the year, he had…I don't know if setback is too strong a word, but he had a little bit of discomfort to where he had to dial it back a little bit, which is another reason why him redshirting was good, because it would have probably been a game or two and then it would have come back. Now he's given it rest and he's going pretty good."
On C.J. Wilcox's health - "C.J. is going pretty good right now."
On the availability of having one scholarship right now - "We're probably not going to do anything. You never know what could come up, but at this point we'll just save it. We have enough for next year."
On Perris Blackwell, and how he fits in because he has to sit out a year - "We knew that Perris was a good scorer down low. We knew he would only have one year, but at the same time we could have said let's pass and get someone else - but we weren't able to get someone that is able to do what he does. Even though it's for a year, if you look in our league with Oregon and Olu Ashaolu - he only had a year, but he paid dividends for them. Several years ago when Marquette with Dwyane Wade went to the Final Four, they had a guy named Robert Jackson who was a big 6-9 powerful five, and he only had one year but they went to the Final Four that one year. So we looked at it again, because Shawn Kemp would be a junior and the rest of the guys would be more skilled-type forwards. We thought that Perris was a great, great fit and a seamless transition."
On Mark McLaughlin and his expected role - "He's a wing; he's just another one of our wings. He can put the ball on the floor, he can make plays for himself and he can make plays for others. At 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, we really, really like him and he fits in with what we do."
On if McLaughlin just fits right in as that 'Third Amigo' with Wilcox and Suggs as a replacement for Terrence Ross? - "Well, we've got six guards; those three, along with Hikeem Stewart, Abdul (Gaddy) and Andrew…I don't know what you want to call them (laughs), but I would say that they are all the type of guards that we love to recruit that do well in our system. Guys like that have done well in our system in the past."
On if he resembles more of a Tre Simmons-type of scorer, or Wilcox? Maybe more all-around, like a Ross or Brandon Roy? - "If you look…obviously he led the country in scoring, but he's a pretty complete guard. He's the type of guard that can rebound the ball for you, he can take the ball and put the ball in his hands a little bit, he can run your offense for you a little bit, he can run the fast break…he can come off screens and score. So he's pretty versatile guard. I hate to compare him to a player and get it confused that he's just like this guy or that guy…I'd much rather say what kind of skill set he brings to the table.
"To me, Terrence Ross was a prolific scorer, and that was his forte. You could put the ball in his hands, but running the team? I don't know how well he could do at that. Brandon Roy, you could put the ball in his hands and he could make plays and make plays for others, but in college he wasn't a great jump shooter. Those guys are all different."
On if they stop recruiting for this year because they've decided to hold onto their scholarship - "You never say never. There are some guys that are in our program now that the public has not seen them score yet. So those guys are going to have to have a great spring and summer and then go on tour and somebody has to step up and emerge. And I feel like some guys can possibly do that, to step up and emerge in the absence of maybe bringing in someone we already know is a proven scorer. You don't necessarily go through the high school ranks just to get somebody, because you don't want to bring somebody in that's equal to what you have; you want somebody that brings something different than what the other guys can do. So right now we're working with the guys that are in-house and hoping they can develop."
On a couple of things he's really excited to see this fall as he puts the team together - "Defensively, I think we'll be a better defensive team. And I'm just looking forward to working with this team and watching them gel. I don't know if I can put a finger on this is exactly what we want to see in terms of categories, but I think on the defensive end and the chemistry in terms of guys playing together - I'm looking forward to that."
On if he's hopeful the team will gel sooner this fall than last year - "Experience. Now Abdul is a senior, Scott Suggs is a fifth-year senior, Aziz is a senior, C.J. is a fourth-year junior…we'll have more experience than what we had last year. So I think as a result, roles will be defined quicker, I think we'll be sorted out quicker. Those are the things I'm looking to more than saying I can't wait to watch this team shoot or watching this team in the post, or that type of thing. I'm just looking forward to seeing the experience and what it can do for this team. This team probably, as much as any team in a while, I don't think there's many pieces that we have to blend in together and make fit. I just think the pieces fit together as good as other teams have."
On what's next on his calendar in the coming weeks - "Right now we're doing individual workouts. For myself, our oldest daughter is graduating from law school next week, so that's something I'm definitely going to go to. There's a big gala that Dick Vitale is throwing in Florida - it's for a Coaches for Cancer fundraiser, and it's something that I'm going to attend - and then the NABC Board of Directors meeting is this week. There's a lot going on."
On the off-season almost being busier than the season - "To me, it's busier. During the season you have your regimen. You come in and you know you're going to practice and you have to get ready for practice. You go home, you watch film…you know exactly what's going on. In the off-season, you're doing all the things you couldn't do because of the time during the season, so to me it seems like it's busier in the off-season sometimes."
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