Romar says Huskies will be more defensive
Lorenzo Romar only saw it in spurts during the season, the intense pressure defense that had become his hallmark at Washington and made it so much easier for the Huskies to play with the speed and tempo that fit their style.
That inconsistency was a good illustration of the Huskies' struggles the entire season.
''We must and will get back to guarding the way we're capable of guarding in this program,'' Romar said.
Romar held his end-of-season news conference on Wednesday, after a hectic eight days during which the Huskies were ousted in the semifinals of the NIT by Minnesota, then saw their top two scorers in Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten declare for the NBA draft.
Washington finished the year with a 24-11 record and won the Pac-12 regular season title but was not selected for an at-large berth by the NCAA tournament committee, giving the Huskies a dubious place in basketball lore as the first power conference regular season champ not to make the NCAAs.
The decisions by Ross and Wroten to leave for the NBA were hardly a surprise. Ross is expected to be a high-to-mid first-round pick while draft pundits seem to be all over the board on Wroten's prospects, although the consensus is he will go in the first round. Ross will leave after a sophomore season during which he led the Huskies with 16.4 points per game, while Wroten becomes the second freshman to depart during Romar's tenure. Wroten averaged 16 points and set freshman school records for scoring, steals and assists.
Wroten's lack of an outside game and his struggles going to his right have been criticized by some. But Romar defended Wroten, saying that only the very elite freshmen don't have some holes in their games.
''When talking about someone that is leaving as a freshman if their name is not Kevin Durant or Greg Oden ... if they're not at that caliber you're going to find holes in their games,'' Romar said. ''It's just that simple.''
While Wroten at times carried the Huskies offensively, he also showed lapses of commitment at the defensive end and often went for showmanship over fundamentals on simpler plays. Romar didn't call out anyone specifically for Washington's defensive struggles, but he said it needed to be more consistent going forward, especially on the perimeter.
''We're going to do it,'' Romar said emphatically. ''Trust me, it's not because I don't know the answer. I can just tell you we're going to do it.''
Romar said the other focus would be on improving interior scoring. While Wroten was a guard, he did most of his scoring within 12 feet of the basket. Washington's frontcourt contributors who will return next season - Aziz N'Diaye, Desmond Simmons, Shawn Kemp Jr. and possibly Austin Seferian-Jenkins - combined for less than 15 points per game last season.
That Romar can make frontcourt scoring an offseason focus is due to what the Huskies have on the perimeter. Romar raved about Andrew Andrews, who redshirted this season. Romar said Andrews has a bit of Wroten's ability to break down perimeter defenses and get in the lane to create his own shot or shots for others.
Abdul Gaddy started all 35 games at point guard in his first year back after an ACL injury and Washington will get back Scott Suggs, who missed the start of the season with a stress fracture in his foot and eventually decided to redshirt. Suggs averaged 7.4 points and shot 45 percent on 3-pointers during the 2010-11season. Leading the perimeter unit is C.J. Wilcox, who averaged 14.2 points and was limited the latter half of the season because of a hip and femur issue.
''I already think he's one of the best shooters in the country,'' Romar said of Wilcox. ''I think he could be one of the best guards in the country.''
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