Seattle - Washington coach Lorenzo Romar raised some eyebrows this week by saying freshman Terrence Ross has talent comparable to that of former Husky and current Portland Trail Blazer Brandon Roy.
But even seeing that kind of skill, Romar said he didn’t expect Ross to come on so strong so early in his first college season.
“I wouldn’t have told you he’d be averaging 17 points a game in (Pacific-10 Conference) play,” Romar said. “I’m not sure we’ve had any freshman do that. Isaiah (Thomas) was close. But that’s pretty good.
“(Ross has) done it on the road. He’s done it in tight situations. He’s been pretty consistent lately. If he would have played more in the second half I’m sure he would have been in double digits against UCLA. He’s really come into his own quickly. He’s giving the coaching staff a lot of confidence in him.”
After averaging 5.5 points in the team’s non-conference schedule, Ross broke out for 18 points last week at Southern California. Two days later, he had seven points in nine minutes at UCLA. And in Washington’s win over Oregon on Thursday, Ross set another career-high with 25 points.
“I’m getting more used to (Division I basketball),” he said. “It’s a little faster now. I’m just settling down and getting used to it, and not thinking so much.”
As for Romar’s public praise, Ross seems to take that in stride.
“It’s a great compliment,” he said. “It just pushes me to work that much harder. The coaches see that potential, so I really have to work hard to get to it. ... I don’t think the fans expect me to be Brandon. I definitely feel like I have responsibility to put the work in.”
Ross will play his fourth Pac-10 game today when Oregon State visits Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The Beavers arrive after a loss at Washington State on Thursday, which dropped them one game behind the Huskies in the league standings.
“They’re more wide open,” Romar said of this OSU team. “They’re not as deliberate as they have been in the past. They get up and down a little more. They have in their zone really good size – 1 though 5 – and can present problems for you.”
Oregon State also uses a 1-3-1 and other zones, often pushed out toward the midcourt line.
Romar noted that the defense has given particular trouble to small guards, and the UW guard corps got smaller this week when 6-foot-3 point guard Abdul Gaddy went down with a knee injury.
He was replaced in the starting lineup by 6-foot senior Venoy Overton.
Overton believes the Huskies’ added frontcourt size and increased scoring options this season could help them deal with the Beavers’ distinct defensive challenges.
“Sometimes we’re not shooting good, so we can’t really say how we’ll be shooting,” he said. “But our bigs have been playing solid, our guards have been playing solid. We’ve got a couple of players stepping up when it’s time – like Terrence Ross had a good game. Maybe (today) myself or Scott (Suggs) will have a better game.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports