Here is everything Huskies men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar said about Saturday’s home finale against No. 5 Arizona, the possibility of Malik Dime returning from suspension for senior day, Markelle Fultz’s health status and what went wrong in Thursday’s loss to Arizona State.
(What did you see on film from the Arizona State game?) "This one was pretty accurate, what I talked about after the game. Sometimes it’s a little different when you’re able to take the emotion out, but it was pretty much what I thought. The unforced turnovers, and several of those were in transition situations where we’re about to score a basket and instead they go the other way. Shot selection when we had the lead. And they weren’t just terrible shots, they were just too quick. We could have got better shots, because we were getting them before. And then just the few defensive breakdowns. One segment I think where (Obinna) Oleka had about three dunks in a few possessions. That really hurt us at that point. I thought the culmination of those three things was the ballgame."
(On turnovers in transition) "Those are plays we should make. Whenever you have numbers, you’re supposed to make those plays."
(Have you seen a 30-minute period like the one you had against ASU this season?) "We’ve played periods where we’ve played good defense, where we’ve controlled the backboards, (where) we were animals on the boards. But there was a certain tenacity that we had during that period that we haven’t shown a lot this year. The charge was led by Carlos (Johnson). But there was a level of tenacity that, boy, if we could maintain that in this short season that we have left, it would bode well for all of us."
(On making a lot more subs and changes in the first half) "Well, some of it had to do with Markelle’s minutes, limiting his minutes. Also, that game, we could not let that game get away from us, and it was getting away from us early. So we had to stop the bleeding right away, and that’s probably why you saw some of those subs. And then the way they play, there were some situational substitutions that were made. We had to continue to adjust on account of what they were doing."
(Why not do that more in some other games earlier in the season?) "That has a lot to do with the ebb and flow of who’s playing well, who’s not playing well. It’s had a lot to do … there were times when certain guys were just steady and you just knew they were going to break out of what they were doing, and that hasn’t been the case as much here. I thought yesterday was probably more of a situation where we’ve seen what happens if we go too long this way. Make a change quicker. Typically sometimes guys play their way out of certain things. Lineups play their way out of droughts. But we’ve kind of learned with this team that maybe things aren’t going to change if you stay the same way."
(On trying to find the hot hand by changing personnel) "Sometimes you try something and it doesn’t stick, so you go another direction, that’s not there. When you throw it out there, ‘oh, there it is, that’s the formula right there,’ then you stick with that."
(On Dominic Green’s shooting slump) "Dom had a couple of really good practices where he was productive and he was knocking down his shots, and we were hopeful he would come in and do the same thing. I think Dom is probably just a couple of baskets going in away from shaking this."
(Have you seen that from him in the past?) "We’ve seen it this year. We saw him in the first half – it might have been Colorado – where his shot wasn’t going and he comes out in the second half and he hit three big 3s in the second half, really helped us. I don’t know if we win the game without him hitting those shots."
(Can you use the same small lineup against Arizona?) "Not as much, no. Again, each game presents a different challenge. Against Arizona State that was needed, but against Arizona, they’re just too big and methodical for that to probably be effective in that game. But who knows? If the game presents itself and we have to try different things, maybe that could work. But I know last game (vs. Arizona), when we played bigger, we were more effective than when we played smaller."
(On Sam Timmins) "When we’re in the zone, he’s very smart back there and he has a nice presence, he’s very active. Out of all of our front line guys, he gets more deflections than anyone because he’s quick to read situations. You just feel him back there, so he helps us like he did. And there was another game, he didn’t score much, but pulled down 11 rebounds. He’s been giving us some productivity here and there in that spot."
(UW had 18 offensive rebounds at Arizona. Any thought you can do that again tomorrow?) “Each game is a different game, different day. We’ve done that a couple of times this year where we’ve done a really good job on the offensive glass, so we know we’re capable of doing it.”
(Anything in general about that game (at UA). Your zone defense put them off a little bit) “We’ll see. I know in the second half I remember from that game was a couple turnovers and a couple quick shots and they were able to get out in transition a little bit and that kind of changed the game. We just have to make sure that we’re working and determined to get good shots every time down the floor, regardless of who we’re playing against. And you better do that against Arizona because if you don’t work to do it you’re going to be one-and-done in terms of a quick perimeter shot somewhere or forced shot and they’re going to be off to the races.”
(How did Markelle come away from last night?) “He did pretty good. He made progress, which is good to see.”
(How hard it is for him to be suited up but know he can’t go 40 minutes?) “You know that guy loves to play, so it’s difficult. He would love to play every minute, every second of every game, so it’s difficult for him but I thought he handled it pretty good. For him to not have played and sparingly practiced in the last 10 days prior to that I thought he did a pretty remarkable job.”
(Is he going to be limited in minutes tomorrow?) “Yeah. He should be on one anyway because we play him too many minutes. It’s hard to sustain the type of intensity we need. This is probably good that he gets to rest.”
(Been surprised by the great attendance numbers considering your record?) “I’m just really pleased. Really pleased with our support and our fans that have stuck with us this year. We only have one (home game) left, so they’ve been pretty consistent. I’m sure Markelle helps with that. Last year I thought we had an exciting season, even though it didn’t end up the way we wanted it to. But I’ve been pleased, very pleased with our people coming down and supporting us. It’s been great.”
(Is there a redeeming quality to tomorrow’s game? Does it feel like an opportunity?) “They all are opportunities for our team. It’s not like we’re on a winning streak, so every game we play we see it as an opportunity to turn things around with the short season that we have to get back on the winning side. I don’t think right now the opponent matters in terms of the challenge to ourselves to come out and play to the best of our ability.”
(Have you made a decision on Malik Dime?) “We’ll probably know for sure tomorrow.”
(Will there be anything that changes things in the next 24 hours?) “No. We’ve just been evaluating it.”
(Does the fact that it is Senior Night change things at all?) “I probably won’t comment on that much. We’ll just wait and see.”
(How should people remember Dime’s time at UW?) “Malik has been the ultimate team guy, an inspirational guy, a guy that is probably the most popular guy on our team. They see him as kind of like papa, the way he handles himself, the way he goes about his business. I think our guys really respect him. He’s done a magnificent job of protecting the rim on the basketball floor, blocking shots. It’s unfortunate he’s missed games with all that’s gone on with the injury and suspension, but he was on track possibly to break some records, more records, that way. Malik Dime is one you will look up in a few years whenever he’s done with basketball and you’re going to say that man is successful away from the game of basketball. Those guys are special when you can say that. Not everyone you can say that about…when basketball’s gone what are they going to be able to do? In Malik Dime’s case, he’s going to be successful. He’ll graduate this year in the spring and he’s got a lot of talents - not just basketball. Very multi-talented young man.”
(With that said, how surprising were his actions at Colorado?) “Very. Very. Very.”
(How do you marry those two ideas? The kid you know and the thing he did?) “I chalk it up to human nature in that there are things I’ve done in my lifetime that I’ve been surprised that I did. I look back and say I can’t believe I did that. That wasn’t right. That’s how I see it. That’s not Malik Dime.”
(Was there ever a thought that Markelle would just totally shut it down?) “When you say shut it down, meaning? He’s not capable of playing medically? Or just, I’m shutting it down?”
(It sounded like there was some thought he might do it voluntarily) “If you don’t know Markelle Fultz and you’ve seen some guys do that…there was a guy that declined to play in a post-season tournament that was not the NCAA Tournament, that has happened. There was a football player that decided not to…if you don’t know Markelle and you compare him to others, one would think that. If you know Markelle, there’s no way you’d even think that. That’s an ignorant statement to make about Markelle. I’m not saying you said it, but for someone to think Markelle…Markelle Fultz loves his teammates, he loves this program and he loves to play basketball. He’s never going to turn down an opportunity to play basketball if he’s able to play basketball, as evidenced by the fact he just played.”
(Have you see teams try and do a lot of crazy things to try and shut him down on the defensive side?) “For the most part I think teams have just tried to really build a wall in the middle of the floor to not let him get in there. Just build a wall. There were a couple games where it was evident that teams are going to make other guys beat you. But Markelle wasn’t. They were going to pack it in and make other guys make shots. There hasn’t been a whole lot of tricky, gimmick defenses. Just a lot of focus on him. A lot of times with ball screens teams would double him to try and get the ball out of his hands.”