Tourney Talk: Washington Huskies
CollegeHoops.net's Jon Teitel spent a lot of time Monday on conference calls with some of the biggest coaches & players in college basketball. Here are highlights of what the coaches & players had to say about their team's chances in the 2009 NCAA Tournament:
Coach Lorenzo Romar
Q: What do you know about Mississippi State?
A: Jarvis Varnado is not just a shot-blocker because he can jump: he has an uncanny sense of timing and quickness. It's important to be aggressive and not timid: if we are fearful of getting our shots blocked, then they will get blocked even more. People might think the SEC is having a down year because Florida did not make the NCAA tourney, but the teams that made it are great.
Q: What advice did you get from Coach Jim Harrick when you were his assistant on the 1995 UCLA title team?
A: He just taught me to be prepared. To win in March, you have to avoid injuries, distractions of family/friends who want tickets, etc. When you're in the NCAA tourney you have to take what is given to you. We prepare all year to play the best 65 teams in the country in March, but I don't think we are clicking offensively right now.
Q: Do you think Isaiah Thomas will have any distractions?
A: No: Isaiah has been looking forward to this week all of his life. Also, our senior leaders will make sure that he stays focused.
Q: Were you happy to stay in the northwest?
A: I would like to think that geography is helpful, and we expect to have much more support in Portland than if we were far away in Philadelphia or Miami. However, once you get on the court the dimensions are all the same, and it's also nice to stay in the same time zone.
Jon Brockman, Sr
Q: What impact has Isaiah Thomas had on your team?
A: Isaiah's mindset from the start is that we were getting to the NCAA tourney, which is huge as a freshman. He has done a great job leading the team and occasionally putting the team on his shoulders, but he is still learning a lot about college basketball.
Q: What did you learn from your previous trip to the NCAA tourney?
A: I am just pumped up to be back in the tourney. The biggest lesson is that it is not over until the buzzer sounds. I really thought we had our final game wrapped up, but anything can happen in March. When it comes down to it, it is just another game, regardless of the hype and excitement, so we do not need to change anything in our game plan.