They bribed us with a taco bar the night we first met Lorenzo Romar. A Qdoba taco bar, no less, the good stuff. And this was back before Chipotle had taken over the world of fresh express Mexican, when Qdoba was the very best for which any hungry, broke college student could yearn. The muckety-mucks in the UW athletic department were basically begging us to show up and meet the head coach of the men’s basketball team. And, if we were so inclined, maybe stick around for the game, too.
It was the middle of Romar’s second season at Washington, one that had begun rather inauspiciously, before taking a more promising turn of late. The streaky Dawgs had rattled off five straight losses to open Pac-10 conference play, then abruptly reversed course and managed five consecutive wins. A defeat at UCLA halted the winning streak, and then it was back home to where we now found ourselves, in the presence of the ground beef and seasoned chicken upon which we feasted.
We sat and scarfed down our meal in Hec Edmundson Pavilion’s auxiliary gym as we waited for the coach to arrive. A staffer let us know Romar was on his way, and that he’d be taking a few questions in the limited time we had together before tipoff. Seconds later, a door flew open and there stood the guest of honor.
I was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Washington the first time I met Lorenzo Romar. It was the evening before Valentine’s Day, 2004, and the Husky Men’s Basketball team was getting ready to square off against the hated Oregon Ducks.
In an attempt to encourage students to arrive a) early and b) en masse, the athletic department’s marketing staff held a pregame meet-and-greet with the head coach that also included … wait for it … FREE FOOD. A Qdoba taco bar was set up in an auxiliary gym and, not surprisingly, a good number of students showed up to sample the fare.
My buddy, Charlie, and I had been attending games the entire season, but up to this point crowds had been slow to follow us to Hec Edmundson Pavilion. A string of pivotal conference wins had sparked a renewed interest in the team, however, and the athletic department was looking for every opportunity to capitalize on the sudden success.
The Washington’s men’s basketball team isn’t very good right now. Five games into a new season and they’ve already lost three times. They more closely resemble the Seattle Mariners than any other local ballclub these days and fans are pulling their collective hair out watching this squad play.
What the hell happened? This team used to be great. Head coach Lorenzo Romar used to pull in top-10 recruiting classes, used to guide his team to the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis, used to sit atop the conference as a perennial power each season. And then suddenly, it all changed.
Back-to-back down years have the Huskies in a precarious position. A third season of less-than-stellar performance seems to be on the horizon. Fans are questioning the direction of the program and answers — How? Why? — seem to be at an all-time low.
There’s hope for this team, certainly, but there are a number of obstacles blocking the path to achievement. The three biggest issues for the Huskies? We’ve compiled them right here.
Yes. There are moments when Lorenzo Romar gets outcoached. As fans, we’ve all experienced those moments. A turnover out of a timeout, a broken half-court offense, the veritable lack of anything that would resemble an inbounds play. We know. We’re not blind. We’re not dumb. We’re educated to the point of recognizing deficiencies. And if the head coach of the University of Washington men’s basketball team has one glaring deficiency, it is his ability to sketch up the X’s-and-O’s.
There’s no denying that this is perhaps Coach Romar’s greatest weakness. At times, this shortcoming can be maddeningly frustrating. You watch Romar’s Huskies try to combat a 2-3 zone defense, for example, and you want to rip your hair out. In the heat of the moment, you get angry. You get upset. You say stupid things. You tell your buddy that anyone could do a better job than this guy, that anyone could game-plan better than this. You might even call for the man’s head.
After reading this morning’s article on Husky men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, former Husky Marlon Shelton weighed in on the conversation with some insight via Facebook.
Shelton, a 6’9″ center originally from Michigan, played for Washington from 1998 to 2003. Recruited by Bob Bender, Shelton was besieged by injuries during his Husky career and took a medical redshirt during the ’01-’02 season. He played under Romar in Romar’s first year at the helm, the ’02-’03 season.
“When I hear people say that [firing Romar is a good idea], I just figure people have no clue what they are talking about,” Shelton began.
If you think Lorenzo Romar should lose his job over the Huskies’ recent struggles, you can go fornicate yourself.
And don’t duck the issue. There are those of you out there masquerading behind user names and message boards who actually think Romar should be fired. It’s absolutely ludicrous.
Yes, the Husky men’s basketball team sucks right now. They’re bad. They clearly can’t win on the road, and they’ll be lucky to make the NIT at the rate they’re going.
Furthermore, Romar has shown an inability to adapt to his team’s inefficiencies. Outside of making lineup adjustments, he hasn’t found a way to correct the ballclub’s biggest weaknesses, namely stopping penetration and attacking the 2-3 zone.
Using prep hoopster Roberto Nelson — a Top 100 member of the Class of 2009 — as their subject, SI examined the quantity and quality of the letters sent to today’s high school athlete. What they uncovered was revealing about the nature of college recruiting, and cast a light on certain institutions, as well.
Here are the basics:
-Nelson received 2,161 pieces of mail from 56 different athletic programs between his sophomore and senior years in high school.
-The University of Kentucky sent 295 individual mailings to Nelson; not one was personalized.
-Of the 56 programs that sent Nelson mail, only 18 of those programs personalized any of the material.
Can’t say I’ve heard of this happening before. University of Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar hosted a private party at the University Village Ram on Monday, specifically for members of the Dawg Pack student section.
Romar had personally invited every Dawg Pack ticket holder either by email or phone, and spent the minutes before the party officially kicked off by walking around the room and speaking to each individual in attendance.
The party lasted from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and the entire restaurant was closed to the public during that time.
The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball awards were announced today, and the Huskies came away big winners. Forward Jon Brockman and guard Justin Dentmon were named to the All-Pac-10 First Team, while Dentmon also took home the Most Improved Player Award; guard Isaiah Thomas was named Freshman of the Year, and was also named to the All-Pac-1o Second Team; and head coach Lorenzo Romar garnered Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors.
It’s tough to put into words the feeling of euphoria surrounding the area in and around the Emerald City right now. Our last major championship of any kind came back in 2007, when the Seahawks won the NFC West. That seems like eons ago. Since then, we’ve had our hearts broken countless times and been dragged through mud in supporting our teams. They’ve all been bad, from start to finish. And it’s been terrible. I know Detroit likes to make a case for being America’s worst sports city, but Seattle, in 2008 at least, had the Motor City beat by a huge margin.
Brockman named Pac-1o Player of the Week. University of Washington senior forward Jon Brockman has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after posting double-doubles in wins over Arizona and Arizona State.
The Huskies’ captain totaled 40 points and 22 rebounds in those two games, notching the 56th and 57th double-doubles of his college career. The 57 double-doubles are the most among all active collegiate players.
Romar named as National Coach of the Year finalist. Adding to the good news on Montlake, Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar has been named as one of ten finalists for the 2009 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award. No other Pac-10 coach made the list.
The other finalists are as follows: Jim Calhoun, Connecticut; John Calipari, Memphis; Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh; Darrin Horn, South Carolina; Trent Johnson, LSU; Bill Self, Kansas; Brad Stevens, Butler; Bruce Weber, Illinois; and Roy Williams, North Carolina.
If you carouse the Husky message board circuit, as I do, you are fully aware that there are a handful of University of Washington basketball fans that do not like head coach Lorenzo Romar. A year ago, those misguided souls were an increasingly loud minority, rising from the depths to proclaim their dislike for the Dawgs’ head man. They argued that Romar was a bad playcaller, an inept manipulator of the depth chart, and cited recent player transfers (Phil Nelson, Adrian Oliver) and back-to-back down years as reasons to ditch the coach in favor of a new leader.
If you ask me, Robinson’s appointment as Coach of the Year is strictly tied to his family tree. If, say, Ken Bone (in no way, shape, or form related to our new prez) had led the Beavers to an identical record under similar circumstances, we wouldn’t hear jack about Bone or the turnaround of Oregon State basketball. But because it’s Robinson, the sexy choice across the country, all we hear about is how great the new-look Beavs are.