Washington’s always been an up-tempo team under Lorenzo Romar. The guard-heavy lineups are a factor, but the Huskies run, regardless of personnel.
This year brings an added wrinkle: 7-foot, 260-pounds center Aziz N’Diaye.
The junior college transfer is expected to boost the Huskies’ interior defense, shot-blocking and rebounding – and he’s not expected to slow them down. Not when he runs a mile in 5:21.
That’s right. Five minutes, 21 seconds. Some guards can’t move like that. If you think Romar’s psyched to get N’Diaye on the floor, you’re right.
“We’ve played the way we play and have gotten away with it without having one of the key components in making our system work,” Romar told the Seattle Times. “But now we have someone that is back there that is pretty imposing down there.
“That just helps our defense. So we don’t have to do anything new — like now, all of a sudden we can play the way we wanted to play — it just helps it be more effective in how we’ve already been playing.”
The last time Washington had a mobile 7-footer was Spencer Hawes in 2006-07. The Huskies finished 19-13. Don’t expect more of the same. N’Diaye is there to run, rebound and block shots. Just ask him.
“I want to play as a team so it doesn’t matter what I do. I just want to do my job and help my team to win. So at the end of the day, what’s the score? It doesn’t matter if I have 20 rebounds. You have to get Ws. I’m just happy to win, get offensive rebounds, playing defense and finishing around the rim. Whenever I crash the rim, I have to finish. That’s my job. Rebounding and blocking shots,” he told the Times.