Lorenzo Romar says there’s a little ‘Magic’ in Tony Wroten

Leave a comment

How can Washington replace All-Pac-10 guard Isaiah Thomas? With a little Magic.

Incoming freshman Tony Wroten is big, savvy guard who thrives with the ball in his hands, whether it’s creating for teammates or creating his own shot. In fact, he’s a little too good at times.

If one of Wroten’s new Husky teammates aren’t ready for the ball, they might miss an easy scoring opportunity. As coach Lorenzo Romar told the Seattle Times, his guys simply aren’t used to that kind of skill:

“Our guys are still learning how to adjust to catching his passes because he’s the type of passes that passes you the ball when you don’t know you’re open,” Romar told the paper.

That’s where Magic comes in. Yes, with a capital letter, as in Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

From the paper:

On what player comes to mind when looking at Wroten: “Magic Johnson. … I’m not going to tell you right now he’s going to be a 14-year NBA all-star and first five of the all-time greatest player (and) he is Magic Johnson. I’m not going to tell you that. He has the potential of be a great basketball player. I just know that he has that size to where he can look over the defense. Magic was 6-9 and Tony is right at 6-5. … Sometimes guys see things, but they see it a second late. He sees things right as they are developing and he delivers the ball on the spot. And he can do that while going full speed. And those are things that Magic was able to do.”

Romar – to his credit – isn’t calling Wroten the “next Magic” or even a future superstar. But it’s clear he thinks Wroten is capable of big things because he’s capable of making plays other simply don’t see. Those guys are rare. Magic was exceedingly rare, Wroten’s ceiling is clearly higher than most.

And if Wroten elevates the Huskies the same way Magic elevated his teams, hey, then Romar can really enjoy those passes.

Related stories:

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

No. 15 Texas Tech Breezes Past Short-Handed Baylor 86-61

AP Photo/Brad Tollefson
Leave a comment

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Jarrett Culver scored 18 points and Davide Moretti added 17 as No. 15 Texas Tech cruised past short-handed and turnover-prone Baylor 86-61 on Saturday.

Jared Butler scored 16 points and Mario Kegler added 15 for the Bears, who were without key backcourt players Makai Mason (foot) and King McClure (knee) for the third consecutive game.

Texas Tech (21-6, 9-4 Big 12) stayed in second place in the Big 12 by using an uncharacteristic hot hand from 3-point range to surge into a first-half lead that was never threatened.

The Raiders made 8 of 14 from long range in the first half, compared to 2 of 12 from inside the arc. Texas Tech finished 12 of 29 on 3-pointers.

Culver made three 3s on the way to 14 first-half points while Moretti was 4 of 8 for the game.

The same offensive problems Baylor encountered in the previous two games without Mason and McClure surfaced again while facing one of the best defensive teams in the country.

The Bears (16-9, 7-5) struggled with 19 turnovers that led to 25 points for Texas Tech in their third loss in four games since a six-game winning streak that put them in Big 12 contention. They shot 35 percent (17 of 49) while missing 10 of 12 from 3-point range after halftime.

Baylor was within 18-15 after a 3-pointer by Butler, but the Red Raiders reeled off a 10-0 run that included seven points from Matt Mooney.

Devonte Bandoo and Butler connected on consecutive 3s to get Baylor within seven before Texas Tech answered with another burst for a 45-32 halftime lead. The Raiders opened the second half with an 11-2 run, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by Moretti.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears are swooning, with three losses in their last four games, and are fading out of serious contention for the Big 12 championship.

Texas Tech: Since a humbling performance at Kansas that was their only loss in the past seven games, the Red Raiders have found a groove. Three of the four victories on the current winning streak were by at least 25 points.

Koumadje leads No. 17 Florida State past Georgia Tech 69-47

AP Photo/Danny Karnik
Leave a comment

ATLANTA — Christ Koumadje had 10 points and 12 rebounds as No. 17 Florida State tied a school record with its seventh straight ACC win, beating Georgia Tech 69-47 Saturday.

Freshman Devin Vassell came off the bench to score a team-high 11 while playing in his hometown for the Seminoles (20-5, 8-4).

Georgia Tech (11-15, 3-10) lost its seventh straight ACC game with another offensive struggle.

Tech guard Jose Alvarado broke out of a lengthy slump with 17 points, but the Yellow Jackets made just 8 of 36 shots from inside the 3-point arc and shot 34.8 percent overall. They’ve averaged 53.1 points in the streak. On Saturday, they put up their seventh and eighth halves in the streak scoring 25 or fewer points.

The teams were tied at 10 early before the Jackets fell into the first of multiple shooting freezes, and the Seminoles stretched their lead to 31-15 on a layup by Terance Mann with 4:27 left.

To that point, Tech had made just 6 of 26 shots, and center James Banks III — the Jackets’ leading scorer in ACC action — was off the mark on his first six.

Phil Cofer, David Nichols and Vassell each a pair of 3-pointers before Alvarado and Abdoulaye Gueye hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc for the Jackets, and Banks finally got loose for a dunk shortly before the buzzer to pull Tech within 34-23 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Florida State: The first time the Seminoles put together a seven-game ACC winning streak, in the 2011-’12 season, they went on to win the ACC Tournament. This also cemented a fourth consecutive season with 20 or more wins overall, matching a run from 2009-’12 that also was under head coach Leonard Hamilton.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets keep churning their lineup, as freshman forward Kristian Sjolund made his first start and sophomore Moses Wright returned to the lineup for the first time in more than a month. Sjolund scored 19 points in Tech’s previous two games after scoring just nine combined all season before that, and he can shoot. They were replaced to start the second half by Gueye and Brandon Alston. Sjolund had 11 points, including 3 of 7 3-pointers, and Wright scored two.

Guy, Hunter lead No. 4 Virginia past Notre Dame, 60-54

Guy, Hunter lead No. 4 Virginia past Notre Dame, 60-54
Leave a comment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Kyle Guy scored 22 points, De’Andre Hunter had 20 with 10 rebounds and No. 4 Virginia withstood a late push by Notre Dame to win 60-54 on Saturday.

Hunter scored six points during a 9-0 run for the Cavaliers (22-2, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) after the Fighting Irish closed to within 45-44 with 8:12 left.

But Notre Dame (13-12, 3-9) then went more than five minutes without a point as Hunter scored inside and hit four free throws. Guy added a 3-pointer and it was 54-44 with less than five minutes to play.

T.J. Gibbs scored 17 and D.J. Harvey had 10 for Notre Dame. Gibbs scored Notre Dame’s first 10 points and was the only Irish player to score until Harvey’s basket with 6:41 left in the first half.

Notre Dame closed to within 54-50 when Virginia went scoreless for more than four minutes after a pair of free throws by Hunter with 4:55 left. The Irish called timeout with 41 seconds left, and when Virginia inbounded the ball to Guy, Nate Laszewski stole it and scored with 34.5 seconds left, making it 54-52 and prompting a timeout by the Cavaliers. After Virginia inbounded, Guy was fouled and made both ends of a 1-and-1. A dunk by John Mooney for the Irish and two more free throws by Guy finished it off for the Cavaliers.

Virginia led just 29-25 at halftime but looked poised to pull away after a 10-3 run early in the second half gave the Cavaliers a 39-30 lead. The Irish responded with a 10-2 surge as Laszewski scored seven of the 10 points. That pulled them within 41-40 with just under 11 minutes to play and the Cavaliers never relinquished the lead, but also struggled to get much separation.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Irish nearly pulled off a stunning upset against a Virginia team that hadn’t played since Monday and shot the ball poorly. Notre Dame’s zone defense disrupted Virginia’s rhythm. The Cavaliers won 82-55 when the teams played in South Bend, Indiana, on Jan. 26.

Virginia: The Cavaliers had uncharacteristically averaged 13.5 turnovers in their past four games, but cleaned that up, at least in the first half when they had no turnovers. They did cough it up eight times in the second half and were outscored 9-1 in points off turnovers for the game.

WATCH: No. 16 Louisville avoids late disaster, beats Clemson 56-55

Leave a comment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Christen Cunningham scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to rally No. 16 Louisville, which hung on for a 56-55 victory over Clemson on Saturday.

The Cardinals (18-8, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 56-49 with 17 seconds left after a free throw by Steven Enoch but then nearly lost a third straight in disastrous fashion. Louisville saw a 23-point second-half lead evaporate against No. 2 Duke on Tuesday.

A turnover and a held ball in the Tigers end led to a pair of 3-pointers by Marcquise Reed, the latter making it a one-point game with 3 seconds left. Louisville’s Jordan Nwora tried to inbound the ball, but Reed got the steal. Nwora redeemed himself by blocking Reed’s shot, and Clemson could not get off another shot before time ran out.

Cunningham hit 5 of 7 shots in the second half to help Louisville come back from a seven-point deficit.

Louisville was held to a season-low 19 first-half points thanks to shooting a season-worst 29.6 percent in the half. While Clemson wasn’t much better at 37 percent, the Tigers took a four-point lead at the break thanks to a 3-pointer just before the buzzer by Clyde Trapp.

Elijah Thomas led the Tigers (15-10, 5-7) with 15 points. Reed had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: The Tigers dictated play with their physicality inside and defense. Clemson held the Cardinals to season-low 35.2-percent shooting and held Louisville to just three offensive boards. They could keep it up for a full 40 minutes, but their defense gave them a chance for an upset.

Louisville: After losing three of their previous four, the Cardinals looked anything but great on Saturday. The Cardinals’ play in the closing seconds was reminiscent of how they wrapped up the Duke game on Tuesday and is something coach Chris Mack needs to address immediately.

Johnson, No. 8 North Carolina roll past Wake Forest 95-57

AP Photo/Ben McKeown
Leave a comment

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Cameron Johnson scored 27 points, and eighth-ranked North Carolina scored the game’s first 18 points in Saturday’s 95-57 win over Wake Forest.

Freshman Coby White added 10 points, five rebounds and six assists for the Tar Heels (20-5, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who dominated from the tip following their first loss in a month.

The Tar Heels, who lost to fourth-ranked Virginia on Monday, ran out to leads of 18-0, 25-3 and 35-7. They shot 74 percent in the opening half and finished at 62 percent while making 16 of 25 3-pointers, with Johnson making his first eight shots and six from behind the arc.

Freshman Jaylen Hoard scored 17 points in an ugly afternoon for the Demon Deacons (9-15, 2-10), who suffered their most lopsided loss in three decades at Joel Coliseum.

Wake Forest shot 33 percent.

BIG PICTURE

UNC: The Tar Heels got anything they wanted to start a game that resembled more of a November tuneup than a February league date. Johnson led that effort by making 10 of 13 shots and 7 of 10 3-pointers. Still, there was at least one apparent concern: the health of freshman reserve Nassir Little. He was a gametime decision after rolling his right ankle early against Virginia and felt good enough to play 11 first-half minutes, but he wasn’t on the bench after halftime.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons found reason for hope with a Jan. 15 win against then-No. 17 North Carolina State, but they had won just once since with five losses coming by at least 16 points. Things began badly Saturday when Hoard didn’t start after arriving late for a pregame shootaround. And they got no better, most notably with leading scorer Brandon Childress (15.1 points) going scoreless on 0-for-12 shooting with six turnovers.