Lorenzo Romar will be hitting the road to recruit for Arizona this weekend, and he won’t be focused just on his old backyard.
“It was never communicated to me by coach (Sean) Miller that `We’re bringing you in because we want you to get the Seattle kids,’ “ the former Washington coach said during his introductory news conference Thursday at McKale Center.
However, Romar will be recruiting up and down the West Coast, so some contact in Seattle will be inevitable. The Wildcats and Huskies may even go up against the same targets in many cases; Jaylen Nowell appeared to already be one before he reaffirmed his signing with Washington earlier this week.
“It will be a different experience,” Romar said. “There’s no doubt about that. But anybody would understand we’re all trying to be the best we can be.”
Romar has already experienced plenty of difficult and awkward moments in recruiting – that is, each time he called the members of his heralded 2017 recruiting class – most of which dissipated after his firing last month.
“None of those were fun conversations,” Romar said. “I talked to all of them. I tried to encourage them that they had something special going. I would try to get a feel for what they were thinking at the time.”
Romar said he was impressed with the “kind of character” Miller has been targeting in his recruiting and that he hoped he could help wherever needed. With Joe Pasternack having taken his California recruiting ties to UC Santa Barbara, it is clear that Romar will be needed in the West.
“They do a phenomenal job in recruiting,” Romar said. “We recruited against them (at Washington) and you hear how the kids talk about the Arizona program and the coaching staff, and how they go about their business. It’s really impressive. I’m coming in here with the attitude of whatever I can do to help and make sure Arizona basketball at last stays where it’s at and hopefully try to get it even better. Whatever I can do to do that, I’m gonna try to do.”
Romar, 58, said he was interested in becoming a head coach again but wasn’t focused on that now.
“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ve talked to many assistants before and especially if they haven’t got that head coaching job they can’t wait to get one and sometimes they prematurely take one that may not be the best situation for them.
“But I am not coming here thinking, ‘OK, I’ll put up with this for a few months so that I can .. no, that’s not my train of thought . I’m here and locked in and we’ll just go and see what happens. I’m not in a hurry to get away from this situation.”
Romar was 3-11 against the Wildcats at McKale Center as Washington’s head coach, but won 89-84 in just his second try, when Nate Robinson had 18 points and Brandon Roy added 12 during the 2003-04 season.
“That game was fairly close, maybe four or five points, and at the end Arizona shot the ball and it came off the rim and everybody stood around and watched it as if the game was over,” Romar said. “And I remember standing there thinking, `We about to win this? Here? Really? OK.’
“You want to not only compete against the best but you want to be able to succeed against the best and if you can get a victory here boy you feel good.”
On Thursday, Romar walked around McKale Center wearing a blue T-shirt bearing the words “Wildcat basketball never stops" and showed up in it at his introductory news conference.
He was asked how wearing the shirt felt.
“It’s pretty sweet,” he said. “Yeah. Blue and red.”
We’ll have more from Romar posted later this evening and in Friday’s print edition.