Huskies’ Mike Anderson adjusting to reserve role
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar decided he needed more size in the starting lineup, so he inserted Desmond Simmons and put Mike Anderson on the bench. But Anderson played a key role as reserve in win over Stanford.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Lorenzo Romar really likes reserve guard Mike Anderson on the floor with the starters.
A lineup that included C.J. Wilcox, Nigel Williams-Goss, Desmond Simmons, Perris Blackwell and Anderson helped the Washington men’s basketball team erase a 12-point, second-half deficit on Jan. 25 in an 87-81 comeback win against Oregon State.
Down six points at halftime to Stanford, Romar relied on a similar lineup — this time Shawn Kemp Jr. replaced Blackwell — to lead Washington’s comeback 64-60 victory on Wednesday.
Speaking of the group that includes Blackwell, Romar said, “Those five guys, I’ve seen it enough now to know there is no agenda at all. Those five guys are playing for one thing, to be the best they can be on that floor. You can have that intent sometimes, but then if things aren’t going right for you individually, you can get distracted.
“And you can begin to think internally what’s not happening right for you and now the next thing you know you’ve got four other guys who are like, ‘C’mon, are you with us or not?’
“Those five guys, when they’re playing with each other, they kind of feed off of each other’s energy. ‘We’re going to get this done together.’ Whenever you get a group on the floor that’s like that, they’re going to be pretty productive.”
Romar loves Anderson’s do-anything, no-quit mentality, which is why the 6-foot-4 junior-college transfer has started 18 games in Washington’s four-guard lineup.
The Huskies needed size on the front line so Simmons, 6-7, replaced Anderson last week. It might have taken Anderson three games to get adjusted to the reserve role and playing on the perimeter, but Wednesday against Stanford he produced his best game in months — 13 points, three assists and three rebounds.
After the game, Romar called Anderson the catalyst in the victory and conceded another lineup change was possible.
However, Washington (14-11, 6-6 Pac-12) isn’t making any changes for Saturday’s noon game against California (16-8, 7-4) at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Despite a recent slump, Andrew Andrews, who has started every game, remains in the lineup alongside Wilcox, Williams-Goss, Simmons and Blackwell.
Andrews has scored 11 points on 4-of-26 shooting the past three games. On Wednesday, he played a season-low five scoreless minutes in the first half and didn’t get off the bench in the second half.
“He was cheering his teammates on in the second half,” Romar said. “Down the stretch, he was in my ear.
“Outwardly, he handled it fine. I don’t think anyone who is accustomed and used to playing as much as he is and competitive as he is (will be) just totally fine about not playing as much as usual. But he handled it the right way.”
Asked what he expects from Andrews on Saturday, Romar said: “To bounce back and be relentless and come out and play well.”
Andrews is often referred to as Washington’s X-factor. He’s third on the team in scoring (11.5 points per game) and second with a 2.6 assists average.
Romar has long been an advocate of starting two point guards, which explains why he likes pairing Andrews, a 6-2 sophomore, with 6-3 freshman Williams-Goss.
“It helps us in taking care of the basketball,” Romar said. “You have two guys that can make plays for themselves and others.
“You watch some teams and they don’t have very many guys that can make plays for others. When you’re like that, you’re limited offensively.”
Williams-Goss making push
Arizona’s Aaron Gordon was the runaway preseason pick to win the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award.
However, with a handful of games remaining in the regular season, Williams-Goss is beginning to make a late push for the postseason honor.
“What he’s done for us as a freshman, he has to be in the discussion,” Romar said. “Right now, we’re not in the top four in the league. I wish we were. But he’s had a great freshman year. There’s not too many, if any, that are having a better freshman year than Nigel Williams-Goss.”
Williams-Goss leads conference freshmen in scoring (13.4), minutes (33.4) and he’s tied for the lead in assists average (4.0). Gordon averages 11.8 points and is tops among league freshmen with 8.0 rebounds for No. 2 Arizona.
• Wilcox is tied with Bob Houbregs for fourth place on Washington’s all-time scoring list with 1,774 points. He’s 12 points away from third-place Quincy Pondexter (1,786) and 31 from second-place Jon Brockman (1,805).
• When asked who should be on Washington’s Mount Rushmore of hoops, Romar said: “I may have to have a bigger mountain. Brandon Roy would have to be in there. Bob Houbregs, obviously. Detlef Schrempf would probably have to be in there somewhere. Then I don’t know. Probably would have to have like six in one.”