Listening to Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar tell it, it's probably safe to assume that his team understands the significance of tomorrow's marquee matchup against Arizona
"Knowing our team, my guess would be that we understand it's an important game and our guys do understand that Arizona has only lost one," said Romar. "We're playing at home - I think our guys understand the importance."
UW guard Isaiah Thomas - who has been mentioned with Arizona's Derrick Williams as a possible frontrunner for Pac-10 Player of the Year - not only seems to understand the magnitude of this game, but also even seems a little excited about it.
Thursday Looms Big For UW And Arizona - University of Washington Official Athletics Site
"It's going to be crazy, man," Thomas said of a sold-out Hec Edmundson Pavilion that should be rockin' like no other time this season. "I picture it like when (5-7) Nate Robinson got that alley-ooop against Arizona (on Jan. 29, 2004). It was standing-room only over there.
"I mean, it's going to be fun. I can't wait. It's going to be a huge game. We haven't really had a big game like this at home this year. I'm waiting for what the fans got. I'm waiting for what we're going to bring out. It should be a good one."
But down in Arizona, fans and media alike might see Thomas' comment as a cleanup after he supposedly gave the Wildcats a little bulletin board material after the Cal game.
Isaiah Thomas puts its all together for UW - College Basketball Nation Blog - ESPN
The showdown in Seattle is fast approaching, as Washington gets set to host Arizona later this week with first place in the Pac-10 on the line.
Isaiah Thomas hasn’t circled Thursday on his calendar, though.
"I haven’t," the UW guard said. "They probably have."
And at least one writer at SBN's Arizona Wildcats site Arizona Desert Swarm is none too happy about it, at least in the sense it might be the type of bulletin board material that will spark the Wildcats to swarm into Hec Ed and hand the Huskies their first home loss.
Isaiah Thomas fanning the flames of an already exciting game. - Arizona Desert Swarm
Wow. I'd just like to send a big 'thank you' to Mr. Thomas. His comment has surely reached the ears of the Arizona players. And while the coach may down-play it, there is no way that Momo Jones, Derrick Williams, and the rest of the Wildcats will take that lying down. Thank you, Mr. Thomas, for providing a spark to make the Wildcats train a little harder, focus a little better on beating you. It is likely that the Wildcats will be playing their best game so far this season, and Washington had better do the same or Isaiah Thomas and Co. will lose in front of their home crowd.
However, I might suggest an alternative perspective on his comments.
First, echoing his comments above, the full quote suggests that he's not exactly looking past the Wildcats.
Husky Basketball | Huskies are back, rout Cal | Seattle Times Newspaper
Thomas said the Wildcats probably have had the game circled on the calendar for some time.
"I haven't, but they probably have," he said. "It's going to be a good one."
Second, chances are that if you're a Division I athlete on a team favored to win the Pac-10 since about September, you're not really circling individual games on a calendar that often. In fact, you're probably stepping onto the floor every night expecting to win. It might even be reasonable to suggest that other teams are gunning for you.
Because, you know, that is what competitors do.
And there should be no confusion about Thomas' competitiveness.
"As an athlete anyone that aspires to be something great, you kind of have to think that way: you always have to think that you're the best out there, especially at his size," said Romar. "He has to think he's the best and he has to have an attitude about it. It makes it difficult sometimes as a coach because there's a certain way you want your players to handle themselves at all times on the court - you know, he's pretty flamboyant on the court."
If Romar can handle a little attitude on the court, I think I can live with Thomas not going around circling games on a calendar.
And if you think Williams is going to come into Hec Ed with his lips sealed, perhaps you should inform his teammates.
Arizona Wildcats basketball begins 'make or break' stretch
And who among the Cats is the best trash talker?
Hill initially said point guard MoMo Jones, but changed his mind to sophomore forward Derrick Williams.
"I'd say Derrick," Hill said. "When he gets going, it's hard to stop Derrick on the court, so he feels like he can say whatever he wants to to the other guys."
It would be more than a little surprising if Arizona players took Thomas' comment as anything more than an off-hand post-game statement in response to a question that may well have come off as irrelevant to him. Now that it's a story and all, it might make for some fun commentary as they're dapping each other up before the tip.
Otherwise, this probably doesn't qualify as the type bulletin board material that would spark a big win.