Romar Needs More Time

Unless you wanted Romar fired after last year, do not call for his job during or after the upcoming 2014-2015 season. This year's team will have lost CJ Wilcox, Perris Blackwell, and Desmond Simmons. The one major addition will be Jernard Jarreau, providing he can return seamlessly from the knee injury that ended his 13-14 season. Yes, three recruits will also come aboard as part of the annual haul: Donavon Dorsey, Quevyn Winters, and Tristan Etienne. None of them should be depended on to contribute in their first season on campus. Check back in two or three years and perhaps they'll be starting.

That leaves a likely lineup of Nigel Williams-Goss, Andrew Andrews, Mike Anderson, Jernard Jarreau, and Robert Upshaw (provided he stays out of trouble). In this hypothetical Jahmel Taylor, Darin Johnson, and Shawn Kemp Jr. would come off the bench. Unless several of those players take massive steps forward, the loss of Wilcox alone probably keeps this team from improving much over last year's 17-15 mediocrity.

I don't believe that Romar is beyond reproach simply because he elevated the program. He must be held to the standard he set. Fans deserve to be frustrated with the last three seasons, and especially the talent that surrounded first-round pick C.J. Wilcox over the past two. It will be tempting to get even more frustrated watching the same thing happen to Williams-Goss this winter.

Don't give in and call for Romar's head when the roster was already set months ago. The die is already cast, and something miraculous would have to happen for this team to reach the NCAA tournament in ‘14-‘15 (don't get me wrong, as a fan I will be hoping they pull it off). If that is too much for you to handle, you should have called for his head in March. If you did, well, sorry it didn't happen for you.

If the team is in the dumps mid-season, I will not be calling for Romar's termination. Instead, I will be watching YouTube clips of Dejounte Murray, Marquese Chriss, and David Crisp. Currently those three players make up the verbally-committed Class of 2015. Murray and Chriss are both consensus four-star recruits, with Crisp receiving a little less praise. While Chriss hails from Northern California, Murray and Crisp started at the one and two for Rainier Beach's state championship squad. Nothing is certain until the pen hits paper, but all three are considered hard commits.

There is hope. After years of finishing second for five-star mega recruits, Romar has finally managed to put together a top-flight class by dialing things back and getting realistic. He focused on the greatest producer of basketball talent in the region, Rainier Beach, and then found a high-end recruit in the Bay Area that he could be confident about landing long before a dramatic put-on-the-hat decision.

It isn't even close to certain that these three freshmen can help Washington compete for a Pac-12 Championship and return to the tourney, but the possibility that Murray and Chriss can both seize starting spots is very real. Combined with returning guys like NWG (who could return for a third year, however unlikely that is), Jernard Jarreau, Darin Johnson, and Robert Upshaw, the level of talent should be significantly elevated.

Sure, It isn't ideal to excuse a coach for a disappointing season before it's even started, but fire Romar now or after the upcoming season and watch that talented 2015 class break apart. He is Washington basketball, and it would be straight up luck if the man hired to replace him turned out to be capable of reproducing his success.

Romar is responsible for the mediocrity of the last several years, but he also deserves the credit for putting together such a talented class. Watch for signs of positive development in 2014-15, hope for respectable play, and think of it all in the context of 2015-16, when reinforcements will arrive. Let Romar coach his 2015 class. If he still fails to return to the tourney, it will be time for a tougher discussion.

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