A Day with Terrence Ross


by: Griffin Bennett

I spent last Wednesday following Terrence Ross through a typical off season day. Most fans, including myself, don’t really know what these players do when it’s not basketball season. In my mind, seeing how a potential star like Ross went about his life as a student-athlete during the end of his freshman year in college was a perfect scenario. I was able to film most of the day’s events and as soon as I can edit it and put it all together I will post it on here.

First and foremost, I have to thank Terrence for allowing me to hang with him. He was incredibly nice and really appreciates all of us fans out there. He truly is a humble man and is almost unaware that he could be a future superstar. He seems to be almost embarrassed by the notion. The personal accolades don’t seem to interest him but when he steps on the court he thrives on the competition of the game. He told me that coming to UW and playing with Coach Romar “just felt right. You know what I mean?”. After being with him for just that short period of time, I totally know what he means.

Morning Workout:

It was 7:10 AM as I met Terrence outside Hec Ed for the first time. He seemed shy as we barely exchanged a full sentence before he led me into the depths of the arena and into the team’s locker room. The room itself isn’t as large as I thought it would be. It opens into a lounge area with a 50-or-so inch flat screen TV, purple couches, and two computers which are available to the players. Free fresh bagels from Noah’s sat on the table and were available to the players for breakfast. The lounge led into the locker room which was even smaller. It sported very nice individual lockers with each player’s name and picture framed on them. As I looked around the walls, they sported pictures of former Husky greats in action and a large John Wooden quote which stated ““Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are,”.

Terrence was one of the first players to show up for the scheduled morning workout and each arriving player looked more asleep then the last. C.J. Wilcox almost ran into me as he was rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Once dressed, the players went up to the north practice gym where they met with Strength and Conditioning coach Matt Ludwig. He led the team in some warm up drills which involved some standard stretches but soon developed into some unique exercise band routines. Everyone from the team had showed up to the early morning workout except Aziz N’diaye and Antoine Hosley. I don’t know where those two were, but no one seemed shocked that they weren’t there.

Ross' 30 yard dash

It seems that I had picked a good day show up for a workout as coach Ludwig was going to be testing each of the players’ speed, jumping, and endurance before they left for the long weekend. Terrence told me that today was going to be the hardest day of the week and he did not seem very excited for some drill called “spider weave” or something like that. I followed the team out of the practice gym and down onto the main court inside The Hangar. Coach Romar, Fortier, and Shaw were there waiting  to watch each of the players during their testing.

First off was 30 yard dash and each player was given two attempts to reach their fastest time. Ross’ fastest time was 3.73 and seemed disappointed as he said he had ran a faster time once before. C.J. Wilcox ended the test with the fastest time of 3.44 and Romar seemed impressed. I should mention that Abdul Gaddy did not participate in any of these tests and walked up and down the steps of Hec Ed instead.

Ross' standing jump

Next up was the standing jump and Coach Ludwig set up the measuring apparatus under one of the hoops. While not taking the player’s heights into account, Ludwig wanted to see how high each player could jump. Terrence led off again and set the bar high as he reached 132.5″ (11.04 feet). Keep in mind that the players were jumping flat footed with no steps. Each player was incredibly impressive and even Brenden Sherrer was in the 130′s. Not to be outdone, C.J. Wilcox set the highest team mark at 134″ (11.16 feet”). Afterwards, Romar had Wilcox and Ross measure their reach and Ross seemed to have close to an inch advantage. Wilcox was very impressive.

 

Gant's running jump

Then came the running jump. Each player was given an unlimited number of steps and was just told to get as high as they possibly could. This was a fun one. Terrence started off, keeping the same rotation, and got all the way up to 140″ (11.66 feet). Ross was at a disadvantage with going first as he tried to treat the jump as he would a dunk but the strategy didn’t seem to work the same. If it was a hang time competition, Ross was easily the winner. Wilcox hit 139.5″ and you could tell that Ross and Wilcox had a real rivalry going. They would joke and make fun of each other at every turn. Gant, as the tallest player there, set the highest mark at 143″ (11.91 feet).

Wilcox's long jump

Finishing off the jumping section of the test was the long jump. Ross jumped a 102″ which he seemed angry with. Wilcox, the star of the day, set a team high at 115″ which he was very pleased with. Desmond Simmons, who had been wearing a knee brace all morning, only jumped once and then decided against a second attempt.

 

Off to the box run, which was an agility drill where a player would start at one corner of a box and run forward to the first cone, then shuffle left to the second cone, back peddle to the third, shuffle right to the fourth, and then repeat the steps backwards to the beginning. Ross had the only sub-10 second time with a 9.83 and easily passed my eye-test. Watching Branden Sherrer attempt the drill had some of his teammates laughing as he kept knocking over cones.

Lastly was the dreaded “spider something” drill. I never got it’s full name but no player was excited to attempt it. It was an endurance drill where players had to run almost the entire length of the court back and forth as many times as they could in six 30 seconds intervals. In between each 30 second period would be 30 seconds of rest. The group of 6 players that were participating broke into 2 different groups, forwards (Gant, Sherrer, Simmons) and guards (Ross, Wilcox, Suggs). Ludwig wanted to see where the players’ dropped off in conditioning as he would note each player’s number of trips back and forth during each interval. I’m sure that was difficult to read as I could barely make sense of it as it was happening. While their individual times don’t really make any sense to us, the coaches seemed happy.

With the workout over, Ross asked me for the time and after I told him that it was 9:15. He looked at Gaddy and said, “We’re gonna be late,”. They had class at ten.

Time for Class:

I followed Ross and Gaddy to their class in the Architecture building, which as some of you know is on the other side of campus from Hec Ed. They got there just on time and got settled down for a 2 hour lecture. As a recent graduate myself, I had no intentions of sitting in one more two hour lecture ever again. I left the two sitting in class and planned on meeting up with them just before their afternoon practice. Ross had another hour-long class at 12:30 before a daily session with his academic tutor. With classes coming to an end in June he was preparing for his looming finals and was even working on some extra credit for another. He seemed to be working hard on his academics and told me later in our interview that his goal is to get his degree while at Washington. I believe him.

Afternoon Practice:

Similar to the morning session, I followed Terrence into the locker room and he told me that he was already late. He got changed quickly and ran onto the court where Aziz and Sherrer were working on post moves and Suggs was waiting for him to begin their shooting drills.

Ross mid-shot

Suggs and Ross switched off shooting from different locations around the court. Ross started off cold but ended strong while Suggs seemed to be dialed in the whole way. Each make and miss were recorded by a team manager and Romar, Chillious, Shaw, and Fortier were all there to watch. It’s a pretty pointless for me to comment much more on their shooting but both players have pretty shots and Ross’ early struggles seemed to be the only thing to note.

 

After their shooting ended, Romar called the guards over as he set up a two-on-two pick and roll drill. Ross and Aziz were paired up against Suggs and Sherrer as they switched off taking turns working on running the perfect pick and roll. After every attempt, Romar would coach up each player and was always there to give encouragement and never once said a negative thing. It was always about building the players up and telling them how to improve. The man is truly a breath of fresh air in a world were people like him are few and far between.

Aziz sets a pick on Suggs

After running through the drill a few dozen times each, Romar switched up the teams and picked up the pace. The competition immediately accelerated and they began to keep score at Romar’s direction. The first team to three won and then they would switch sides of the court (left or right) where they started. It was very close each time and Sherrer definitely held his own against the much larger Aziz. While on the topic, I must mention that Aziz looks like a tank. He has added some serious upper body muscle and looks like the African Terminator. His game, however, looks identical. He still missed close shots and lay ups and would consistently make poor decisions. Baby steps, I guess.

Aziz going against MBA

Now the fun was about to begin. Sherrer had class and had to leave practice early. In a scenario that could have been a WWE plot, Matthew Bryan-Amaning came walking out of the tunnel dressed up in recently acquired NBA team swag. I was almost expecting The Rock’s entrance music to start playing from the PA system. Maybe it would sound more like this.

MBA took Sherrer’s spot and teamed up with Ross. MBA’s energy instantly elevated the drill into a full fledged battle. Aziz vs. MBA. Suggs vs. Ross. It was great to watch. With the same rules as before, they battled to a tie before Romar called a huddle to end practice. Suggs wasn’t having any of it. He demanded a rubber match and Romar granted his wish. The trash talking began and players began complaining about fouls. With it tied 2-2 in the third and final game, MBA set a pick for Ross who faked right and dribbled left and drained a three-pointer over Suggs to seal the victory. It was very nice to watch some Husky basketball again.

The players walked back into the locker room to shower up and dress. It had been a long day for Terrence and he just wanted to go back home and relax. I met him at his apartment a little later for an interview but I’ll post that tomorrow.

I want to thank Terrence Ross and the entire Husky team for being incredibly kind and engaging. I also want to thank the coaches and especially Brian Tom of the athletic department for letting me watch, film, and interview Terrence for the day. Bow Down.

  • bellingham husky

    AWESOME Griffin! That’s just great stuff, well written.

    Ross does seem like a humble and intelligent young man, glad to see this.

    Love supporting Romar and this team! Work hard this summer!

  • ddogg

    Best post I have read on this site. Great insider info!

  • dawgpackpride

    thanks man!

  • Marshall

    nice article

  • Danny

    Thanks for posting this. Absolutely loved it. I never really knew they had such structured spring practices. Tross is so great in many ways and this just confirms.

  • TrevorP

    Great work! I always kind of wondered what it was like for players during the off season.

  • howitzer

    yea…what they said…!!!!!

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    Great stuff. On a related note. While Ross gives off a quite humble appearance, I have seen him googling his name several times in class including draft predictions.

  • ksig

    well a 2 hour class can be pretty boring…are you saying he’s not humble?

  • scgotts

    My girlfriend had a class with Holiday two years ago and she said he often googled/youtubed himself. I think all players want to see themselves regardless of how humble they are.

  • Jake

    Great article, I especially like to hear about the competition between Ross and Wilcox. I believe those two players will be special and hopefully they both stay and earn a degree.

  • SammyB

    Loved it. Very cool.

    Frankly I didn’t even know they worked out this time of year w/ coaches.

    Only complaint is that Aziz wasn’t at the AM workout AND no one was surprised. Combined with the troubles he had in the PM? Don’t like it.

  • Joe

    Will the video be on YouTube? Love the info during the offseason can’t wait!!!

  • Mike

    Thanks for doing this.

  • Brett

    Aziz easily could have had a class that prevented him from attending the morning workout. I don’t think it’s fair to complain about it without knowing the circumstances. Plus, all they did was perform tests. It’s not like they were working on basketball skills.

  • SammyB

    Brett, I complain about lots of things without knowing the facts: Traffic, the weather, the disparity between light-sweet crude oil prices and the price at the pump, I mean I could go on and on.

  • Anthony

    I love reading your articles. Keep up the great job!

    I don’t know why a big wouldn’t want to come here and start immediately…this team is stacked with playmakers and boast one of the best backcourt in the nation.

    I’m really worried about Aziz, he lacks touch around the rim and cannot stay out of foul trouble. He has stonehands for a center and his footwork is horrid. I’m really hoping Breunig comes to us.

    Go Dawgs!

  • NoahG

    @john Chase…Griff just said TRoss wants to get his degree not become an oxford scholar. no reason to point out random stuff about TRoss to make his look bad…The kid can flat out ball and he is a good dude…nuff said…BOW DOWN

  • NoahG

    No one likes a complainer

  • Evan

    Yeah, my first thought was that both Aziz and Hosley had class in the AM.

  • http://montlakemadness.com Griffin

    Thanks for the positive feedback guys. The video will be up on YouTube as soon as I can get it finished!

  • Paul

    1. I attended a practice last Fall and was similarly impressed by Romar’s treatment of the players. It further cemented in my mind my belief that through thick and thin I’ll support him as the UW b-ball coach.

    2. Not a huge deal, but all the same, loved Sugg’s competitive fire on that drill. I’ve wondered who would step up in I.T.’s stead in that area next season…could Suggs bring that fire/spirit?

    3. Ummm…let’s stop and consider just how good Wilcox could be next year? Potentially becoming so much more than just a great shooter. Wow.

    4. sammy b, I thought your retort was absolutely hilarious.

    5. Griffen, fantastic work…the best contribution by anyone on any Husky blog/web-site in months.

  • Husky808

    This post is beyond awesome. Can’t wait for the video.

    Despite what he says now, if Ross has the kind of meteoric sophomore year that we all want him to have he probably won’t stick around. There’s no win-win situation.
    From IT’s twitter: “Jus got done hoopin @ #UW wit my teammates… Ima tell yall now ur only gonna have Terrance Ross ONE more yr that boy is official!! DG I C U”

    And for all the times I’ve bemoaned MBA missing close shots/not going up strong thru contact, I’m sorry!! I going to miss him. We have no Power Forward. Just a big hole at that position :(

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    @NoahG, I’m not trying to make him look bad. I just thought it was funny. I’d google myself too if I was a star athlete.

  • craiger

    Great article as usual Griff. Ross is going to blow up this year and I still believe he has the potential to be Pac 12 POY. Can’t wait to see this team on the court in November.

    Can’t wait until the end of this weekend to see how we stand with Bruenig.

  • UWFan

    Great article, but I need to talk about this.

    So Breunig is picking betweem USF and UW. USF hasn’t made the NCAA’s since 1992, and gets pounded daily in the Big East. They are a permanent cellar dweller. Even finishing in the top 8 of that conference in the next 4 years would be considered amazing. Flip side, UW is regularly a dominant team, in a soon to be power conference, and we consistently play meaningful games in March. Plus we have Duke next year in the Mecca of basketball, on ESPN in primetime. I feel very good about our chances, but if LoRo can’t close this kid, that is a huge red flag for me. I can understand Chol, Pelle, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and others, but to lose this kid to USF means that Romar and his staff screwed up big time.

    I’m not a hater at all, I bleed husky basketball, moreso than any other team. But this are just my thoughts. And I love LoRo, he’s truly a class act among the filth like Tressel and Cali-slimy.

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    I’m with you UWFan

  • Husky808

    USF pros:
    - getting to say “I play in the Big East.”
    - good weather
    - potential to be one of the best/impact players on the team immediately rather than later

    UW pros:
    - annual Conference contender
    - annual competitive NCAA team
    - respected coach
    - talented teammates
    - excellent academics
    - waaay more exposure

    I only see us missing out on him for 2 reasons. Some kind of underhand deals (which we can’t do anything about; although I have heard multiple people say jokingly “Romar needs to start paying people”) OR Breunig is one of those occasional more talented kids that goes to a much worse school than they’re capable of just to be the star (in which case I don’t like that attitude and they can have him).
    Maybe I’m being too naive/optimistic but we should really have this one in the bag otherwise.

  • ddogg

    If we loose out to USF – there has to be some money or something under the table. Plain and simple… I don’t care what the pro’s and con’s are. When is the last time USF put out a first rounder or won a NCAA game? Nervous about the UCLA angle… hmmmm

  • Chaz

    Antoine Hosley wasen’t at practice because he is transferring to Sacramento St. next year. He said this to several of the UW teammates while playing basketball at the IMA. It also seems like he will get good playing time next year while @ Sac. st.
    Best of luck to him

  • Husky808

    Yeah I’ve heard murmurs about UCLA being interested in him. I don’t get it they have the most big men of anyone in the Pac10 – he wouldn’t get off the bench!

  • http://www.montlakemadness.com Themod

    Nice scoop, Chaz!

  • craiger

    UCLA just inquired. They dont have anything on the books. If all of the reports are true, Bruenig will decide on Sunday before UCLA even has a chance to get their hands on him.

    Its between us and USF.

  • http://www.huskydigest.com Jim Basnight

    Hosely won’t be able to play for Sac State next year, if this report is in fact true. He’ll have to sit out for a year under D1 transfer rules.

  • SammyB

    Jim’s right. Bball in the Big Sky isn’t like fball rules. One thing’s for sure: as deep as we are at guard he’s never going to see the floor here. He has the weirdest game too. Nothing smooth about it. His jumper looks…godawful.

    808, you had some good stuff up there.

  • Husky808

    Hahaha no offense to Hosley, he seems like a nice guy but I agree. I think he’s made like two 3s this year and both times I could not believe that just went in.

    Man the weather today is gonna be better than in Florida!

  • Husky808

    Wroten and some Hikeem highlights from Rip the Cut:

  • Venoying

    Are you sure Hosley won’t be able to next year, at Sac St.? He was a walk-on at UW not a scholarship player and I thought that rule only applied to scholarship players.

  • http://uwbasketblog.blogspot.com John Chase

    Sounds like we got Breunig today.

  • Tone
  • Husky808

    YES! We’re better than USF!
    I kid, I kid – this is a great for the Huskies.

    This was on Twitter: NorthstarBball Alex Schwartz by bc_brewcity:
    In addition, Martin Breunig was the second best available player in the class of 2011, behind only DeAndre Daniels.

  • DinnerONMe

    What is his weight? I have been reading conflicting information.

  • Husky808

    I’ve seen 6’8″ 215 and 6’9″ 235. That probably means he’s 6’8″ 230.

  • UWFan

    WOOF!

  • Purp Squad

    Montlake said he will be used similar to gant last year, i agree in part to that, but instead of a competent jumper i think his weapon will be stretching bigs to the perimeter and then slashing on them, from his highlight video that seemed to be his most comfortable move, a driving big like reeves nelson is an element we are missing so it will be nice to add that

  • Evan

    Now that you bring it up, I think Reeves Nelson is a pretty good comp for Bruenig. They seem to have similar games. Nelson a little bit tougher and Bruenig more of an outside threat.

  • Purp Squad

    Another comparison ive seen made is a kyle singler type of game

  • UW/Sonic Fan

    Favorite article in years. Would appreciate it if you would do an article like this on every player – day in the life type of thing, even if it’s several hours of summer school and no basketball, just time talking with the player. Great stuff, hope to see more of this… soon! Thank you.

    Love Ross’ comments on 4 years with so many others commenting on him being a lottery pick next year. Will be interesting to watch how he plays that out.