Washington will have a bunch of newcomers this basketball season to go along with Andrew Andrews

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SAN FRANCISCO — Lorenzo Romar gets it.

The Washington men’s basketball coach understands why media members picked the Huskies 11th — the lowest since he took over 13 years ago — in the Pac-12 preseason poll.

“If I don’t know what our new players are like … and we lost what we lost,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to pick us very high if you’re outside of our camp.”

Not much is expected from a UW team that placed 11th in the conference last season at 5-13 and finished 16-15 overall while missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Romar acknowledged Washington is a bit of a mystery because the team had nine players leave the program in the past year due to graduation, transfer or dismissal.

Even though the Huskies bring in a heralded recruiting class that’s ranked among the top 10 in the country, they return just two players (senior guard Andrew Andrews and sophomore wing Donaven Dorsey) who were in the rotation last season and must integrate seven freshmen and one junior-college transfer.

“It’s good,” Andrews said with a wry smile. “Less expectations are better. We can catch people by surprise.”

It’s been almost two weeks since the Huskies began practicing Oct. 3, and Andrews has been impressed with how quickly the newcomers are learning the system.

“This has been the quickest learning I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’m more vocal now than I was (in summer workouts). Just pointing out little things and getting them used to how it’ll be in the game.”

Romar also complimented the newcomers, particularly freshmen Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss.

Chriss, who fractured his right wrist during a summer workout, sat out UW’s first three practices but began working out with the team last week.

His right hand is bandaged, which has forced the 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward to rely solely on his left hand. Romar said he believes Chriss will be fully recovered before UW’s Nov. 13 opener against Texas in Shanghai, China.

“Everybody is coming into their own, but the most impressive thing I’ve seen is Marquese,” Andrews said. “He fractured his right hand and in a matter of a week he’s playing and practicing fully with his left hand. That’s going to help him in the long run.”

With the exception of Andrews, Romar hasn’t decided on a starting lineup or set a rotation.

Andrews, UW’s leading returning scorer who averaged 15.0 points last season, represented the Huskies at the Pac-12 media day Thursday.

Aside from being picked next-to-last in the preseason poll, he enjoyed touring the conference headquarters and sharing the stage with the league’s top players and coaches.

“When it’s all said and done, the people who (picked UW 11th) will probably take it back,” Andrews said.

Romar expects the preseason poll will send a message to the Huskies.

“I’m sure it’ll come up, but we need to have more internal motivation,” he said. “If your only motivation is coming from that, it’s going to be pretty shallow.”

Huskies in preseason polls
A look at where the Huskies men have been picked in the Pac-12 preseason media poll and how they’ve fared under coach Lorenzo Romar.
Season Prediction Finish
2014-15 Sixth 11th
2013-14 Eighth Tied for eighth
2012-13 Fifth Tied for sixth
2011-12 Fourth First
2010-11 First Third
2009-10 Second Third
2008-09 Fifth First
2007-08 Second Eighth
2006-07 Third Seventh
2005-06 Fourth Second
2004-05 Second Second
2003-04 Eighth Second
2002-03 Eighth Second