Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has guided the Huskies in some major early-season tournaments, but says the EA Sports Maui Invitational stacks up with all of them.
"I think it's the best one we'll have been a part of since we've been here," Romar, who took over at Washington in 2003, said in an interview Friday posted on the school's athletics website. "The Great Alaska Shootout (which the Huskies won in 2005) had some quality teams in it, they did a really nice job. The Preseason NIT is something you look forward to, you're able to go to the Garden, go to New York and play (which Washington did in 2007), but having participated in the Maui Classic before, I remember how good a job they did there as well. It's a really, really nice tournament to be a part of."
Romar was part of the coaching staff at UCLA when the Bruins placed sixth on Maui in 1995.
Lorenzo Romar, in his eighth season as Washington’s head coach, was an assistant with UCLA when the Bruins played on Maui in 1995.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON photo
"You know there's going be a high level of competition. You know the entire world's able to see it - it's televised everywhere," Romar said. "It's kind of one of the tournaments that everyone looks forward to watching every year."
Washington is making its Maui debut, but has a history in Hawaii, with a 12-4 record in the Aloha State that includes three appearances in the Rainbow Classic, one in the Big Island Invitational and regular-season road games against the University of Hawaii.
* MICHIGAN STATE: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has said center Derrick Nix won't be with the team during the Maui Invitational.
EA SPORTS MAUI INVITATIONAL
At Lahaina Civic Center
Connecticut vs. Wichita St., 10 a.m. (ESPN2)
Kentucky vs. Oklahoma, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan St. vs. Chaminade, 4:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Washington vs. Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Connecticut-Wichita St. loser vs. Michigan St.-Chaminade loser, 9 a.m. (ESPN2)
Kentucky-Oklahoma loser vs. Washington-Virginia loser, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Connecticut-Wichita St. winner vs. Michigan St.-Chaminade winner, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Kentucky-Oklahoma winner vs. Washington-Virginia winner, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Seventh-place game, 9:30 a.m. (ESPNU)
Third-place game, noon (ESPN2)
Fifth-place game, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Championship game, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
"Nix has got some personal issues and he is not suspended, we've just elected between him and I not to go to Maui," Izzo was quoted as saying in the Lansing State Journal.
Nix totaled two points and five rebounds in 19 minutes in the Spartans' two games this season, wins over South Carolina and Eastern Michigan.
Last season, Nix played in 36 games, starting 16, and averaged 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.8 minutes.
* WICHITA STATE: The trip to Maui is a first for not only the Wichita State program, but also the Shockers' coach, Gregg Marshall, who said he has never been to the Valley Isle, for work or pleasure.
"Our players are probably excited, my family's excited, I'm excited," he said in an interview posted Thursday on the school's athletics website.
As for what he wants out of the trip, he said: "I hope that we find out that we're mentally and physically tough as nails."
The Shockers face Connecticut in the tournament opener Monday morning.