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Originally published Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM

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Huskies' Lorenzo Romar lands Lamont Smith from rival Arizona State

Lamont Smith on Thursday became Washington men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar's second assistant hired this week.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Come on Seattle Times; "Lorenzo Romar steals Lamont..." Please stop! I know... MORE
This hire of Lamont Smith along with Brad Jackson brings the Husky basketball coaching... MORE
Should see an immediate improvement in the play of our big men. Another welcome change... MORE

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Perhaps the word of the season for the Washington men's basketball team is change because so much about the team is new.

New stars. New offense. And two new additions to the coaching staff.

The offseason makeover continued Thursday when coach Lorenzo Romar plucked Arizona State assistant Lamont Smith away from the Sun Devils. On Monday, the Huskies introduced new assistant Brad Jackson, who spent the previous 27 years at Western Washington and won an NCAA Division II title last season.

In one swoop, the Huskies weakened a reeling Pac-12 opponent — Arizona State also lost assistant Scott Pera this week — while landing a heralded, young recruiter familiar with scouting on the West Coast.

The move also reunites Smith, 36, and Romar after 11 years.

Their relationship began in 1999 when Romar hired him as a graduate assistant at Saint Louis. They worked together for three years before Romar left to take the Washington job.

"I know Lamont really well," Romar said in a statement released by UW. "I was able to give him his first job and I coached against him when he was a player at the University of San Diego.

"He has a great basketball mind and will have a big impact on our program."

To make room on the four-man coaching staff for Smith, the Huskies reassigned Paul Fortier. After seven years on the bench, the former UW standout forward will now serve as director of player personnel and player development.

Assistant Jim Shaw returns for a ninth season at Washington while Raphael Chillious left for Villanova.

In addition to taking a prominent role in recruiting, Smith is expected to work with the Huskies' forwards and centers, which had been Fortier's duties.

Smith was a 6-foot-2 defensive-minded guard at San Diego from 1994 to 1999 but he has worked with big men during coaching stops at St. Mary's (2001-07) and Santa Clara (2007-08).

He spent the past four years at Arizona State (2008-12) but had hoped to reconnect with his former mentor.

"I have always really watched his (Romar's) career and the success he has had," Smith said. "Any time you can coach with a man that has his type of character and work ethic, you just kind of gravitate toward that.

"I am very excited that I will be able to wake up every day and help Washington build on the success they have had and help them win championships."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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