Overton happy about decision

Husky hoop fans got a unexpected lift Monday afternoon when it was announced that Franklin senior point guard Venoy Overton, who had previously committed to USC, made public his decision to enroll at Washington in the fall. Overton and Franklin head coach Jason Kerr spoke to Dawgman.com Monday night about the announcement.

"I kind of wanted to stay close to my family so they could watch me play," said Overton after leaving evening classes Monday night, "and I thought it was a better situation for me at Washington." Overton will sign a letter of intent when the signing period opens back up for high school basketball players in April.

Franklin Head Coach Jason Kerr was supportive of Overton's decision, though he cautioned against unrealistic expectations about Venoy fixing the Dawgs' point guard struggles right away. "I think Washington is a good fit," he explained. "But he's really no different than what a lot of the teams struggles are this year, which is youth while playing in a ridiculously difficult conference."

Overton's opportunity at Washington materialized over the course of the last six months as his commitment to USC started to unravel. Unknown to most fans, Overton never sent in his letter to the USC coaching staff during the fall signing period.

"USC started playing with my mind when Brandon Jennings committed to them, and I was thinking the team was going to be real deep and I didn't know where I was going to fit in," said Overton.

"I haven't really talked to them. They already know," he added.

Overton feels he really caught coach Romar's notice 'after I played at the UW against Bainbridge during the Hoopfest'. "They talked about how they really needed a point guard and how their style of play would fit me really well, and I felt the same way," Overton said.

While grades once seemed like a potential concern, all that has changed due to Overton's extra work in the classroom over the last 12 months, and to Coach Kerr, it's just another step in his maturation process. Kerr mused on why Overton escaped the notice of some of the bigger national programs.

"Our kids aren't going to be early explosion kids," he said. "We don't try to put freshmen and sophomores out there to try and get 30 points a game and just letting them cut lose. It's a four-year process to make them as good and fundamentally solid as they can be at the end of their four years."

That means athletes buying into the program long term, and being patient about seeing results. "A lot of times that means taking a step backwards," Kerr added. "They come out of those eighth grade years so used to dominating that it's a whole transformation."

As for Overton's development according to Kerr, he's come a long way and can now showcase the entire package.

"He came in as kind of a pure shooter, but didn't have the entire repertoire, but then spent so much time working on the other stuff that everybody forgot that he was a shooter," Kerr said. "He's now kind of come back full circle during his senior year offensively as he's become the full package in terms of being able to hit the three, shoot the mid range, get to the rack, and defensively he's really improved. He's just solid all the way around."

"I'm a playmaker who makes my teammates better and I like to get everybody involved," added Overton.

That's welcome news to Husky fans frustrated by the Dawgs' inconsistent play at the point this year. "I can play a combo," Overton said. "Mainly point, but I can play the combo role too."

As for where he can make an immediate impact, Overton didn't mince words.

"I think the guards haven't been doing a good job taking care of the ball," he said.

"Venoy at this stage is a very suave basketball player," added Kerr, avoiding the obvious comparisons to former Franklin star and current Oregon Duck Aaron Brooks. "He has the ability to read the defense, even at the second and third levels to see how they are going to react."

In fact, according to Kerr, there are few similarities between Overton and Brooks. "Aaron just used his explosive speed to get past the defense," he added. "Venoy ‘s game is much different. Venoy has the suave to change speeds. He's a tremendous on-ball defender with the quickness and length that make his height deceptive.

"In general, I think the Pac 10 conference is a good match for Venoy's style of play. I think in that sense, he's making the right decision to play in a conference which will allow him to use his speed and quickness and desire to play both sides of the ball to his team's advantage."

One comparison Husky fans might be a little more willing to stomach is that of former Husky playmaker and fan favorite Will Conroy, but Kerr wasn't biting.

"I will never make a comparison of one of our players being the next Garfield Bulldog player so I will say no comment to that," said Kerr.

Overton has plenty of love though for the man they call 'Dub C'.

"I became a big fan of Washington when Nate (Robinson) and Will Conroy and all those guys were here," he said. "I feel like I'm the start of the next generation of local guys at U-Dub."

Dawgs fans won't have to wait long to find out.

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