Romar on Overton

Washington Head Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar knew he had a keeper in Venoy Overton when the 6-foot guard from Franklin High in Seattle did something reminiscent of another successful Husky guard, Will Conroy. He kissed the 'W'.

The 'W' refers to the Washington 'W' that adorns the middle of the basketball court at Bank of America Arena. Conroy kissed the 'W' as he was leaving the program, matriculating toward a life in professional basketball. Overton 'kissed the W' during the annual King Holiday Hoopfest this past January.

"Guys have pride in being a Husky and representing this University, and that's what Venoy has," Romar said Thursday, the day Overton officially sent his letter of intent to play basketball for the Huskies. "He loves this University."

Washington wasn't Overton's first choice, initially. Because the Huskies were set on taking former Curtis standout Isaiah Thomas, there just wasn't room for another guard. But when Thomas enrolled at the South Kent School in Connecticut and was reclassified as a 2008 prospect, it opened the doors for Overton and the Huskies to court each other. OVerton was verbally committed to USC at the time, but did not sign a letter of intent during the early signing period, allowing him to still pursue other options.

It was at that time when the Huskies knew they didn't want Overton to leave the city limits. He averaged 21.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals during his senior season, eventually earning State 4A Player of the Year honors.

Overton led the Quakers to the 2006 state championship, where they placed third at the state tournament, eventually posting a 24-3 record with a perfect 14-0 mark in KingCo Conference play. He also twice received the KingCo Most Valuable Player award.

It was something that happened during that tournament that solidified Romar's belief that Overton should be a Husky. It was the same thing he had seen in Conroy when he was at Garfield and the same thing he had seen in Nate Robinson when he was playing his high school ball at Rainier Beach.

The Quakers were losing badly to eventual 4A champ Ferris at the time. Overton fouled out, but instead of sulking about it, he turned his attention toward the rest of his teammates out on the floor and cheered his team on even though they clearly weren't going to win. He huddled the team up after the game, letting them know that they had nothing to be ashamed of and that they had one more game to play - a consolation game they eventually won over Pasco the next day.

"That's great," Romar said after describing Overton's attitude. "That's something that is hard to coach. He brings a bit of an attitude that helps you win games. Will Conroy, Nate Robinson - that's the kind of attitude they brounght.

"He is a guard that can really guard the ball. He's has great quickness and athleticism. He can really push the ball up the floor and does a good job of finding people with the ball. As good as he is in all those areas, he's even better at winning. I think that's his best skill, he really helps you win games.

"And for some reason I like that skill, when guys can do that."

Overton is a bit of a chameleon too. When Romar first saw Overton play, it was as a freshman at Franklin, and he was playing the 2. "I thought he could just shoot the lights out," Romar recalled. "The next time I saw him, he was playing point, but I still remembered him as a shooter."

"But whatever areas he may be deficient in, he's going to make up for it with hustle and desire and overall grit."

Romar also expects Overton to be a good fit this coming fall, especially given the makeup of his other guards that will be available - namely junior Justin Dentmon and the three seniors - Ryan Appleby, Joel Smith and Tim Morris.

"Next year, we'll have more of a veteran team," Romar said. "Guys can cover for some freshman mistakes."

2007 Washington Men's Basketball Letter of Intent Signees
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Forward, 6-9, 220, Guildford, England (South Kent School, Conn.)
Darnell Gant, Forward, 6-8, 210, Los Angeles, Calif. (Crenshaw)
Justin Holiday, Forward, 6-6, 180, Chatsworth, Calif. (Campbell Hall)
Venoy Overton, Guard, 6-0, 165, Seattle, Wash. (Franklin)
How do the numbers work?: Once again, the numbers appear as if they are going to work out. With Phil Nelson leaving the program and Spencer Hawes looking as if he'll do more than just test the NBA waters, that means that there will be nine returning scholarship players: Joel Smith, Adrian Oliver, Tim Morris, Justin Dentmon, Ryan Appleby, Artem Wallace, Quincy Pondexter, Joe Wolfinger and Jon Brockman. Add the four incoming freshmen and you arrive at the maximum number of scholarships available - 13. And even if Hawes makes the decision to come back for a second year, it's conceivable that he could use Morris' scholarship.

"Nowadays, with players coming out early and players transferring, I don't think you can ever think things are in stone like you might have been able to do years ago," Romar said. "Maybe kids get impatient and things open up."

Tribute to Harsh: The North Gym at Hec Edmundson Pavilion will officially be renamed Marv Harshman Court this coming fall during a ceremony. "It's in recognition of a legend, maybe the face of Washington basketball in the modern era," Romar said of Harshman, who was Washington's Head Coach from 1972 to 1985, compiling a 246-146 record and berths in five post-season tournaments. "He accomplished a lot."

Romar said that it was appropriate that it was the North Gym that was being renamed, as it's one of the gyms the Huskies like to use for practice. "The thing he (Harshman) said he misses the most is practice," Romar added. "A lot of times, it's like our labratory up there." Top Stories