UW men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar has suspended guard Venoy Overton from the Pac-10 tournament after Overton was charged with providing alcohol to a minor earlier today.
Romar said that Overton will return if the team advances to the NCAA or other postseason tournament.
Romar also said:
*the decision was his alone, although that he cleared it with athletic director Scott Woodward.
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*the incident that led to the discipline against Overton is "something we take seriously."
*previous behind-the-scenes discipline already had been taken internally against Overton.
* Overton will travel with the team to Los Angeles this week.
* Romar said he learned about the charges against Overton around 1 p.m. and met with Overton afterwards to inform him of his decision. He it this has been hard for Overton, but that he already has seen contrition in Overton.
* the lineup for the Thursday game has not yet been settled, and becomes even more problematic as Romar announced that starting senior Justin Holiday is questionable after suffering concussion symptoms in the regular-season finale Saturday against USC. Romar said he expects Holiday will play. If not, UW will go into that game with seven scholarship players available.
Here is a partial transcript of Romar's press conference:
Opening StatementI just was made aware of the charge against Venoy Overton and, as a result of that charge, Venoy will not be participating in the Pac-10 tournament. It’s something that, I’ve said all along, we take very seriously. There have been some internal dealings with Venoy that I won’t go into, because it’s family stuff, but, I did not want to outwardly discipline twice. I wanted to wait for this process to take its course. It was my intention all along that if something were to happen, further action would be taken from the action that’s already been taken internally.
On why he’s holding Overton from the Pac-10 tournament rather than just one gameAlthough it’s a charge at this point, there’s still a small process that has to take place. It’s something that’s against what we teach here in our basketball program. It’s serious enough to me. In the past, we have dealt with things other players have done. We have not ever said we have saints on our team that don’t make mistakes. We’ve had players make mistakes before and we’ve dealt with those. I think what’s really important is to make sure there are consequences but also for behavior to change. We have to grow from these things and we have to learn from these things.
On whether he will play if Washington does play in the NCAA TournamentHe will participate beyond the Pac-10 tournament if we’re invited to play, but he will not participate in the Pac-10 tournament.
On why Overton won’t play for the entire Pac-10 tournament while WSU’s Thompson only missed oneWhat happened with Klay Thompson has no bearing on our decision here. There were a lot of things to be considered here. Again, sometimes there’s an outcry by the public that ‘Something needs to be done’. As far as I’m concerned, behavior needs to change and we have to learn from our mistakes. Mistakes are going to be made but every situation is different. I don’t think you handle every situation the same way sometimes. It’s important from here on out that we learn from this and go from here.
On internal versus external punishmentLike I mentioned earlier, internally, some things had already been put into place but I didn’t want to go back and discipline twice outwardly. Everything, now, is in place and we’ll move on. There are consequences but it’s also very important to me that you look at things a little differently after something like this.
On how this will affect the team in the Pac-10 tournamentVenoy was starting to play his best basketball. He was rounding into shape to be able to do all the things we are accustomed to seeing him doing. Scott Suggs was playing good basketball when he was injured, C.J. (Wilcox) was injured and this has happened with Venoy (Overton). It always takes away from your team.
If the timing of this decision makes it harderI don’t know if the decision is as tough as, you’re more disappointed than anything. Our second year here, there were some discipline issues at the NCAA Tournament. When I heard what had happened, the decision wasn’t as difficult as the ‘Why?’ It’s tough, but we all have to learn and we all have to grow. Our team, hopefully, can learn from this, Venoy can learn from this, and we can all learn.
On the difficulty of mistakes and consequencesThis has been the toughest year since I’ve been a coach here, for me. You have a certain vision and you work hard for your program to be a certain way. You also want the best for your guys and, if something goes wrong and a guy makes a mistake, it’s always a setback. You always hate to see that happen. You make mistakes and there are consequences to deal with that.
On how he thinks it will affect the other playersI really don’t know. I know guys love their teammates and, to know they’re going to battle without him on the floor, that’ll make it tough. But, we have to go on.
On whether there’s contrition on Overton’s partAbsolutely. Definitely.
On why this has been a tough year for he and the teamIt starts when you have to look at your player in the eye when the doctors tell him he can’t play basketball anymore, in the case of Tyreese Breshers. You’re there with him. You’re there with Abdul Gaddy when they tell him he’s done for the year. It starts way back then and goes on and on and on. So, that makes it tough. Other programs go through this; we’re not the first program to go through these types of things. We just haven’t gone through them here very often.