UW Men | Franklin point guard Overton switches to Huskies
When Franklin High School point guard Venoy Overton committed to USC last September, O. J. Mayo and Brandon Jennings weren't yet Trojans...
Seattle Times staff reporter
When Franklin High School point guard Venoy Overton committed to USC last September, O.J. Mayo and Brandon Jennings weren't yet Trojans and Justin Dentmon hadn't yet suffered a sophomore slump.
Those factors, along with a simple desire to stay close to home, helped lead to Monday's announcement by Overton that he will sign with Washington in April instead of USC.
Overton, the leader of a Franklin team that is one of the favorites to win the Class 4A state tournament this weekend, didn't sign with the Trojans during the early period last November because of concerns over his academic situation.
That delay allowed him a chance to reassess his situation, and for the Huskies to renew their interest in him.
"I just did a lot of thinking over the last few weeks that this would be the best thing for me and my family," said Overton, a 6-footer who is averaging 21.7 points and 5.7 assists this season for Franklin and averaged 17.9 points last year when the Quakers won the 2006 state title.
Overton said he began wondering where he would fit in at USC, which in November signed Mayo, a 6-5 guard regarded by some as the top recruit in the country. The Trojans also have a freshman point guard in Daniel Hackett, and a commitment from Jennings, the Los Angeles area junior point guard who is attending Oak Hill Academy prep school in Virginia. He has been called by some the best point guard available in that class.
"I'm not sure about the playing time and how packed in it is there and how I would fit in," he said, adding that "I just got caught into that whole USC thing" when he committed to the Trojans last September.
UW's interest in him, meanwhile, increased in recent weeks as the team struggled at point guard with Dentmon failing to improve on his solid freshman season a year ago. The Huskies had lost out on two other Franklin point guards to sign with Pac-10 schools — Oregon's Aaron Brooks and former Arizona star Jason Terry — and didn't want to see Overton get away.
"They said they really needed a point guard," Overton said. "I feel it's a better fit for me at UW."
Overton's academic situation has improved in the last few months and it is expected that he will be eligible.
Overton is rated as the No. 26 point guard in the country by Rivals.com and figures to compete for immediate playing time next season as the Huskies look for answers in the backcourt. Aside from Dentmon, none of the other guards on UW's roster are regarded as "true" point guards.
Overton will become the fourth member of UW's Class of 2007. In the early signing period, the Huskies signed three forwards — 6-9 Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 6-8 Darnell Gant and 6-6 Justin Holiday. With those four added to the 11 players on UW's roster who could return next season, the Huskies could be over the scholarship limit of 13, though there are concerns over Gant's academics.
Overton said he made the announcement Monday so he can concentrate on playing in the state tournament for Franklin.
"I wanted to get this out of the way so I could just play basketball," he said.
Overton said he talked with USC coaches to tell them the news. "It was tough, but they understood," he said.
The Huskies are expected to add another point guard in 2008, former Curtis point guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is now attending South Kent (Conn.) prep school, where he plays alongside Bryan-Amaning, and has said he will sign with the Huskies next fall. The Huskies also have a commitment for the Class of 2008 from Elston Turner, a 6-5 shooting guard.
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