Lorenzo Romar Can Do Nothing But Shake His Head at Former Player Venoy Overton Being Charged With Promoting Prostitution (aka Pimping)
by Michael Bean
Poor Lorenzo Romar. By all accounts the University of Washington men’s basketball coach is an upstanding man who does a solid job raising not just great basketball players, but men of integrity off the court as well. Unfortunately, a recent player has just given Romar and the Huskies a bad eye. Venoy Overton, a guard who played for Romar for the past four years before graduating just a few short weeks ago, was arrested on Friday in Seattle for promoting prostitution with an 18-year old woman that is supposedly his girlfriend . Thing aren’t looking too bright for Overton, who is being held on bail until the end of June before being arraigned. Because I’m citing police reports not opining, I suppose I feel comfortable sharing that Overton essentially was asking for a cut on any blowjobs said 18-year old girlfriend was giving for cash before being nabbed.
A backup point guard for all four years in Seattle, Overton had no chance at an NBA career, and regrettably, it appears as if he believed he could make a quicker, easier buck by pimping in South Seattle than he could trying to put his degree to use or looking to play somewhere overseas. His longtime coach Romar, whose reputation won’t necessarily be tarnished by this because of the fact that Overton is no longer under his watch, must still answer to all sorts of unfortunate and incriminating questions about how much he might have known about Overton’s troubled behavior and whether there might have been anything he could have done differently to keep the young man on track.
Romar joined KJR in Seattle to talk about his reaction to hearing the troubling news about former player Venoy Overton being arrested for promoting prostitution (aka pimping), whether he’s had any contact with Overton since his arrest, if he would have done anything differently in terms of how he approached his relationship with Overton after hearing this news, if he thinks basketball will and should be a part of Overton’s road to recovery after he first pays the price in the legal system (assuming all charges brought against him are true, that is, of course), the Huskies landing German forward Martin Breunig after he opted to not play at Maryland following Gary Williams’ retirement, if he’s talked to former guard Isiah Thomas during the lead up to the 2011 NBA Draft, and why he wouldn’t bet against Thomas landing on an NBA team come next regular season.
His reaction to the troubling news concerning Venoy Overton:
“Oh just crushed, disappointed. You know you go through battles that those who play for you and come through your program. And here at the University of Washington we’ve been able to win a lot of those battles together. And this one here was just very disappointing. You’d like to think everyone is going to reach their potential in all aspects, but every once in awhile it doesn’t work that way.”
Has he had any contact with Overton since news broke of his legal troubles?
“No, I have not.”
If he in any way questions the way he handled him as a person and student athlete in light of the recent developments:
“Not with the information that I had at the time, no not at all. With the information I had at the time, I am very much at peace with the decision that was made.”
That suggests that he would have handled him differently had he know some of the things he knows now:
“Things would have been a lot different, yes.”
How important does he thinks basketball will be to him as he tries to get through these tough times:
“Well, we will find out. That’s a good question. I think right now basketball has to be on the back burner. Right now, that’s not an option at this point. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
On just how much of a coup it was to be able to land Martin Breunig when he opted not to go to Maryland after Gary Williams announced his retirement:
“Well first of all, my assistants have been unbelievable this spring trying to get names and hunt down prospects at the last minute, and they’ve done a really good job. And we were able to hunt down Martin Breunig and we’re excited about him. He’s a skilled forward. He’s 6’8″ bare foot, he’s about 6’9″ with shoes. He’s about 208 pounds; he’s about 210 pounds. Some felt he was 235. Nope, he’s not a big banger, he’s not that type of basketball player. He’s more like a Peja Stojakovic — that type of player. Pretty good athlete; can go inside, but he’s not a big banger, but he is a skilled basketball player. And with his size at 6’9″, that gives us lengthy guys that can make plays and have skill. And I think with the way we play…and I think with the way the game is played now, the more guys you can have like that, the better off you’re going to be.”
If he’s talked to guard Isiah Thomas who declared for this year’s NBA Draft after his junior year:
“We have been in communication, as I have been in connection with the NBA people. And I’d be shocked if he’s not drafted come Thursday. It’s just a matter of how high he gets drafted. Right now it will probably be a second round situation, but hopefully it’s higher in the second round than lower.”
Does he believe Thomas will be on an NBA roster whenever the 2011-2012 season gets underway?
“You just can’t count him out. He’s just too feisty, he has too big of a heart, and he just finds a way to get things done. People have doubted him for a long, long time. People are still doubting him, and he continues to prove people wrong. So I wouldn’t bet against him.”