Venoy Overton returned to practice Saturday, but was about half-speed, according to coach Lorezno Romar who also said the UW senior guard will workout again today and will play Monday against Virginia.
Overton injured his tail bone after falling to the court on layup Tuesday.
“He was still hobbling a little bit, but each day it gets much better,” Overton said. “I imagine by today he’ll be running pretty good and by tomorrow it will be healed just fine.”
The Huskies haven’t had much free time since arriving to the island Saturday afternoon. They practiced about two hours after their flight landed and Romar said the workout “wasn’t very good,” because the team had been up since 5 a.m. that day.
Still it was good to get them on the court and break a sweat. After the practice, they players attended a party for the team’s at Maui, watched a video game contest and returned to the hotel for a team meeting.
Today the Huskies started the morning with breakfast and study table before practice. They’ll have a few hours to themselves before a 7 p.m. banquet.
“When you think about, there hasn’t been a lot of free time,” Romar said.
The Maui coaches met this morning for a press conference. Here’s a bit of what they had to say.
Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall: If there’s a sleeper in the bunch, it’s the Shockers. Marshall appeared confident and he should be because WSU returns four starters and nine lettermen, which made up 83 percent of its scoring and 92 percent of it s rebounding.
Because they have a deep squad, Marshall mentioned just about everyone, including seniors J.T. Durley and Graham Hatch and junior Toure Murry.
“I can honestly say that for the first time since I’ve been here, we have some great expectations on this team,” Marshall said. “That’s okay. Our kids have put us in this position and now they have to learn how to deal with that.”
Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun: He bemoaned UConn’s youth. The Huskies have nine underclassmen (six freshman and three sophomores) in their 11-man rotation.
“I’m just trying to learn the kid’s names,” Calhoun quipped.
Calhoun spoke highly about junior guard Kemba Walker, a Wooden Award candidate.
Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel: He was proud the Sooners scored 82 points in their last outing because they lost their top four scorers from last season. OU returns three players and just one senior, guard Cade Davis, who tallied 21 points in a 30-point win over Texas Southern.
“This is kind of the event that gets you ready for your conference,” Capel said.
Kentucky’ John Calipari: Not only did he bring the most fans to the island – UK blue is everywhere – he drew the biggest media gathering when the coaches met the press for interviews. Calipari said he doesn’t know what to expect from the Wildcats who return four players and are led by a standout freshman class that includes guard Doran Lamb and forward Terrence Jones.
On Jones, Calipari said: “He’s been great, but I want him to be phenomenal. I want him to dominate and he’s 18 years old playing against guys who are 21 and 22. … But that’s not asking too much from him because he has the talent to do it.”
Michigan State’s Tom Izzo: Calhoun is the Godfather of this group, but no one draws more respect than Izzo. Calipari and Calhoun said MSU is the favorite and Izzo didn’t disagree.
“I think they’re saying that because they don’t want the pressure that comes with it,” Izzo joked. “But it’s a nice compliment. We’ll take it. We have 4-5 guys with Final Four experience so we know what this setting and this environment feels like. Hopefully, that will help us this week.”
Izzo spoke highly of senior guards Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers and junior forward Draymond Green.
Chaminade’s Matt Mahar: Tournament director Dave Odom declined to say the Silversword’s Maui record, which is 5-71. Rather than focus on the past, Mahar highlighted Chaminade’s 3-0 record.
Five-foot-six senior guard Steven Bennett is the team leader in points, averaging 19.3.
Virginia’s Tony Bennett: He said coaching and playing in the ACC toughens a team like “no other conference” around. Bennett, the former Washington State coach, compared the differences between the ACC and the Pac-10. He said a down year for the ACC means the conference didn’t get six teams into the NCAA tournament.
As for the Cavaliers, they’re young. Five freshmen are in the rotation.
Bennett said Virginia is led by senior Mike Scott, who won the video game contest last night.
“Hopefully, he’ll play as well (Monday),” Bennett said.
Romar: The Washington coach talked about the team’s experience being an advantage in its first trip to Maui. He spoke highly of Isaiah Thomas and called him a scorer and a winner. He said Overton and Abdul Gaddy round out a talented backcourt trio.
Romar also talked about Matthew Bryan-Amaning “picking up right where he left off last season.” He described Justin Holiday as the team’s most improved player and said newcomer Aziz N’Diaye gives UW size and might be the missing piece they needed in the NCAA tournament.