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June 12, 2011 at 8:08 AM

UW players well represented at graduation ceremonies

Friday and Saturday were special days for coach Lorenzo Romar and the Washington men’s basketball team.
He attended graduation ceremonies that included Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton. They arrived in the summer of 2007 and four years later the entire class left together.
“I’m extremely proud,” Romar said. “Those guys have all graduated in four years. A couple of them made great strides in the classroom.”
During Romar’s nine-year tenure at Washington, he’s had 25 players stay with the program for four years and 23 have attained their degrees.
“We’ve done a lot of good things here,” Romar said. “We managed to win a few games, some (Pac-10 titles) and things like that. We’ve had a nice run with making the NCAA tournament, but seeing those guys graduate ranks right up there at the top.”
Holiday and Overton majored in American ethnic studies, Bryan-Amaning studied sociology and Gant earned a degree in drama.
Here’s the rest of the Romar interview:
(On Gant) In Darnell’s case, he redshirted, but he didn’t slow down his pace in the classroom. He plays next season knowing he’s already graduated and he has his degree.
(On Overton) “It took a while for Venoy to get admitted initially and he worked his tail off and here he is graduating in four years.
(On Holiday) “Justin was diligent. He came in did his job, but then as an upperclassmen really just accelerated and got after it. He was done in the winter quarter. It’s good to see that. He didn’t float through. He got it done.

(On Bryan-Amaning)
“And Matthew is an intelligent guy. He went back and forth playing on the British national team and he still found a way to get his degree in four years. I’ve kind of been teasing him because he’s had some workouts. I told him wait until you’re done with all of your school work and then we’ll talk about the NBA workouts.
(Do you take as much joy in graduating your players as you do winning a Pac-10 title?) “A lot of times you get guys graduated and you don’t ever win and you don’t have a job for very long in some cases. So that winning part is very important. You know when they get their degree you’ve prepared them for the rest of their lives. There are guys who’ve won championships who end up being down in the dumps later on. To get their degree, it’s a testament to their time-management skills, not quitting, committing to all that you had to learn and applying it. When they’re finally in that cap and gown you realize how special it is each year. It’s always a cherished time for me.”
(There’s been a negative stories in college sports lately, do these achievements get overlooked?) “The academics sometimes gets taken for granted. When you look up the regular student body, not just at Washington but at all the schools, and look at the average time it takes to graduate. It’s more than four years. But yet a lot of our success has to do with our academic services, which is headed by Kim Durand. They do a phenomenal job here. And for guys to continue to get their degree like this in four years in most cases, it’s something that should not be taken for granted.
(When you’re recruiting, do you talk much about kids getting a degree?) “Playing time, getting to the NBA and shots during a game, those things always comes up in recruiting. Those are things most kids want to know. But there’s a lot of things that you can’t promise. But we always can say with conviction that if you work hard, you will get your degree. That’s not something that we look up after three years and say okay, it’s time to buckle down. No. That’s monitored every week. Literally every week for four years.
(Is there a system in place?) “Absolutely. Yes. We know exactly how many credits they should get per quarter. We know how many they should take in the summer. And the folks in academic services are really, really good. We work really well together. All of the resources they need to do well are here. All of the tutoring they need is here. The system here is really good to help kids get their degree.”
(Who came up with the system?) “The academic side of it was started by Gertrude Peoples years ago. She’s the pioneer. That baton has been passed over the years to now where Kim Durand is the head of it and she has a more than capable staff that is really, really good. They do it from their end and we try to do our part from our end.”


— Insightful interview by Steve Kelley who talked to legendary Washington coach Marv Harshman (above). At 93, the Hall of Famer is still sharp and his memory is incredible.
Here’s the official release on Martin Breunig from Washington, which includes his statistics while playing in Germany and in the 2010 under-18 FIBA European Championships.
— Kansas freshman Royce Woolridge signed a financial aid agreement with Washington State University and will sit out the 2011-12 season because of NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-3, 182-pound guard averaged 2.8 minutes, 0.6 points and 0.6 assists a game last season. As a senior at Sunnyslope High (Arizona) he averaged averaging 30.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Wooldridge is the son of NBA veteran Orlando Woolridge.
— ranks Washington second on its list of Pac-12 incoming classes. The Huskies are 20th overall.
— Former UW star Nate Robinson was arrested and cited with public urination. Robinson apologized for his actions on his Twitter account.
— Interesting look into the lives of three college basketball assistants, including former UCLA assistant Scott Duncan.
—’s Luke Winn says Arizona’s Derrick Williams provides a statistical breakdown and explains why most complete player in the draft.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA


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