The formerly suspended Washington guard return for the NCAA Tournament. Sunday he spoke about the investigation, charge and suspension he dealt with for the first time.
Overton joined his teammates Sunday afternoon to watch the NCAA selection show in the Don James Center. Washington is a No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded Georgia in the first round of the tournament Friday in Charlotte, NC.
He watched Washington win three games in three days at the Pac-10 Tournament to automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The senior guard said it was difficult to be unable to play.
After a while its like theyre getting it done and I couldnt just sulk — just coach from the bench, Overton said.
He was suspended Tuesday by coach Lorenzo Romar after being charged with providing alcohol to minors, a gross misdemeanor. Overton was the subject of a police investigation following a Jan. 8 episode in which a 16-year-old girl, the same one for whom Overton was charged with supplying liquor, made an allegation of rape. Prosecutors declined to file a charge, citing insufficient evidence. Overton was not suspended because he was never charged.
Romar said at the time of the suspension Overton would be reinstated if Washington advanced to the tournament. Now, he gets his second chance.
The senior guards punishment was a large debate among fans and media. Too lenient? Just right? He says he felt punished beyond the suspension from the team.
I felt like just all that was being said was a bigger punishment than sitting out, Overton said. Just the fact that this is my hometown. You dont want the reputation of being known for that. I felt it was a big enough punishment.
Some people in the media were saying stuff that wasnt accurate. It was very serious. But people really didnt know what they were talking about. Im just thankful for my lawyer handling it the way he did.
Overton was derided by fans on the road, particularly during the game at Washington State. Even in KeyArena against Seattle University, Overton heard a smattering of chants focused on him.
Its difficult to quantify what level of distraction the investigation into Overtons conduct was to the team. There are numbers that make strong suggestions, however. Washington finished the season 5-6, including losing two of three at home to close the regular season.
Then Overtons charge came and suspension followed. Washington had resolution to the issue, for what it was worth.
It was definitely a distraction just because it was talked about, Overton said. I felt bad that had to be for the school and the fans. I just really appreciate everybody that supported me.
Romar said he couldnt measure the level of distraction.
Who can say? Romar said. For whatever reason though, we went out there and we played right for three days.
Overton will be back at a light shootaround with the team Monday, followed by intense practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
He was playing his best basketball all season prior to the suspension. His removal from Pac-10 tournament participation left Washington with Isaiah Thomas as the teams lone point guard for three days.
I feel like I can hopefully just keep going from where I left off, so Isaiah doesnt have to play as many minutes like he did, and help him, Overton said. I appreciate my coach. Ive been through a lot here and he understands. Im blessed to be able to play another game with this team that I love.