Roy: UW an NIT team for sure
Sure, coaches do too. But when a seasoned pro like Brandon Roy (he was the NBA Rookie of the Year last season and a four-year player at Washington) speaks up about his former squad after getting in a good run with the team in Seattle on Wednesday, then we'll listen.
So Roy, who was back at the Portland Trail Blazers training camp Thursday to get ready for practice next week, had a solid analysis on his former squad.
Washington is going to be an interesting team this season. The Huskies lost leading scorer Spencer Hawes to the NBA after his first season. Washington, which finished 19-13 (8-10 in the Pac-10) got surprisingly shut out of the postseason (the Huskies weren't even invited to the NIT, which they found out as they were lacing up the sneakers to go on the practice floor while watching the NIT selection show).
The problem is that the Pac-10 is going to be a monster league with as many as eight teams getting into the field of 65.
"I think they'll make the NIT for sure, but the NCAA is going to be tough," Roy said. "The Pac-10 is one of the only conferences where you would play a USC and UCLA on the same road trip. It's going to be tough. Definitely, they'll make the NIT, but they should use [that they didn't make it last season] as a motivation."
Roy's optimism rests largely on his quick view of point guard Venoy Overton, a freshman from Seattle.
"I think he gives them something they didn't have last year, a creative guard from the perimeter," Roy said. "He was breaking down the defense, dropping down and dishing in practice. After watching the team last year, that's what they were missing."
Roy's also said lead guard Justin Dentmon is not a penetrating point guard, or at least not as savvy as Overton.
The Huskies also return Quincy Pondexter, an athletic scoring wing, as well as the most productive and hardest working big man, maybe out west, in Jon Brockman. Roy calls Brockman a tremendous teammate. Roy likes forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, too.
Roy said he also gave Washington coach Lorenzo Romar his opinion of the team after the run. He said Romar responded by saying that Overton reminds him of Nate Robinson, but maybe not as explosive as the former Huskie guard.
Roy spent many days playing with the Huskies throughout the summer (Washington took a trip to Greece in August) and he's high on his alma mater. Still, the depth of the Pac-10 has him wondering just how much better this squad can be in the conference.
Washington will likely be projected no higher than seventh behind some sort of combination of UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford and USC, with Cal a legit chance to pass the Huskies in preseason polls.