Isaiah Thomas: Best Defender On The Huskies

Look, anybody who watches Pac-10 college basketball will tell you, hands down, that Venoy Overton is the best defensive guard on the team.  And I’ll give you, at times, he can be the most suffocating defender I’ve ever seen, college or pro.  In fact, if you saw tonight’s game against Eastern Washington, you saw him single-handedly steal the ball three times in two possessions (though I’m sure he’ll only get credit for the two):  he knocked it away from one guy, it went into the hands of another as Venoy dove for the ball; then he knocked it away from HIM, stood up, and threw the ball behind his head for a fast-break lay-up; then after the inbound they got sloppy and he picked his pocket for an easy lay-in.

Nevertheless, I’m here to tell you right now that IT is the better defender.  While Venoy can be a hornet’s nest on opposing point guards, he also tends to run out of his shoes at times.  Fast guards can beat him, especially since he tends to take more chances trying to steal the ball than most guys.

IT is consistent, plain and simple.  I’d argue that he’s just as suffocating – he’s definitely a pain in the ass to bring the ball up on when we’re in full-court mode – but he doesn’t take as many chances while still generating a high number of steals.  And for a scoring guard, IT can shut you down with the best of ’em.

Coach Romar gave an anecdote on the radio the other day when discussing IT about that Marquette game in the Tourney earlier this year.  Their guard was absolutely killing us early in the game, so IT demanded to play defense against him and ended up shutting him down the rest of the way.

The knock against IT is, unfortunately, his scoring.  Yeah, the kid’s a shooter.  He’s a baller, streaking through the lane, banging with the big bodies, going to the foul line more than anyone else on the team.  It’s that kind of offensive tenacity – some would call selfishness, though I wouldn’t – that leaves them thinking only about one side of his game.  But, that other side is something to behold.

Watch the games this season.  Pay particular attention to the guards playing defense.  Tell me if IT isn’t at least Venoy’s equal out there on the court.  I’ll tell you he’s his better, but that’s neither here nor there.  Opposing guards this year are going to have a tough time making hay against the Washington Huskies.

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