But the real news was who he said could be the fifth. Romar, often shy to name starters early in the season, said four spots were pretty set — senior forward Jon Brockman, junior swingman Quincy Pondexter, senior guard Justin Dentmon and freshman guard Isaiah Thomas. The fifth, Romar said, could be either sophomore center...

Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar listed four starters for his team’s exhibition game Thursday against Western Washington at Edmundson Pavilion.

But the real news was who he said could be the fifth.

Romar, often shy to name starters early in the season, said four spots were pretty set — senior forward Jon Brockman, junior swingman Quincy Pondexter, senior guard Justin Dentmon and freshman guard Isaiah Thomas.

The fifth, Romar said, could be either sophomore center Matthew Bryan-Amaning or redshirt freshman forward Darnell Gant.

Romar said both could end up starting if Brockman is unable to go with a back injury suffered in practice Monday, though he said Brockman should be able to play. Brockman said he landed hard on his back after being undercut going for a rebound. Brockman said he anticipated being able to play and said “it’s just like a big bruise” and shouldn’t be serious.

The real revelation is the rapid rise of Gant. A graduate of Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, he sat out last season to get stronger and work on his game, an effort that has apparently paid off.

Romar said Gant has come on strong the last few weeks, showing a lot of energy on defense and rebounding and also an improved shooting touch from 17 feet in. Gant was limited early in practice while recovering from sports-hernia surgery. He said the injury still bothers him a little, but not enough to slow him on the court.

“He’s just really playing with a purpose, with energy,” Romar said.

With Dentmon and Thomas in the backcourt, sophomore Venoy Overton, who started 26 games last year, is at least momentarily coming off the bench. But the Franklin High grad said “it doesn’t bother me at all” to not start. Overton has been limited recently by a sprained ankle that he said still affects him at times.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com