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Hawes newest Husky? Decision comes today
Seattle Times staff reporter
Spencer Hawes' actions said yes yesterday even if his words still said only maybe.
The Seattle Prep senior, generally regarded as one of the top basketball prospects in the country, will officially announce his college decision today at 3 p.m. in the school's gymnasium, with every indication being that he will decide to attend the University of Washington.
Unofficially, he appeared to become a Husky yesterday when he joined the team for its regular pickup game at Edmundson Pavilion.
"That's the telltale sign right there," said one person close to the situation.
Several Internet reports also said the 6-foot-11 Hawes has decided to become a Husky, including Scout.com, which quoted an anonymous source saying, "It's done. He's staying close to home."
That source was thought to be from North Carolina, the other school Hawes was still seriously considering. Hawes acknowledged that he had told some of the coaches involved in his recruiting of his decision, and it's common for coaches on the losing side to let the secret out once they have nothing left to gain.
Sources said last night, however, that UW coaches hadn't yet been told with head coach Lorenzo Romar out of town at a funeral. He's due back today.
Hawes, meanwhile, said after the pickup game that he wouldn't say anything definitive until today.
"I don't know how that got out there," he said of the Internet reports. "They didn't come from my end of it. I'm not saying it's right, and I'm not saying it's wrong."
Everything else, however, pointed to Hawes becoming a Husky.
"You can tell they treat him like one of the guys already," said one observer.
Hawes took his official visit to Washington last weekend after taking trips earlier to North Carolina and Stanford.
"I had a lot of fun hanging out with the guys," he said.
That might have been the last test UW had to pass to get the call as Hawes has a lot of other strings pulling him to Montlake.
His father, Jeff, and uncle, Steve, each played at UW, the latter named to the school's All-Century Team a few years ago. His girlfriend, Lindsey Thiry, is a freshman volleyball player for the Huskies.
And he has developed a close friendship the last few years with UW freshman forward Jon Brockman, who played with Hawes on the Friends of Hoop AAU team.
"I've gotten to know some people here, gotten to know them and play with them," he said.
Carolina's biggest selling point was its tradition, legendary coach Roy Williams, and its status as a yearly contender for the Final Four.
Hawes' NBA stock has risen so fast over the summer that it's thought he would be a top-five pick if the draft were held today and that he will likely attend college for just one year, meaning he wouldn't want to enter a rebuilding situation. New NBA rules making players ineligible for the draft until they are 19 years old and a year removed from high school ensures that Hawes will attend college for at least one year.
UW coaches were thought to be emphasizing that even if he stays for just a year, he can achieve his goal of reaching the Final Four with the Huskies by joining Brockman and Wallace to form a front line that would be one of the most imposing around.
In fact, Hawes would likely be the most highly-touted recruit in school history with the fact that the Huskies beat out North Carolina for his services speaking volumes by itself. While Duke had tried hard to get Brockman a year ago, the Blue Devils joined that race somewhat late. But Williams and the Tar Heels targeted Hawes from the beginning.
Recruiting analysts have said that if Hawes becomes a Husky, UW's class of 2006 will be regarded as among the best in the country, likely trailing only Ohio State, which has a commitment from center Greg Oden, considered the top prospect in the nation.
Other players to commit to UW are Phil Nelson, a 6-8 small forward from McNary High in Keizer, Ore.; Adrian Oliver, a 6-2 point guard from Modesto, Calif.; and Quincy Pondexter, a 6-7 forward from Fresno, Calif. All are considered among the top 100 players in the country and will sign in November. All will then join UW's roster next fall.
Including Hawes, UW will have one scholarship left for the class of 2006, but one source indicated the team might not give it out now, keeping its options open for later.
Another scholarship could come open if redshirt freshman forward Zach Johnson, who missed last year with knee surgery, is put on a medical scholarship instead. The injury could end Johnson's UW career before it has started.
The Huskies have also put junior forward Hans Gasser of Issaquah back on scholarship. Romar said in the spring that Gasser would play this year as a walk-on to help alleviate the team's loaded scholarship situation. But scholarships opened up for several reasons, notably when guard Roburt Sallie was not admitted for academic reasons. It's still uncertain if Sallie will ever be a Husky.
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company