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Originally published April 3, 2012 at 8:47 PM | Page modified April 3, 2012 at 11:21 PM

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Wroten leaving UW for NBA, too

Wroten believes Washington will recover next season after losing its two leading scorers and regrets being unable to help the Huskies to an NCAA tournament during his single season on Montlake.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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One and done describes freshman Tony Wroten Jr.'s brief college career, but two and out sums up a 48-hour period of unprecedented — but not entirely unexpected — upheaval at Washington.

Two days after sophomore guard Terrence Ross declared for the NBA draft, Wroten did the same Tuesday, leaving the Huskies with gaping holes in their lineup.

Wroten believes Washington will recover next season after losing its two leading scorers and regrets being unable to help the Huskies to an NCAA tournament during his single season on Montlake.

"At the end of the day, I feel like everything happens for a reason, so it is what it is," he said. "I definitely would have loved to be in the NCAA tournament and help my team win a few more games, but I just got to move forward."

Wroten said the deciding factor that influenced his decision to leave was the feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory committee which told him he's likely to be taken between fifth and 25th in the June 28 draft.

"I definitely would regret my decision if I was drafted in the second round," he said. "I feel like I'm blessed with a talent and put that with hard work ... I'm confident enough that I definitely will get drafted in the first round."

ESPN's Chad Ford ranks Wroten 19th among the top 100 draft prospects. Draft Express projects he'll be the 20th pick in the draft. ESPN has him 23rd in its mock draft, while NBAdraft.net says he'll be taken 26th.

Opinions are mixed on Wroten's pro potential.

He won the Pac-12 freshman of the year award and set UW freshman records for points (559), scoring average (16.0), assists (130) and steals (66).

Still there are questions whether he'll be as successful in the NBA because he's turnover prone, inconsistent defensively, heavily dependent on his left hand and shoots a low percentage on three-pointers (16.1) and at the free-throw line (58.3).

When asked why he thinks he's ready to make the jump, Wroten said: "My athleticism, my court vision and my potential."

It's that potential that's created a buzz around the 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard ever since he became an eighth-grade phenom at Washington Middle School.

After starring three years at Garfield High, Wroten was one of the most celebrated recruits in UW history, choosing the Huskies over Connecticut, Louisville and Villanova.

His Washington career hit a snag early on when he missed a week of training camp in October because of arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. However, Wroten proved to be durable and played every game.

Following a brilliant 23-point outing against Duke, he replaced sophomore C.J. Wilcox in the starting lineup.

Wroten earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors while helping the Huskies to a 24-11 record.

He dominated early in the season during games against UC Santa Barbara, Oregon State, Seattle University and Arizona State while delivering a game-saving block at Arizona.

Late in the season, Wroten began to struggle and had his best and worst games on the same night in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals.

Wroten finished with a game-high 29 points and collected seven rebounds, but missed four critical free throws in the final 18.3 seconds of an 86-84 defeat to Oregon State.

During the next two outings, he dished 15 assists, but attempted just 10 shots and scored a combined 14 points. In four National Invitation Tournament games, Wroten averaged 10.5 points. He finished his UW career with nine points during a season-ending defeat against Minnesota in which he was benched at the start of the second half.

Wroten admitted he's frustrated at how the season ended, but said: "My good outweighed the bad, so I wouldn't complain at all."

In coach Lorenzo Romar's 10 years at Washington, Wroten is the sixth Husky to leave school early and enter the draft. Doug Wrenn was undrafted in 2003, while Nate Robinson ('05) and Spencer Hawes ('07) were first-round picks. Isaiah Thomas ('11) was taken last in the second round, and Ross is projected as a first-round pick. Romar was unavailable Tuesday.

Wroten, who joins Hawes as the only UW freshmen to declare for the draft, hopes Husky fans remember him fondly.

"Hopefully as a good University of Washington player that was exciting to watch, a fan favorite," he said. "We have great fans, so I hope they loved watching me play."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

Romar's players to NBA
Guards Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr. will attempt to be the 10th and 11th Huskies coached by Lorenzo Romar to play in the NBA.
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