From the beginning, we knew what Donaven Dorsey was. He knew it, too. The slender swingman from the Seattle area caught our eye during the 2012 summer, as a rising junior, and from that time forward he has been a multi-faceted performer with obvious high-major talent.
He didn't mince words about his college preference, either. Dorsey told Scout.com's Josh Gershon that summer that, "I grew up rooting for Washington," and thus the Huskies' pursuit appeared to be a slam dunk.
Dorsey advanced through his junior season, leading Olympia (Wash.) Timberlyne to playoff success in the process, and collected offers from U-W, Washington State, Gonzaga, Portland State and Oregon State.
Somewhat surprisingly, he advanced into the 2013 summer still uncommitted. He finally made his plan known in early July, however, pledging to the Huskies and giving Washington one of the top athletes in the state.
He performed well through the summer, including in Las Vegas at the end of the July evaluation period. He entered his senior year as a four star prospect and a contender to crack the national top 100 by the conclusion of the season.
Dorsey is a very good run/jump athlete. He's a one-footed leaper who finishes in transition at full speed, and his attitude during the summer was to push the envelope against smaller wings and big men alike. Though not an elite in terms of speed or leap, he'll rank well above-average in both those categories within the Pac-12.
For a 6-6 athlete, he handles and passes the ball plenty well for the wing. He isn't a point forward but can hit a cutter, posting big man or open jump shooter. An alert passer can be vital to an offense, and as a distributor that's all Dorsey will need to provide U-W.
His defensive versatility stands out most. He can defend nearly all wing forwards and many wing guards, and he should develop into a fine trapper and recovery defender as well. The new officiating emphasis this season has placed a premium on quickness over strength, and that shift should benefit Dorsey.
Dorsey also has demonstrated a knack for making plays on the offensive glass, grabbing a loose carom and finishing himself or else simply getting his hands on tips to be scrounged up by teammates.
Watching him in July, the primary question that confronted me was how effective Dorsey can become as a shooter. He doesn't possess bad form yet didn't produce consistent results from deep. His follow-through does finish toward the outside of his hand, rather than the index finger, and that could be a factor in his streakiness.
He also must become stronger and more adept at creating his own offense in the halfcourt game. He's already effective in transition and in freelance scenarios, but working within a college offense for high percentage shots may be a couple years away.
Dorsey has the look of a four-year contributor and two- or three-year starter for the Huskies. He may never become a team leader in scoring — or any statistical category, for that matter — but should fulfill a variety of roles left vacant by others.
He projects as an excellent fifth starter even if he doesn't become a consistent shooter, and if he rounds out his game as a halfcourt scorer he'll prove even more valuable to the program.