Haley Commits To Huskies (UPDATED)

Jermaine Haley, a 6-foot-7 Canadian point guard prospect with scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Memphis, USC, Utah, Wake Forest, and Washington State, among others, has verbally committed Monday to Washington, according to his DRIVE Basketball coach, Pasha Bains. He made the decision Sunday, but called UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar Monday afternoon to drop the good news.

“I don’t think he expected it," Haley told Dawgman.com of Romar's reaction to his verbal commit to the Huskies. "He got really excited. I think that’s good. He was ecstatic.”

“**Announcement** Jermaine Haley, Class of 2016 has committed to the University of Washington! #DriveFam” DRIVE Basketball's Pasha Bains tweeted out when the news became official. It was accompanied by a photo of Haley wearing a Washington polo, surrounded by his DRIVE Basketball teammates and coaches.

HERE is the photo.

ScoutHoops’ Josh Gershon praised the commitment, comparing Haley and his abilities to former UCLA guard Kyle Anderson.

“He had some great coaches recruiting him, like Josh Pastner at Memphis and the Gonzaga staff did a great job," Bains told Dawgman.com. "It feels great to have a player that is nationally recognized and who is climbing and only getting better - to have Arizona just offer him and USC just offered him this past weekend - it speaks volumes to the Washington program and the Northwest area in general. We have a lot of pride for Northwest basketball and Jermaine’s grown up playing in Seattle and playing AAU ball at Bellevue College. It just feels great to be able to help the University of Washington in the future. It’s a big, big get for Washington.

“He’s got the body, the skill set and all the intangibles to play in the NBA. One of the reasons he’s chosen Washington is because coach Romar has such a great tradition and history of developing guards to play in the NBA. He’s definitely looking at those guys as role models and something he wants to do and be a part of that culture that’s going on there. Coach Romar and his whole staff were at every one of his games in July, and I think that meant a lot - to look over there and see them at every game…not just one coach but the whole staff.”

Haley is rated as a four-star prospect by ScoutHoops, but Bains feels like he has a five-star ceiling. “He’s a 6-foot-7 point guard who is fluid - very, very skilled," Bains said of Haley. "He’s excellent in transition. He’s a kid whose best days are definitely ahead of him when you talk about potential. This is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Jermaine. He’s got a really, really high ceiling. He’s a great player right now, but in a few years he’s really going to blossom. He’s 6-foot-7, but I think he’s still growing. It’s very scary the potential that he has in the game.”

Potential is the key word, as Haley is still very much a work in progress. “Because he’s such a tall point guard, getting lower when he plays is key," Bains said when asked about strengths and weaknesses in Haley's game. "He’s not a kid that’s hit the weights; he’s long and wiry. He weighs 188 (pounds) but I think he can pack on some muscle.

"Other than that he just needs to keep improving on the things that he’s good at. He needs to be a little bit more aggressive scoring the ball. He’s almost too unselfish. He always looks to create for guys, which is a great trait, but I think as he gets older he needs to get a little bit more aggressive in scoring the ball. Even though he’s a great scorer, he likes to get his teammates involved first.”

So why was UW the right fit for Haley? “Coach Romar and the coaching staff there, they’ve done a really good job with guards in the past years they’ve been," Haley said. "I think it was the best fit for me. It’s somewhere where I’m going to go and help compete for a national championship, hopefully. I think I just like Washington. We go there a lot in the summers and I’ve been playing there a long time, so those are the reasons.

"I’m excited. The recruiting process was short but it felt really long. I’m really excited that I picked Washington."

Washington has gone after DRIVE Basketball players before, as Tristan Etienne is set to join the Hoop Dawgs this fall. UW may not be done heading up north to pick up talent, as they just verbally offered another DRIVE player - 6-foot-10 forward Matthew Neufeld.

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