He's not due to make his debut in a
And, in reality, he'll probably spend just a season as a Husky before opting to enter the 2007 NBA draft.
But there's no denying the impact
that Spencer Hawes' college decision
will have not only on Lorenzo
The 6-foot-11 senior at Seattle
Prep confirmed Tuesday that he plans to sign a letter of intent with the Huskies
during the NCAA's Nov. 9-16 early signing period, turning down runner-ups
Along with Greg Oden, the 7-footer at Lawrence
North High in
And he could have been the second player chosen in the 2006 NBA draft, had the league not revamped his draft eligibility rules last June and had he and Oden been so inclined to bypass college.
The impact he'll have on the 2006-07 Huskies will be immense and will be touched upon in a moment.
But consider what his presence would have done for the Tar Heels or the Cardinal:
At North Carolina, he would have
combined with Tywon Lawson (the
point guard from Oak Hill Academy who is a tight buddy of Hawes' and who was a
prime reason why the Tar Heels were considered by some insiders to be the
favorites to land Hawes until last weekend), Wayne Ellington, William Graves and
anyone else Roy Williams and his
staff might land to form the best freshman class in the country. Yes, even
better than the expected Oden-led group at
At Stanford, he would joined Brook and Robin Lopez, the 7-foot twins at San Joaquin High in Fresno, Calif., to make up an all-freshman frontcourt for Coach Trent Johnson that would have been every bit as dominant as Michigan's trio of Chris Weber, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson was in helping the Wolverines advance to the 1992 NCAA title game against Duke.
His impact at
Well, as long as he's in a Husky uniform – and here's saying that will be for just one season – the team will be a solid threat to not only win the Pac 10 title but also to get to the Final Four.
He's that good.
Offensively, his variety of skills – posting up, driving, shooting, handling and passing – surpasses those of any big man who isn't already in the NBA. And his abilities as a rebounder and shot blocker, though not at the level of Oden, are vastly underappreciated by many.
And, as will be the case with Oden (who will be joined in the OSU class of newcomers by at least two other McDonald's All-Americas in Mike Conley and Daequan Cook), there is going to be plenty of talent surrounding Hawes.
Romar already had commitments from
the best long-range shooter in the West (and maybe nationally, too) in 6-8 Phil Nelson (McNary High in McNary High
And the Huskies already have the
best freshman in the Pac 10 in 6-7 Jon Brockman, a power forward from
He and Hawes will combine to make up the best set of post players in the conference and as good as any set in the country . . . well, for one season, at least.
BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY:
*According to reports in the
Indianapolis Star, Oden and Conley may hold off signing letters of intent with
But both are expected to ultimately
Frankly, I often wonder why players – at least the elite ones – sign letters of intent, which bind them to the school, even if the coach they sign with is elsewhere when it comes time for them to enroll – instead of just scholarship agreements.
The national letter of intent should include stipulations that the player is freed from the agreement if, a) the coach at the time they signed with the school leaves that institution before the player enrolls, and, b) the institution is placed on probation and banned from post-season play for at least the first season that the player is due to enroll.
But Duke (the favorite?), Kentucky and Vanderbilt are still in the hunt for Wright, the third best post prospect in the Class of 2006 (following Oden and Hawes), with Georgetown, Xavier, Wake Forest and Tennessee also options of Crews, who is as relentless a rebounder as there is on the high school level.
*Even if they don't sign any more
players in November than the ones that have already committed to them, Big East
They've got commitments from five players, the most notable of those being forward Curtis Kelly (New York City Rice) and wings Ramar Smith (Detroit Martin Luther King) and Jerome Dyson (Andover, N.H., Proctor Academy).
Coach Jim Calhoun could sign as many as two
more players and wouldn't be disappointed if they were Alex Stepheson and Lance Thomas (a 6-8 forward from
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the