Draft Night with Spencer Hawes

Prior to tonight's NBA Draft I checked in with the center of attention from the class of 2006 to talk draft, the NBA age restriction, recruiting (well, not really), and about a memorable experience with USA Basketball.

We won’t be seeing high school players in next year’s draft, but that didn’t prevent a large number of prospects from doing a little daydreaming in front of their TV’s tonight`--pretending their name followed “with the first pick the Milwaukee Bucks select” …or “with the 2nd pick the Atlanta Hawks select”….In their minds, they are the next Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams – and the NBA is the ultimate goal.

Seattle Prep star Spencer Hawes shares the same type of vision for his future.   

“Hopefully. That’s my dream,” Spencer continued. “With the new age limit who knows how things will work out but that’s my dream”

But Spencer had another reason to watch the 2005 NBA draft. It wasn’t just about the sheer imagery of shaking hands with Commissioner David Stern someday. He watched curiously as teammate Martell Webster, a star shooting guard from Seattle Prep, was expected to be an early first round pick.

“I just talked to my coach and they’re back there (in New York) with Martell getting ready,” Spencer proclaimed. “They said a police escort just picked them up. I’m going to definitely turn it on.”

It didn’t take long for Spencer to see his high school buddy find a new home. The 6-7 Webster was selected 6th by the Portland Trailblazers. The highly touted marksman will fulfill his dream close to home earning lottery dollars.

After talking to Spencer, I have no doubt that he too will reach his lofty goals someday. But for right now the talk revolves around his highly publicized recruitment.

Most want to know which schools have gained or lost ground with the Seattle star. That’s how it goes when your list includes the likes of UCONN, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, and Washington. However, Spencer just confirmed what we already knew. Nothing has changed and his list of schools remains long and impressive.

Though everyone would like to know who has a leg up there’s really no sense peppering this bright young man with questions about which school will acquire his services. He’s clearly stated his intentions before (see Telep’s update June 1, 2005). July will be a busy month where he will attempt to trim his list and determine where his official visits might take him but expect this to last into the fall.

I can tell you that Hawes was never seriously considering the NBA. His agenda always included attending college so the 19-year old age restriction had no impact on the talented center. He deemed the rule as “something they had to do.”

A few weeks ago Spencer had the privilege of competing for the red, white, and blue in the 19th annual World Juniors Tournament. He traveled to France, came home with a gold medal, and one heck of an experience.

“That was a special feeling every time you put the jersey on,” Spencer gushed. “You get that sense of pride and realize you’re not just playing for yourself…you’re not just messing around with your buddies. You’re representing your country and you’re representing America against some of the best competition in the world.”

Playing for your country can even humble one of the best prospects in next year’s talented class.

“That was a special feeling and sometimes you just sit and think about it,” Spencer continued. “You realize what you’re doing is bigger then a lot of things you’ve been involved with in the past.”

It’s a given that this versatile center’s recruitment will gather steam in July. Spencer hits the road for a jam-packed July later this week but be sure to check out the 20 questions I did get him to answer. You’ll learn some things you didn’t know about the Seattle star.


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