"UConn and UCLA are no longer in the mix," Hawes said. "It wasn't anything specific; I just thought I had more opportunities at the other schools.
"It wasn't one day that I woke up and decided (to eliminate schools)," Hawes said. "I just looked at the aspects, all those things, and certainly players that are there and guys that are going to be there … I just realized that if I knew I wasn't going to end up going there, it was hard to reverse it. I wanted to make it easier on me and with them."
Remaining in the hunt for Hawes are Stanford, Washington and North Carolina -- a unique trio of finalists.
"The choices, they're really different in what they offer," Hawes said.
Stanford owns commitments from two likely McDonald's All-Americans and even without Hawes will boast one of the biggest frontlines in college basketball. Hawes sees the Cardinal situation as a chance to be different.
"With Stanford and the Lopez Twins, I think it would be a great opportunity for a college frontline in terms of size," Hawes said. "With three 7-footers, you don't see that in the NBA let alone college. It would be a difficult front line to deal with."
North Carolina, the school farthest from home, has its own set of positives.
"With Carolina, you have all that tradition and the opportunity for playing time at the center position. They don't have many guys over 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6 plus they incorporate the big man."
And of course, the Huskies. Lorenzo Romar is ahead of schedule on the rebuilding project and Hawes' presence would allow him to take the next step.
"Washington, that's a program on the rise and you have the opportunity to solidify it and take it to a place it's never been."
The visitation process begins this month with officials in place at Stanford and North Carolina (9/17). Expect Washington's visit to come shortly after Carolina's.