Scouting Report: Spencer Hawes

As we stand just days away from the college commitment of Spencer Hawes, it is worth examining what is at stake in the recruitment of the #3 player in the country. More than a lofty ranking, the 6'11" Seattle post player has skills, agility and athleticism ready to dominate college basketball. Renowned analyst and Scout.com national recruiting director Dave Telep walks us through.

Spencer Hawes
6-11, 225
Seattle (Wash.) Prep

Strengths:
This is a guy who is on a different plane in terms of scoring the basketball. He scores like a well schooled college player – he's got the jump hook, drop step, scores ambidextrously – he's a tough matchup for a high school kid because he's throwing so much at you that you just can't process it. To me, though, the one part of Spencer's game that really needed some work heading into the 2005 AAU circuit was going out and being a consistently dominant guy. And he was a walking double-double all summer long – of the 30 and 15 variety, not 10-10.

He was a walking double-double all summer long.

That alone, how dominant he was against good players, putting up big numbers, you just can't discount that.

 

Weaknesses:
In terms of areas for him to improve, Spencer still needs to get stronger. It hasn't affected him yet, but the playing field will level out a bit in college and he'll need to be ready for that physical adjustment. And, like a lot of guys in his class who play facing the basket, that's just an area where he needs more repetition.

Signature Performance:
July 14 at the Peach Jam. And there is no doubt about it. I know he was great the last day in Vegas against whomever you threw at him – including the Lopez twins. But during this one game at the Peach Jam (against Tywon Lawson's DC Blue Devils), it was like watching an instructional video. America's top college coaches watched in amazement as Hawes put on a clinic. His left-handed jump hook off the window was the best post move I saw all summer. In looking back at the summer of 2005, Hawes' game against DC is among the top performances discussed. He went for 32 points (14-for-21 FG) and 11 rebounds. He had 27 points with seven minutes to go and 40 was within reach but his touches decreased late in the game.

College Projection:
Depends on the situation. I don't think it's unrealistic to say that because he's a 7-footer, he has to be a center. He may be a center in college, but as his career progresses, I think you'll see Hawes fill a role as a power forward. Power forward or center? It's really of little consequence. His versatility is one of his best assets – as he continues to move up the ladder to the college and then pro level, he'll be used in different ways.

His versatility is one of his best assets.

There's no need to label him as a center or power forward – he's got both. In college, guys get put in different positions because of their size, but to call Spencer Hawes a true center would be stereotyping him and really that's not what his game is about. He has characteristics of both positions.

Ranking:
No. 3 -- His parents made the unfortunate mistake of giving birth to him in the same year as Greg Oden, so that's why he's not the No. 1 post player. Kevin Durant is a complete wildcard – a 6-9 three-point shooter who is almost a full year younger than everyone else in the class. Durant may be one of the big, big players five years from now. He's got that kind of potential. So that's why Spencer Hawes checks in at No. 3. The Top 5 in 2006 are destined to make a lot of money. College basketball should feel very fortunate, because in the past, guys like Oden, Durant and Hawes don't participate in college athletics.

Final Thoughts:
Overall, offensively and defensively, he continues to make progress. When you're looking at high school kids and evaluating for college, one of the key questions is – How much improvement have good players made when they leave high school? You look at Spencer Hawes and he's advanced his game to another level, whereas a lot of elite guys in his class are just motoring along. Hawes continues to improve and guys like that have an amazing track record for being big-time performers on the college level.


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