Peters high on UW

Richard Peters may be from Canada, but right now he's a man without a classification. Everyone knows the 6-foot-10, 250-pound native of Trinidad and Tobago is a post player, but he's in-between recruiting classes. Peters told Tuesday night that if an academic hurdle gets cleared this weekend, it will help him move closer to his goal of entering college in the summer.

"To be honest, I've talked to everybody about this - I'm academically preparing myself for 2011," Peters said. "I'm taking the ACT this weekend. I talked to (UW Assistant) coach (Raphael) Chillious, and he said that Washington requires the ACT. So I'm preparing myself to be academically eligible for 2011 possibly after this weekend.

He moved to Westwind Prep in Phoenix, Ariz. after a year at Brewster Prep in New Hampshire. And Westwind's website lists Peters as a 2011 graduate.

"My grades are good, so all I need to take this ACT test," he added. "The only reason I'm thinking of 2012 is if I don't get the ACT and SAT done in time. Then I could take it over next year. My grades are good, but I would have to pull a really, really good score to get my ACT and SAT done. It's 50/50. It's not that I would go 2012 because my academics are poor. It's just that I have that just in case. I don't want to burn any bridges."

Peters has already been burned once in the recruiting process, and it wasn't his fault. He verbally committed early to Oklahoma, a school that doggedly pursued him while their program was being led by Jeff Capel. Capel was fired three weeks ago, and that turned Peters' world upside down.

"The day Jeff got fired, everyone wants to know what's my next move," he said. "It's devastating. Jeff Capel and me had a good relationship. It was three years strong. It's been hard. But things go the wrong way sometimes.

"Oklahoma, they really put forth a lot of effort to recruit me. My cousin actually went there, Ryan Wright. My family was already in the program. Jeff Capel really, really is a good guy. I built a relationship with him, with the whole staff. They've been there since the get-go…they came to all my tournaments.

"I made a visit, and in open gym I played with the guys, played one-on-one with Blake Griffin. My Mom liked the school. I wanted to major in business, and they have a pretty good business school. And I fell in love with the fans on my visit. The school really embraced me as an athlete and a student. Everyone knew my name, everyone knew I was committed. I really appreciated what they did for me on my visit."

He picked the Sooners over standing offers from schools like Florida State, South Florida, Miami, Alabama, Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Georgia. "Those are the schools I know for a fact," Peters said, hinting that there probably a lot more he couldn't remember, since he made the commitment nearly two years ago.

Peters told Dawgman that he officially de-committed from Oklahoma two days ago. "The Final Four just happened, and a lot of coaches are hitting me up on the line," he said. "I think I'm going to look at my list and see who I want to visit after the next week or two when everything settles down. Schools have been waiting for me to de-commit, so I think I'm going to wait a week-and-a-half, two weeks, and then I'll know where I want to visit."

One school that right at the top of his new wish list is Washington, and it's not by accident. Peters has a connection to the program through Chillious. He coached Peters at the 2009 Jordan Brandon Classic International Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City, part of the Jordan Brand Classic that featured current Husky Abdul Gaddy, as well as players like Kevin Parrom, Kenny Boynton, Avery Bradley, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Jordan Hamilton, John Henson, Momo Jones, Alex Oriakhi, Renardo Sidney, and John Wall.

"I'm open to every other school, but my favorite right now is the University of Washington," he said, matter-of-factly. "The coach, Raphael Chillious, has known me when I was 16, when I started up. I'm international, I'm from Canada…and that (2009) Jordan Brand international game, coach Chillious coached me and he showcased my talents. He put me on the map. My favorite right now is the University of Washington Huskies.

"Coach (Lorenzo) Romar and coach Chillious are coming to see me on Friday. And when I talked to coach Chillious, he told me that once I get my ACT done baby, I'm coming on down. I'm coming on an unofficial (visit) either next week or the following week after that. The official visit will be determined on the weekend. If my get my ACT correct, and my stuff is good, I'll get my ticket for Seattle."

What does Peters know about Washington? "I played Tony Wroten one time in Germany," he said. "He was a cool dude. Two players on my team were recruited by Washington. One of my assistant coaches, coach Lee, was coached by coach Romar. I've had good stuff reported to me about coach Romar, and coach Chillious has told me everything that I need to know. The city of Seattle is the kind of city I like. Coach Lee said that (Romar) is going to get me better."

And with a spot begging to be filled by a post, the admiration society that's been created between Peters and Washington appears to be mutual. "I rebound," Peters said when asked about his game. "I rebound on the offensive and defensive end. I'm a very communicative player; I call off screens, I talk a lot. I talk on the defensive and offensive end. And inside play, in the post - I'm gonna get it down in the post. I might step out and hit that jump shot…I'm working on the three right now. But interior basketball…I love it. I love to bang inside. I'm an aggressive guy. I like to compete. If I don't give you anything on offense, I will give you something on defense. I'm guaranteed to give you something on the stats. Other than that - let's go hard. I go hard all the time.

"I'm chopping off some weight right now. I'm actually going down. I've got one of those weight bands, so every time I walk, it burns weight. I've got an eight-minute ab workout, I've been doing a lot of cardio, a lot of plyometrics. I have to get ready for this AAU season coming up. Conditioning is key, because I want to be running up and down the floor."

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