Etienne Commits to 'Dream School'

Washington verbally offered Tristan Etienne, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound forward from WJ Mouat Secondary (Abbotsford BC) and DRIVE Basketball early Thursday and Etienne immediately jumped on the offer, calling Washington his 'dream school'. He is a prospect for the 2014 class and picked UW over offers from Washington State and others.

"They found me early," Etienne told Thursday when asked about his relationship with the Washington coaches. "They started watching me around Grade 9 or Grade 10. Growing up as a kid I always loved that school. That was my dream school, so when they offered me I had to take the offer. It's always the school I wanted to go to.

"They called me this morning and offered me and I took the offer right away. Coach (Lorenzo) Romar called. He was excited to have me as part of the family and just happy that he could get me on board. Washington State offered me a week ago and they were really pressuring me to make a decision, but I decided to wait for my dream school and happy that waiting was the right choice - because I got my dream school."

Was there ever a time Etienne thought an offer from UW might not come? "Recruiting is a big game; you just have to keep moving forward and hope and have faith that everything turns out the way you want it to," he said. He was June's UW Alumni Game, and that even made him more excited about the prospects of becoming a Husky.

"I was there," he said of the game. "It was a wonderful experience. The arena was amazing. Having all those players come back to have a performance like that for all the fans, it was amazing."

Eighteen months ago, basketball was the last thing on Etienne's mind. "On Remembrance Day I was having heart palpitations, so when I went to get checked out they found that I had a hole in my heart," he said. "I needed open heart surgery to get it fixed. It wasn't that bad; I didn't have a lot of time to think about it because it all happened so quick."

Etienne had surgery to repair the hole in January of 2012 and by March he was with his Mouat team for the Provincial Championships. "Everything has been great since," he added.

Washington has a solid legacy of bringing in Canadian players, starting with Todd MacCulloch. Etienne plays hoops in both Canada and in the United States, and he already understands the differences between the two. For AAU, Etienne plays for DRIVE Basketball and coach Pasha Bains out of the Vancouver/Richmond area.

"The only time I play in Canada is when I play for my high school team," he said. "I like to focus on playing AAU because that's when you get to go down to the states. It's a completely different game because down in the states it's a step above. It's always a good challenge when you go to the states to play.

"In the states everyone is hungry for that scholarship, trying to get to a university so they can get that paid for…the game is a step quicker, it's a step tougher. You have to step up in every way to be able to compete down there."

How would Etienne describe his own game? "I'm more of a defensive specialist," he said. "I'm a real good shot-blocker; I have really good timing. I hustle to the loose balls. I take pride in my ability to get loose balls. I can step out and shoot the ball and I can post up if I have to back up a guy. I do everything I can to help out my team in any way to get the win."

According the Etienne, the UW coaches see nothing but upside. "They talked about seeing me as a player that has a lot of potential and ability and they just want me to keep working hard to improve as a basketball player in every way I can to help out the organization," he said.

"I'm just excited to be a part of the family. I just hope I can help out."

Below is a highlight clip of Etienne in action for DRIVE Basketball.

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