Beach's Bits: Etienne and Dorsey

BELLEVUE - The Washington Huskies Basketball team recently added two new members to their family. Both players - Tristan Etienne of Abbotsford British Columbia, and Donovan Dorsey of Timberline High School in Lacey - were at Bellevue College this weekend for the annual Northwest Premier Summer Showcase. Here's what I saw.

Tristan Etienne Impact: 2014 is a tough year for post players but Washington appears to have a good one in the 6-foot-9 Etienne. The Canuck is a slender but solidly built post, who physically resembles former Washington State forward DeAngelo Casto. Etienne doesn't wow you athletically. He's not a high riser, nor does he play above the rim, but he's immensely skilled and has soft hands and a nice touch around the hoop. Offensively, he's advanced and has a broad array of post moves. He utilizes both hands effectively, and connected on impressive right and left hook shots from both blocks in subsequent possessions. He's a high level passer and connected on several precision passes to cutting teammates out of the high post. He's a solid ball handler and even brought the ball down the floor on multiple occasions. His mid-range jump shot didn't fall, but his form is good and should improve with repetition. Defensively, his potential really shines through. He's very active, possessing a high motor and was able to maintain position in the paint despite the lack of bulk. As a shot blocker, Etienne possesses good instincts and quick hands, swatting five shots in the first half against Dorsey's vertically challenged Team Access. He also showed excellent leadership qualities on the floor and was vocal, directing his teammates into position. In an era when many post prospects suffer through identity crisis and think they're wings, Tristan suffers from no such delusions and seems to know exactly what he is.

Where is Etienne's place at UW?: In terms of how he fits in at Washington, the first step is to start packing on muscle, because until he does he's going to have a tough time holding his ground at the Pac-12 level. Fortunately, given the Huskies' expected depth in the post in 2014 he won't likely be asked to come in and play a key role right out of the gate. Offensively speaking, he's one of the more polished post prospects to enter the program during the Lorenzo Romar era, which should help him contribute as soon as his body is ready to take the Pac-12 pounding.

More to Etienne than just basketball: Overall, he's a fine prospect with a bright future, not just on the basketball court but in the classroom as well, as he is reportedly a bit of a brainiac. That can only help his college experience.

Donaven Dorsey Impact: The first time I watched Donaven Dorsey, was three summers ago in Portland at the Rose City Showcase. At that time he was playing for an obscure AAU team out of Olympia called Team Mocha. Playing mostly off the ball, Dorsey passed the eye test but it wasn't until Mocha's point guard went to the bench that Dorsey's true colors were revealed.

Now checking in at a lanky 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6, Dorsey has matured leaps and bounds since I first saw him. The first trait that really caught my eye was his body control, which is truly first class. He's versatile, capable of playing any of the three guard positions. As a point guard, he's got excellent ball handling skills and keeps the ball very low. He has a devastating crossover. He's a good passer and sees the floor well. His biggest strength is in traffic where he utilizes that crossover to set up defenders. He aggressively attacks the basket and he's a crafty passer in the paint. Athletically speaking, the closest Husky comparison is probably Justin Holiday, though he more closely resembles Quincy Pondexter physically, with his high waist and big butt providing a strong base. He's long yet nimble, and possesses multiple gears. Dorsey pounded home a thundering two-handed tip jam against Etienne's DRIVE, and he can throw it down with just a step or two and a sliver of space. He also possesses a nifty spin move that he'll typically showcase a couple of times a game. He uses a quality mid-range pull up jumper though he didn't shoot it very well this past weekend. He's got work to do from outside as his three point stroke is a little on the flat side and he connects inconsistently.

Where are Dorsey's weaknesses?: Aside from his three point shot he has a couple of areas that need to be addressed before he's ready to make his mark with the Huskies. Like many players his age, he needs a lot of work defensively, though his length and quickness indicate high defensive upside. He's also got plenty of work to do in the weight room and his narrow shoulders will limit his ability to add a ton of bulk. Added strength will allow him to better finish through contact and allow him to battle more effectively under the basket. He doesn't yet possess a killer instinct and needs to demand the ball and be more of a factor with the game on the line. He is a humble, soft-spoken kid, but needs to show confidence on the floor. Watching him, you see a player who is just beginning to realize how good he is, and how good he could be.

Where does Dorsey fit in UW's plans?: In terms of his future at Washington, As Terrence Ross and Scott Suggs both learned, Dorsey's playing time will largely depend on how long it takes him to recognize that he needs to have the same level of commitment on defense as he does on offense. Washington should have good guard depth in 2014, but Dorsey's positional versatility may help him find a role earlier in his career, especially if injuries become a factor. Long term, he'll likely spend most of his time at the two and three, as he lacks the pit bull mentality that typically defines UW point guards - especially given the expectations coming in for 2013 signees Nigel Williams-Goss and Jahmel Taylor. As the first local player to commit to UW since 2011, Dorsey's long term upside make him a very intriguing prospect for Washington.

What do these commitments mean for UW Hoops Recruiting going forward?: The Huskies' first two commitments of the 2014 class signal a pretty big shift in the program's recruiting strategy. The days of the coaching staff chasing blue chip, five star recruits all over the country are over. Both Etienne and Dorsey are perfect examples of national under-the-radar prospects closer to home that are eager to earn their stripes and be a part of the Huskies' highly successful, family-oriented culture. They're great kids, on and off the court, with excellent family support systems at home. Congratulations to both Tristan and Donaven and welcome to Husky Nation.

To listen to Beach's synopsis on Etienne and Dorsey during our Dawgman on KJR segment this past Saturday, as well as some other hoops recruiting news, click on the link below.

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