Strategy used to get Marquese Chriss? - “Recruiting can become somewhat confusing when you’re 17 years old. So many people are telling you - in some cases the same thing, on the other hand they have their different sales pitch as to how to why you fit in. It can become a situation where there’s paralysis by analysis where you forget what’s really right because you’re hearing so many different things. Because of that we saw Marquese early and T.J. Otzelberger early on mentioned how talented he thought he was. Take a look at him and see. I went and saw him play and agreed. Continued to talk to him and build a relationship with him and his family. They agreed to come up last year on a visit when you could visit and he really liked the place. We have a great Engineering department here and it’s something he’s looking at. Studying engineering, I think, also helped us out a lot. But we felt like we had to be very aggressive early because if we didn’t it could go on and on and he could become maybe confused because it is a difficult process when you’re that age. But he picked the University of Washington for the right reasons, we felt. His thinking and judgement wasn’t clouded at all with all the different coaches that would eventually call him.”
Couple things that define this class? - “Versatility would be…I think it meets a lot of needs for us in this year’s class. Length and athleticism. David Crisp, even though in shoes he’s six foot, he’s a winner. He’s a proud winner of many dunk contests. He’s strong and athletic, and quick. I would say that would be a common denominator with this group.”
Is this the most talented group you’ve ever assembled in one class? - “I’ve thought about that. It’s interesting; on Signing Day the year that Jon Brockman and Martell Webster signed with us the same year, there’s a lot of excitement centered around that. The following year was Spencer Hawes, who was another local talent. There were seven guys in the '05 class, I believe. But only four of them stayed; one transferred and Martell Webster went straight to the NBA out of high school and another one didn't make it in. The next year - Spencer Hawes, Quincy Pondexter, Adrian Oliver, Phil Nelson - Spencer left for the NBA after one year and Quincy was the only one here the entire time. So it'll be interesting to see how this class pans out when you look at it that way.
"Most people - trivia question might be if you really follow Husky Basketball - what was the most productive class? It would have been 2007, the years after that with Mathew Bryan-Amaning, Darnell Gant, Venoy Overton, and Justin Holiday. Those four won more games in anyone in the history of the program, but maybe they weren't as publicized as some of the other classes.
"I would have to say at this point, this class ranks up there with any class we've been able to put together - because of the versatility, because their aren't any projects. All of these guys, we feel, can come in and play."
On being a hometown hero and keeping guys home - "It really helps when there are high-level talented players locally. That always helps. This year we've been able to get those guys that we felt were the future of our program. Then you add a Malik Dime and Marquese Chriss and Devenir Duruisseau, those three - I think all six compliment each other very well. That talent being available to us here really helps, and I have to say my assistants were phenomenal in this recruiting - just relentless, on top of everything, very good job of evaluating, seeing who fits our needs. And our players were very good. When these guys came on visits, our players were really good with them. The guys that ended up coming with us they felt comfortable with those guys. So those guys did a great job; my assistants were very good. They worked really hard."
Did you feel from the beginning you needed six players? - "No. I don't think we set out to sign six, but those guys were available and they really liked Washington. I think we addressed, with this class, our needs. It took six to address our needs. A situation like Tristan Etienne leaving, something like that, changed things a little bit."
Confident the math will work out? - "It already has. We always know what we have and we don't offer if we don't have anything available. We'll be fine."
Any chance you add another player to this class? - "No. Again, in recruiting never say never - but at this point we're not actively recruiting anyone else for this class."
On Malik Dime and discovering him - "What happened is that he played with Quevyn (Winters) at Indian Hills Community College. Quevyn was coming to Washington; Quevyn talked favorably about Washington and he would talk to Malik about Washington quite a bit and it piqued Malik's interest in Washington. Coach T.J. continued to talk to Malik and Malik continued to get better and improve and develop. Finally it came to a situation where we were in a position where he really liked us and we really liked him. We were able to fight off some tough schools to get his services."
Does he remind you of anybody? - "I can't wait to get him in a race to see if anybody on our team can out-run him. He is so fast. With a 7-foot-4 wingspan, he is long, he gets off his feet very quickly. He knows who he is too; he really knows who he is. I can't name someone that he reminds me of exactly. But I know he's going to help us."
On Devenir Duruisseau - "It's actually an interesting story. I won't bore you with the details...I was at a tournament a couple of years ago and was looking at the roster of teams and one name stuck out to me - it was Duruisseau. The reason that name stuck out is that as a Romar in our family, if you're a Duruisseau you're in some kind of a way related. I asked the organizer of the tournament - which one is Duruisseau? He points to him over there. I mention to him we might be cousins. So he goes over there and asks Devenir...and he goes, 'Yeah, I know who he is - he's the coach at Washington. He's my cousin'. He said it like that, so the guy came back and told me. So we watched him and at that point didn't know if he was quite at our level. He went on, and I would keep up with him just to keep up with him...later on coach Chill went to go watch someone else. He called back and said, 'I don't know, we've got to wait and see...but the kid I was impressed with that might fit is this kid with the funny name. He starts to spell it, and it's Duruisseau. I said, 'Wait a minute'. I begin to describe the kid. Does he look like this? Is he about this tall? He said, 'Yeah!' I said, 'I think I know him'. So I went back the next week and yeah, he had gotten better, so that's when we offered him a scholarship and he took us up on it."
Is he a center? Power Forward? - "He's a big. He's someone that doesn't mind mixing it up - and he knows who he is too. He doesn't mind banging."
First cousin? Second cousin? - "If you ask T.J. he'll tell you he's not a cousin because he's not a first cousin. He would tell you he might be related, but you can't have that many cousins. There's more to it than that. He's in our family tree."
He said you sat him down and had him watch film of Jon Brockman - "What we did is, a lot of times we show kids film of what we're hoping, how they fit more. He is not Jon Brockman; but at the same time the way Jon Brockman scored, the way Jon Brockman was successful - we just showed him how he could fit in in that way also."
How do you see the local three evolving with their games? - "David Crisp is a strong, quick, athletic combo guard that can really shoot the basketball and is tough. Knows how to win. He's not intimidated by anything. He's a guy you go on the road with and you feel very confident that he's going to show up.
"Dejounte Murray - Baby Boy - is a do-it-all type guard. He had 30 rebounds in a game last year as a guard. And that team was loaded, but he had 30 rebounds. That's hard for a big man to say that. That just shows his versatility. He's one that has continued to progress and evolve to where he's a really good basketball player. Shoots the ball, passes the ball, plays at his own pace, has a high basketball IQ, one of those guys you can put a combination of any four guys with him and he will find his way on a basketball floor.
"Matisse Thybulle is a long, energetic guard with a motor. Matisse loves to play defense, but he's the kind of guy that can go out and score points too because he's so active. He is one that is just scratching the surface as to how good he's going to be. He has tremendous upside."
Is Matisse Thybulle the next Bobby Jones? - "Matisse, you compare him a Bobby Jones, but he's more skilled than Bobby was. Bobby was just a little taller. Justin Holiday plays for the Golden State Warriors right now and I would say they are more similar. Again, high basketball IQ's, they play with high motors. Matisse can guard anyone one through four and takes pride in that. Matisse has something about him - I don't know what it is - he's kind of a playmaker. And I don't mean that like as a point guard running the show; he just makes things happen. He finds a way to rebound yet is the first guy down the floor on the break - even throwing the ball up to him, he's an unbelievable athlete. So there are some similarities there, but I'll be interested to trace and track Matisse's career here at the University of Washington. I think he could have a special career."
On a recruiting philosophy change and if this is how you hoped it would work - "It couldn't be a whole lot better to me in terms of addressing needs and you've got half the class of local kids that have done well here and really take pride in being here. All six of these guys love being Huskies, even the ones that aren't from here. They love being Huskies. They've been talking about it a lot. You'd think those three that aren't from here are from here just the way they talk about it. You put it all together and we couldn't be more pleased with this class and what it brings to the table."