Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

A Look at Romar's Early Entrants Shows Trend

With all the talk about Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss potentially turning pro after their freshman seasons at Washington, it was worth a look to go back and see how the Huskies' early entrants have fared during the Lorenzo Romar era - starting with a player that never even made it to Montlake after signing a letter of intent.

Webster, a consensus top-10 high school player nationally, never showed up on campus after signing with UW in late 2004. Back when high school players could jump immediately to the NBA. Taken with the sixth overall pick by Portland in the 2005 NBA Draft, Webster played 10 years with Portland, Minnesota and Washington before being waved last year after suffering an a hip injury that required surgery, ruling him out for the season. His best season statistically was 2012-13 with Washington, where he averaged 11.4 points per game in 62 starts. His only other season averaging double-digits was with Portland in 2007-08, where he scored 10.4 points per game in 70 starts.

Robinson, originally signed with UW as a football player, but moved full-time to Basketball in 2003, his sophomore year, even though he led the Huskies in scoring as a freshman. He left before his senior season, ultimately getting taken with the 21st overall pick by the New York Knicks in 2005. Robinson played 14 years in the NBA with New York, Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, Denver, L.A. Clippers, and New Orleans. He was waived by New Orleans after only two games of the 2015-16 season. After mulling over a possible attempt to play in the NFL, Robinson reportedly signed a contract to play basketball overseas with Hapoel Tel Aviv, the same team Tre Simmons currently plays for. Robinson’s career is known as much for his three NBA Slam Dunk championships, but half his seasons he averaged scoring in double-figures. Statistically-speaking, his 2008-09 season with the Knicks was the best, averaging 17.2 points per game in 74 games played.

Hawes signed with Washington and played for the Huskies one season. There was a good chance at the time Hawes would have jumped directly to the NBA like his former Seattle Prep teammate Martell Webster, but an NBA rule enacted just prior made it so all high school players had to play at least one year of college before declaring their intent to turn pro. That’s exactly what Hawes did. After the 2006-07 season, Hawes left Washington and was taken by Sacramento with the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. In his nine years in the NBA, Hawes has played with Sacramento, Philadelphia, Cleveland, L.A. Clippers, and Charlotte. Hawes has averaged 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 620 total games.

Thomas signed with Washington in 2007 and played three seasons with UW. foregoing his final year of eligibility to play pro after earning two First Team All-Pac-12 honors, two Pac-12 Tournament MVP honors and Honorable Mention All-America honors after his junior year. Sacramento took Thomas with the final pick of the 2011 Draft, the 60th pick overall. In Thomas’s five years in the NBA, he has played with Sacramento, Phoenix and Boston. During that time he has averaged 16.8 points and five assists per game in 351 games played. In January he was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career.

Despite having to sit out his junior season at Garfield with an ACL injury sustained while playing football, Wroten was still considered a ‘can’t-miss’ college hoops prospect, signing with UW in 2010. He played for the Huskies in 2011-12, where he scored 16.7 points per game. After earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, Wroten jumped to the NBA the very next season, ultimately selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 25th pick overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. In four pro seasons with the Grizzlies and Philadelphia, Wroten has averaged 11.1 points and three assists in 145 games played. In January, 2015 Wroten suffered another ACL tear, forcing him out for the rest of the 2014-15 season. He has only played in eight games so far during the 2015-16 season. Wroten was signed Wednesday by the New York Knicks.

Ross signed a letter of intent to play for Washington in April of 2010 in an infamous signing day ceremony that saw Portland (Ore.) Jefferson teammate Terrence Jones also pick the Huskies before eventually signing with Kentucky. Ross played two years for UW, earning All-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore before declaring his intent to turn pro. He was taken with the eighth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by Toronto, and has been a Raptor ever since. In four years north of the border, Ross has averaged 9.2 points per game in 296 games played. In his first season with Toronto, Ross followed former Husky Nate Robinson’s path in winning the 2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.


So what of the above information, if any, is relevant to the situation Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss find themselves in? Well, of the six players that have left to play pro before exhausting their UW eligibility, only two did it after one season - Hawes and Wroten. Just based on the statistics one could argue that their NBA careers have been up and down at best, with modest success as pros. 

What's not really debatable is that those that left UW after three years - Robinson and Thomas - have had the best professional careers - or at the very least the most visible. 

The biggest wrinkle in all this analysis is that, of all the early entrants, the one that is on track to have the best NBA career is the one that was the only one picked in the second round of an NBA Draft - Thomas. Isaiah's example is proof positive of a player given an opportunity to succeed and that player taking full advantage of that chance.

There's no debate both Murray and Chriss - who are currently averaging 16 and 13.6 points per game respectively so far at UW - have NBA ability. Their games are pro-ready from a physical and skill standpoint, although every player that has pro aspirations can hone certain parts of their game before making that jump. But has their college apprenticeship adequately prepared them to handle all aspects of being a pro, including the rigors of travel and the pressures that come with money, for instance? Is one year enough time to get them ready for what's to come in the NBA? Is any early entrant truly prepared?

That's the question that's a lot trickier to answer. But based solely on the success prior UW entrants have had after just one year in college, the answer is no. Even in the case of Webster, who never made it to UW - even though he has had a long pro career he has never really distinguished himself in any meaningful way. Two years out of 10 averaging double-figures, and with minimal post-season appearances, Webster could be held up as an example of why the NBA instituted the one-year college rule after his draft class. Top Stories