Nowell and Davis sign UW letters of intent

On Wednesday, Garfield seniors Jaylen Nowell and Daejon Davis officially signed binding letters of intent to play basketball at Washington starting in 2017. They held a ceremony at the Garfield gym to mark the occasion. Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period for men's basketball.

Signing Ceremony

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Jaylen Nowell Interview 

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What’s the day been like? - “It’s been great. To know that all these people are supporting me and that the whole state of Washington supports me and my decision and that I’ll be able to be here for another year, two years - however long I’m here - is just great.”

How log have you been thinking about signing that letter? - “Man, signing a letter period has been…I’ve been thinking about it my whole life. But signing the U-Dub letter man…ever since they started talking to me I knew I wanted to be here and I don’t want to play for nobody else.”

How important is it to stay home, especially with a little brother - “He’s my big little brother. Let’s get that out of the way (laughs). But it’s great just down the street. I can come up here and visit too. I love Garfield, I love U-Dub. There’s really nowhere I’d rather be, like I always tell everybody.”

What did you see in UW’s exhibition game? - “I saw a lot of teamwork and a lot of fun. That’s when the teams are good is when they are having fun. That’s exactly what I’m hoping for when we get there, is that we have fun and we’re ready to go to war.”

Talk about coach Romar and coach Conroy - “Coach Romar, him and coach Will, they’ve been like family to me. Ever since I started talking to them it’s just been straight. It’s been great. I don’t even see them as my coaches. I see them as my brothers and family because that’s really what they are. You go to them for anything, not just basketball. That’s what I’ve always wanted, to have a family. And I feel like U-Dub is where it’s at.”

How much work did you have to put in on Daejon? - “How much work? That has to go on classified. That’s classified information. Can’t really say that. (smiles)”

When is the last time a guy offered by UW at Garfield didn’t go there? Do you know? - “Nope. It could have happened, but I was in his ear. We’re not going to say how much though. We’re going to keep that on the low.”

Talk about the rest of the class - “Of course the Porter brothers (Michael and 2018 UW commit Jontay) are great dudes. All four of them are great guys. I haven’t gotten to talk to Mamoudou (Diarra) yet. I’ve talked to Blake (Harris). Blake, when we first met we clicked. We were just cool with each other and it was great to meet him. Same with the Porter brothers. They are all great guys and I’m looking forward to meeting Mamoudou too.”

Is it going to be a war going up against Michael Porter this year? - “Yes, of course. Always. It’s going to be a great game. I’m ready for it.”

Talk about your little brother Shane - “My man Shane, lefty, 6-4 probably. He’s the man. He’s a great passer. They call him Tony. Great passer. He throws passes like, how did you see that dude? He’s coming in, he’s going to be a freshman next year and he’s ready.”

 Daejon Davis Interview

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Having fun? - “We’re having fun. It’s a great day for me and my family, but especially just the support of my friends. It’s just a great vibe in the gym and a great chance for everyone to get together. The community is really happy we’re staying home and playing for our city.”

How hard was the recruiting process on you? - “It was tough, but it was definitely worth it. For future people going through the process I would definitely say do not play with the process. Know what you’re looking for and stand by it. With my de-commitment in the first place it was just a sense of not knowing what else is out there and I was a curious young kid. But I matured and went on my visits and talked to people, talked to people in the universities - from the academics all the way up to the athletics, just seeing what the people in the community have to say about places. Honestly no place even compared to Washington. The level of support and just the city, the city is behind the team, is just unreal. I’m just so excited to stay home and play for my city.”

Sounds like you trusted your initial decision but wanted to verify it - “I definitely knew the University of Washington was a great place from when I committed. My de-commitment wasn’t because it wasn’t a great place or good enough place for me. It was just that I wasn’t sure. I don’t know if I’m feeling this right now. Just the verifying piece was huge for me because as a person I want to know why I’m doing something, why I’m doing it when I’m doing it and stuff like that. That’s just my personality. As I got to go through the process and talk to people I found that this was the best place for me.”

Did you ever question going through the process again after the de-commitment? - “No. Once I got in there I was committed to it. I promised myself that I would finish all my visits and I promised coach Romar and his staff that I would take a visit to Washington. Just that following your word and there was definitely no stopping me from finishing my recruiting process. And I knew once I got into it it would be a struggle, a long process as all my visits were four in a row. I’m just happy that I did it because I got to see what’s out there and I can really truly say that there’s no other place like Washington.”

On how much the Seattle basketball community played a part in your decision? - “If I went anywhere else, Jon Jon would have probably been totally erased from my identity. Now that I’m at home it just kind of gives me the extra support that I need. To hear people in the stands say Jon Jon and others saying Daejon so it kind of shows me who knows me and who doesn’t. It’s just nice that my family members, extended family members and friends, former teammates, can come out and watch me play down at the U and see a great show from this 2017 recruiting class and the rest of the team.”

On being close to his mother - “I love my mom with all my heart. Her love is unconditional no matter what happens. She’s always going to be there for me. Just knowing that she’s always going to be there and she’s never steered me in the wrong direction and she’s always wanted what’s best for me more than anything, and just the support is unreal. People say all moms are moms, but I really believe my mom is especially special and I’m so thankful for everything she’s done for me this far.”

On trying to get his little brother involved in the ceremony - “I was trying to give him the mic. He’s a little shy. I’m sure he’ll blossom into a great person and great basketball player as well. He’s 10 years old. He plays for (Seattle) Rotary, so he’s going through the same upbringing I was brought out of. I’m sure coach Darryl (Hennings), coach Haskins, and all the other people that worked with me will definitely find interest in my younger brother as he has a similar personality. He wants to be just like me, he does everything I do.”

Jaylen wouldn’t tell me how much he was in your ear about UW - “So initially when I was committed I was in his ear a lot. He was kind of blowing it off, trying to focus on what he wanted to do and I respected it. And then when he committed he kind of did the same thing to me. I was like no, I’ve got to take my visits. Everything just worked out and I’m happy that it worked out and that we’re able to play for the same school and come from the same place. We literally got better together as we grew up. So just seeing his growth over the years is just crazy to me. I was so amazed at his growth I kind of forgot about my growth. I tried to get him better and as I was doing that he was doing the same for me. That’s ultimately what got me better, just competing with him from elementary school.”

How influential was coach Conroy? - “It’s beyond Garfield. Even before I was at Garfield I was just in the AAU community and I went to Lakeside and he’s just always been there for me. Just like the pros when they come back and they try and build this sense of a Seattle basketball community. Some people call it ‘Home Team’ or whatever you want to call it, it’s just the support that guys have done what we’re trying to do and their advice to us and their mentoring to us and not what they owe, but what they are willing to give back.”

Talk about the game with Nathan Hale coming up - “It’s going to be really competitive. There’s not much else to say. We’ve got to prepare just like any other team and any other team has to prepare for us. I think it’s less of them and more focusing on us and what we have going on here at Garfield. We’re going to prepare ourselves just being the best team we can be rather than worrying about opponents and who they have and what they have. We’ll just try to get the job done.”

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