Artem Wallace to Washington

According to Toledo, Washington Head Coach Scott Merzoian, Artem Wallace has verbally committed to the University of Washington. It was widely speculated that Artem committed after his official visit to Seattle last week, but Artem wanted to hold off making an announcement until Monday. That announcement has been made.

"He had a great trip," Merzoian told when asked about the Pangos all-star tournament in Cypress, California, the tournament Artem attended with his AAU team, the Portland Panthers.

"He made the all-tournament game, but didn't stay because he hurt his finger. I think he jammed it or something, but when I talked to him it didn't appear to be a big deal or anything."

Merzoian also confirmed the worst-kept secret in Lewis County - Wallace is going to be a Washington Husky. "He told me he is going to go to Washington," said Merzoian. "He has now told the coaches that he plans on attending the University of Washington.

"He was pretty set before leaving for Pangos, but he wanted the weekend, a couple of days to think about it. He just told me he's one-hundred percent sure."

So in Merzoian's opinion, what makes this a match for both Wallace and the Huskies? "Well, first he's got an unbelievable amount of potential," he said. "Being from Europe, he's very fundamentally sound, and more colleges and the NBA are going to Europe to get players.

"He's got the size to give other teams matchup problems and good big men are hard to come by. He's got a great work ethic and he's also an in-state recruit, so it's a big thing to keep the local talent at home."

At Pangos, Artem had success from outside, so it just adds another dimension to his game. "I think he's in-between a 4 and 5," Merzoian said when asked about Wallace's future. "He can step back and hit threes and he can also take smaller guys to the hole, so he definitely poses some matchup concerns for teams."

Artem is still growing, but recently ran into troubles with his conditioning, something Merzoian feels has been solved. "When he's playing for us we're conditioning every day, but that doesn't happen when he's with the AAU team," he said. "After the first couple of tournaments, he could tell he was out of shape and was feeling a little bit of pressure. You have to be in condition to compete at that level.

"So within four to five days, he had lost seven pounds and now he's down to 230, so he understands. He's in good shape and when he gets to Washington he'll be gaining muscle instead of fat. He'll get bigger and he's got broad shoulders."

Stanford was the other school that showed Artem the most interest, but Wallace had not really gone through the application process at the time of his commitment. "There was a bit of a communication breakdown when the new staff came in," Merzoian said about the Cardinal. "But after talking to them recently they told me they predicted Artem would qualify but he hadn't filled out an application yet."

Merzoian also said that Washington State had shown a lot of early interest last year.

Wallace has been invited to the big Nike and Adidas summer camps, and will be a busy camper this summer. And come November, he'll sign a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Washington.

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