UW Hoops Recruiting at New Heights

When Dave Telep, recruiting director for the Insiders.com network, reported that Jon Brockman had called the school and told them his intentions of staying home and playing for Washington, it became almost a foregone conclusion that the Huskies will have a top-10 recruiting class this year. If all of the LOI's come in as expected, the Dawgs are entering uncharted territory.

Earlier this summer, there were some serious grousing going on the Dawgman.com message boards when local talents Mitch Johnson (O'Dea) picked Stanford, Terrence Williams (Rainier Beach) chose Louisville, and Micah Downs (Juanita) and C.J. Giles (Rainier Beach) both opted for Kansas. Marcus Williams (Roosevelt) also said early on that he wanted to get away from home for his school. Word was getting around quickly, and unfairly, that Romar would be unable to get any of what is arguably the most talented class of Washingtonians in history to stay home and play for him.

That is a lot of D-1 talent to let slip away out of your own backyard. It appeared that the Huskies recent turnaround wasn't going to be enough to erase the down years in the eyes of the local hardwood community.

But Romar didn't hit the panic button. Instead, he turned his attention elsewhere and addressed his needs while still keeping an eye on the two big targets still available in the city.

Toledo's Artem Wallace committed to Romar in June, getting the ball rolling. Wallace was a badly needed banger in the paint. He is considered a bit more raw than some prospects, but TheInsiders rates him as the #18 power forward in the country, and the #2 center on the west coast, because of his upside. He is rated a four-star prospect.

Toledo Head Coach Scott Merzoian says of Wallace, "He's got an unbelievable amount of potential. 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 match up 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."

As Romar went out of town to look for gems, he found one in Roburt Sallie, a 6-5 shooting guard from Valley High School in Sacramento. Sallie was the Delta League MVP in 2003 and an All-Metro selection the last two seasons, averaging 21.5 points. He helped the Vikings win consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section titles and appear in two NorCal finals. He is not as highly rated as some, but he's a guy that can fill it from long range. He'll fill Tre Simmons' shoes as the long-range threat. He'll attend Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina this year to get his SAT score and academics stronger, as well as gain another year of basketball experience.

Another guard gave Romar his verbal in July. Harvey Perry, a 6-5 two-guard from Henderson, Nevada. Perry will remind many of Bobby Jones in his defensive tenacity. The Insiders.com gives Perry a four-star ranking, meaning he is considered one of the top 50 players in the country at his position.

With Captain Will Conroy leaving after this year, Ryan Appleby will be the only true point guard on the roster in 2005. Romar addressed that need by getting a verbal from Justin Dentmon, a 6-0 one-guard from Carbondale, Illinois. Dentmon was originally headed to Illinois State but didn't qualify academically. He went the prep school round and became eligible this year. In the meantime, his stock skyrocketed. Romar and staff were there when it came time for him to make his decision, and he spurned ISU, Miami, and Illinois for the Huskies. Dentmon received three stars in the point guard ratings from TheInsiders.com.

With the report of Brockman's decision this morning, Washington's class takes another jump up. Brockman is a legitimate post player that earned the elite 5-star rating from TheInsiders.com. Brockman had interest from all over the country, including Duke and Arizona, who both visited Jon in-his Snohomish home.

And when the National Letters of Intent are faxed into the Graves Building, look for the one signed by Martell Webster, a 6-7 swing player that can dominate a game in many ways. Injuries are probably the only thing that has held him back up to now, and many felt that he would go straight to the NBA if it weren't for those hampering dings. "He is a one and done type of guy," said a source close to the University of Washington athletic department that is familiar with Martell's game. "He is the real deal, without a doubt."

Webster is rated the #3 rated shooting guard in the country by TheInsiders.com, and also has the elite 5-star rating. If he can avoid the injury bug, he could absolutely electrify Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

In summary, you are looking at two legit big players in Wallace and Brockman, a pure point guard in Dentmon to go with the transfer of Ryan Appleby from Florida, a guy that can fill it up in Sallie, a tough defender with good range in Perry, and a guy that can do it all in Webster.

That class is one for the ages, and certainly one that any school would be proud of. And if all goes according to plan, it is one Husky fans should enjoy very much.

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