However he wasn't able to make it academically to Washington out of Laurinburg Prep in North Carolina. When Letter of Intent day came and went, Sallie's was not faxed to Seattle and he was faced with another year of prep school
It was a setback, but not the end of the story.
Sallie's coaches at Laurinburg left at the end of last season and headed for The Patterson School, located in Lenoir, North Carolina, about an hour outside of Charlotte.
Because Sallie felt very close to them, he decided to make the move with them. He transferred to Patterson, continuing his prep school basketball career as a guard on the #1 rated prep team in the country.
The move has been a good one, as Patterson had lost but one game at press time this year. Sallie has been playing point guard, which was an adjustment. He mostly played the two at Laurinburg, but the move to handing the rock has rounded out his game a bit more.
And he's learning quickly. "I'm coming on strong now. I had a triple double last week, so it's going good right now," said Sallie.
At just over 6-5 and 190 pounds, he would make a very difficult match up for the more diminutive point guards in college basketball. He has grown an inch and put on five pounds of muscle since leaving Laurinburg.
"I have very good teammates here, and they really know how to play," said Sallie of his successful transition.
One of Sallie's teammates at The Patterson School is none other than Davon Jefferson, the number one rated prep player in the country this year. Jefferson has range out to three-point range, can score inside, and basically has the entire package when it comes to his game.
"He is great on the court. He is here getting his character together. That, I guess, is the only question about him, because when he's on the court he's the best there is," said Sallie of Jefferson.
Jefferson will likely bypass the college game and enter straight into the NBA draft after this prep season is over. "If everything works out for him, that's his plan. But if that doesn't work out, he'll wind up at a very strong program, no doubt."
Sallie's team doesn't keep statistics. That is The Patterson School's motto, and a big reason why they are the number one ranked prep team in the country. They just go out and do what it takes to win.
However for those that are curious, Sallie is averaging 8 assists per game and 7 rebounds per game – from his point guard position. Suffice it to say that he is a very active and athletic one-guard. Many other schools entered the recruiting mix for Sallie after he was unable to come to Seattle, but it hasn't swayed his decision to stay with his commitment to Lorenzo Romar. He appreciates the fact that the Husky coaches have stuck by him through this entire recruiting ordeal.
He took a trip to Seattle for an unofficial visit during Washington's double overtime loss to Arizona and came away impressed. "It was a good visit. It was great to visit all of those guys on the team. Part of it was tough, because I should be there. But this was a good chance to go down and hang out with them. I watched their practice and sat down and talked about life with the coaches," said Sallie.
"I am very excited to come to Washington. I can't wait to get there."
His trip to the Husky campus was his first chance to catch a game inside Bank of America Arena, and it made a definite impact on him. "I was amazed at how the crowd responded to a big time basketball opponent like Arizona. Those Husky fans really got loud. I loved it. I didn't think it could get that loud in there. That atmosphere is exactly what I wanted - it's where I wanted to be. I want to be a part of all of that."
At the game, Sallie sat with Harvey Perry, a freshman on this year's squad that is nursing a back injury and will probably redshirt if there are no injuries to the other guards. Perry is in a similar situation to Sallie in that he can only watch from the sidelines and wonder about what could've been. He is expected to make a full recovery so he and Sallie will essentially be cutting their Husky basketball teeth at the same time, perhaps in the same backcourt.
"Harvey and I were talking at that game and both saying the same thing: ‘We should be out there, man. It's hard.'"
Washington stayed with Arizona with a heroic effort by Brandon Roy, who nailed three pointers at the buzzer in regulation and at the end of the first overtime, however foul trouble got the best of the Dawgs and they wound up losing three players in the second overtime. That made it even more difficult to watch for Sallie.
"Once people started fouling out, it was tough to know that I would've probably been in that game. I was ready to suit up, you know? But I always say, everything happens for a reason."
Instead of moping about the delay in beginning his collegiate career, Sallie has spent this season fine tuning his game, working on his jumper, and handling the basketball. He is also working on maturing physically as well as mentally so he'll arrive next summer ready to compete for minutes from the get go. He has been talking with both Coach Romar and Coach Dollar about next season, mostly regarding what they are expecting from him and what he should expect from them.
"Basically they remind me that I'm coming into a big time program. This is a big stage so I have to establish myself and my character here. Since Washington is now in the national spotlight, they want players that represent the school well, because everyone is watching. Everyone can see what you are doing and what the players on your team are like. I know that I have to always be at my best. The coaches want to bring in guys that understand that prestige that they are building around the program, positive guys that will represent the school well. I have no problem with that, because I am a VERY positive person. I admit that sometimes I am a little bit immature, and I know that I need to work on that. But that's why I'm here (in prep school). There will be no problems from me, and when I get to Washington, I'll be older than the other freshmen. I'll be expected to act that way and be a leader," said Sallie.
"I have no problem with that."
Sallie just needs a 19 on the ACT now to get to Washington by next season. All of his core classes and his GPA are sufficient to transfer to Washington, allowing a successful matriculation to Seattle. He'll take the ACT exam in the coming weeks. "I know I'll knock that out. It hurt to watch all of those guys play that I was supposed to be a part of. But I'll be there."
Finding his way
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