Where to go from here?

The questions are many. How many scholarships does Lorenzo Romar have to give for the class of 2003? What are his priorities? What talent is available in state? What spots will he and the staff go out of state to get? Will the staff bring in any JC players?

The answers? Your guess is as good as mine. But there are some knowns. In-state the strength is at the guard spots. A trio of point guards, Aaron Brooks (Franklin), Ryan Appleby (Stanwood), and Derek Raivio (Mt. View) are the three that have risen to the top.

Brooks was just selected as one of the 16 finalists for the National Junior team while Appleby was also an invitee to the tryouts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Oregon Coach Ernie Kent is at the helm of the squad this summer and Brooks and Appleby were both high-priority targets for the Ducks heading into the spring evaluation period. Raivio joined them on many schools' "A" list with a strong showing at a tournament in Houston in April.

How do the three compare? They are all very similar. Physically all three are slight of build. On the court they are point guards who can score. Brooks is probably the best defender of the three, but also the shortest at 6'. Appleby is listed at 6'3" while Raivio has hit a growth spurt and is passing through 6'1".

Brooks averaged 16.9ppg, Appleby 17.6 and Raivio 23. In the spring Appleby and Brooks split a pair of games in head-to-head competition with their "Select" teams. All three will be at TheFinalScore.TV Invitational at Highline CC on July 13 and 14 with their "Select" teams, Brooks with Rotary, Appleby with Emerald City Pioneers and Raivio with Portland Elite Legends.

Brooks has already taken a visit to UCLA while Appleby has been to Gonzaga and has a trip scheduled to Florida. Gator Coach Billy Donovan has been all over him during the spring. Both guards will trip to Oregon. Reports have Brooks down to a three-horse race between UCLA, UW and Oregon while Appleby has been rumored to be deciding between Florida, Gonzaga, Oregon and UW.

If you held a gun to my head and made me make a guess, I'd say Brooks to UW, Appleby to Oregon, Raivio to Gonzaga. Or is it Brooks to Oregon, Appleby to Florida, Raivio to Portland? Ah hell, Brooks to UW, Appleby to Gonzaga and Raivio to Oregon.

The scenario is similar to the one two years ago when Luke Ridnour, Brian Morrison, Curtis Allen and C.J. Massingale were all being recruited. One will commit and the logjam will be broken. That's the most interesting part of the recruiting equation. About the time you think you have figured out 'X', 'Y' changes values.

The 2-guard spot features the much-heralded "Twins," Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart of Rainier Beach as well as Mercer Island's Brandon Burmeister. The Stewarts, playing their summer ball with Gary Payton's Nike Select squad, have let it be known that they are a package deal.

There are two big questions here. Will the Twins hold out for a point guard promise and will Burmeister go for a football offer? Lodrick and Rodrick wanted to play in the backcourt together this summer. Neither has seen much playing time as a true point guard with Nate Robinson running the show last year for Beach.

It hasn't been very successful thus far, as their team did not fare well at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend. A year ago they exploded onto the national scene at that same event. This year, they dropped in all of the various guru rankings after a not-so-eye-popping performance. The folks on Tobacco Road had seen the dunkfest the Twins put on a year ago and were not nearly as captivated this year.

The "SWAG" on Rod and Lod? USC or Washington. The 'Nate' card may be the deciding factor. A year ago if you would have said that UW would be in the running for the Stewarts, I would have laughed. How things change...

Brandon Burmeister devoted his junior year to basketball, putting aside the football pads and concentrating on the round ball vice the oblong thingie. The pads have come back out and he will no doubt garner plenty of recruiting attention as a wide receiver.

Hey, when you're 6'5", fairly speedy, have excellent hands and can go up high to catch passes, coaches like you…a lot. OK, I'll pull another one out of my "you-know"…if he follows in his father's footsteps, he will wear the purple and gold. And if he follows ET and Nate's lead, he might just try to do both football and basketball. Do I detect a trend here? Hmmm, isn't it about time to bring up Josh Williams' name again?

The 6'5" to 6'7" area is rather thin in-state. Mead's Adam Morrison set a Greater Spokane League single-season scoring record as a junior and has already committed to Gonzaga. 6'5" Lance Den Boer averaged 30 a game as a soph and 29 last season at Class B Sunnyside Christian. He played well last summer against the big boys and will get some serious looks this summer.

'Bigs' from the local area in the Class of 2003 are not a deep group. The best of the bunch are 6'9" Hans Gasser of Issaquah and 6'10" Zach Proett of Mt. Spokane. 6'9" Jason Mgebroff of Kentwood missed the entire spring with a broken foot and has not played summer ball with his high school team yet. Gasser is rail-thin but has a solid all-around game. Proett hits the scales at 240 and is a 4.0 student. Both would benefit greatly from a red-shirt year.

The future looks bright for 'Bigs' for the Class of 2004 having 6'9"…and growing… Marvin Williams of Bremerton. Marvin is showing all the signs of being a stud in waiting. He's athletic, can shoot the three, and has great timing on his shot blocking and, well he just does it all. Marvin has a bushel of potential in him.

He is not alone. 6'9" Jake Beitinger of South Kitsap also has stud stenciled all over him as does 6'9" Josh Heytvelt of Clarkston. 6'7" Andrew Strait of West Valley (Yakima) also has plenty of potential.

Also in the Class of 2004 are a pair of 6'3" shooting guards. Lyndale Burleson (O'Dea) is a very athletic player with a ton of upside and 6' 3" Andrew Haskins (Lake Washington) is a scoring machine. Seattle Prep's 6'3" Chad Troyer may be the best pure shooter in the class. He makes treys look like lay-ups. 6'4" Curtis Terry (Curtis) is Jason Terry's younger brother. He is another guy in the class with a ton of potential. A 1A guard who already has a pair of state championship rings and a state tournament MVP award under his belt is Chris Faidley of King's.

And the Class of 2004 already has a commit. 6'6" David Pendergraft of Brewster has verballed to Gonzaga. Like Faidley he's a Class 1A baller. Those small school guys have big game.

Busting out in the Class of 2005 is Martel Webster, a 6'6" wing from Seattle Prep. All he did as a freshman was put up double-doubles while starting varsity from day one. 6'6", 240-pound man-child Jon Brockman of Snohomish also opened eyes as a freshman. Another freshman we saw this spring who impressed with his athleticism was 6'1" Jamil Turner of Bethel. O'Dea's 6'1" guard Mitch Johnson saw plenty of playing time as a frosh and looks to have a bright future, though he missed most of the spring.

Here's the thing about summer. A kid can come into it as a virtual unknown and explode with a strong performance at one of the marquee events. When Brian Morrison was a sophomore he told FoxSports Northwest, "I would just like to get a basketball scholarship to a four-year school," when he was playing at the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas.

A year later at the Big Time he blew off the charts and went from a guy who was getting some regional recruiting to one of the hottest guards in the nation all in a matter of 10 days. He opened a few eyes at the ABCD Camp and blew them out of peoples' heads in Vegas.

But for every story like that there's the opposite end of the spectrum. A 16 or 17 year old comes into the summer with a ton of accolades and falls on his sword. A bad week at Nike or ABCD followed up by a not-so-impressive week in Vegas and you can literally watch coaches scratch names off their lists.

I've seen a name scratched because a kid tugged his jersey and wanted a blow after three minutes of play on Day One. I've seen a name scratched off a list because a kid missed the team van and was late for a game, but I've also seen a kid scratched because he was "too small for us" and end up at a PAC-10 rival and come back to haunt those coaches. Think Shantay Legens at Cal. Too small?

Hey, it's not an exact science.

Bill Nance covers prep hoops and football for his website, TheFinalScore.TV, and is considered, along with Bobby Thompson of Fadeawayj.com to be the foremost experts of the local hoops recruiting scene.

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