Hawes talks about decision

SEATTLE - Friday night was the day, according to Spencer Hawes. For all those Washington basketball fans that thought Hawes to the NBA was a done deal as soon as he put his name in the draft, you were right. But in listening to Hawes talk Monday after making his NBA aspirations official, the timing was a lot closer to the June 18 deadline than expected.

"I took my time making the decision, went through all the pros and cons in my head, but based on all the feedback I've received I think it's the best decision for me and I'm excited to start on my pro career," Hawes said Monday after word came out that he would, indeed, keep his hat in the NBA draft ring. Not exactly new news for those that saw Hawes as a one-and-done player from the start, but it wasn't a foregone conclusion.

Hawes had a meeting with Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar on Saturday. "I probably decided the night before then, in my head," Hawes said. "It was back and forth, but at the end of the day, putting everything together - it made the most sense."

Hawes has not signed with an agent, and stated that hiring one would likely be next on his agenda. He also said that he expects to be in New York City the night of the draft, which will be held June 28th at Madison Square Garden (ESPN 7 p.m. ET).

"I always knew he would have the opportunity," added Romar. "It's obviously something that didn't happen overnight for Spencer. He did the proper research. We support him wholeheartedly. We want what's best for him. It's a testament to him that he finished this quarter academically, and now he's going to go and chase down his dream."

Many people will look at Hawes' decision as just the extention of the now year-old NBA rule that prohibits prospects coming straight out of high school to enter the draft. Hawes insists that he would have gone to Washington regardless of the rule, and that's what ultimately made this decision more than just a slam dunk.

"Even though the struggles, I think that helped our team for the future," he said about the Huskies. "That year helped me an extreme amount in getting prepared for next year."

And in this day and age, Romar admits that getting one-and-done players is something he and his staff need to look toward - as long as it's done with prudence. "It gives you credibility," he said. UW now has three players in the past two years - Hawes, Brandon Roy and Martell Webster - that applied for the NBA draft at the earliest point possible. "Kids feel comfortable enough to come to your program and don't feel like they are hindered in trying to get to that next level. A con could be that if you have a number of players like that year-in and year-out you may not have that type of consistency you're looking for. But if you have one here and one there sprinkled in, I don't think it sets you back.

"When you have guys like that you're able to go out and recruit and position yourself that, in the event they leave, you aren't in a hole. At this point, it's the world we live in and we have to be prepared for it."

Roy and Webster were two of the former players Hawes leaned on to get first-hand advice about the league and what the jump would mean for him. "They told me to go with my gut and to trust my instinct," Hawes said. "Hearing it from people that have been successful in the process is so valuable because they've lived it."

For the hardcore Dawgpackers, Hawes' exit from Montlake was nearly the opposite of his exalted entrance as the Huskies' highest-ranked player ever to sign with the hoops program. In with a bark, out with a whimper? Romar isn't buying it.

"That would be sad if people just looked at it that way," Romar said of Spencer's legacy. "It was unfortunate that we didn't have more of a veteran team to play around Spencer, but we had a lot of players learning on the fly, and some of those older players were taking on much greater roles. But I think it's fair to say that if that team had stayed together they could have done some special things."

"I'm not mad at them, I understand their feelings, and if I was in their position, I'd probably be saying the same thing," Hawes said when asked about negative fan reaction. "I'm not going to say they shouldn't say those things, but from my position, I can't just listen to those things. It eats away at me, and probably will for the rest of my life. But I know I've made the best decision for me. I can't just think about what would have been or should have been."

Instead, he needs to be looking ahead toward a possible lottery selection, which would include guaranteed contract money. "I hope to be a lottery pick, but I try not to get caught up in it, or else you'll drive yourself crazy," Hawes said. "I know I can play, and I know it's going to work out. I don't think of going in the lottery as hitting the lottery. I just see it as an opportunity to have a lifetime of financial security for me and my family."

Romar may not be sure where his former player will end up in his own mock draft, but he feels pretty confident about one thing.

"I think he'll be in the lottery," he said.

And while Montlake may be in Hawes' rear-view mirror for the time being, they won't be out of his periphery. One of the main reasons Hawes chose to go to Washington was to get a strong start on his education, and Mom Lisa will make sure he finishes what he started in the classroom. "Being a teacher, she's always put an emphasis on that," Hawes said of his Mother's influence. "Going back is something I'm very interested in doing."

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