Hawes off to Sac-town

SEATTLE - On one level, it's not surprising that Spencer Hawes is staying pretty close to home. With his family being so tight-knit, and public comments regarding an apparently difficult decision to go pro instead of play another year at Washington, maybe fate had a hand in Hawes being selected with the 10th pick of the 2007 NBA first-year player draft.

But it might also be the best fit for the 6-foot-11 Hawes, who has been favorably compared to current Kings center Brad Miller. "I think there's a lot of similarities (with Miller) and I think we'll mesh together," Hawes said after the pick had been finalized - a five minute decision Hawes said felt like 'fifty (minutes) when you're sitting there'.

"With the personnel they have, I think I'll be able to make a good transition to the next level."

"Spencer's very analytical," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said Thursday. "He studied all the teams in-depth and Sacramento was one of those places, based on location and a place where bigs have had success - so he's excited. Everyone involved is very excited for Spencer. Out of the choices he had, that was a place he was excited about. It's the west coast, and he's really pleased to be going to Sacramento. As a staff, we're really fired up for him.

Miller, Sharif Abdur-Rahim and Vitaly Potapenko - who was picked up by the Kings last year in a trade that sent Earl Watson to Seattle - are the main bigs that Hawes will be working with. One glaring weakness in Hawes' game - his physicality and lack of rebounding prowess - will be tested right away. The Kings were out-rebounded by an average of roughly five boards a game. That probably hasn't been upgraded here.

"If you want to critique his game, that's something he needs to get better at," Romar said in regards to questions about Hawes and his ability to rebound. "Toward the end of the season though, he was getting double-doubles and rebounding the ball very well.

"He knows he has to get stronger and bigger and better, but his drive will help him get bigger and better. Physically he may not be ready, but the NBA felt he could help them, and they backed that up by picking him 10th."

But for those shortcomings, the Kings are stil getting easily the most-skilled big man in the draft. "When people say someone's not athletic enough, that's true if they can't do anything else," Romar said. "That's not true in Spencer's case. There's not a big man in the draft that's more skilled than Spencer Hawes. Whatever athlete you choose, I wonder if they can do all the things he does. He'll be just fine.

"He's very, very coachable. When you teach him something, he's all eyes. He's in a situation now where he has to work his way up."

Hawes may be the future in Sacramento, but he's in no hurry to be the face of the franchise. "If that how it turns out, I'd be happy about that, but I still have a lot to do," he said.
The Draft Experience: Hawes, on being at Madison Square Garden and getting his name called: "It's a once in a lifetime experience, and I'm just trying to soak it in. To finally hear my name called, it was unbelievable."

Three-peat: Washington is the only college program in the country to have back-to-back-to-back first round draft picks. Nate Robinson was picked in the 2005 draft at No. 21 by Phoenix (and subsequently traded to New York), and Brandon Roy was picked No. 6 by Minnesota (and then traded to Portland) in the 2006 draft. "It shows how far the program has come and how much Coach Romar means to the program," Spencer said when asked about the three-peat ($1 to Pat Riley). "I think it's a trend that's definitely going to continue."

Getting some respect: At the same time, Hawes' pick - coupled with Rodney Stuckey (Kentwood) going to Detroit at No. 15 and Aaron Brooks (Franklin) to Houston at No. 25 - matches the same number of Seattle-area players drafted in the first round of the 2005 Draft (Marvin Williams - Bremerton, Martell Webster - Seattle Prep and Nate Robinson - Rainier Beach). "People are starting finally to recognize that we have talent up here," Hawes said. "I think basketball is being played here at a high level," Romar added.

Durant's home away from home?: Putting two and two together - Kevin Durant being picked by Seattle at No. 2, and Durant's fast friendship with Hawes - it stands to reason that Durant might be hitting up the Hawes' household for some home-cooked meals. Hawes admitted that Durant has already been to his house 'a couple of times' and that his father Jeff has purchased Sonics season tickets.

Future schedule: Hawes, who hired Arn Tellem as his agent (Brandon Roy is also represented by Tellem), told the media Thursday that he plans on heading straight away to Sacramento Friday and then will start getting prepared for the NBA summer league.

Brockman's Pan-Am dreams: Romar confirmed that Washington junior-to-be Jon Brockman has been selected to participate in the July 12-14 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team Trials that will be held at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. "He (Brockman) is leaving July 11th to try out for the Pan-Am games," Romar said. Brockman is one of five players from northwest Pac-10 teams to try out - the others being Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver (Washington State) and Maarty Leunen and Bryce Taylor (Oregon). Those five players are the only ones from the Pac-10 invited to participate in the trials. The Pan-Am games are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29, and the U.S. team is being coached by Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim.

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