Category Archives: Recruiting

Commit News: Enes Kanter

Wow. This came out of nowhere Husky fans.

It has quickly spread that the Huskies picked up a brand new commitment for the 2010 class in Turkish big man Enes Kanter, one of the top remaining players in the country. When I country, its not Turkey, but rather the United States.

Kanter suddenly committed to the Huskies this morning after forging a very strong relationship with new assistant coach Raphael Chillious. A few months back I made a comment about Chillious possibly having a big impact on international recruits because of his past at Findlay Prep and bringing in foreign players (such as our own Matthew Bryan-Amaning). Never did I expect the Huskies to reap the benefits so quickly as I rather had 2011 recruit Angelo Choi in mind.

But how good is Kanter?

Evidently we may have another Spencer Hawes on our hands in terms of being a one and done according to national scouts. Some even expect him to be a lottery pick after his freshman year.

During the U18 European Championships, Kanter was named tournament MVP by averaging 18.6 points and a mind boggling 16.4 rebounds per game. Some have asked where the rebounding is going to come from this season, looks like we have an answer for next year.

One of the first things that comes to mind with this commitment from Kanter is that the loss of Josh Smith suddenly becomes irrelevant. After Smith chose UCLA I believed it would only put more pressure on the Huskies to land Terrence Jones or go after a player such as Aziz N’Diyae for a transfer. The Huskies had to get a big man in the class, and the filled that spot with one of the top remaining players in the country.

Nobody saw this coming. Just yesterday I cam across Kanter for the first time in what now appears to be dumb luck. I had never heard of the kid and only was relevant because I saw he was transferring from Findlay Prep to a Stoneridge Prep.

Through some of the film I have found online its obvious what Kanter’s strengths are. He appears to have some polished post moves that lead to some easy baskets. His rebounding stats are off the charts and he is able to position his body well to set him up for some hard earned rebounds, ala Jon Brockman. Through some of the film, and I don’t want this to be taken 100% since I have not seen full games, but he seems to lack effort on the defensive end. But if there was anything Lorenzo Romar would be able to do, that would be to teach defensive intensity.

Although I didn’t see it in film, supposedly Kanter has some off the chart shooting ability as well from deep. His prep school coach says that he has NBA range right now.

Just to review some of the concerns about the Huskies this season. Rebounding (maybe Kanter’s strongest asset), three point shooting (a 6’10 big with NBA range), and low post threat (polished post moves and averaged 18 points in Euro championships). Did Lorenzo Romar just pull of a recruiting coup?

One fact about Kanter that should not be overlooked is the fact that he has been raised in a European setting in basketball. The training is much more intense and rigorous than early training in the United States, meaning Kanter is likely more polished than some of his American counterparts right now.

So the Huskies just picked up a five star recruit out of nowhere, evidently beating out Ben Howland and Kevin O’Neill for Kanter’s services. It should be interesting to see how this changes the recruitment of Terrence Jones, but at least we know if Jones does not choose to be a Husky everything will be okay in Montlake.

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Smith To UCLA

The disappointing news came across the news wire that local standout Josh Smith is headed to UCLA, not the hometown Washington Huskies.

Basically I was prepared for this news for awhile, but it is still disappointing that a big local talent like Smith will not be staying home to represent his city and state. A lot of players on the Husky team today take pride in that because Seattle and the Huskies have always been flying under the radar of the national spotlight.

I actually have had a opinion piece saved in the queue for whenever Smith finally announced his decision about how Terrence Jones is a much better fit for the team, and has a higher ceiling than Smith as well. I didn’t want to run it until Smith finally announced, so expect seeing that article soon.

But now the focus shifts to Jones, who will be announcing soon whether or not he will sign in the fall or the spring. There has been much speculation that Smith and Jones were waiting for the other to announce before making their decision known, so maybe Smith declaring UCLA will push Jones to make his announcement and let his recruiting saga end as well

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Terrence Jones To Sign During The Fall

A great Husky basketball blog that appeared over the summer was MontlakeMadness, and today MontlakeMadness debunked a story by Rivals that said that highly rated Terrence Jones would wait until the spring signing period to announce his college destination.

For Lorenzo Romar it will be a good thing to know if Jones is in the fold or not, especially with the recruitment of Josh Smith still continuing. The Huskies have one more scholarship available for the next recruiting class, and with Desmond Simmons already in the fold, Jones and Smith are the top options for Romar to accept that final spot.

With rumors still circulating that Smith is leaning towards UCLA (I was told two years ago thats where he would likely end up, but obviously things change for teenagers), the recruitment of Jones is incredibly important for Romar. Adding someone of his caliber and talent is needed to continue the recent success of the program.

Should he sign with the Huskies, Jones would instantly fill the starting spot left open by Quincy Pondexter. An opportunity to work with Abdul Gaddy and Isaiah Thomas is probably very intriguing at the moment.

But thanks to MontlakeMadness for the tip.

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Wroten Tears ACL, Out For Year

A huge blow came to the young Tony Wroten as we learned that he tore his ACL playing football and will be forced to sit out for at least 7-9 months.

For a kid who is ranked as one of the top players in the country for 2011 it is obviously very disappointing to see him have to sit out a year. I’ve said in the past how Wroten was not a “make-or-break” recruit for the Huskies, but a young man like himself deserves the opportunity to play basketball and earn himself a scholarship. Hopefully this injury does not hinder his recruitment at all.

Perhaps the aspect that hurts Wroten the most is the fact that he will have to sit out the spring AAU tournaments as well as summer camps and tournaments to perhaps earn some scholarships from schools that have yet to offer.

In terms of local high school basketball, this is a big blow for the Garfield Bulldogs. While Garfield performed well without Wroten when he was forced to sit out while his zoning area situation was being figured out, losing a top-10 player nationall obviously does no good for the team.

For a team such as Kentwood led by Josh Smith or Kentridge by Gary Bell, the road to a state title may have become just a bit easier.

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North Carolina May Be Out Of Running For Jones

Yesterday it was reported that Lorenzo Romar was spotted at Terrence Jones’ football game in Portland, meaning that the Washington head coach had successfully traveled to Oregon for an in-home visit with Jones.

Jones is one of the highly rated recruits remaining in the 2010 class and is considering schools such as Oklahoma, UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, and a handful of other schools that include Washington.

North Carolina was scheduled to be the next visitor for Jones, but apparently the Tar Heels will not be making the trip to Portland to try and sway the athletic forward to the east coast.

Now immediately coming off an in-home visit this is good news for Husky fans.

There are two ways to take this news, with the first being that Jones loved his visit so much with Romar that he canceled his visit with the North Carolina coaches because he has either cut his list down or made Washington his favorite.

The second being that North Carolina no longer feels they have a legitimate shot with Jones and have removed themselves from the process. Having the defending national champions no longer in the running should allow Washington fans to get a little more excited about the possibilities of landing Jones.

No matter what the specific reasons are for Jones no longer having an in-home with North Carolina, what is known is that it definitely does not hurt Washington.

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Romar Makes Trip To Oregon For Jones

Searching the web for some news and came across this little nugget of recruiting information.

Lorenzo Romar attended the West Albany/Jefferson football game last night in Portland, Oregon to take in Terrence Jones’ football game from the sidelines.

This can only be seen as an encouraging sign for Husky fans as it shows that Romar has been able to meet with Jones face-to-face at a time when coaches are fighting for personal visits. The recruitment of Jones has picked up maybe more than any other recruit in the country after a successful summer from the 6’8″ senior. Many teams across the country have been fighting for Jones, including Kansas, Georgetown, Florida, Connecticut, and many Pac-10 schools.

Jones is expected to be hosting a number of coaches, Romar making the cut is a good sign.

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2011 Class Offers Intriguing Possibilities For Huskies

There may not be anything more enjoyable than speculation. This allows for dream sequences to be played out where matchups are played in the minds of many, with a “logical” outcome in the end.

With football season having kicked off, that means the next significant sport to begin will be college basketball in about seventy days. Paired with the fact that it appears recruiting for the 2010 class has hit a standstill for the Huskies until Josh Smith or Terrence Jones announce their college destinations, having a little fun with 2011 will provide some good discussion for now. Keep in mind that I will not be factoring the next 2010 recruit to sign on as Smith, Jones, whoever have not announced yet.

First, lets look at the roster shaping up at the end of the 2010/2011 season with no one leaving…

  1. Elston Turner Jr., SR
  2. Isaiah Thomas, SR
  3. Darnell Gant, SR
  4. Scott Suggs, SR
  5. Abdul Gaddy, JR
  6. Tyreese Breshers, JR
  7. Clarence Trent, JR
  8. C.J. Wilcox, JR
  9. Desmond Simmons, SO
  10. 2010 Recruit #2, SO

Its safe to assume that there will be another recruit added in 2010 as Romar will not want to continue to leave a scholarship sitting around for a second consecutive year.

With ten scholarships currently being used should no one leave (debatable since I believe Gaddy will be gone after two years, but you never know) that leaves three scholarships to be taken by 2011 recruits.

The obvious lack in position are in post players and depth at point guard. So far in 2011 recruiting the Huskies have demonstrated this by the players they have targeted. Lets look at the top targets for the Huskies as well as possible targets (* represents possible)…

  1. Tony Wroten, G, WA
  2. Norvel Pelle, PF, CA
  3. Angelo Choi, C, CA
  4. Gary Bell, G, WA
  5. Nick Johnson, PG, NV*
  6. Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, CA*
  7. Jabari Brown, SG, NV*

The list features prominent prospects who are among the best in the country, with the premiere recruits being Wroten, Pelle, and Choi. All three figure to be rated among the top players in the country by scouting services, while the remaining four should also be included in almost every “Top-100” lists.

The top targets of the Huskies may very well be Pelle and Choi as the Huskies need some more post play as Gant and Breshers appear to be the only true big men on the rosters pending the final scholarship in 2010. Both Pelle and Choi have been receiving heavy interest from the Huskies and both list Washington as their number one school, a testament to the recruiting prowess of the Washington staff to appeal this much to elite California talent in the backyards of UCLA, Cal, USC, and Stanford.

Pelle may be the most exciting prospect of the bunch as his defensive ability is among the best in the nation. Paired with a sound offensive game Pelle will likely be one of the most sought after recruits in the country for 2011. Right now he is hearing from mainly the Pac-10, but expect the national powerhouses to step in at some point. But a positive for Husky fans is that Romar and staff have made the early impression on Pelle, which may pay off in the end.

Choi is similar to Pelle in that his defensive ability is the strong point of his game, although that should be expected seeing as how he didn’t pick up a basketball until the seventh grade. Watching video of Choi its obvious he has an incredibly high ceiling, making him one of the most intriguing prospects in the country. Having two more years of high school should help him add on to his slim frame and give him a body more prepared to battle against the big men in college basketball. One aspect of his recruitment that I think could play into the Huskies favor is the new addition of Raphael Chillious as assistant coach. In his years as South Kent Prep’s coach he brought in many international players and was able to coach them to national success and great college success (Matthew Bryan-Amaning being one example). With a history of success with international players Romar and Chillious may be able to convince Choi that with his background as a player from Sudan, Washington is the best fit for him for long term success.

Pelle and Choi may be the biggest targets for Romar in 2011, as well as the most important. Jon Brockman was able to prove that having a steady defensive and rebounding force down low helps the Husky guards more than anything. With Thomas around and a chance at having Gaddy for one more year, adding two more talented big men to the rotation will probably do more or the team than Wroten will add as another guard.

Wroten is the prospect that will receive the most attention locally as he is the hometown guy consistently rated among the top-10 players in the country. While adding him will no doubt help the Huskies, I have written in the past how Wroten may not exactly be the best fit for Washington as opposed to a player such as Bell. Adding Wroten to the fold would do wonders towards raising the national profile of the school as a Pelle, Choi, Wroten class very well could be ranked #1 in the country and all representing Washington in the McDonalds game, but at some point you need to stop worrying about raising national profile and get to the point where you no longer need to fight for attention because you have already demonstrated success in March (something that is very possible these next two seasons).

When I look at Bell I see someone similar to Avery Bradley last season. Bradley was the local guy who everyone knew about but flew under the radar nationally for awhile before blowing away the scouts during spring and summer camps and tournaments. Bell has been doing the exact same thing these last few months, and I fully expect his recruitment to become bigger as each day passes. While his game lacks the pure athleticism and defense that Bradley has to offer, it could be argued that Bell is just as much as a pure scorer. Bell would also less likely need to command minutes when he arrives with Thomas, Turner, Suggs, Gaddy, and Wilcox taking minutes at guard, maybe even redshirt to allow him to put more muscle on his frame. Then the next season he could be in a situation where he will start with the graduation of players. Bell could very well be the four year player that the Huskies can continue building success off of.

Johnson is a player that may not being recruited as heavily by the Huskies but could prove to be incredibly valuable down the road. He has absolutely insane athletic ability and playmaking abilities, should he arrive with Bell they would be the backcourt for the Huskies for four years. Johnson just transferred to basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep, a place every college coach in the country will have to become familiar with because of the talent going through there every year. Romar likely already has some connections there as Clarence Trent and Bradley each played there for a season.

The final two prospects of Dinwiddie and Brown are two players who could appear on Washington’s radar should they whiff on some of the above recruits. Dinwiddie is someone who is a pure point guard and could develop into a nice distributor over four years, maybe a poor man’s Will Conroy. He has tremendous passing and ball handling ability and will be able to run an offense well, but needs to improve defensively. I’ve always been a fan of these type of players, hence my infatuation with Gaddy, but Dinwiddie could be someone to watch over the next few years.¬†Brown is also a Findlay Prep guy and is a tremendous scorer that could become a nice role player immediately and have a solid future with the team. But the need for a shooting guard (should Bell commit) would not be a priority.

Now that we have looked into the prospects, lets plug them into Washington’s lineup to see what the roster could look like in 2011.

Pelle, Choi, Wroten Class

I would assume that Choi would start off the bench as he will likely still be working on an offensive game and be learning the college game and Darnell Gant will have had four years of college experience (including the redshirt season) under his belt learning Washington’s system and playing the four and five. Pelle is likely someone to start from the beginning and would play the four along with Breshers for the majority of the game. The Pelle/Breshers combo would allow for strong defense and hustle throughout the game with Pelle offering a bit more polished scoring around the rim.

Wroten is a tricky situation since both Thomas and Gaddy would be the starters without question. Even in a situation where Gaddy leaves early for the NBA, Scott Suggs, Elston Turner, and C.J. Wilcox could all be starting at that point. Wroten is someone who will expect to start immediately, hence my concerns with team chemistry should he not start or his play taking the minutes from one of the three listed above.

Turner seems like someone who will be a starter maybe even this season, so it is unlikely that Romar would remove a three year starter from the lineup. The coaching staff seem to be convinced that Suggs will be a great player, so should he fulfill those expectations it is unlikely they would cut his minutes. Wilcox would appear to be the odd man out, but his shooting ability is among the best in the country for the 2009 class while Wroten’s shot fell flat his sophomore year. This is just another reason why I think Bell is the best option for the Huskies. But here’s a rotation with Wroten…

With Gaddy

PG: Gaddy SG: Thomas SF: Turner PF: Pelle C: Gant

6th: Wroten 7th: Breshers 8th: Suggs 9: Choi 10th: Wilcox 11th: Simmons 12th: Trent 13th: 2010 #2

(6-13 interchangeable)

Without Gaddy

PG: Thomas SG: Suggs/Wroten SF: Turner PF: Pelle C: Gant

6th: Suggs/Wroten 7th:Breshers 8th:Choi 9th: Wilcox 10th: Simmons 11th: Trent 12th: 2010 #2

Either lineup gives the Huskies a stacked roster and really does show how strong the recruiting has gotten where there is a point where nobody seems like the logical person to sit ala Joe Wolfinger last season. With what Pelle offers to the front court and the play of the backcourt it could be the most talented Husky team ever. Either situation presents a backcourt that is among the best in the country, helped significantly by the presence of Thomas.

The talent on the bench would rank among the top of the country, giving Romar the opportunity to use a premiere shooter in Wilcox, a rebounding and hustle man in Breshers, tempo guys with Trent and Simmons, and a defensive presence with the ability to explode in any game with Choi. Having those type of role players that could make incredible impacts at any time are what make up championship teams.

Pelle, Choi, Bell Class

When looking at this class you have to look more towards the future because adding Bell would likely mean he plays sparingly or redshirts before being slotted into the starting lineup the next season. Here is a possible starting lineup with the recruiting class that I believe would be the ideal situation for Washington…

With Gaddy

PG: Gaddy SG: Bell SF: Simmons PF: Pelle C: Choi

The team’s success would largely hinge on the success of the 2012 class as five players will be leaving following 2011. The need for a point guard should Gaddy leave is obvious, perhaps making Gary Franklin a more attractive option for this 2010 class to be paired with Simmons.

With the graduation of Thomas, Suggs, Turner, Breshers, and Gant following 2011/2012 season, it appears two years from now may be the most likely scenario for Washington to win a national title in the foreseeable future. So whoever jumps on for the 2011 class may be the small piece that makes the difference from a Sweet Sixteen team to a trip to New Orleans.

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