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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Local hoops heaven has big addition in Hawes

Blaine Newnham / Times associate editor

Enlarge this photoJIM BATES / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle Prep's Spencer Hawes, right, works against Cleveland's Michael Mack last night. Hawes, a 6-foot-11 junior, will be heavily recruited.

He was in the background, as much as someone who is an inch shy of 7 feet and is in the process of scoring 26 points and snaring 20 rebounds can be in the background.

Such is Seattle high-school hoops, where Spencer Hawes is the second-best player on his team and at the same time the apple of recruiting eyes from Duke to UCLA and back again.

First things first.

Martell Webster put on a stunning performance last night for Seattle Prep in the King Holiday Hoopfest at Edmundson Pavilion, scoring 16 first-quarter points with both dazzling dunks and NBA-range three-pointers.

He was much better than when I saw him earlier against O'Dea, moving without the ball, defending every pass, clogging every lane, a man playing with boys, scoring 32 points in Prep's 80-55 win over Cleveland.

And then there was Hawes, the junior.

"The Hawes kid," said Cleveland coach Calvin Johnson. "He's the one who did the most damage."

Man, have we been blessed. Imagine a Garfield High team a few years ago with Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, Tre Simmons, Isaiah Stanback and Anthony Washington.

Or Rainier Beach with Nate Robinson, the Stewart twins and later C.J. Giles and Terrence Williams.

And now Webster and Hawes, both able to play inside and outside effectively, both ready to fill a lane on the break, both being courted by the next level, Webster the NBA, and Hawes by just about all of college basketball.

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Webster, the senior, has signed a letter of intent with Washington and says he will go to school there, though the NBA remains a possibility.

Hawes, a junior, has already been rated among the top 10 recruits nationally of next year's high-school senior class.

Trent Johnson of Stanford and Lorenzo Romar of Washington were in the stands yesterday watching him. Roy Williams of North Carolina came out to watch him play earlier in the year. Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, Georgia Tech, they've all shown interest.

"I'm not sure what visits I'll take," said Hawes after the game. "But I'm sure I'll take all five."

When Spencer Hawes was born, the pediatrician took one look at him and said, "Those are the biggest feet I've ever seen on a baby."

Talk about bloodlines.

Spencer's mom, Lisa, is 6 feet and would have played basketball but was eclipsed by the last few years before Title IX. Her younger sister played four years at Washington State.

Spencer's dad, Jeff, played three years for the Huskies, one of those with his brother, Steve, on a team that won 20 games in 1972.

Jeff was the sixth man at 6-7, Steve the star center at 6-10 and a member of the UW's All-Century team. He is the school's season rebound leader who would later play 12 years in the NBA, the last one with the Sonics.

"I wouldn't pretend to have been as polished at that age," said uncle Steve, watching Spencer with the rest of the family last night.

"Spencer has great hands and great feet to both sides, and a terrific understanding of the game."

One time down the floor, Hawes flipped a high pass to Webster at the free-throw line and broke to the basket.

Webster gave him the ball back on a perfect pass to set up a dunk. It was the two of them working together better than they have.

But then, this was the first season they have really played together at Prep, Webster missing all but four games last year with injuries.

Hawes can get stronger. He will, according to doctors, get taller, growing at least to 7 feet. His shoe size is currently 17.

But he isn't some lanky and lengthy project. He has good coordination, jumps well, shoots well, handles the ball well.

He has no problems considering the possibility of playing for Washington's Mach I outfit.

"I love getting out and running," he said. "People tell me that can be a positive part of my game."

Hawes' connections with Washington are overwhelming.

Except for mom, who went to Washington State, the family is all about Washington. They can see Husky Stadium from their Queen Anne home.

Jeff took his son to the 2001 Rose Bowl.

"I've always been a Washington fan, especially football," said Spencer. "I pay attention to what's going on, and now with Coach Romar having turned things around, I pay attention to basketball, too."

It won't hurt either that his two dear friends on last summer's Friends of Hoops team — Webster and Jon Brockman of Snohomish — have committed to Washington.

"I've seen them go through recruiting," he said. "This will be like a second time around for me."

Perhaps with the same results, perhaps not.

In the meantime, we ought to all enjoy watching these superior seasons of high-school hoops in Seattle. Along with all the college coaches who have come to town to join us.

Blaine Newnham: 206-464-2364 or bnewnham@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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