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Originally published June 26, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Page modified June 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

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NBA draft: Terrence Ross' growth at Washington has paid off

Terrence Ross, a smooth-shooting guard at Washington for two seasons, is lexpected to be chosen early during Thursday's NBA draft.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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After he spent two years at Washington, what do we really know about Terrence Ross?

On the basketball court, he began his college career as a no-fear freshman gunner who developed into one of the purest scorers in Husky history.

His scoring prowess is the biggest reason the 6-foot-6, 197-pound guard left school with two years of eligibility remaining and will likely be chosen early in Thursday's NBA draft.

But what we didn't see — because he's never been truly comfortable in the spotlight — is a complete picture of Terrence Ross.

We got a glimpse of his humility when he deferred — perhaps too often — to teammates when he should have taken shots, especially in clutch times.

"There's a game I remember toward the end and during a timeout he called a specific play for C.J. (Wilcox)," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "He said: 'They can't guard C.J., coach.' Now, most guys would say, 'I should be getting the ball,' but he said run that for C.J. Just a real humble team guy."

What we rarely saw was Ross being silly.

"At times, he's very playful," his mother Marcine Ross said. "Just a big, playful kid. Whenever he comes home, we have our moments of fun.

"We're chasing each other around the house. I'm 6 feet and he's 6-6 so it's really something to see. We do have those moments."

What we didn't know is Ross, who has a 31-inch vertical leap, inherited his amazing jumping ability from his father Terry, who played in the defunct Continental Basketball Association and won the slam-dunk title while with the Tri-City Chinook in 1995.

We also didn't know Ross adopted a stranded dog for a short time as a sophomore before juggling classes and a busy basketball schedule became too much and he was forced to find a home for his pet.

"It was great seeing him with the dog and being affectionate," Marcine said. "He was like a doting parent."

At age 21, Ross has grown a lot on and off the court the past two years.

"I feel like my time at Washington has gotten me ready for the NBA," Ross told reporters in Portland last week after a workout with the Trail Blazers. "Playing for coach Romar, he teaches you how to defend ... and he let me find my game on offense."

Last season, Ross made the giant leap from a defensively challenged sixth man to one of the biggest stars in the Pac-12. He averaged 16.4 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 37.1 on three-pointers.

"He has an NBA-ready game," Romar said. "He can step right in and make an immediate contribution to any team."

At some point during the draft, he'll stride across the stage at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and shake hands with commissioner David Stern. Ross is one of 14 prospects who will attend the draft, which isn't a guarantee he'll be taken in the first 14 picks.

However, the green-room invitation indicates how much he's developed.

"I think he's just now getting really excited," Marcine said. "Still, whenever we're on the phone or we're talking, we're talking about the day-to-day things.

"We're not talking about the draft or what's going to happen five years from now. We take it one day at a time."

If Ross had his wish, he'd spend draft night at his mother's house in Portland with family and friends. He has never been one for public spectacles.

When he signed with Washington, the news conference that drew hundreds to Portland's Jefferson High wasn't his idea.

Terrence Jones — Ross' best friend since their elementary school days — craved the TV cameras and hat-dance performance.

Jones wore a black tuxedo and spoiled what was supposed to be a banner day for Washington into one of the biggest blind-sides in school history when he chose the Huskies, but later signed with Kentucky.

Ross took a different approach.

Dressed in a purple UW baseball cap and gray Washington sweatshirt, he needed to be pushed to take the microphone and briefly explained why he chose the Huskies over Kentucky, Kansas, Oregon and Oklahoma.

On Thursday, Ross will join his next team.

But if Marcine Ross knows anything about her son, he'll remain low-key and humble.

"Terrence is laid back and his idea of the draft is being at home ... versus being in a suit and tie and at a formal event," she said. "But everything has pros and cons.

"It will be a wonderful opportunity to walk across the stage and shake David Stern's hand. It's something he'll never forget, and it means something."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or

On Twitter @percyallen

Mock drafts
Player ESPN CBS SI Jerry Brewer
Terrence Ross 15, Philadelphia 17, Dallas 20, Denver 7, Golden State 14, Houston 13, Phoenix 16, Houston
Tony Wroten 23, Atlanta 24, Cleveland 30, Golden State 31, Charlotte 26, Indiana

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