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Thursday, September 29, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Recruiting

Prep's Hawes could make decision soon

Seattle Times staff reporter

This might be the biggest weekend in the recent history of Washington men's basketball that doesn't involve an actual game.

Spencer Hawes, a 6-foot-11 center for Seattle Prep and maybe the top uncommitted player left in the country, is expected to make his official 48-hour recruiting trip to Washington beginning tomorrow.

First, though, comes a scheduled in-home visit from North Carolina coach Roy Williams today.

After the weekend is over, Hawes is expected to come to a decision — almost certainly between UW and North Carolina with Stanford now thought out of the running — with an announcement likely sometime next week.

Washington already has three commits in a recruiting class that even without Hawes ranks among the top 15 in the country.

But with Hawes?

"If they get Hawes, then in my mind they could end up being considered the number two class in the country after Ohio State," said Frank Burlison, a basketball analyst for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and Scout.com who covers the summer high-school basketball circuit.

Ohio State has already gotten a commitment from center Greg Oden, unanimously considered the best player in the country.

How important could Hawes be to the Huskies? "I think there are about 25-30 teams that would be Final Four candidates if you put him on their team," Burlison said.

Burlison said Hawes' stock did nothing but rise over the summer and that he would be a "top five pick" for the NBA draft next spring if he were eligible. "Maybe top two," Burlison said.

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But new NBA rules making players ineligible for the draft until they are 19 years old and a year removed from high school ensures that Hawes will attend college for at least one year. The general thought is that Hawes will likely stay in college for only one year before declaring for the NBA.

Hawes is the final piece in UW's recruiting puzzle for its Class of 2006 — players who will sign this year and begin school next fall. If they get Hawes, they will likely be done, having put together a four-man class that would rival any in school history.

Already committed to UW are Phil Nelson, a 6-8 small forward from McNary High in Keizer, Ore.; Adrian Oliver, a 6-2 point guard from Modesto, Calif.,; and Quincy Pondexter, a 6-7 forward from Fresno, Calif. All are considered among the top 100 players in the country.

Here's Burlison's scouting report on each player:

Nelson: "He's probably the best long-range shooter I saw all summer and spring. He has Tracy Murray, Reggie Miller, Salim Stoudamire type of range. "

Pondexter: "The real easy comparison is that he's a Bobby Jones kind of athlete but a little thicker and stronger than Jones was in high school and way better offensively than Bobby was in high school. "

Oliver: "He's more of a combo guard than a pure point guard. But he's probably one of the three best projected point-guard prospects in the West this year."

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