UW Hoops Recruiting: Odds and Updates

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It’s amazing what qualifies as “news” when it comes to recruiting. Just today, Terrence Jones announced that on EITHER April 23 or April 30, he’ll announce his decision about where to go to school. To say this news reverberated around Husky Nation would be an understatement.

Staff Writer Craig Yamada attempts to make some sense of all the pre-signing-period hullabaloo and takes a look at where the Huskies stand with several top recruiting targets with less than a week until the spring signing period begins.

by Craig Yamada – Staff Writer

"National Letter of Intent Name of Recruit: Terrence Jones/Terrence Ross/Aziz N’diayeSport (Men’s): Basketball Date Issued to Prospect: April 14, 2010This is to certify that my decision to enroll at University of Washington (Name of Institution)Signed (Prospect Signature)   ________________  (This is your cue Terrence, Terrence and Aziz)"

-“He’s going to Kentucky. Calipari has this one in the bag”

– “They are going to UW in a packaged deal”

– “He is Oregon’s to lose”

These statements represent just a small snipit of the conversations circling on the blogs and pay sites during the last seven months of UW’s basketball recruiting efforts. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Thankfully the rumors, debates, theories and predictions regarding recruiting will finally be laid to rest between April 14th and May 19th.  The beginning of the spring signing period for NCAA men’s basketball is but five days away and it can’t come soon enough for Dawg fans.

The only signed LOI we have right now is Desmond Simmons, who signed with UW during the early signing period in the fall. This leaves just one guaranteed scholarship available, as Clarence Trent has apparently decided not to join the football team. But as we all know, Romar math has a way of working in his favor if the professor is called upon to do some funny arithmetic.

A handful of unsigned recruiting targets remain for the Huskies. Let’s take a look at our prospects and examine my read* on the likelihood of each of them playing on Montlake next year:

*My read = a combination of gut feeling and the swirling rumors and reports that abound around Husky Nation.

Terrence Jones

  • Schools interested: UW, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma and UCLA

This man needs no introduction as any avid Dawg fan has been salivating over Terrence wearing purple and gold since 2008. The 6’9” prized prospect from Jefferson High School in Portland is UW’s primary recruiting target this offseason.

Terrence, a top-20 recruit nationally, was most recently featured on the West Team in the McDonald’s All American game where he put up 14 points (second total on the West squad). He recently led his team to the 5A State Championship in Oregon for the third straight season and was recently decorated with his second straight 5A Player of the Year award.

Terrence is an inside-and-out style player who has drawn comparisons to Lamar Odom. He has a long and quick first step and can take players off the dribble. Several skeptics have attacked his tendency to settle for outside jumpers instead of trying to draw fouls and score from the stripe.

If the McDonald’s All American game taught us anything, it’s that TJ can score inside and will do so if necessary. He showed flashes of brilliance in drawing contact down low and getting putbacks off the offensive glass. Sound like anyone we know? He can play the 1-4 spot on the floor, but UW will look for him to be Quincy-style presence, working inside and out.  He’s also an excellent ballhandler and could work well if he has to in an isolation-style offense for a final score.

A month ago it was noted that this would undoubtedly be a two-horse race between UK and UW for his services. However, Oregon has snuck back onto the radar and will look to play the role of spoiler if they can get a good coaching hire to lure in Jones. Chances are this will not happen as the new coach will have about a week to establish a relationship with Terrence before he has to decide.  Terrence has remained pretty tight-lipped about his recruiting as he has not released much information about which way he is leaning.

Outlook by School:

UW (35% Likely): Terrence has reinforced that he loves “the family atmosphere” that Romar instills in the program. He also is a big fan of the Huskies’ current style of play. Romar has been recruiting him since 2008 and has the best foundation of all coaches in the running, particularly now that Ernie Kent is no longer in the picture.

With Quincy’s departure, TJ has an opportunity to fill the scoring hole that Pondexter leaves. Academics are the only issue that cast a shadow on his UW recruitment. With the close proximity to Portland, Terrence could still have his family close with a three-hour drive down I-5.

Kentucky (35% Likely): As Calipari is selling his recruits on “nine available scholarships” for next season, there’s clearly plenty of room for TJ on this team.  UK also recently declared that 5 of their players (4 freshman) will declare for the NBA. In my opinion, the decision of CJ Leslie will be a major factor for Terrence as they both play the same position. Rumors suggest this could be an either/or scenario for Kentucky. But knowing Calipari, he will look to stock his team with depth and youth as he only has only six confirmed returning players.

UW nation is definitely on pins and needles about how, and what, Calipari will be offering TJ to lure him in. The allure of churning out NBA players definitely makes UK a major attraction for Jones.

Oregon (20% Likely): Ernie Kent is out. No replacement has been named. Jones has been keeping in close contact with the assistant coaches at UO this past month as they try to find their new head coach. Jones is rumored to be putting off his decision until Oregon hires a coach. Will a new basketball facility, playing in his home state, and 50 different wardrobe changes be enough to snag Terrence?

UCLA (5%) – Mike Moser, TJ’s friend from Portland, has asked for a transfer. Josh Smith has been lobbying for TJ to play for UCLA ever since he declared. I don’t see TJ fitting into Howland’s style of play, especially with Tyler Honeycutt showing flashes of stardom for next year.

Oklahoma (5%) – Given the rumored violations from this year over “Tiny Gallon,” this program seems to be in a lot of turmoil and should be losing its luster for TJ.

Terrence Ross

Schools Interested: UW, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Kansas

Another Portland native has been drawing more national interest of late. Terrence Ross, a high school teammate of Terrence Jones, recently made the move from Montrose Christian (Maryland) back to Jefferson High in Portland.

Ross verbally decommitted from Maryland back in December and opened his recruitment back up. UW was one school that got back onto his recruiting radar, as they’d been eyeing Ross since he originally played for Jefferson two years ago.

The 6’5” shooting guard looks to have the complete package.  He is known mostly for his range from the arc, but has recently developed his midrange game. His highlight reels definitely display his quickness and agility as he looks to be a good fit for Romar’s transition game. Though he was snubbed for the McDonald’s All American game, he is still one of the best shooting guard prospects in the country. He rates as a four-star athlete on Rivals and Scout.

The only clouds over Ross’s head right now are his academics. There have been rumors that he may choose to go to a prep school next year if he can’t qualify and sign with a school next year (similar to Kevin Davis’s situation).

It is no coincidence that Ross and Jones have a similar group of college teams recruiting them. Jones went on record saying that he and Ross have discussed the possibility of going as a “package deal” to a school. But ultimately, they’ll each choose the best fit for themselves.

Ross has not led on much about his recruiting as of late as he’s been busy getting his academics in order. Thus, it is difficult to gauge his interest at this point. But here is my best guess:

Kansas (25% Likely): Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins are gone to the NBA. Ideally, this move would make sense for Ross given the needs of the Jayhawks.  But who wants to live in Kansas?

Kentucky (25% Likely): Much of the same goes for Ross here as it does for Jones. Plenty of scholarships are open, but is Ross open to being a role player for a potential five-star average freshman class? One has to believe that if Josh Selby and Brandon Knight go to UK, the backcourt will be overcrowded. Academically, UK has an advantage here as academic standards are lower at UK than UW.

UW (25% Likely): Romar knows Ross’s game well as he’s been scouting him for years. He’s a good fit for the system, however there will be a load of guards on the 2010 roster. Based on Ross’s talent, he definitely offers a dimension to his game that Suggs and Turner lack. He has proven to be a slasher and can take his man off the dribble to create his own shot.

Oregon (20% Likely): With Tajuan Porter graduating, there is definitely an opening for a shooter on this team. Again, the coaching vacancy definitely warrants attention for any incoming recruit. He may wait on a coaching hire before making a decision.

Oklahoma (5%) – Not likely given the program’s recent turmoil.

Aziz N’diaye

Schools Interested: UW, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Colorado and Loyola Marymount

The 7’1” center from Senegal had to sit out the entire year at Southern Idaho with a leg injury. He’s been reported to be a very mobile big man with a highly touted defensive mindset.  And, he still has three years of collegiate eligibility. He could prove to be a good option for UW if Angelo Chol or Norvel Pelle do not commit for 2011.

Word on the street is that he has narrowed his top two choices down to UW and Oklahoma. However, Kansas and Oregon State have been showing more interest of late. This could be UW’s best chance of landing a recruit given the amount of competition for Ross and Jones.

UW (40% Likely): Aziz has been cited by multiple sources to be a strong UW lean and I would be surprised if he ends up elsewhere. Given UW’s lack of size, the opportunity for Aziz to flourish as a true center is available on Romar’s team. Together, MBA and Aziz could dominate the post on both sides of the ball. Coach Chillous is the closest to him on UW’s end and Romar is definitely growing in favor with Aziz as well.

Oklahoma (30% Likely): Aziz had a good visit to Oklahoma and has a good relationship with Coach Capel. Oklahoma is in need of a big man with all the uncertainty of “Tiny” Gallon’s future with the Sooners.

Kansas (10% Likely): Since Cole Aldrich declared for the NBA Draft, the opportunity for significant playing time rose for Aziz.

Oregon State (10% Likely): The departure of senior Roeland Schaftenaar definitely leaves room for Aziz on Coach Robinson’s squad. He would be a good man to have next to Joe Burton on the glass.

Colorado/ Loyola (5% each) – Both have offers out to Aziz, but the buzz is not suggesting that either of these two teams have a great shot at the big man.

Other prospects that have been mentioned this season, but have not been offered by UW are: Dwayne Polee, Deonte Burton, DeAndre Daniels, Avery Johnson and Danny Lawhorn.

If you have any news that we missed, please chime in!

Thanks for coming!