SEATTLE -- As expected, Spencer Hawes' college career at
Washington lasted just one year.
That doesn't mean his decision to remain in next week's NBA
draft was simple.
"I think I went through all the pros and cons in my head,
writing it out," said Hawes, who originally declared for the draft
in April, but did not hire an agent. "Based on the feedback that I
received and trusting my gut instinct I think it's going to be the
best decision for me."
The 7-foot center leaves Washington after a freshman year that
failed to meet many of the lofty expectations placed upon one of
the most lauded recruits in Washington's history.
He struggled with injury and illness for parts of the season,
but still led the Huskies in scoring, averaging nearly 15 points,
and was named to the Pac-10 all-freshman team.
Despite his talents, Hawes failed to dominate the college game
as many expected.
But his lanky frame and sharp fundamentals caught the attention
of many teams in the NBA draft lottery. Hawes can shoot from the
outside, handle the ball and has exceptional vision and passing
ability, all in a frame that will only get bigger.
Hawes worked out for Philadelphia (No. 12 pick), Chicago (No.
9), Minnesota (No. 7) and Sacramento (No. 10) recently. Boston (No.
5) also attended his workout in Philadelphia and he plans a session
with Atlanta (No. 3 and 11).
"The teams I worked out for are teams in situations where I
thought it would be beneficial," Hawes said.
Some draft projections have Hawes landing anywhere from the
Celtics at No. 5 to Philadelphia at No. 12. According to the NBA's
collective bargaining agreement, the No. 5 pick will make
$2,548,500 in his first year. The No. 12 pick will make $1,525,600.
Hawes believes he will be a lottery pick, and plans to attend the
June 28 draft in New York.
Most concerns about Hawes' transition to the NBA revolve around
his strength and weight, and the ability to adequately play defense
and rebound against stronger forwards and centers. Washington
listed Hawes at 230 pounds, and building his long frame has been
the focus of his personal workouts.
"When you continue hearing it, you have to place an emphasis on
it," Hawes said.
Hawes' departure certainly didn't shock Washington coach Lorenzo
Romar. Hawes and Romar spoke on Saturday during an experimental
basketball game at Washington's on-campus arena, with the coach
simply listening and asking questions.
When the two finished speaking, Hawes had the support of Romar.
Hawes then spent Sunday talking with his parents, but was mostly
set on his decision.
"We planned a year ago as if there would be a chance that he
would leave, but we never knew for sure that he would leave,"
"We support him wholeheartedly."