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Monday, June 18, 2007
Hawes only plays one year at Washington

Associated Press

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," Romar said.

"We support him wholeheartedly."