UW freshman center Spencer Hawes has announced that he will put his name in for the NBA draft. However, this does not assure that he will leave UW. He said he will not hire an agent, and therefore has until June 18 to remove his name and return for his sophomore season.
However, he seems hopeful that what he learns over the coming weeks will confirm his belief that he is ready for the pros.
"My goal since I was a kid was to be in the NBA and to try to be a star in the NBA," he said. "That's something that I look forward to. But if now is not the right time, that's not something you're disappointed about, you just have to be patient. But if it is, then it's the opportunity to fulfill that dream."
In order to find out if the time is right, Hawes has officially declared his intention to make himself available for the NBA draft. But by not hiring an agent, he is free to return for his sophomore season if he withdraws his name by June 18.
In the meantime, he will seek feedback from NBA personnel and attend a pre-draft camp May 29-June 4 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
As a freshman, Hawes led the Huskies and ranked 10th in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 14.9 average. His 53.2 percent shooting mark was fourth best in the league. He recorded a career-high 24 points at Southern California and a career-high 15 rebounds against UCLA. He became the university's all-time leading freshman scorer and shot blocker.
Hawes was named an All-Pac-10 honorable mention and was selected to the conference all-freshman team.
However, injury and illness slowed him for much of the season, and he ultimately fell short of the greater honors he had hoped for after arriving at UW as a 2006 McDonald's and Parade All-American out of Seattle Prep: He received no All-America notice, and he wasn't named conference freshman of the year. Worse, his team went 19-13 and missed the NCAA tournament after making it the previous three seasons.
If that turns out to be his college legacy, he acknowledges there would be some disappointment – but not enough to delay his NBA dreams.
"I'd look back and say it was a tough year, both individually and as a team," he said. "But at the end of the day, I think there are so many things that we would take from it and learn from it. I think it's hard to say the year was a failure. I've heard people say it was a lost year and all this, but I think at both levels it was a success in a lot of ways. It's another thing that plays in your decision, but at this point I have to try not to concentrate as much on that as the current goal."