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September 27, 2004Convincing a teenager to move nearly 3,000 miles away isn't North Carolina's biggest concern when it comes to recruiting Seattle Prep's Spencer Hawes. Finding a way to lure the 6-foot-11, 215-pound center away from many of the nation's top programs clearly is.
Ranked the No. 8 player in the class of 2006, Hawes is quickly becoming one of the most sought after players in the nation. The skinny big man, who received a scholarship offer from Arizona in the summer, said he recently received offers from Kansas, N.C. State, Texas, UCLA and Washington.
Some of the biggest names have recently stopped by Seattle Prep to inquire about Hawes.
"(Kansas coach) Bill Self and an assistant, Gonzaga coach Mark Few, UCLA coach Ben Howland, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and Oregon coach Ernie Kent and an assistant have all stopped by," Hawes said.
UNC head coach Roy Williams had planned on watching Hawes play when he made a trip to Seattle earlier this month for an in-home visit with Hawes' high school and AAU teammate Martell Webster, who is ranked the No. 6 player in the class of 2005.
"Coach Williams wasn't able to make it," Hawes said. "Some sort of alumni function came up and he can't to come to my house."
Hawes has received plenty of interest from UNC, Duke, Stanford, Texas, Utah, San Diego and several other Division I programs. He grew up a "Washington football fan" and lives just 15 minutes from the Pac-10 school's campus, but has no problem with the idea of attending an East Coast school, especially Duke or UNC.
"I like both Duke and UNC and followed them both," Hawes said. "I like their tradition and I like the idea of playing for them."
"College is another phase of your life and it could be a chance to see another coast and another type of life."
Hawes recovered from three knee surgeries early in his prep career to develop into a dominating player on the AAU circuit this past summer. He said playing with the Friends of Hoop, which includes several of the nation's top recruits, has been an invaluable experience.
"It's helped my game and gotten me more exposure, but it's helped just as much in practice and off the court," Hawes said. "I can get tips on life and a lot of help with the whole recruiting process."
Hawes, whose uncle Steve played in the NBA and father played professionally overseas, plans on making his recruiting visits after the end of the season.
Until then he plans on concentrating on improving specific areas of his own game.
"I need to work on expanding game," Hawes said. "I need to hit 3-pointers consistently if I'm ever needed on the perimiter and need to improve my defense."