Thursday, April 5, 2007
Founder's Club/Bank of America Arena
WASHINGTON FRESHMAN CENTER Spencer Hawes
"After talking to my family coaches and people that are close to me, I have decided that this year I will be entering my name into the draft without an agent to preserve my eligibility to test the waters and see how everything turns out".
What do you need to see to stay into the draft?
"I'm looking more for a situation, not just a numbered draft pick. Somewhere where I hopefully I could come in and contribute. I'm looking at the little things that you don't really consider until you're on the inside. As it gets closer to the draft, I'll be able to figure out those scenarios and situations and make the best possible decision."
What do you think the odds would are of you going to the NBA next year?
"That's tough to say right now. The closer and closer it gets, it will be easier to dictate. It's kind of far away right now, so it's hard to come up with number odds for that."
Why are you announcing this now?
"I've been thinking about it for a while and I've talked to a lot of people about it. Now is the right time to get it off my chest and prepare myself as best as possible now for the upcoming workouts and everything that is involved with the pre-draft stuff. Right now the ways the rules have changed, you can't work out with the teams until after the pre-draft camp. So now, I'm just kind of focused on individual work, skill work and spending a lot of time in the weight room. The biggest thing is trying to get my body closer to being an NBA player, to get stronger, get more athletic to try to battle day-in and day-out against those level of players."
What steps are you going to take to preserve your eligibility?
"I'm staying enrolled in school. I'm not hiring an agent. I'm doing everything that I need to do to retain my eligibility."
If you hear that the money will be there now, but maybe you would have to spend a few years on the bench, would you still go to the NBA?
"That's the whole part of making the final decision. It's all about finding the right situation. If you know you are just going to sit for an entire year, that kind of changes the decision around. That's one of the many factors that contributes to the ultimate decision."
What are you looking forward to most?
"It's an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong goal. No one has really put pressure on me one way or the other. Everyone has been really helpful in providing information and providing advice, but not really trying to sway my opinion."
What kind of input has Texas freshman Kevin Durant given you?
"We really don't really talk to each other trying to tell one another that you should go or you should stay. We try to sympathize with each other's situations and just share stories and share thoughts and go over the pros and cons of both ways. We've talked about it a little bit, but that's not the only thing we focus on. Earlier on people made a bigger deal out of me talking to his dad, kind of started some conspiracy theories. Some people look at that too much. It comes up, but that's not the only thing we are talking about. We're not trying to convince each other one way or the other."
Was there anyone who made a strong case for you to stay in school?
"Everyone has presented the objective sides to it and no one has really been coming with a persuasive argument or something like that, where they really had an agenda. I've been lucky with coach and everyone that I've talked to with my family. People have been able to give me information as much as possible without trying to put too much on me or try to persuade me one way or the other. That really helps out in that everyone is kind of letting me make my own decision with regards to my future."
Would it have made a difference if you were healthy the whole year?
"It think so. But, the fact remains that you can't change the past. That's how things went and now it's a question of looking from here on out."
You can only test the waters once. What impact does that have?
"Part of the reason that I wanted to come here was the opportunity to be able to contribute right away and play right away and try to set myself up for the ultimate goal of reaching the next level. Doing it now is a great opportunity for me to look at it now. If I come back I couldn't say for sure next year would be my last year, but it's kind of a reasonable assumption."
What will be the first thing that you do?
"Teams can interview before the pre-draft camp which is at the end of May. In terms of physical workouts, you have to start there. June 5th is when the workouts can start."
What are your thoughts on the new rule that players can't go directly out of high school?
"I think it's a rule that benefits all parties involved. I don't think it hurts anybody to go to college for one year, two years, three years, four. While some people's so-called stock may go down by going to college, in the long term it only benefits them by the fact that they are there. I'm glad I didn't have to make this decision a year ago. It was tough to make this time around. It has only helped my game to be able to come to college for this year and we'll see what the future holds. For the game, especially long-term for the players, it's good for basketball."
Do you feel like you are ready for the NBA right now?
"I mean I think personally you have your own biases and you have confidence in yourself. I don't know to what degree I am ready for it, but going in I would be able to contribute. I don't know how much, but that' part of what the process is about. That's part of going to these workouts and looking at different team situations, finding that out."
Would you be disappointed if you have to come back?
"I don't think I'd put it like that. My goal since I was a kid was to be in the NBA and try to be a star in the NBA. That's something that I look forward to, but if now is not the right time that's something you are not disappointed about. You just have to be patient. If it is, that would be the opportunity to fulfill that dream."
What do your parents say?
"They've been pretty good about it. They just said the whole time, just like my college decision, it's my choice and they offered their opinions and expertise. At the end they are going to let me make up my mind and I thank them for that they give me that kind of freedom."
What does Coach Lorenzo Romar say?
"He didn't say you are ready or you are not ready. He said that you just want to be as prepared as possible. We've been talking about it for a while and he's emphasized the playing time situation is a lot of it and the development. Also, the other aspects of it, the non-basketball side. Being away from home at such a young age, kind of being on your own is a lot to handle from that standpoint as well. He's been really good about emphasizing all of the stuff with his knowledge as a former player."
If this were it for you at Washington, what would you feel about your college career?
"I would look back and say it was a tough year, individually and for the team. But at the end of the day, there are so many things that we can take from it and that we learned from it. It's hard to say the year was a failure. On both levels, it was a success in a lot of ways. At this point I have to try to not focus on that as much as the current goal."
If you decide to go into the draft, will you finish your academic degree?
"Oh definitely, I don't think my mom would have it any other way. That's another goal of mine, to graduate. Whether it happened now, or down the road, it's something that I put a lot of emphasis on."
WASHINGTON HEAD COACH Lorenzo Romar
What do you think about Spencer's situation?
"The rule was put in place for this very reason, for those who aspire to go to the next level. It gives players the opportunity to go out and test the market and see what the experts think and see if they have the opportunity to reach their lifelong dream. It is great for guys to go out and get a realistic view of what people think about their career. I think it is great that he has this opportunity to go out and explore.
"It all depends on that individual. Everyone is different, so it's hard to say and make a general statement. You have to take individual cases differently."
How does this affect your program?
"We watched Spencer often times dominate the high school circuit in the summers and in high school. We always felt that, in talking to Spencer and getting to know him, that if he did come to the University of Washington that there was a possibility that this day would come. We knew that coming in. Because that has always been in the back of our minds that that was a potential, it doesn't keep up in limbo. It's just something that we knew was inevitable one day."