Spencer Hawes is going to the McDonald's All-American game as a junior. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound center from Seattle (Wa.) Prep won't be suiting up in the famous jerseys, instead he'll be taking in the action from the sidelines and picking up pointers from his high school teammate Martell Webster in preparation for Hawes' likely trip to next year's game. On the flight home, the No. 8 ranked player in the class of 2006 will work on making a list of six final schools.
While high school students make spring break plans to attend a beach for a week of fun or just sleeping in until two in the afternoon, Hawes will travel to South Bend, Ind., for the McDonald's All-American game. While there, Hawes will unofficially visit the Fighting Irish and mingle with Mike Brey and his coaching staff.
Hawes says he has a list of 11 schools that he will sift over. And it's a mighty impressive list, too. Hawes said Connecticut, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford, Texas and Washington are the programs he is considering. All but Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Stanford have offered a scholarship. That list, however, should be slimmed soon.
"I'd like to trim to the list to six schools after I get back," Hawes said. "It's my spring break so I'll have some time to manage the list and analyze every option. I should have a good idea on who I trim and who I will continue to look at and set up visits with."
With the top-heavy class of 2006, several big men will likely test the NBA waters if that opportunity presents itself. Hawes is a player that many college coaches believe will sign a National Letter of Intent and honor it by enrolling and playing as a collegiate athlete.
He's an agile big man that can run the floor and works well in the blocks as a true center. His footwork is strong and he is tenacious inside the paint. Big men like him are a rare breed in today's game.
At the McDonald's game, Hawes will have a chance to see a portion of one of the greatest high school classes to ever come out of his native Seattle. Webster, Jon Brockman (a Washington signee) and Micah Downs (a Kansas recruit) will also be playing in the game. Arizona-bound Marcus Williams and Louisville-bound Terrance Williams also hail from the Emerald City.
That's a big time group to follow. And Hawes knows it.
"That's a class that the Northwest won't see for a while," Hawes said. "You feel a little bit of pressure having to follow them and live up to the standard that they set and I know with some confidence that my Seattle class won't be as good as that one is. I just have to go out and do my best and represent my team and my city next year."
And next year he should return to the McDonald's game but as a participant from Seattle instead of an observer.
Hawes will be at the Boo Williams AAU tournament on April 8 in Hampton, Va., with his Friends of Hoop team.