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June 14, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Huskies quietly conclude 2012 recruiting

Coach Lorenzo Romar said Washington has closed the books on recruiting for the class of 2012 and is focusing on prospects for 2013 and beyond.
That means the only new additions to the roster are a pair of transfers. Perris Blackwell, a 6-9, 240-pound junior forward who played at the University of San Francisco, will sit out the 2012-13 season while former Tacoma Community College star Mark McLaughlin is the only incoming player who will compete next season.
“We’re pretty much done,” Romar said.
The past two years, the Huskies continued recruiting long after the regular-signing period ended. In 2010 Washington tried unsuccessfully to land Terrence Jones after he de-committed from UW. Last year, the Huskies added Martin Breuing in June and Shawn Kemp Jr. in July.
Reportedly the Huskies were in pursuit of Mouhammadou Jaiteh, a 6-9 defensive forward who played in France. However, he will remain overseas.
Romar didn’t comment specifically on Jaiteh, but when asked if had hoped to bring in a big man who could contribute next season the UW coach said: “We tried. There was one that we really tried. In fact, we pretty much had him.”
Washington two-man 2012 class hasn’t drawn rave reviews from Pac-12 observers, who rank the Huskies’ among the lower tier in the conference well behind UCLA and Arizona, which compiled two of the nation’s best incoming freshmen classes.
However, Washington redshirted guards Scott Suggs and Andrew Andrews last season and Romar believes they’ll mitigate the loss of leading scorers Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr.
“You’re kind of replacing two guys with three guys,” Romar said. “Mark is certainly skilled enough and ready to play right away as are the other guys. That definitely filled a need there.”
Romar admitted he wanted to bring in another big body to assist center Aziz N’Diaye compensate for the loss of senior Darnell Gant. The onus now falls on a trio of unproven backups Kemp, Breunig and Jernard Jarreau to bolster an inexperienced front line.
“It’s going to come down to the guys that we have now,” Romar said. “They’re going to have to take a step up. Jernard, Martin and Shawn Kemp. Those guys are going to have to take a step up.”
Blackwell would have been a nice addition, but Romar said: “It was always the plan that he would sit out. He was never one of those guys that could graduate early. He’ll redshirt this year and play next year.”
Washington will have 12 scholarship players on the roster next season, which is one shy of the NCAA limit. The Huskies have three seniors on the roster and should have at least four scholarships to offer 2013 recruits assuming the seniors fulfill their eligibility and no one leaves the program prematurely.
“We’re in on a number of guys for 2013 and this gives us the flexibility to not have to turn somebody down that we really think is a quality player,” Romar said of the extra scholarship.
Washington received a verbal commitment from 2013 recruit Nigel Williams-Goss.
FRIDAY MORNING LINKS:
— In case you missed it, the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team was announced this week. Jabari Bird, a Bay Area standout shooting guard who has UW and California among his top schools, did not make the 12-man roster. In a tweet, he wrote: “Never been cut from a team in my life until now….just added some motivation”
Jeff Goodman at CBSsports.com puts together a list of the top 54 non-conference games for the 2012-13 season and includes the Washington-Saint Louis matchup at No. 49. UCLA makes the list with two games in the top nine.
— Former UW standout Tony Wroten Jr. is working out with the Indiana Pacers today. The team has the 26th pick in the draft and could use a point guard. It’s conceivable Indiana is seriously considering taking Wroten or Marquis Teague.
— Former UW star Doug Wrenn is being held in jail for harassing his ex-girlfriend through phone calls, however, his case has taken a bizarre turn.

Comments | Topics: Mark McLaughlin, Nigel Williams-Goss, Scott Suggs

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