Washington signing guard Donaven Dorsey and forward Tristan Etienne went under the radar both locally and nationally given the sour news with Jernard Jarreau, who suffered a season-ending knee injury,
However, the newest Huskies mark a significant development in UW recruiting.
This summer, coach Lorenzo Romar said the Huskies altered their recruiting approach after targeting and missing several five-star prospects, including Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon. Washington, Romar said, will still go after the high-level talent, but it will not wait hold scholarships until the very end for those players while bypassing four- and three-star recruits.
In Dorsey, a 6-6 wing from Timberline High in Lacey, WA, the Huskies picked up an important in-state prospect who is the third highest Washington high-school player, according to the major recruiting services. Rainier Beach High’s Shaqquan Aaron (Louisville) and Ahmad Rorrie (California) are the state’s top players on lists by ESPN, Rivals and Scout.com.
Ideally, the Huskies would have liked to have nabbed Aaron, but the Southern California transplant never had much interest in UW. Also, Louisville has somehow built a pipeline into Rainier Beach High that dates back to Terrence Williams.
Washington could afford to pass on Rorrie because it’s loaded in the backcourt for the next few years.
However, the Huskies needed Dorsey, who Romar called “a prototypical Husky wing.”
“Donaven Dorsey is a very rangy, versatile wing,” Romar said. “He can handle the ball, he can shoot the ball, he’s athletic and he’s 6-foot-6 with long arms.”
Many inside the program liken Dorsey to junior-college transfer Mike Anderson and freshman Darin Johnson who attack the basket off the dribble.
It’s also telling the Huskies have just one scholarship player – Hikeem Stewart – from Washington. Romar stressed the importance of keeping the state’s top players at home.
Meanwhile, Etienne, a a 6-10 forward from Abbotsford, British Columbia, is also important because he’s UW’s first significant Canadian player since Todd MacCulloch.
Etienne is one of the top 4-5 prospects in Canada, Romar said.
“He’s a good shot-blocker, he has really good hands, can step outside and knock a shot down,” Romar said. “When you look at his frame you can just see after a year or so of really getting on the weights working with our strength coach and the different people here he has a huge upside. We’re excited about that.”
Given its proximity, Washington can establish a recruiting foothold in Canada, which has produced several talented players recently including Anthony Bennett, who was taken No. 1 in the NBA draft, and Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, who may be the No. 1 draft pick next year.
Seattle University junior guard Emerson Murray, who grew up in Vancouver, Canada, grew up admiring the Huskies and wanted to attend UW. He never got a scholarship and began his college career at Cal.
“More recently there are more Canadian basketball players showing that they belong and can play high level Division-1 basketball and also go on and play in the NBA,” Romar said. “I don’t think it’s a trend right now. I don’t think it’s a fad, something that’s going to go away.
“I think there’s an interest there now. Kids and those that run the travel programs and a lot of the coaches there have developed a real interest in improving and developing players – and players are taking a real liking to it. I think we’re going to see more from Canada in the years to come.”