Wednesday, September 28, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Watts Gets Slick Intro -- L.W. Star Is Heading For Huskies

Lake Washington's Donald Watts and Franklin's Jason Terry wore brand new Washington Husky baseball caps that looked only a little less stiff than the guys wearing them.

To their right stood Slick Watts, whose suit and tie looked only a little less sharp than the wit he showed the handful of TV cameras and note-takers at yesterday's news conference at Lake Washington High School.

The talkative-SuperSonic-turned-supersonic talker and proud father of the newest Husky basketball player made sure not a moment of air time went unused when the soft-spoken teenagers pause.

At one point, Donald leaned toward Terry, smiled and said, "I'm sorry, Jason."

Welcome to the Huskies, Jason. And welcome to Slick's World.

Donald Watts, the 6-foot-4 two-time KingCo Conference scoring leader, gave an oral commitment Monday night, a week after Terry, a 6-1 guard, announced his intention. Both are expected to sign letters of intent to play basketball for the University of Washington on Nov. 9.

Terry already has a passing SAT score; Watts is scheduled to take the qualifying exam in November.

The two signings would make Bob Bender the first Husky coach since Marv Harshman to land the state's top two recruits.

Since Harshman left after 13 seasons in 1985, players poured across state borders bound for California (Roy Fisher, Bill Elleby, Ryan Drew, K.J. Roberts), Stanford (Marcus Lollie, Peter Dukes, Brent Williams), Pepperdine (Doug Christie), Duke (Quin Snyder), Northwestern (Brian Schwabe), Oregon State (Will Brantley), Oregon (Jeff Potter), Connecticut (Donny Marshall), Vanderbilt (Chad Sheron), Kansas (Scot Pollard), Arizona (Michael Dickerson) and UCLA (omm'A Givens). Meanwhile, two coaches came and left with losing records.

"It's what Coach Bender believes is necessary here - to get the best players," said LW Coach Jon Palarz, who has known Bender since coaching summer camps with him 10 years ago at Duke. "I certainly think he made Donald his first priority the day he got the job (after Watts' sophomore year)."

Bender is prohibited by the NCAA from speaking about specific recruits until they sign letters of intent. The signing period is Nov. 9-16.

Washington, always on Watts' short list, became a priority for him when Terry committed. He turned down Mississippi State, Georgia and Kansas to accept Bender's final scholarship.

"We talked about it over the summer," Watts said, "Talking like, `We going to play together next year?' We'd say, `If you commit, I will, too.' Then when I heard he did, that put the pressure on me."

Watts said he likely would have chosen the UW anyway.

"I feel like I can make a difference - and me and Jason, we can make an even bigger difference," Watts said. "I felt the University of Kansas with or without me would be OK. Not that Washington wouldn't, but I felt I could have more of an impact here."

Impact? Slick can tell you about impact. Which he did.

"I'm just happy we get a chance to see two of the best guards in the country here," said Slick, who has coached both and was Terry's kindergarten teacher. "I think you're looking at Dumars and Isiah Thomas. I think Bob Bender should come and kiss me big for these guys."

How does Slick really feel?

"If he has two guards better than this playing next year, we'll be watching Coach Bender in the Final Four - they're going to be 20-4 next year and might win the Pac-10."

And when they finally get to the UW?

"These guys are going to be the best backcourt in the state," said Watts, a Sonic from 1973 to '78. "And I'm talking about way back - Gus (Williams) and Dennis (Johnson), Fred (Brown) and myself."

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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