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Friday, April 21, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Prep Beat: Thomas makes it official - picks UW

Seattle Times staff reporter

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Pierce County — Isaiah Thomas sees special times ahead for the Washington men's basketball program, and he wants to be part of them.

"These next coming years, there's going to be a national championship at Washington," he said.

Thomas, a flashy, 5-foot-9 junior guard from Curtis High School, officially announced Thursday what had become the state's worst-kept recruiting secret: He will sign a letter of intent with the Huskies in November.

He made the announcement at a news conference in the Curtis gymnasium in front of about 50 family members, coaches, friends, teammates and media.

Thomas averaged 31.6 points per game and was The Seattle Times' Class 4A State Player of the Year. Widely considered the state's top junior, he became the first member of Washington's 2007 recruiting class.

Thomas said his decision was not solely based on his desire to stay close to home, although his father, James, said it was a big factor. The relationships he built with Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and assistant Cameron Dollar are equally important, the Curtis guard said.

"They have built U-Dub into a national power and I want to be a part of what we have going on here in my home state," Thomas said. "I was being recruited and had offers from a lot of schools and conferences across the country, but all along, I knew Washington was the place for me."

Well, only after former Indiana coach Mike Davis told him in February that he would not return as the Hoosiers' coach. If Davis had stayed, Thomas admitted, he would have made a different choice, unable to pass up the opportunity to play at the alma mater of his namesake, NBA legend Isiah Thomas.

"That day [Davis] told me he was going to resign, I knew I was going to become a Washington Husky," the younger Thomas said.

Thomas, who also considered UCLA, Kentucky and Georgetown, said he called Romar Tuesday to give him the news.

"He said, 'Thank you!' " Thomas said.

Thomas said he looks forward to playing at least one season with Spencer Hawes, the 7-foot Seattle Prep senior who headlines Washington's 2006 recruiting class. Hawes has told him he plans to play at least two seasons with the Huskies before declaring for the NBA draft.

Notes

Austin Kilpatrick, a 6-6 senior forward from Puyallup High School, has signed to play basketball for Idaho State after a recruiting trip to Pocatello. Kilpatrick was a first-team All-South Puget Sound League South Division selection.

Bob Woollan, who coached Pullman to a 14-0 title and the state Class 2A football title last fall, has accepted the head-coaching job at Chehalis. Woollan is a native of neighboring Centralia. Aaron Pflugrad, a junior who scored the winning touchdown in Pullman's 28-24 title-game victory over Archbishop Murphy, moved to Eugene, Ore., this spring when his father, WSU assistant Robin Pflugrad, joined the University of Oregon football staff. The leading candidate to replace Woollan is Bill Peterson, Pullman High's defensive coordinator.

Times staff reporter Craig Smith contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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