The Northwest has long been a hotbed for up-and-coming talent on the AAU circuit. Players such as Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Jason Terry and more all came up through the local systems before moving on to the NBA. With the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City, the young talent in the Northwest is in focus, and the nation is taking notice.
Kyle Wiltjer became the latest recruit to make it big on the national scene, and because of it, Kentucky head coach John Calipari came calling. Wiltjer, ranked as the 32nd-best prospect in the class of 2011, had a who’s who of national and local programs on his recruitment list. In the end, Calipari came through with an offer and lured the Portland star to Lexington.
Kentucky SB Nation blog A Sea Of Blue breaks it down.
Needless to say, Fans of schools in the states of Washington and Oregon have been dismayed at the sudden movement of their talent to Lexington. With Tony Wroten still out there uncommitted, there is at least a technical possibility of yet another highly-ranked Great Northwest recruit playing for the Blue and White. That would be a staggeringly successful invasion of an under appreciated and talent-rich region of America.
With Calipari luring Enes Kanter for Washington’s grasp, the ire of the Washington faithful was aimed directly at the Kentucky coach. On the heels of that, Kentucky snagged Terrence Jones after a public commitment to Washington. You could even go back to Terrence Williams (Rainier Beach H.S.) and Peyton Siva (Franklin H.S.), who each left Seattle to play for Rick Pitino at Louisville.
With the talent in the Northwest high, national programs continue to swoop in and pick through the top-ranked recruits the Seattle and Portland areas have to offer. Keeping the homegrown players close to home has become a tougher task, as the rest of the country catches up to what we already know: the Northwest is a hotbed for recruits.
The battles for Northwest recruits aren't over with Wiltjer. Highly touted Seattle prepster Tony Wroten Jr. is all over the national radar, holding offers from nearly every major school in the country. It may come down to Washington and Kentucky again, with Lorenzo Romar and John Calipari squaring off again. There's no doubt Calipari will be keeping a close eye on the Northwest, looking to snatch some of the top talent away from the area colleges.