CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Head coach Lorenzo Romar of the Washington Huskies reacts in the second half while taking on the Georgia Bulldogs during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Washington Huskies announced the signing of Shawn Kemp, Jr. today, who is indeed the son of the Seattle Sonics legend with the same name. However, after a roundabout path to UW, Huskies fans probably shouldn't expect the second coming of the Sonics legend, even if the comparisons are inevitable.
If highlight videos actually had any value in evaluating a basketball player's talent, former Seattle Sonic lottery pick Mouhammed Saer Sene would be on his way to a NBA all-star caliber career instead of being waived by the New York Knicks in 2009.
The fact is that tall guys almost always look like great basketball players on YouTube because they dunk a lot over people who have no basketball future ahead of them.
Nevertheless, if the comparisons between 6-foot-9, 265 pound Washington Huskies signee Shawn Kemp, Jr. and his father of Sonics fame are inevitable, then the YouTube highlights do help illuminate the differences between the Sonics legend and his son that ESPN's player evaluation from 2008 described.
Shawn Kemp, Jr. 2010 Basketball Recruiting Profile - ESPN
Kemp's genes should serve him well at the next level. The son of former NBA player Shawn Kemp, the younger Kemp does not have the high scoring abilities, physical dominance or the multi-dimensional talents that his father possessed as a high school senior.
Any nostalgic excitement is understandable for a city that is still holding on to a rich basketball legacy, but the fact is that Kemp is not likely to have a massive immediate impact and certainly isn't quite the talent his father was out of high school.
Part of that will be the standard adjustment to Division I that any college freshman goes through, as described by Seattle Times reporter Percy Allen. But a somewhat unique wrinkle in Kemp's development is that he has been away from the game since attending prep school at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
And he has taken a roundabout path to UW.
Kemp's signings with both Alabama in 2009 and Auburn in 2010 were undone by academic eligibility issues. Immediately out of high school, Kemp was a four star recruit. Next Kemp was supposed to be a piece of one of Aurburn's best recruiting classes in a decade. And after sitting out last season he is currently in UW's L.E.A.P. program with five other UW players.
So what chance does he have to capitalize on all that potential at UW?
With Matthew Bryan-Amaning having graduated, UW is left with Darnell Gant, Aziz N'Diaye and a couple of newcomers to fill out their post rotation. So as with last year, what the Huskies need from someone inside is rebounding. In other words, there will likely be minutes to anyone who can rebound for the team. That might not immediately be Kemp, but for someone who has been bouncing around this is as good an opportunity for him to grow find a role with a Division I program.
"We're happy to have Shawn Kemp, Jr. join our program," Romar said in a release. "He gives us additional size and athleticism up front."
Romar is not one to play someone before he's ready just to fill a gap and they have more than enough talent this season not to do so. But if you think back to the painful sight of halves when the Huskies got beat badly on the boards, Kemp does have a chance to contribute eventually, no matter how small.