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Kentucky, Duke Each Pluck Top Hoop Recruit Out of Seattle Area

Highly regarded Nolan Hickman follows Paolo Banchero out of town to a blue-blood college basketball program.

The Seattle-Tacoma area always has produced great basketball talent. 

Brandon Roy. Jamal Crawford. Nate Robinson. Jason Terry. Isaiah Thomas. Avery Bradley. Zach Lavine. Matisse Thybulle. Dejounte Murray. Jaylen Nowell. Rodney Stuckey. Tony Wroten. The list goes on.

Often times the problem, at least for the University of Washington basketball program, is keeping them home.

Case in point is what's happened this past week. The Huskies could only watch in dismay as O'Dea High School five-star 6-foot-9 big man Paolo Banchero  chose Duke and Eastside Catholic High four-star point guard Nolan Hickman picked Kentucky.

Like no other time, college basketball's blue-blood programs have been sniffing around the city and its suburbs for elite players and left with them, which is no small intrusion and a sizable blow to Mike Hopkins' program rebuilding efforts with the Huskies. 

Previously, one-time Mercer Island point guard Quin Snyder was the only Seattle-area player who has left here for Duke, while ex-Newport power forward Mark Pope has been the one local product to join Kentucky, this after transferring out of the UW following a coaching change.

Interestingly enough, Snyder and Pope are both head basketball coaches in Utah — Snyder is the directing the Utah Jazz, Pope leads BYU.

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Which brings us to Hickman, whose basketball address also is in Utah for the time being, having transferred to the Wasatch School from Eastside Catholic for his senior season. 

Reports say Kentucky coach John Calipari and his staff went to see Banchero play and stumbled across Hickman putting up 36 points in the same game. 

Meantime, the Husky recruiting front remains extremely quiet. They have no incoming freshmen players for the upcoming season, whenever that is, and just one 2021 player signed, Capital's 6-foot-8 Jackson Grant, who picked the Huskies over Wisconsin and Oklahoma.  

The UW is mentioned as a strong suitor for unrated 6-8 forward G.G. Jackson from Columbia, South Carolina, who also lists Syracuse, South Carolina and Virginia Tech among his offers.

The Huskies also are in the mix for Hickman's former guard mate, Eastside Catholic's 6-5 four-star recruit Shane Nowell, whose offers include Arizona and Oklahoma. He is the younger brother of Jaylen Nowell, the former UW player now with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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