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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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June 17, 2008 10:37 PM

Garcia's coach speaks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Charles Garcia figures to go down as one of the most unknown of the players to have committed to UW since Lorenzo Romar took over as coach before the 2002-03 season.

So I thought it would be a good idea to talk with his coach at Riverside Community College, John Smith, to get a better feel for what kind of player the Huskies are getting in 2009. Garcia, who will be a sophomore at RCC this year, said on Sunday he will sign with UW in November and become a Husky for the 2009-10 season. Garcia committed after taking an unofficial visit to UW last weekend.

"He's a great fit for coach Romar and his style,'' Smith said. "He's a mismatch for a lot of bigs and he's a mismatch for a lot of wings because of his length and athleticism.''

Smith said Garcia "is a legitimate 6-10'' and now weighs about 220 pounds.

That's a far cry from where he was a few years ago, Smith said.

Garcia played at about 6-6 and well under 200 pounds as a senior at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles in 2006, Smith said, one reason he flew well under the recruiting radar. He was more of a perimeter player then, skills he has kept while adding inches and bulk.

"Nobody knew he was going to grow three or four more inches and continue to be that kind of a player,'' Smith said.

Smith said he thinks Garcia had some interest from Nevada of what could be considered major schools, but that that was about it, which Smith said "just shows you how much he has grown and matured.''

"He was 6-5, 6-6 when he was in high school and graduated when he was just 17 years old,'' said Smith, who is going into his fifth year at Riverside and in a previous stop coached former USC Trojan Jerry DuPree, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA. "He (Garcia) is by far the most skilled player I've had at this level,'' Smith said.

With few other offers out of high school, however, Garcia decided to attend Sacramento State, spending one semester there as a full-time student, Smith said.

But Smith said Garcia struggled with being away from home for the first time and didn't make it academically at Sac State.

"He was young,'' Smith said. "He comes from a two-parent home with great parents. He's the youngest in the family so he always had support. But being 17 and away from home for the first time, sometimes you don't understand time management, and that kind of caught up with him. So yes, he struggled a little in the class room there. But he's passed 35 units with us, so he's capable of doing it.''

After leaving Sac State, he ended up at Riverside. The semester at Sacramento State, however, means Garcia will have just two years to play two seasons when he arrives at UW.

But Smith said he has little doubt Garcia will be able to make an immediate impact for the Huskies.

"He's a gym rat,'' Smith said. "He's one of our hardest workers in practice. By the time he gets to Washington he'll be ready. He'll be beyond ready, I believe.''

Smith said the perimeter skills Garcia honed in his days as a smaller player continue to serve him well now that he's grown.

"For us last year, he played the four and the five,'' Smith said. "Next year he'll be playing the three and sometimes the four because he's just a mismatch on the blocks. But he's probably our best ballhandler, so we'll play him out on the wing a lot, as well.''

Smith also said that Garcia "has range out to the pro three-point line'' though the Huskies will likely want him playing more on the inside than hanging out that far.

He should be better positioned to do that when he gets to UW, Smith said, saying Garcia weighed about 195 pounds when he arrived at Riverside before the 2007-08 season but has added about 25 pounds since then.

"He has worked his tail off,'' Smith said. "He does yoga, Pilates and lifts weights. He's doing a great job of getting his mind and his body where it needs to be. He can definitely put on more weight, and he will --- he's still only 19.''

That youth, and Garcia's recent growth spurt, are added reasons Smith said the Huskies made the right move in locking Garcia up early.

"He was all-state last year as a freshman and we were 25-8'' Smith said. "And I expect bigger and better things next year, so I think coach Romar did a great job recruiting him. It's a great steal for them because I was starting to get calls from Memphis, Kentucky, Nebraska. San Diego State did a hell of a job of getting in there early and trying to recruit him. But I guess he just felt really comfortable with coach Romar when he went on his unofficial visit up there.''

One concern for UW fans might be that Garcia shot just 54 percent from the free throw line last season (though cynics would say that means he'll fit right in with the current group).

Smith said he's confident Garcia will get better at the line this season at Riverside.

"It has nothing to do with his mechanics,'' Smith said. "It just has to do with his focus and maturity. He's going to be fine there.''

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Posted by WSUx3

11:55 PM, Jun 17, 2008

when will fatters bump him to a 4* on scout?

Posted by AZ Dawg

3:59 AM, Jun 18, 2008

There was talk of going after Shawn Kemp's son but after your research this guy sounds better than him - if only for 2 years. Lets hope he grows another 2 inches and keeps his skills.

Posted by patience

6:32 AM, Jun 18, 2008

nice background article bob. hard not to be excited about an athletic 6' 10" player with an exceptional work ethic.

Posted by Sam

6:57 AM, Jun 18, 2008

That article just made me really enthusiastic about this guy. I just hope he turns out to be a good "post" player and not a tall player who likes to hang out on the perimeter. We need blocks, rebounds and inside scoring from this guy, although an occasional shot from mid-long range would keep defenders honest. Excited, yes.

Posted by SnohomishRick

7:42 AM, Jun 18, 2008

The last time we had a guy 6'10" that was an exceptional ballhandler was when Detlef was here. He turned out okay.

Posted by G

8:00 AM, Jun 18, 2008

I'm like thing this already.... another steal for romar. sounds a little bit like an early/raw kevin garnett type. really long and athletic, still young and immature but has the guard skillset despite being a BIG. he can defend any position. Can step out to long range like Kevin Love..... man we need another two kick-@ss players to compliment him, we will be sooo good......... come on reign man jr. LOL, come to seattle. we would be soooo set.

Posted by sequimdawgbob

8:28 AM, Jun 18, 2008

Good article, Bob. Appreciate your offseason work and this young man looks mighty good.

Thanks, sequimdawgbob

Posted by bellingham husky

8:43 AM, Jun 18, 2008

thanks for the article bob, fun one to read

Posted by schmitty

9:20 AM, Jun 18, 2008

His coach will obviously speak very highly of him, but I like what I hear. If he really is 6'10'' and adding weight in the weight room, he could be a great fit when he arrives. Pairing him with a mature MBA could be a nice frontcourt with length, athleticism, and some pretty good scoring potential. I just hope they all really lock in on the defense and rebounding side as well.

Not a big name, but could be a great pickup if he contributes right away. We will be pretty thin in the post once Brockman leaves and I don’t like the idea of relying on a raw freshman…unless we are lucky enough to land a top guy.

Posted by grant

10:10 AM, Jun 18, 2008

He fills in perfectly while we wait for Josh Smith in 2010. As long as he keeps getting stronger, he sounds like a perfect fit upfront. No more watching Artem and Wolf getting beat by more athletic bigs. Fits perfectly with our more athletic lineup, enables Romar to play uptempo.

Hate to be a broken record, but Romar needs to get Aaron Dotson ASAP. His team was better than Siva's Franklin team and Gaddy and Bradley's Bellarmine team. He's a winner.

Posted by mattysimone

11:22 AM, Jun 18, 2008

this kid sounds solid...cant wait to see him play. nice steal

Posted by Scott

12:11 PM, Jun 18, 2008

Dotson doesn't even seem to have UW on his list of schools he's interested in.

Posted by grant

2:12 PM, Jun 18, 2008

Rivals still has him listed, and he was listed on Scout a week or two ago. All the Gaddy/Bradley talk probably influenced him some, but UW was on his list. Romar hasn't offered him yet, which I assume is because of the Gaddy/Bradley possibilities. A call from Romar could change that really fast, despite what Scout or Rivals has to say about it. My point is, waiting around for the Duo could cost us other players, like Dotson. Obviously if Romar gets the Bellermine duo it does't matter, but that is far from a sure thing.

Posted by schmitty

2:44 PM, Jun 18, 2008

Sounds like the duo isn't even close to a sure thing. It's great to take a shot at them if there is a chance, but I'd really hat to lose traction on other top guys while waiting.

Romar has come close but missed on many top names lately (i.e. Holiday, the PF that also went to UCLA I forget his name, and Harden) and I wonder if it has hurt our changes with other guys.

Posted by merseybeat

5:13 PM, Jun 18, 2008

is this a replacement for NELSON???

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