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Is Fultz commitment a game changer for Romar recruiting?

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Five star recruit Markelle Fultz announced on national television Friday afternoon on ESPNU that he would commit to the University of Washington. What does his commitment mean for the future of Lorenzo Romar's recruiting strategy?

via @MarkelleF
via @MarkelleF

WOOF!

It is the Pavlovian tweet, mainly used in football, which has Husky fans immediately checking the internet to see who the Huskies secured in recruiting.

Coach Lorenzo Romar has not used the tweet since October 2012 (see above) but he might want to do it when this becomes officially official as maybe the biggest recruiting gem coming out of the Romar era was secured on Friday with the oral commitment of Upper Marlboro, Maryland guard Markelle Fultz.  The five star recruit, with no ties to the Pacific Northwest, chose Lorenzo Romar’s program despite offerings from some of the premier programs in the nation.

I would suggest that this commitment a coup.  If nothing else, one need look at a map.  Rarely do we see college kids, let alone top flight basketball recruits with great options, go across the country.  Moreover, the Huskies have not been great for a long time so it was not like Fultz was coming west to play for a perennial tournament team.  Fultz's decision was based on his relationship with Romar and assistant coach Raphael Chillious as well as the fact that Romar has produced many NBA players.  The latter fact probably is a overlooked highlight of the Romar resume.

One should point out that it was Raphael Chillious that had the inroads with Fultz and despite playing on the JV team at DeMatha Catholic his sophomore year, Chillious was there from the start and was persistent enough to remain with the Junior guard once he started to gain the eyes of Louisville, Kentucky and Arizona.

So, it was Chillious that did the legwork and one may assume Romar closed the deal when Fultz made his visit to Seattle.  Clearly, despite coming cross-country, the visit had a profound effect on him as he decided to make the announcement on ESPNU the following week.  He had used 3 of his 5 official visits and decided to make his decision after visiting Seattle.  A great indicator that Romar, et al. made an impression on him even though it rained during his visit.

The pessimistic disclaimer.  Fultz just gave an oral commitment.  While most do not think he pulls a Terrence Jones (or more accurately a "Calipari"), he still needs to sign and fax (do they still do that?) in his commitment to seal the deal.  He also must academically qualify.  All of us assume that he will do both and will be in Seattle (for his one and only winter in the northwest) for the 2016-2017 season.

Two big takeaways from Fultz’s commitment:

First, it looks like Romar has found players that will help him get the program out of this trough.  This incoming class and next year’s recruiting class look to be solid (albeit 2016 just has two commits so far).  Based on what we know from watching video online and reading their high school stats, the talent Romar has secured should be able to compete with any program in the nation.

Second, does Fultz’s commitment mean that we are entering a new era or Romar recruitment?  Just a couple years ago it appeared that Romar reached (or perhaps overreached) for the stars in trying to get top talent in the nation like Jabari Parker, Jabari Bird and Aaron Gordon to come to Washington.  As we all know, he always seemed to finish a close second or not even in the running.  Romar seemed to reassess his recruitment strategy and focus on guys that would not be a "one and done" player.  To some degree, that seemed to work but with the extreme turnover of the roster this spring including the perceived team leader, Nigel Williams-Goss and best player, Robert Upshaw, many questioned what was going on with the program.

Fultz has made it known that he wants to be "one and done" saying as much in interviews.  Thus, Romar seems to have gone back on his recruiting strategy.  The good news is that the Huskies finally secured a recruitment from a national 5 star player.  While Romar has signed Quincy Pondexter, Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes, Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten (and you can even throw in Martell Webster although he never played for Romar).  Those players, except Pondexter, had ties to the Seattle area.

Based on this year’s recruiting class and the play of Fultz next year, the future of Romar’s recruiting could see the Huskies vie for top players in the country.  Nationwide recruiting has high risk, but high reward.  With the one year player, the onus is to continue to search for the next player each year.  There’s also the issue of whether recruiting nationwide may hinder recruiting efforts closer to home.  The time, energy and cost of going across country to watch a recruit’s game or briefly visit with a player can be very hard for a program.  But the payoff could mean building the program to a point where it is a regular in the NCAA tournament.  Perhaps even make it deep into March.

If Fultz comes as advertised, it could mean that Washington will be on the radar of other top players.

One can only hope.