Spencer Hawes' lifelong dream will become a reality today.
But that wasn't always a sure thing.
With the former University of Washington freshman expected to be taken among the lottery picks in today's NBA draft, it is easy to forget there was a time when Hawes' dream might have drawn laughter.
"In high school, I was like 6-foot-4, 140 pounds when I started out at (Seattle) Prep," Hawes said. "I don't know a whole lot of people who thought this was how that was going to turn out. I played JV my freshman year of high school and averaged 3.8 points per game. It hasn't all been gravy."
The upswing began with a growth spurt while he was at Seattle Prep. Hawes developed the body of a big man, while keeping the passing and shooting skills of a smaller player.
He transformed into one of the most sought-after college recruits in the country, and after one season with the Huskies, he is widely expected to become the first player from the state of Washington taken in the draft, which begins at 4 p.m. on ESPN.
Mock drafts predict Hawes going as early as No. 7 to the Minnesota Timberwolves or as low as No. 13 to the New Orleans Hornets.
Much speculation has involved the Chicago Bulls, who own the No. 9 pick. And that fire was fueled Wednesday when Hawes revealed that he had spent the previous day in a second workout for the Bulls.
"Everything we heard from them was really positive, but there is no guarantee," Hawes said.
If Hawes slides, 6-foot-5 guard Rodney Stuckey of Kent and Eastern Washington University could become the first state player selected.
Stuckey worked out for Seattle, Detroit, Miami, Phoenix, Sacramento, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers. Then he accepted an invitation to fly to New York to await his selection in person.
"When my name gets called, I am going to be happy," Stuckey said. "I'll know I made it."
After leading Kentwood High School to the state 4A boys title in 2004, Stuckey drew interest from Washington and Washington State. However, he had grade troubles and wound up at EWU of the Big Sky Conference, where he averaged 24.4 points over two seasons before declaring for the draft.
"Our conference wasn't that good, but I am going to be ready," Stuckey said Wednesday. "I know I can play with the best, and I am going to prove it."
Other players with state ties hoping to hear their names called today include guard Derek Raivio of Vancouver, who played at Mountain View High School and Gonzaga; guard Aaron Brooks of Seattle, who played at Franklin High School and Oregon; and forward Marcus Williams of Seattle, who played at Roosevelt High School and Arizona.
Other Pacific-10 Conference players hoping to be drafted include guard Arron Afflalo of UCLA; guard Gabe Pruitt and guard/forward Nick Young of USC; forward Ivan Radenovic and guard Mustafa Shakur of Arizona; and guard Ayinde Ubaka of California.
In Hawes' lone college season, he led the Huskies in scoring with 14.9 points per game and was second in rebounding with a 6.4 average.
He said NBA teams have told him he needs to bulk up and then use that added strength to become a better defender and rebounder.
He said he isn't worried about those issues costing him a few spots in the draft, as long as he ends up in a system where he can grow and prove himself – as he did once before as a scrawny kid at Seattle Prep.
"At the end of the day, I don't think it's a big deal if you drop a couple of slots," Hawes said. "The big thing is finding yourself in the right situation."