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July 7, 2011Rumors turned into reality for the Washington Huskies.
Long rumored as a possible addition to the Huskies men's basketball team, Shawn Kemp Jr. made it official Thursday, signing with Washington to complete a top-flight recruiting class for the Dawgs.
It took longer than expected for coach Lorenzo Romar to reel in his first big man recruit from the Class of 2011. But just a month ago, German forward Martin Breunig signed with Washington.
On Thursday, Romar locked up his second big man of the class, this one with a familiar name and look.
Kemp signed a financial aid agreement with the Huskies to complete a star-studded class that includes Tony Wroten Jr., Hikeem Stewart, Andrew Andrews, Jernard Jarreau and Breunig.
Kemp, the son of former Seattle Supersonics superstar Shawn Kemp, is a 6-foot-10, 265-pound forward who originally signed with Alabama in 2008. Due to academic problems, he never enrolled and instead wound up playing for Hargrave Military Academy in 2009-10.
Kemp was again ineligible in 2010-11 for academic reasons and did not play basketball for another school.
The Huskies have an immediate need for help inside after they lost Matthew Bryan-Amaning, but Kemp may not be the answer right away.
"He gives us additional size and athleticism up front," Romar said.
Most importantly for Kemp coming in, is that he is able to get back into shape. After spending some time away from basketball, he has picked up some weight and will likely need to lose nearly 20 pounds to get into the 250-pound range.
If Kemp can get himself into shape, he will find himself in a rotation with several players battling for playing time down low, only one of which has experience with the team.
Aziz N'Diaye is expected to see the majority of the minutes as the Huskies main post player. In his one season at Washington, he showed growth and the ability to be a force on defense. And although he struggled on offense, he did show glimpses of being a guy the Huskies could look to for contributions at times.
Breunig and Kemp will be vying for playing time alongside redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons who is considered to be the team's "best kept secret."
Darnell Gant is another big man for the Huskies, but last season he was used less down-low and nothing has changed to make the upcoming season look any different.
For a player of his size, Kemp is very athletic and can run the floor well. He was rated as a four-star prospect out of high school, but at that time he weighed 235 pounds.
The outlook for Kemp is good if he is able to stay on track in the classroom and with his conditioning. He has the talent to become an important player for Romar and the Huskies.
While that probably won't be this season, the son of the "Reign Man" looks to be an important piece of the puzzle for the longterm health of the Huskies.