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Updated Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 01:01 AM

Washington's C.J. Wilcox being noticed by NBA scouts

By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter

The NBA is on to C.J. Wilcox.

At least two scouts were in attendance Wednesday to watch him score 25 points against Colorado.

During last week's trip to the Bay Area, a dozen scouts saw his 19-point, eight-rebound performance at California and a handful witnessed his 27-point, nine-rebound outing at Stanford.

"He's got our attention," said one Western Conference scout. "At the beginning of the year, he was a guy on our list. But there's a lot of guys on our list.

"Now he's moved up that list. He's someone that we're taking a hard look at."

Wilcox admits he's received calls from the NBA people wanting to know if he's willing to make the biggest proverbial leap of his life — forgoing his senior season at Washington and making himself available for the NBA draft.

"Lately I've just been passing it on to (coach Lorenzo Romar) or passing it on to my dad and been focusing on the team right now," he said. "Later down the road, when it gets closer to that time, I'll start talking to Romar and talking to my dad about exactly what's going on.

"I'm kind of blind to it right now. I get calls, but I say talk to my dad or talk to Romar."

When asked if this season is his last at UW, Wilcox is quick to respond.

"No," he said sharply. But then he added: "As of right now.

"It just depends on how the season goes. If I keep playing well, who knows. But right now, I'm just trying to keep getting better and better."

If Wilcox gets any better, then this season will be his last at Washington.

Utah fans are still wondering why the Pleasant Grove (Utah) High star chose the Huskies over an in-state team.

"Romar was the difference," he said. "Back then I just felt he could get the best out of me and get me to this point."

Instead of leading Utah (8-9, 0-5 Pac-12) against the Huskies (12-5, 4-0) at 8 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena, Wilcox is the star of a UW team seeking its fifth straight win and best conference start since 1984.

Considering his modest beginnings, it's somewhat amazing Wilcox is on the NBA radar.

Scout.com and Rivals.com rated him a three-star recruit, and he had two scholarship offers as Miami also expressed interest.

The 6-foot-5 guard picked the Huskies and redshirted as a freshman during the 2009-10 season.

During his first year, Wilcox had a specific role as a three-point specialist. He averaged 8.1 points while 73 percent of his attempts were behind the arc.

As a sophomore, Wilcox started the first 12 games but lost his job midway through the season. Still, he averaged 14.2 points.

This season, Wilcox has benefited the most from Washington's new high-post offense. He has scored at least 20 points in 10 games, including a career-high 28 against Colorado State.

Wilcox is averaging 19.4 points, which is tied for second in the Pac-12. He's first in the conference with a 22.3 scoring average in league-only games, which has raised his draft stock.

Romar noted Wilcox's biggest improvement is on the defensive end. Last season, he averaged 3.4 rebounds and had 20 blocks. This season, he's averaging 4.8 boards and is second on the team with 23 blocks.

"The block-shot thing is something he has a knack for," Romar said. "He's a quick jumper."

An early jump to the NBA is something the Huskies are familiar with.

In the past two years, former Washington stars Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr. have left school early for the NBA.

"We have a lot of experience with it," Romar said. "If you're thinking of going, don't tell me you're not. And vice versa. Just talk about it. We've never, ever tried to hold anyone back and say, 'No, you got to come back. You owe us.'

"We've never done that here. The only thing we try to say is let's just make sure it makes sense."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

Saturday

Utah @ Washington, 8 p.m., ESPNU


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