Washpun Chooses Vols

Wes Washpun grew up as a Hawkeye fan. Unfortunately for Iowa, it wasn't enough to keep the Cedar Rapids PG from choosing the school ahead of Tennessee.

In the end, it came down to relationships.

"Coach (Cuonzo) Martin has been recruiting me for a long time and we've formed a great bond," Cedar Rapids Point Guard Wes Washpun said about the Tennessee boss after committing to the Vols on Sunday. "The (Iowa) Hawkeyes just came in a little late."

Martin didn't offer Washpun a Tennessee scholarship until Friday. However, the new Volunteers coach did extend the opportunity to the Washington High floor general during the winter while at Missouri State, his previous job. Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery offered the in-state talent Tuesday, a day after it was announced sophomore guard Cully Payne would be transferring.

"Coach Martin told me he wanted me to lead his team," Washpun said. "He told me that when he was at Missouri State and he told me that at Tennessee. It's great having a guy believe in you and be in your corner."

Washpun said the fact that Tennessee has enjoyed recent success and Iowa has begun a rebuilding phase under McCaffery did not play much of a role in his decision.

"Iowa is on the right track and they're going to be good, too," Washpun said. "They have guys like Aaron (White) and Josh (Oglesby) coming in and they're going to take that program forward."

Oglesby played in the same backcourt with Washpun at Washington. Oglesby told his teammate how much he wanted him at Iowa.

"Josh didn't pressure me because he didn't like when people did that to him when he was making his choice," Washpun said. "He really wanted me to be a Hawk. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out that way."

Washpun said his family encouraged him to go to Tennessee while his prep coach, Brad Metzger, felt like Iowa was the best place for him.

Even though Washpun won't be playing his college basketball in the state, he still feels like he'll be representing from where it is he came.

"There have been a lot of great players here that haven't gotten a lot of attention nationally," he said. "All of these guys are showing people that Iowa is a great state for basketball. I want to do the same thing."

Iowa offered three Class of 2011, Cedar Rapids Metro players scholarships - Washpun, Oglesby and Jared Uthoff, from Jefferson. Oglesby was the only guy the Hawkeyes landed. Uthoff chose Wisconsin.

Linn-Mar point guard Marcus Paige, the top player in the state's 2012 Class, already has verbally committed to North Carolina.