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Washington recruit already ‘the next Gary Payton’

Gonzaga just locked up potentially the next Steve Nash, but in-state rival Washington isn’t concerned. The Huskies just nabbed the next Gary Payton.

How’s that for setting the bar abnormally high for recruits?

Seattle guard Tony Wroten -- a consensus top 30 point guard prospect in the class of 2011 -- gave a verbal commitment to the Huskies on Thursday, giving Lorenzo Romar’s squad yet another talented perimeter player. It’ll be interesting to see how Wroten’s flair for the dramatic -- he wore a red and black outfit to his press conference, giving off the impression he was about to commit to Louisville -- meshes with the college game. He could either stumble at the start (Abdul Gaddy, anyone?) or soar. And soar is how Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley sees it.

In fact, Kelley sees a lot of another Seattle guard in Wroten.

Tony Wroten Jr. is a lot like Gary Payton. Rich with talent. Brash and brimming with self-belief.

He may be the best high-school player this state has seen at getting to the rim. With the basketball in his hands, he can separate himself from his defender and squirt through the tiniest crack in a defense. He can get to the basket and make the right decision once he gets there.

His passing ability belies his age. And he’s a fearless finisher, unconcerned about his body, ready and willing to take a hit from a bigger, would-be shot blocker.

In every phase of his game and every phase of his personality, Wroten is G.P.-like.

No pressure, Tony. You’ve only been directly compared to one of the greatest guards in Pac-10 history. If you’re even a tiny bit like G.P., the Huskies are set. If not, Romar’s going to need lots of Advil to deal with the headaches.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.