Former Rainier Beach High star Sam Cunliffe makes three recruiting visits this week and the first stop is Pepperdine to see former UW Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar.
Former Rainier Beach High star Sam Cunliffe had hoped to return home and transfer to the University of Washington, but after meeting with the Huskies he’s now set his sights on possibly reconnecting with a former UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
On Tuesday, Cunliffe will visit Pepperdine, which hired Romar in March.
The 6-foot-6 wing who played at Kansas and Arizona State the past two seasons will also take trips to Xavier on Friday and Evansville on Saturday.
“There’s a comfort level with me and Coach Ro,” Cunliffe said. “He recruited me out of high school and I know their whole staff, especially CA (Curtis Allen) who also recruited me when he was at Washington State.
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“I just want to go there and make sure that it’s a place that I feel can help me get to the next level.”
In April, Romar landed 6-7 forward Keith Smith, who averaged 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds last season at Oregon. Smith starred at Rainier Beach alongside Cunliffe and led the Vikings to the 3A state title in 2016.
“Keith Smith is my best friend and we talk every day, but this time I’m not going to make an emotional decision. I’m committed to taking these (three) trips and then seeing what’s next.”
Cunliffe began his collegiate career at Arizona State and averaged 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 10 starts transferring to Kansas in the 2016-17 season.
A week ago, Cunliffe, a former four-star recruit who played for Rainier Beach and Bishop Blanchet, hoped to play for his hometown Huskies.
But those dreams were dashed after meeting with UW.
“I let them know they were my first choice,” Cunliffe said. “We talked about what I wanted and what they wanted and it didn’t line up. Nothing bad. I appreciate them being straight up with me.
“Obviously, I wanted it to work out and now I have to move on.”