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Finally, the payoff: Washburn signed with the Wolfpack. For the record, the 278 messages he had received in 31 months from State included 209 from Abatemarco.
The intense courtship is over for now for Washburn, Manning and Williams. They are merely college freshmen, toiling under the same conditions—more or less—as all the others, hoping to be good enough and to stay healthy long enough to sell their talents for NBA cash. It's no wonder they keep all that mail. They keep it in laundry sacks, garbage bags, grocery boxes and dresser drawers. It's all that remains of the attention they once commanded from colleges downright desperate for their services.
You'll be a legend in your own time.
One of the best players ever to play this game.
First-round draft choice.
That West Coast type of smile.
"Yes," says Williams, "I'm going to keep all of my mail. Sometimes, when I think of the letters I received, I can't believe it. It's amazing, just amazing."
Says Manning, "Just looking at the mail gives me a happy, happy feeling. I think, 'Hey, I had the choice of going to any of these schools.' "
Says Washburn, "Someday when I have a family, I'm going to show this mail to my children. And when my kids see all the letters that I received from all these schools, I think they're going to be proud of me."