For years, Terrence Ross commuted across the Columbia River with his mother to Jefferson High School in Portland, Ore.

In between, Marcine Ross home-schooled her son when he was a high school sophomore.

He spent a fourth year of high school in suburban Washington, D.C. He then considered a prep school in Phoenix before he returned home to re-enroll at Jefferson and eventually sign with Washington a couple hours up Interstate 5.

There, he grew from a Huskies freshmen deferring to Isaiah Thomas last year into UW's dynamic scoring leader this season. He took 100 extra jump shots and post moves with Huskies assistant coach Paul Fortier this winter before and after each practice, to gain more consistency.

All those places he's been and all he's done.

So when the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee let the smooth, 6-foot-6 sophomore know this week he could be selected in the middle to late in the first round, it's no wonder Ross announced this on Sunday: He is foregoing his final two college seasons to pursue his "lifelong dream" and enter the NBA draft.

"I heard anywhere from top 10, to late in the lottery (top 14), to late in the first round," Ross said by telephone in Seattle Sunday afternoon, five days after the All-Pac-12 shooting guard scored 21 points in Washington's season-ending, overtime loss to Minnesota in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals.

"I was not trying to be overwhelmed through this process. I've got to thank my mom for that. She made sure my head was on straight.

"I've been thinking hard about this for the last month or so. It is not much of a shock."

Nor was it much of one to the Huskies, or to coach Lorenzo Romar.

Romar took Ross away from a gaggle of Huskies that had just entered the Marriott Marquis 30 minutes past midnight Wednesday morning in New York, about an hour after another big night from Ross couldn't keep UW from losing 69-68 to Minnesota at Madison Square Garden.

The shooting star talked briefly but intently with his coach, who was leaving in a few hours for New Orleans and the annual national coaches' convention at the Final Four. The chat was reminiscent of the one Romar had with Thomas, then another Huskies underclassman, 12 months ago just before the team bus took Washington away from Charlotte, N.C., following its third-round loss to North Carolina in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Now Thomas is a candidate to become the NBA's rookie of the year with the Sacramento Kings.

"Coach Romar was very supportive," said Ross, who considered the advice Romar got from the veteran, respected coach's many NBA contacts.

"I just based it on the season I had this year. I based it on my performance and my maturity level."

That soared last summer, after Thomas joined Spencer Hawes and Nate Robinson in leaving the Huskies for the NBA early over Romar's 10 seasons leading UW. Ross admittedly stayed back behind Thomas' dominant personality and the leadership of seniors Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton on the 2010-11 team.

That provided Ross with valuable time to grow.

"I've matured a lot these two years, being in college," Ross said. "I think I'm ready for this.

"Being at Washington and playing for Coach Romar has been a blessing. On the court, off the court, with school and in life, it's just been a real blessing to consider myself a Husky and get to where I am right now."

Romar, from New Orleans on Sunday, cited the 21-year-old Ross' rapid maturity over the last year as a reason he supports this decision.

"We wish Terrence the best," Romar said. "He was refreshing to coach because of his humility and team-first attitude.

"We wish him well and anticipate that he will have an excellent NBA career."

When Thomas left, Ross didn't just welcome his new role as Washington's most dangerous scorer. He seized it.

He established himself as one of the Pac-12's most complete players and one of the nation's top athletes. He ranked among conference leaders in eight categories: points per game (16.4, fourth), rebounds per game (6.4, sixth), offensive rebounds per game (5.1, third), free-throw percentage (.766, 11th), steals per game (1.3, 12th), 3-pointers made per game (2.1, eighth), 3-point shooting (37.1 percent, 14th) and blocks per game (0.9, 13th).

Ross burned opponents that jumped out to defend his perimeter shot by posting up smaller guards in the lane. When teams sagged inside to take away his post moves, Ross stepped back and swished deep jumpers over the befuddled foes.