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Washington Basketball Recruiting Update: 5-Star Frenzy

The Huskies got a commitment last week from Portland combo guard Marcus Tsohonis but their sights this week are set on solidifying their big man situation with a pair of premium prospects.

Isaiah Stewart, C, 6’9, 245. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Indiana.

247: 5 stars, #7 overall; Rivals: 5 stars, #5 overall; ESPN: 5 stars, #4 overall.

Other Offers: Duke, Villanova, Syracuse, Michigan State, Indiana, Kentucky.

Washington had 5-star big man Isaiah Stewart in on an official visit this past weekend. Although Stewart didn’t give an official interview describing the visit it appears that he had a good time on the trip. He was accompanied by both his parents and his AAU coach on the trip and hosted by his ex-teammate Nahziah Carter. He was at the UW-ASU game which had a full student section and while it wasn’t the loudest I’ve ever heard Husky stadium it was still a better football environment than can be found at any other school he’s considering (yes, I’m aware he’s a basketball recruit and not a football one). When Stewart flew back home on Sunday it was still his only official visit set up. The best chance for a commitment would be if he got caught up in the atmosphere and didn’t give any of the blue bloods a chance…

Whoops.

Not only did Stewart schedule another official visit a day after getting back from the Washington official but he did it to a school that wasn’t initially in his final 6. Kentucky is Kentucky and under Calipari they’ve basically been given the privilege by recruits to get in the game as late as they want and always make the final 3-5. But reading the tea leaves this seems like a really bad sign.

At this point it seems like Stewart will probably take an official to all of (or at least most of) the schools on his list and then make a decision from there. In recruiting you normally like to have either the first visit or the last. Having the first one gives you a chance to get a guy to commit before he looks around. That advantage is now gone and so the chances have plummeted back down.

By all indications the relationship between Stewart and Coach Hopkins (as well as Nahziah Carter) is real. It’s a longer bond than he has with any other coach under consideration. If that is the most important factor to him in choosing a school than Washington still has a shot. If it’s anything other than #1 on his list then looking objectively there’s no way he can pick the Huskies. It’s the only chip we have. And now we enter wait and see mode.

Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, 6’10, 200. Federal Way HS, Federal Way, Washington.

247: 5 stars, #4 overall; Rivals: 5 stars, #4 overall; ESPN: 5 stars, #5 overall.

Stewart’s visit wasn’t the only news by a 5-star prospect considering the UW. Last night Jaden McDaniels announced his Final 5 schools and Washington made the cut. The only surprising change would be that UCLA is under consideration rather than Arizona. Sean Miller offered Jaden before his breakout but Alford had an in-home visit with him this month and apparently leapfrogged Arizona.

At this point the race is really too close to call. I’d put UCLA in 5th place right now just because they’re the most recent to get involved but you can’t count them out. Every other school has something significant going for it.

San Diego State: His brother Jalen plays there and so his family has a close relationship and trust with the coaching staff.

Kentucky: Jaden stated it was his dream school growing up but has backtracked a little since making that statement to say that doesn’t mean he’d go there the second offered. But even without that they can legitimately say they churn out NBA draft picks like no one else.

Texas: They offered before his break out and he seems to really like Shaka. Texas has the two most recent crystal balls suggesting at least someone thinks they have the momentum.

Washington: The only school that can be considered close to home and family. He has two AAU teammates who are already a part of the recruiting class.

The most notable thing about this list really is the timing of it. Up to this point Jaden had made no indication of any kind what the timing would be for his recruitment. He hadn’t set any official visits, he hadn’t indicated when a cut down list would happen, and he hadn’t stated whether he planned to sign in the fall or the spring.

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that has followed his recruitment that he released a Final 5 without any warning or fanfare. And that’s generally good news for UW. Stewart is treating his recruitment like a blue blood recruit. Writing a blog for USA Today, multiple cut down lists, multiple visits to every school. I’m not judging that approach but how often do you see that guy end up at Washington? We have a much better chance with the guy who doesn’t seem to crave the spotlight. And that’s clearly McDaniels. I go back and forth with the odds on Jaden. If there were no Kentucky involved I’d feel a lot better. I’ll never recover from the Terrence Jones fiasco. FWIW, Stewart retweeted McDaniels’ final list and the only two schools they have in common are UW and Kentucky.

When McDaniels announces any kind of official visit then we’ll ramp up the bat (Dubs?) signal and reconvene. But Hopkins has put himself in a position where this class will be viewed as a failure by many if he can’t reel in either Stewart or McDaniels. With a big man group of Timmins, Wright, Roberts, BPJ, and Sorn for 2019 this class doesn’t absolutely need a big man but it’s a tough look to have 5 open scholarships, really only pursue about 7 players, and end up with only 2 of them if that is what were to happen. This is a big next 6 weeks on the recruiting front for Hop.

The 2019 List (in approximate order of likelihood to sign with Washington)

STILL A CHANCE

Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, 6’10, 200. 5 star, #4 overall (247 composite).

Noah Williams, PG, 6’5, 175. 3 star, #235 overall.

PIPE DREAM

Isaiah Stewart, C, 6’9, 245. 5 star, #5 overall.

THE BLUTARSKY (0.0%)

Joe Girard III, SG, 6’1, 178, 4 star, #116 overall.

Scottie Lewis, SF, 6’5, 184. 5 star, #10 overall.

Josh Green, SF, 6’6, 190. 5 star, #9 overall.

Wendell Moore, SF, 6’5, 210. 5 star, #24 overall.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, 6’9, 231. 5 star, #17 overall.

The 2020 List (in approximate order of likelihood to sign with Washington)

IN A GOOD SPOT

Lamont Butler, PG, 6’1, 172. NR.

MarJon Beauchamp, SG, 6’6, 175. 5 star, #21 overall.

Mitchell Saxen, C, 6’10, 210. 3 star, #153 overall

Noah Taitz, SG, 6’3, 175. 4 star, #83 overall.

Isaiah Cottrell, PF, 6’9, 200. 4 star, #47 overall.

STILL A CHANCE

Julian Strawther, SF, 6’7. 5 star, #22 overall.

Daishen Nix, PG, 6’3, 185. 3 star, #172 overall.

PIPE DREAM

L.J Cryer, PG, 6’1, 180. 4 star, #63 overall.

THE BLUTARSKY (0.0%)

Johnny Juzang, SF, 6’6, 200. 4 star, #27 overall.

Joshua Christopher, SG, 6’4, 190. 5 star, #12 overall.

Jalen Green, SG, 6’5, 170. 5 star, #1 overall.

Evan Mobley, 6’11, 200. 5 star, #2 overall.

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You can follow me @UWDP_maxvroom for all your UW Men’s Basketball recruiting news

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