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Washington Basketball 2017 Recruiting Class: Is the hype real?

The Washington Huskies Basketball 2017 recruiting class might be the best ever in program history. Let us take a closer look at each of class’ prospects.

Basketball: Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam
2017 Forward Michael Porter Jr. is considered to be one of the top prospects in the country.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

After the commitment of Forward Mamoudou Diarra, Washington Huskies Head Coach Lorenzo Romar’s 2017 recruiting class is in the conversation as the No. 1 class in the country. To recap, guards Blake Harris and Jaylen Nowell along with forwards Michael Porter Jr. and Diarra have all verbally committed to the Huskies.

Scout has the Huskies ranked No. 2 in its team recruiting rankings, while 247 Sports also has them at No. 2. While these rankings are certainly a cause to be excited, this by no means guarantees future NCAA tournament berths and Pac-12 titles. If all of these players stick to their commitments, they will then have to prove they can complement the current roster when they begin their collegiate careers in 2017.

As it stands, all four of these players are extremely talented and somewhat fit with Romar’s style of play and philosophy. While we will not know how good these players really are until they play their first game as Huskies, this short primer will summarize each of the prospects and give you a sense of how they could potentially fit in at Washington.

Blake Harris - Point Guard, 6-foot-3, 165lbs

Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Word Of God Christian Academy)

Harris is a tall point guard who can score and considers himself a pass-first point guard. His athleticism is evident in his ability to finish above the rim in drives to the basket. He considers himself a pass-first point guard and cited Washington’s success with getting guards to the NBA as one of his reasons for committing to the Huskies. Harris chose Washington over several schools, including LSU, Memphis, and Virginia Tech. As a result of his size, he has an opportunity to be an elite defender, a trait that would immediately earn him playing time. In terms of potential weaknesses, one scouting report mentioned the need to improve his 3-point stroke. Harris will likely make his official visit to Washington in September, in conjunction with one of the football team’s games.

Jaylen Nowell - Shooting Guard, 6-foot-5, 191lbs

Seattle, Wash. (Garfield High School)

Hailing from local hoops powerhouse Garfield High School, Nowell is a talented scorer who collects buckets in transition and through his mid-range game. As a result of his strong frame, Nowell can score over defenders in transition. A local coach said Nowell was one of the best mid-range scorers that he has ever seen. The coach described Nowell as “polished” and difficult to defend because of his ability to make pull-up jumpers. Nowell does not have the same elite athleticism usually associated with Husky guards, but his size allows him to compete at a high-level. Another potential area of improvement is his ball-handling skills in the open court. Expect Nowell to receive ample advice from Garfield alum and Huskies Assistant Coach Will Conroy.

Michael Porter Jr. - Small Forward, 6-foot-10, 212lbs

Seattle, Wash. (Nathan Hale High School)

The crown jewel of this recruiting class, Michael Porter Jr. could be the most highly regarded hoops prospect to ever put on a Husky uniform. Michael’s brother, 2018 Forward Jontay Porter, had committed to the Huskies in August of 2015. In May, Romar hired Porter’s father, Michael Porter Sr., to be an Assistant Coach for the Huskies. Then, in late June, the Porter brothers announced they would attend Seattle-area high school, Nathan Hale, which had just announced the head-coach hiring of Husky basketball legend Brandon Roy. These circumstances made the consensus five-star recruit a near lock to commit to Washington. Finally, in mid-July, Porter made his decision official – choosing the Huskies over Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Indiana.

Porter ranks as a top 5 player in his class according to all major recruiting publications. He is a bouncy wing that finishes above the rim and can naturally score and get off his fluid shot over opposing defenders. Porter’s stint with the Huskies will likely be brief, as at least one 2018 NBA mock draft has the recruit going in the Top 5. What makes Porter an NBA talent? Watch a highlight tape of Porter and you will see that he is tall, athletic, but most importantly has elite scoring ability. Skip to the 3:00 minute mark of this video, and watch Porter effortlessly score over several of his talented peers. NBA talent does not guarantee success for a college team, but it certainly makes it easier. If you live in the Seattle area, find Nathan Hale’s basketball schedule – you’re bound to see something special.

Mamoudou Diarra - Power Forward, 6-foot-9, 210lbs

St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Academy)

Diarra, the latest commit to the Huskies, is a raw prospect who caught the attention of several college coaches this past summer. Diarra’s size, 7’2” wing span, and athleticism mean he has the potential to be a versatile big man for Coach Romar. Additionally, Diarra’s skill set best suits him for Washington’s liberal and transition-focused offensive system. Diarra cited Washington’s coaches comments about his motor and competitiveness in regards to his game. While he has upside, one uncontrollable trait of Diarra is his injury past. This next high school season will give fans more of an idea Diarra’s current level of play, along with his ceiling as a player.

What are your initial thoughts of the 2017 recruiting class as a whole? Share your thoughts in the comments. Woof!