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MBB Early Signing Day Open Thread

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What Husky recruits are signing on the dotted line today?

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The official start of UW Men’s Basketball season is this Friday but today is the start of the early signing period for recruiting. College basketball has two signing periods. The early one is one week long beginning today (11/8-11/15) and the final signing period begins after the season on April 11. There are currently 4? (see 1:18pm update) high school prospects who have verbally committed to the University of Washington for the 2018 class: F Ed Chang, PG Elijah Hardy, SF Jamal Bey, and C Nate Roberts. Click on their names for links to the article when they first verbally committed.

We’ll be posting updates here as letters of intent are officially received by the school and they are able to comment on players for the first time.

Nate Roberts

The Washington Huskies received a signed letter of intent today from C Nate Roberts. Roberts is the 1st player to sign with the team today out of an expected 4 players. It’s no surprise he’s the first player to get his paperwork in since he is the only recruit currently living on the East Coast. Nate currently attends Brewster Academy but is originally from Edgewood, Maryland and signed with the Huskies over Syracuse, Nebraska, Wake Forest, and Connecticut. The 6’11 lefty verbally committed to Washington in October after having taken his official visit a month earlier. He is graded as a 4-star prospect by ESPN while Rivals, Scout, and 247Sports view him as a 3-star player.

There is a high likelihood those rankings may change however as Roberts has grown 3-4 inches in the last year and previous evaluations of him were as a tall wing while he will now be playing center. He’s still adjusting to the newfound height and will need to put on some muscle to bang down low. His offensive game is very raw but he has good hands, great length, and runs the floor well which will make him a weapon in transition. Roberts is a project but his upside is as an all-conference center down the road given his hands, length, and athleticism.

Roberts may be raw but he steps into the biggest gap on the roster. Pending transfers, I would think that he will backup Sam Timmins at center to start with the possibility of passing him as he develops. Roberts has the higher upside, it’s a question of if or when he reaches his potential that will determine how much he plays.

Update 8:01am

Bryan Penn-Johnson

Rivals is reporting that Top-100 Center Bryan Penn-Johnson will, as or right now, wait until the spring period to sign his NLI. There was some thought that the top remaining Washington target would make a decision by today as he had taken official visits to UCLA, DePaul, and UW (his 3 leaders) before the early signing period. However, it appears he will stick closer to his original timeline.

There are both positives and negatives to this. On the one hand it would be nice to have him locked in as a second big man who is perfectly suited to man the center of Coach Hop’s zone defense. On the other, you’re already going to be losing 3 players to transfer or the pros at the end of the year (UW only has one spot due to graduation). By signing a 5th player right now it locks you in at 4 transfers before you get to see the kids play. If you love the way a bunch of guys play and don’t want to force an additional player out then it makes it easy to drop pursuit of BPJ or J’Raan Brooks and say they could have signed earlier when there was still room.

Now that Brooks and BPJ have both said they plan to sign in the Spring it doesn’t appear there will be any surprises today unless one of the verbally committed kids don’t sign.

Update 1:18pm

This would be news. Hardy and Roberts were the most crucial members of the 2018 class given the positions they play with Chang likely 3rd. But given the scholarship crunch this would make sense for the continued interest in BPJ and J’Raan Brooks. Chang transferred from a school in Nebraska to Garfield this summer and I could understand there being academic eligibility concerns given the difference in educational requirements.

Jamal Bey is reportedly going to be signing shortly as part of a ceremony at his school. No word about Hardy’s schedule.

Update 3:06pm

Jamal Bey

The Washington Huskies received a signed letter of intent from SF Jamal Bey. Bey is the 2nd player to sign with the team today out of an expected 3 players (see update above for why it isn’t 4). Jamal currently attends Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada and signed with the Huskies over offers from USC, Arizona State, and Utah. The 6’6, 185 pound wing verbally committed to Washington in early October after cancelling a planned official visit to Gonzaga. He is graded as a 3-star prospect by most recruiting services while playing for the Vegas Elite AAU team.

Bey profiles similarly to Matisse Thybulle although with slightly less athleticism and a slightly shorter wingspan. He is comfortable shooting the ball on the perimeter as well as driving into the paint and finishing at the rim or with a floater. He should have enough athleticism and length to be an average to plus defender at the college level if he can keep his effort high at all times; a must under Coach Hopkins.

Bey has the least obvious fit on the roster of any member of the 2018 recruiting class. With the presence of Thybulle, Dominic Green, Bitumba Baruti, Carlos Johnson, and Nahziah Carter on the roster currently there isn’t a clear need on the wing for a SG/SF. However, there is a high likelihood that at least one if not multiple of those players will be transferring out at the end of the year to make the recruiting math work. Expect Bey to be an end of the bench player in 2018 with a chance to make a bigger impact once Thybulle and Green have graduated.

It also should be mentioned that Bey attends Bishop Gorman which is coached by Asst. Coach Dave Rice’s brother. Bishop Gorman has a number of players that are expected to be 4 and 5-star recruits in the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes which the Huskies and many other major programs have offered. Washington wouldn’t offer Bey given the numbers crunch unless they thought he could play but he offers additional value as the initial member in a potential Bishop Gorman pipeline which could keep the Huskies awash in talent for the next half decade. Stay tuned for more information throughout the rest of the day about the 2018 recruiting class as they sign.

Update 7:23pm

Elijah Hardy

The Washington Huskies received a signed letter of intent today from PG Elijah Hardy. Hardy is the 3rd player to sign with the team today out of an expected 3 players (it looks like the 4th verbal commit Ed Chang won’t sign today). Elijah currently attends Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California and signed with the Huskies over offers from USC, Nevada, and Santa Clara. The 6’2 lefty verbally committed to Washington while on an official visit to Seattle in September. He is graded as a 4-star prospect by ESPN and Scout and the #118 player in the country by the latter service. Rivals and 247Sports both view him as a 3-star player.

Hardy is more of a true point guard than any player currently on the Huskies roster. He has great court vision and the ability to make nearly any pass on the court. This can occasionally lead to inflated turnover numbers from trying passes he shouldn’t or that the receiving player isn’t expecting so he’ll need to work on his discipline in that regard. Hardy’s scoring game is more oriented in the paint and the mid-range as his outside shot is still a work in progress.

We’ll know more in the next several weeks after we’ve seen the team play about where Hardy can expect to fit in as a freshman. You would think that he will have the chance right away to compete for the backup point guard spot behind David Crisp and potentially start the following year. Michael Carter III is the other option on the roster at point guard but it remains to be seen whether he is someone that has the talent to be the starter at point guard down the road.

Update 11/9 11:37 am

The University of Washington is finally acknowledging the signings of Nate Roberts, Elijah Hardy, and Jamal Bey. Unsure why it took this long. Football normally does it right away. It also lists Jamal Bey as 6’7 rather than 6’6 which is reported most places. So maybe he grew an extra inch over the summer.

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