4-star center Bryan Penn-Johnson has signed his National Letter of Intent to officially become a Husky. He is now the 4th member of the 2018 class joining PG Elijah Hardy, C Nate Roberts, and SF Jamal Bey who all signed during the fall period. Today is the 1st day of the spring signing period. BPJ committed last month almost a full year after coach Mike Hopkins made him a priority shortly after he took over the job.
It’s easy to see why Hopkins coveted the 7-footer who played his senior year at Wasatch Academy in Utah. Penn-Johnson reportedly has a 7’9 wingspan which would be among the 99th percentile of all college players. From a physical standpoint he is the absolutely perfect fit to anchor the middle of the Washington zone. He has the ability to come in from day one and become one of the leaders in the conference in block percentage (I’d say blocks per game instead but he won’t play enough minutes).
“We’re very excited to add Bryan to our incoming class,” said Hopkins in the official UW prepared statement. “You’re going to see a very skilled big man who has limitless potential and can become one of the best front court players in the country. He’s an elite level shot blocker who can get up and down the court quickly and will fit into our system perfectly not only on the court but off the court as well. He’s also an impact player that adds another level to an already incredible class we have joining the Husky family next season.”
BPJ is however incredibly raw on the offensive end which is why he is ranked 98th in 247’s composite rankings rather than 25th. Most of his points will come either on put backs or lob dunks and that’s ok right now. Expect defenses to crowd the paint if BPJ and Noah Dickerson are on the court at the same time (I’m assuming Noah comes back). But they already do that when Sam Timmins starts alongside Noah so it’s not going to be something totally new for them to figure out.
Penn-Johnson joins the 6’11 Nate Roberts as big men in the 2018 class. With Sam Timmins, Noah Dickerson, and Hameir Wright already entrenched in the rotation I expect one of the newcomers to redshirt and the other to play 10 or so minutes per game. Both are projects on offense but I think BPJ’s defense is better right now and so I would give him the edge to fill that role.
As of right this second the Huskies have one spot still available given the recent transfers of Michael Carter III and Bitumba Baruti. Ed Chang is still verbally committed but there is a strong likelihood that he will get pushed back to the 2019 class. Grad transfers are next to impossible to get at Washington with UW’s admission protocols. But it would make sense for Hopkins to reach out to a freshman or sophomore transfer who can sit out this year and then provide some experience once the Huskies lose Thybulle/Dickerson/Crisp/Green in 2019. If they still have an open scholarship a month from now, don’t panic. It gives Washington time to search for a late diamond in the rough or the ability to pounce when a 2019 top-100 recruit, like Hameir Wright last year, decides they want to reclassify and arrive on campus a year early.
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