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UW MBB Recruiting Update: The Battle is Won

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Where do the Huskies turn now that they have their 1st commit for 2019?

NCAA Basketball: Seattle at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies secured their first commitment of the 2019 class on Wednesday night with the addition of Marysville wing RaeQuan Battle. The timing had to be considered a little surprising given that an interview with Battle and 247’s Evan Daniels came out that morning in which Washington seemed to be neck and neck with Houston. But Coach Hop is happy to have one in the boat.

It’s pretty obvious that 2019 is a massive recruiting year for the Huskies as they will have to replace at least 4 major contributors to graduation even if no one else defects for the NBA or via transfer. They also have one rolled over scholarship (unless they get a late summer addition for 2018) meaning they’ll have at least 5 spots available.

It wouldn’t shock me if they again leave one of those spots open going into 2020 however. The Huskies will be players for a quartet of high end Nevada talent in guards Daishen Nix and Noah Taitz plus big man Isaiah Cottrell and wing Julian Strawther. That’s in addition to Seattle’s MarJon Beauchamp. All of those guys are top-100 recruits and I don’t see the coaching staff being content with only having one opening for them from the graduation of Sam Timmins.

My best guess is that the Huskies try to bring in a like replacement for all of the 4 outgoing seniors. RaeQuan Battle pretty easily slides into the opening left by the graduation of Dominic Green. At least at the start of his career he’ll be asked to buy in on defense, rebound, and knock down open 3-pointers created by drive and kicks from other players. So who takes the David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle, and Noah Dickerson roles?

The 5 players listed below are the ones with Washington offers that appear to have any interest whatsoever in UW. It is very unlikely they fill out their class with just guys off of this list so expect there to be some new offers distributed over the next month or so.

Lead Guard Candidates (David Crisp replacement)

P.J Fuller, PG/SG, 6’5, 160. Garfield H.S, Seattle, Washington.

247Sports: 4 star, #45 overall; Rivals: 4 star, #52 overall; ESPN: 4 star, #44 overall

Other Offers: Arizona, USC, Florida State, TCU, Arizona State

Rivals’ Eric Bossi caught up with Fuller earlier this week to talk about the state of his recruitment. He had this to say about the Huskies:

“Coach (Mike) Hopkins is a good coach, he’s a great coach. He’s crazy, but I like that. That’s what a player like me needs, somebody who is going to get into you 24/7 on and off the court making sure you are doing well in the classroom. He’s a good dude and home is always home at the end of the day, so U Dub is an option.”

Over and over in these interviews, prospects bring up Hopkins’ over the top enthusiasm in different ways. Fuller calls him crazy but makes sure to get across that that isn’t a bad thing. There are definitely going to be players that instantly get turned off by his attitude but others who will love it. That’s just going to be how it is with Hopkins.

Fuller has been closer to a shooting guard for most of his career but he’s actively working on his point guard skills to improve there. With the reported moves of Jamon Kemp and MarJon Beauchamp from Garfield to Rainier Beach it will give Fuller the chance to be the guy and play the role of both scorer and distributor for them.

Washington is in a good spot but USC will be a threat to continue their run as Seattle South. Fuller pointed out the presence of Kevin Porter Jr. and J’Raan Brooks as a major factor for considering the Trojans. Although there’s a decent chance that Porter is in the NBA by the time Fuller would set foot on campus. This one is probably a tie at 40% between UW and USC right now with a 20% chance someone else is able to sneak in.

Noah Williams, PG, 6’5, 185. O’Dea H.S, Seattle, Washington.

247Sports: 3 star, #282 overall; Rivals: 3 star; ESPN: 4 star

Other Offers: NONE

AAU: Nike EYBL, Seattle Rotary

9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 38.3% FG, 22.7% 3pt, 68.4% FT

Let’s start with the fact that it’s unclear if the current coaching staff is actively recruiting Williams. He received an offer while Romar was still coach and that is still his only one. You’d have to imagine that he’d take the offer if it was still on the table. My feeling is if UW officially strikes out on Fuller then they may start back up on Williams. He has good size for a lead guard for the zone but I’m not sure he’s that much better than Michael Carter III who the staff didn’t end up having a spot for. RaeQuan Battle mentioned after his commitment that he’ll be recruiting some of the local guys and that he’d like to play with Williams again at UW. We’ll see who else gets involved in his recruitment this summer which will likely be telling for where people think he stands as a prospect.

Defensive Wing Candidates (Matisse Thybulle Replacement)

Max Agbonkpolo, SF, 6’8, 180. Santa Margarita Catholic H.S, Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

247Sports: 4 star, #69 overall; Rivals: 4 star, #94 overall; ESPN: 3 star

Other Offers: USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas

Eric Bossi also caught up with another UW target in California wing Max Agbonkpolo. Here’s Max’s quotes about Washington:

“I love coach (Mike) Hopkins, he’s a really funny guy. They are great too and I’m probably going to get up there. I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun. I have a friend from school who just went there to see how it is and he has been telling me it’s an amazing school.”

Funny is probably an upgrade on crazy but once again the atmosphere under Hopkins continues to be a selling point. It sounds like the Huskies will get a visit out of Max in the near future and if they make a big impression then they have a chance to get into it. Max said at the end of that article that he’ll be trimming his list down to either 3 or 5 fairly soon and then make a decision after AAU ball is finished later this summer. It seems clear that UW is in the top-5 so hopefully he gets out to Seattle before cutting down to a top-3. USC is a clear favorite from his comments as the hometown school but Agbonkpolo would be perfect with his length and ball handling for Coach Hop’s system.

Big Man Candidates (Noah Dickerson Replacements)

Isaiah Stewart, PF/C, 6’8, 243. La Lumiere School, Rochester, New York.

247Sports: 5 star, #8 overall; Rivals: 5 star, #10 overall; ESPN: 5 star, #13 overall

Other Offers: Duke, Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville, Georgetown

I viewed this as the longest of longshots and while that’s still the case, the light hasn’t completely been extinguished. Stewart named his top-10 on Wednesday and the Huskies made the list along with the schools listed under other offers above. You’ll notice they’re the only team from the West Coast on that list and it’s entirely because of Coach Hop’s relationship with him while still at Syracuse.

Stewart is pretty much current day Noah Dickerson only more athletic and 4 years younger. He’s the best rebounder in high school basketball and a dominant low post scorer. He gets his pick of anywhere in the country to go to. Stewart said he’ll trim his list down to 5 at the end of July and then take his official visits there before deciding in the fall. Expect Washington to get snipped in the next cut but until that happens let’s keep the 0.01% chance alive.

Jaden McDaniels, SF, 6’10, 200. Federal Way H.S, Federal Way, Washington.

247Sports: 5 star, #10 overall; Rivals: 4 star, #32 overall; ESPN: 4 star, #60 overall

Other Offers: Arizona, Kansas, San Diego State, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA

While the odds are still slightly better for McDaniels than for Stewart, they’re rapidly approaching zero. Corey Evans at Rivals caught up with the Federal Way star at the USA Basketball trials this week. And I would love to be able to block quote his comments about Washington for you. But there weren’t any.

Part of that may just be the way the interview went. Evans asked about new offers and who else was becoming more involved. He never specifically prompted about UW. But then again McDaniels never volunteered it. The particularly disgusting quote came with regards to the Oregon offer “As soon as I got it, I just thought about all the gear, it being close to home with it just being a three-hour drive and it is just exciting.” He’s going to be a multi-millionaire in a little over 2 years more than likely but that extra pair of Nike’s is apparently so exciting. However, the Washington coaches aren’t giving up on going after McDaniels.

It should also be noted that Jaden’s older brother Jalen decided to spurn the NBA Draft and return to San Diego State. It keeps open the door for Jaden to become an Aztec and play one year with him in college before both head to the association. However, it’s more likely that the elder McDaniels will turn pro first.

Even though I put Jaden here, if he were to become a Husky he’d play a mixed role. On defense he would likely play the same role that Dickerson played while Sam Timmins was in the game. Except McDaniels is exactly the type of player that is built to play that role while Dickerson is miscast there. On offense, Jaden is much more of a wing and would be able to play on the perimeter while occasionally bullying shorter wing defenders down low.

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