This weekend was both Peach Jam and the Adidas Gauntlet Finale which marks the end of the biggest high school summer tournaments. There are evaluation periods the next two weeks as well but this was the last time that college coaches will be able to see so many targets in the same place on the same weekend and the basketball recruiting news will mostly shift to official visits and commitments from here.
Last week there was the news that SF Max Agbonkpolo committed to USC over the Huskies and others. That leaves Washington with really at most 4 targets (already with offers) you could say they have a reasonable chance at for the class of 2019 left on their board. They have at least 4 more open spots. It’s going to require a high efficiency finish to fill those. But I’m more and more convinced that they won’t try.
It really appears the Huskies are putting all their eggs in the 2020 basket. Josh Gershon notes at the end of this article that the west region for 2020 is one of the most loaded classes in years. Washington has offers out to at least 7 top-100 prospects where they seem to be in a good position. They’re currently slated to have only one opening when Sam Timmins graduates. I don’t expect there to be 3 transfers every year like this off-season. That was a product of the coaching change. Hop is going to want at least 3 if not 4 openings for 2020. That could mean taking as few as 2 players in this class (although it would help if they could land a certain Federal Way one and done who would help both in 2019 and open a spot for 2020...). Here’s what a projected 2-deep for 2019/20 would look like if they signed no more players in 2019 and no one transferred/left early:
PG: Elijah Hardy, ???
SG: Jaylen Nowell, RaeQuan Battle
SF: Nahziah Carter, Jamal Bey
PF: Hameir Wright, Nate Roberts
C: Sam Timmins, Bryan Penn-Johnson
That roster looks pretty solid to me. There are spots you could upgrade but only one spot where they absolutely need someone. That spot is a point guard to compete with Hardy or serve as a capable backup. And it just so happens that the two most likely 2019 recruits left are ball-handling guards P.J Fuller and Noah Williams. The Huskies could pass out some extra 2019 offers in the next few weeks but don’t be surprised if there is more than one open scholarship left next year.
Jaden McDaniels, SF, 6’10, 200. Federal Way H.S, Federal Way, Washington.
247Sports: 5 star, #5 overall; Rivals: 5 star, #4 overall; ESPN: 5 star, #4 overall
Other Offers: Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, San Diego State, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA
Final EYBL stats: 18.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 29.4% 3pt
In the last 6 months it has become evident that McDaniels is the best recruit to come out of the state of Washington since probably Spencer Hawes (not including Michael Porter Jr). Every school in the country would love to have him. He’s a wing with exceptional size and the ability to do everything on the court so there’s not really a team where he wouldn’t fit right in perfectly. It’s not impossible he rises to #1 by the time it’s all said and done.
My favorite player of the Peach Jam so far: Jaden McDaniels of Seattle Rotary. Skill, smarts, length, a basketful of talent.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) July 12, 2018
Evan Daniels caught up with Jaden and for the first time in a while (grumble, national reporters, grumble) someone actually asked him directly about his relationship with Coach Hopkins and the Huskies. Here are the most relevant parts:
Coach Hopkins from Washington has been at nearly all of your games, what’s your relationship like there?
He talks to me a lot. When I work out he’ll be at the gym so I see him all the time. He’s like family up there because I’ve known him since I was little so it’s a good relationship with them too.
How appealing is it to play in the home state school and play for Washington?
That would be fun that would be something that I would like to do.
Do you feel like people are expecting you to stay close to home?
Yeah, a lot of people do. Everybody tells me to go to UW, stay in the purple and gold, like I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.
This is more information about how McDaniels feels about Washington than he’s shared in basically any interview ever. (Side note: when he says he’s “known him since I was little” I’m assuming he combined Hop and Conroy for that answer since I’m pretty confident he didn’t meet Hop until about 15 months ago). Now, there’s nothing in there those quotes that screams enthusiasm at you but at the very least it doesn’t sound like he has completely shut the door on the Huskies as some have thought. Perhaps more interesting than his comments about UW specifically are his comments about recruiting in general. He’s hinted at it in past interviews but it really appears that his dad handles pretty much all contact with coaches.
He just tells me “Kentucky called and they’re now recruiting you.” And stuff like that. He doesn’t really tell me what they said.
It’s clear that winning over his dad is going to be a major factor in whoever ends up securing Jaden’s commitment as he’s the doorkeeper right now. It’s also clear that this information means Washington has a big edge. Given that Hopkins has been able to watch Jaden work out in person many times it’s almost guaranteed that Hop’s had more conversation time with him than any other coach (except perhaps SDSU because of his brother). This is still a huge longshot but I’ve moved it from 0.1% to maybe 2.5% after reading all of that.
EDIT: Matt Norlander at CBS Sports sat down with Jaden’s dad Will over the weekend to talk about why he’s taking such a large role in his school’s recruitment. A great read and an interesting perspective. The biggest piece of news from a UW standpoint is that Jaden plans on cutting down to 5 schools in August which will unequivocally be his final 5 and where he’s taking his visits. So that’s the next mile marker to look out for.
Mike Hopkins, Brian Dutcher, Duke, Kentucky, Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, others watching No. 4-ranked Jaden McDaniels. Had a strong first half for Seattle Rotary. Biggest spring breakout star keeps getting better. #PeachJam— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 12, 2018
Isaiah Stewart, PF/C, 6’8, 243. La Lumiere School, Rochester, New York.
247Sports: 5 star, #6 overall; Rivals: 5 star, #6 overall; ESPN: 5 star, #5 overall
Other Offers: Duke, Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville, Georgetown
Final EYBL stats: 17.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Stewart trimmed his list down to 10 last month and the Huskies were the only West Coast school that made the cut. Hopkins was the lead recruiter for Stewart when he was still at Syracuse and Stewart played AAU with current Husky Nahziah Carter. That concludes the list of reasons why Washington has any shot whatsoever. It appears that in the next month or so that Stewart will reduce his list to 5 and the expectation is that Washington will not appear on that trimmed list. The Huskies also have an offer out to 2020 PG Symir Torrance on the same team so it’s not as if there’s no other benefit to Hopkins being at all of their games this weekend. Still, it’s pretty much impossible to imagine Hop’s relationship with Stewart being so strong that he winds up in Seattle. Which means it may not actually be the worst if he drops them sooner rather than later if Hop uses resources that could otherwise be spent going after the local players (time is a resource in recruiting, I don’t mean dropping bags).
Mike Krzyzewski, Jay Wright, Jim Boeheim, Mike Hopkins, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan among those that watched @TheCityRocks today. Five-star Isaiah Stewart and ESPN 100 guard Joe Girard. #PeachJam— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 12, 2018
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
Final EYBL stats: 8.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.1 apg, 20.7% 3pt
There have been questions about whether Washington’s offer to Noah Williams was still good but it certainly seems like it is. Eric Bossi at Rivals caught up with Noah this weekend and while Bossi didn’t provide any direct quotes, he did provide a good summary of Noah’s recruitment. UW is still the only school to offer Noah and he will for sure take an official to Washington despite it being the home town school. There are several other power conference schools showing interest (including Wazzu and Gonzaga) but so far none have extended the offer.
I definitely see Washington taking at least one point guard in this class to compete with Elijah Hardy as the starter next year. Noah stated that the opportunity to play point rather than shooting guard will heavily impact his decision. My guess is that Fuller is the priority for the staff and that we won’t see them put the press on Williams unless P.J chooses to go elsewhere. Although P.J may be better suited for the 2 anyways and it’s not crazy at all to think they take both.
P.J Fuller, PG/SG, 6’4, 170. Garfield H.S, Seattle, Washington.
247Sports: 4 star, #52 overall; Rivals: 4 star, #52 overall; ESPN: 4 star, #71 overall
Other Offers: Arizona, Florida, Florida State, TCU, USC, Oregon
Final Gauntlet stats: 16.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.7 apg, 30.6% 3pt
Fuller has apparently been getting a lot of attention as over the course of 20 minutes on Friday he tweeted out that he has received offers from: Florida, Miami, Providence, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Ole Miss, and Washington State. He also picked up offers from Minnesota, Houston, and Oregon later in the weekend. None of the Husky coaches was listed by Eric Bossi as being in attendance for Fuller’s games on Saturday even though Seattle Rotary had already been eliminated at Peach Jam. Hopefully, this isn’t seen as a sign of disrespect by Fuller. The Huskies are still probably the favorite but I’d put the odds of it happening at closer to 40%. We’ll see in his next interview whether any of the new offers hold any appeal for P.J or if it’s a battle between the programs who have been involved for the last 6+ months. Fuller is losing J’Raan Brooks, Jamon Kemp, and MarJon Beauchamp off last year’s state champion Garfield team so he’ll have a chance to put up even bigger numbers next year.
RaeQuan Battle, SG, 6’4, 175. Marysville-Pilchuck H.S, Marysville, Washington.
247Sports: 4 star, #129 overall; Rivals: 3 star, #149 overall; ESPN: 4 star
Final EYBL stats: 11.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 33.8% 3pt
Battle had a great start to the weekend with a 24 point outburst including 6 3-pointers. He also hit the game clinching free throws with less than a second left in an 84-82 OT victory. However, he slumped in Rotary’s last two losses going 0/12 from 3-point range. But mostly I listed him just to share this clip.
Man that’s a sick move. Can’t wait to see it on Montlake.
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