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UW Basketball Recruiting Class of 2020 Primer

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Now that the 2019 class is in the books find out who are the most likely crop of future Huskies

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With Jaden McDaniels committed to Washington and Cole Bajema staying at Michigan we can now officially call it a wrap on the Huskies’ 2019 recruiting class. It appears to be one of the better ones in Husky history especially if you count transfer Quade Green as a part of the group. With a pretty set roster we can now look forward to the 2020 class to get a sense for the likely number of spots available and who the primary Husky targets will be.

Class of 2020: Numbers and Needs

The Huskies only have one senior on scholarship for next season, Sam Timmins, but it would be a major shock if he’s the only Washington player who will be departing. 5-star freshmen Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels each should be expected to leave for the NBA Draft following next season given their pedigree. The Huskies also have one extra scholarship at the moment which pending a transfer in will be carried over into 2020.

That leaves 4 potential openings. However, when Riley Sorn signed on as a PWO there was talk Sorn would be expected to walk-on for 2 seasons before moving to scholarship in 2020 if he still wanted to play. We don’t know at this point whether either of those things are going to happen. If Sorn does stay and gets on scholarship I’d increase the odds that one of Nate Roberts and Bryan Penn-Johnson transfer. For now I’m going to list the players currently on scholarship and assume that the likelihood of Sorn getting a scholarship are cancelled out by the odds of an unexpected departure from somewhere.

Here’s a quick list of who would be left on the roster at that point broken down into point guard, wing, and big.

PG: Quade Green, Elijah Hardy, Marcus Tsohonis

Wing: Naz Carter, Jamal Bey, RaeQuan Battle

Big: Hameir Wright, Bryan Penn-Johnson, Nate Roberts

That’s pretty good roster balance. The biggest need is clearly on the wing as the Huskies would ideally like to play at least 2 of those players together at all times. Harder to do if you only have 3 total. Washington would take a point guard if it’s the right one but I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity right this second. The one exception is if Elijah Hardy were to fall out of the rotation once Quade Green becomes eligible and decides to transfer. Not saying that I think it will happen but given the way college basketball works nowadays you have to assume that any player who isn’t in the rotation is a good bet to transfer.

There’s also not a huge need at C so any big man would ideally be someone capable of playing the PF spot. Although with 3 redshirt sophomores (if you include Sorn) Hop might want to bring someone in for depth in the case of injury or transfer. But the state of Washington looks to have 3 high level big men in the 2021 class so waiting until then to restock the big man cabinet could make a lot of sense.

Put it all together and I think the most logical use of the 4 scholarships would be to target at least 1 each of SG, SF, and PF with the 4th spot as a wildcard. At least 2 and ideally 3 of those players need to be someone that aren’t expected to be one and dones. If any of the players that I listed above end up not being a part of the roster in 2020-21 due to transfer or early NBA entry then the Huskies would ideally add in someone at the same spot to help replace them.

2020 Primary Targets

Point Guard

The main guy here is Daishen Nix. The 6’5 PG out of Las Vegas (although originally from Alaska) was ranked in the low end of the top-100 for much of the last year. He exploded this past season as a junior though and is now a consensus 5-star and viewed as one of if not the best point guard in the 2020 class. He’s got elite size at the position for the Husky zone and has phenomenal vision/passing skills. Daishen is the perfect fit for what Coach Hop wants to do on both ends of the floor and it’s no wonder he’s the priority.

Washington was the first power conference team to offer Nix over a year ago before he really took off so they’ve been in his recruitment as long as anyone. Gonzaga and Kansas are looming but the Huskies definitely have a solid chance. Everything about Nix bears similarity to Markelle Fultz (Huskies 1st major program to offer, meteoric rise to 5-star status, 6’5 PG with great vision) hopefully including his commitment to Washington and hopefully not including a disastrous first 2 years in the NBA.

The only other realistic option at PG at this point appears to be 6’1 3-star Lamont Butler out of Riverside, California. He listed the Huskies as an early favorite and has also visited Harvard, Saint Mary’s, and Colorado. Butler clearly emphasizes academics and would be a strong addition to the culture Hop is trying to build. Given that the point guard spot doesn’t appear to be a dire need in this class I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies slow play Butler a little bit though. I don’t see any way that they fit in both Nix and Butler (barring a transfer from Hardy or Tsohonis) so they likely wouldn’t take a commitment from Butler until they know Nix is officially not coming to Montlake.

Wing

The first choice here is local 5-star SG/SF MarJon Beauchamp. At 6’6 with long arms he has a similar frame to rising sophomore Jamal Bey and Matisse Thybulle before him and seems a perfect fit at the top of the zone. Beauchamp came to numerous Husky games last season and there was a period where he seemed to be a near lock to UW. While the Huskies are still the favorites, that perception led to teams not showing Beauchamp the level of recruiting attention he wanted or deserved. He announced via Twitter this spring that his recruitment is open with no favorites and a few offers followed including one from Alabama of which he’s spoken very highly. MarJon might come back around after flirting with some national programs but at least for now he’s seriously considering leaving Seattle.

Another option is 4-star 6’3 SG Noah Taitz out of Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas. While Beauchamp is a long slashing forward, Taitz is more of a spot up shooter and combo guard. Washington obviously has an in since assistant coach Dave Rice is the brother of Taitz’s high school coach Grant Rice. The Huskies also have Jamal Bey who played at Bishop Gorman when Taitz was a freshman. Unlike with Nix and Butler above, Beauchamp and Taitz are different enough that it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Huskies end up with both. Taitz took an official visit to UW during the season but Stanford and USC are also in pursuit.

Big

The most highly ranked realistic option at this spot is Noah Taitz’s high school teammate at Bishop Gorman, 6’9 PF Isaiah Cottrell. He’s currently ranked #55 overall in the class and while there’s still room for schools to move in or out, it feels like this will end up coming down to UW, Kansas, and West Virginia (both his parents went there). If Taitz and Cottrell are close and would like to continue to play together then Washington is the only school that overlaps. But neither has given any indication that it’s a serious factor for them so far.

There are also a pair of local recruits drawing heavy interest from the Huskies. 6’8 3-star Kendall Munson played at Puyallup last season after moving back to Washington from California. He lost a year of high school ball due to an ACL injury and is only now getting back all of his athleticism and explosiveness. Washington offered after watching in person during the state tournament and he’s continued his stellar play averaging 13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game with Seattle Rotary on the Nike EYBL circuit. I expect Munson to hold off until he gets a few more offers before pulling the trigger on a commitment but it isn’t crazy to think the Huskies can seal the deal before he truly breaks out a la RaeQuan Battle this year.

Finally, 6’10 Mitchell Saxen from Ingraham High School is ranked almost identically to Munson but is a more advanced shot blocker and more likely to play center than power forward. The Huskies are still the only power conference team to have offered Saxen and he hasn’t seen his recruitment take off so far this spring. If no other Pac-12 school gets involved in the next few months then this might be a similar situation to Nic Lynch or Noah Williams who ended up not having a committable offer by the time they had made a decision.

My Ideal Scenario

If the Huskies have 4 spots then I’d want them to go to Daishen Nix, MarJon Beauchamp, Noah Taitz, and Kendall Munson. Nix and Beauchamp would come in and immediately challenge for serious playing time while I’d expect Taitz and Munson to be potential redshirt candidates and future 3+ year contributors. That would give the Huskies a strong upperclassman core of Carter, Wright, Green, and Bey to go along with RaeQuan Battle and BPJ/Roberts plus Nix and Beauchamp as the likely 9 person rotation.

The 2020 List (in approximate order of likelihood to sign with Washington)

IN A GOOD SPOT

Kendall Munson, PF, 6’8, 210. 3 star, #182 overall.

Daishen Nix, PG, 6’5, 205. 5 star, #13 overall.

STILL A CHANCE

MarJon Beauchamp, SF, 6’6, 175. 5 star, #20 overall.

Noah Taitz, SG, 6’3, 175. 4 star, #151 overall.

Isaiah Cottrell, PF, 6’9, 215. 4 star, #55 overall.

LOSING THE NUMBERS GAME

Mitchell Saxen, C, 6’10, 210. 3 star, #195 overall

Lamont Butler, PG, 6’1, 175. 3 star, #231 overall.

THE BLUTARSKY (0.0%)

L.J Cryer, PG, 6’1, 180. 4 star, #66 overall.

Joshua Christopher, SG, 6’4, 190. 5 star, #6 overall.

Jalen Green, SG, 6’5, 170. 5 star, #2 overall.

Evan Mobley, C, 6’11, 200. 5 star, #1 overall.

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