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Basketball Recruiting Update: Class of 2022 First Look

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With coaches able to watch games in-person again, who are the Husky coaches targeting?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 18 Stanford at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The last time I published a true basketball recruiting update was August 1st, 2019. Nearly 2 years ago. There’s good reason for that. Washington ultimately ended up signing 0 high school recruits in the class of 2020. They got an early commitment in 2021 from Jackson Grant but then the pandemic started (Dominiq Penn and Samuel Ariyibi also signed but both came completely out of left field). There were no AAU tournaments last summer to provide us with updates and also no high school seasons for most of the West until the spring.

Finally though with the dead period ended by the NCAA and 2 new assistant coaches on staff there are signs of life. The class of 2022 just finished their junior seasons which means that very few of them were good enough to be playing in the Nike EYBL at age 15. Given how disrupted the scouting opportunities have been since then there are likely to be a number of players who see dramatic shifts in their recruiting rankings in the coming months. There’s also the fact that with the one-time transfer rule, the majority of players in the country become potential options if a team strikes out with their major targets in recruiting high school players.

With that said let’s take a look at who the Huskies are targeting for 2022 with the caveat that several off the radar names will undoubtedly pop up in the coming months. Right now Washington has a commitment from King’s HS combo forward Tyler Linhardt and they will likely have at least 2 more spots available. Once there have been a few more events for us to gauge who they are extremely committed to and/or there’s reciprocal interest I’ll release a true in-depth primer like I have for pre-2021 classes.

POINT GUARD

This is the position of greatest need for Washington with incoming transfers Terrell Brown Jr. and Daejon Davis both on their final year of eligibility. Dominiq Penn is on the roster but given his pedigree I’ll need to see it on the court first before believing that he can be relied upon to play major minutes in 2022.

For the last several years it seemed likely that Garfield’s Koren Johnson (6’1, 175, 4*, #64 overall) would be the clear heir apparent at this spot. Unfortunately, Johnson like top local PG in 2021 Nolan Hickman before him has transferred to Wasatch Academy in Utah for his senior season. Hickman committed to Kentucky before eventually ending up at Gonzaga. PJ Fuller and MarJon Beauchamp also took the out-of-state prep school route and neither came to Seattle out of high school. Given that history there’s a decent shot that Johnson’s move crosses him off the list.

Perhaps the biggest twist of the last month has been that Washington suddenly found itself with a shot at Dior Johnson (6’3, 180, 5*, #7 overall). This Johnson committed to Syracuse early in his career before backing out of that pledge. He included the Huskies in his top-5 at the beginning of the month only shortly after Washington offered. The Dawgs got involved because of Johnson’s connection with new assistant coach Quincy Pondexter as Dior played for the AAU team that Q-Pon created. There was also word that Johnson was taking a visit to the Huskies shortly before his decision date which is this Friday June 24th.

Unfortunately one of Johnson’s other top-5 options is playing in the New Zealand Basketball League and everyone’s money is on Johnson getting his. Johnson reportedly has attended 8 different high schools over the past 3 years and even if he had his heart set on becoming a Husky (which seems very doubtful) it’s tough to imagine him getting through admissions.

Beyond the Johnsons there are still some other interesting options. Washington ultimately lost out to UCLA for 5-star 2021 SF Peyton Watson but his little brother Christian (6’4, 3*, #213 overall) is also quite talented. The Huskies were his first major offer a little over 14 months ago and during an abbreviated spring high school season he finished 2nd on the team in scoring only behind his brother with 17.4 points per game.

Nevada PG Milos Uzan (6’4, 185, 4*, #120 overall) said this past weekend that the Huskies were one of 5 Pac-12 teams seriously pursuing him at the moment and 247 Sports have him pegged as a player set to see his stock rise this summer. At this point it looks like Uzan might be more college ready from the jump but both guards have great size for the zone at the point guard position and if the Huskies are able to land either then it will be considered a win.

SHOOTING GUARD/SMALL FORWARD

The Huskies since Mike Hopkins took over have had a fairly minimal presence in California but have so far looked to that region to fill their wing spots. Oziyah Sellers (6’4, 185, 3*, Not Ranked) has been a quick riser in the eyes of recruiting experts this spring. A few months ago he only had high major offers from TCU and WSU but has since picked them up from UW, USC, ASU, and Creighton. He will provide shooting wherever he goes to college and has the frame to be a plus defender.

Sellers’ teammate at Southern California Academy is Jaylen Thompson (6’7, 180, 4*, #93 overall) who has tremendous potential. He’s incredibly thin and has a body type like a few inches shorter Jaden McDaniels. Thompson looks like he would excel in the corner of the Husky zone as a weakside shot blocker while also knocking down 3-pt shots on offense. So far it looks like Jaylen has been prioritizing the California trio of...every Pac-12 school except California. But Washington is still a relatively recent offer and they have time to try to get him up on campus.

The Huskies haven’t offered yet but one could be coming soon for Stockton, California’s Miles Byrd (6’6, 165, 3*, NR). He finished this past weekend off with a 38 point triple double in front of the Husky coaching staff and several others. Right now Byrd doesn’t hold any power conference offers but his dad played at Villanova so he has a good basketball pedigree and clearly has skill.

CENTER

So far there’s only one realistic offer the Huskies and new big man coach Wyking Jones have given out in the 2022 class and that’s to Arizona center Adrame Diongue (7’0, 185, NR, NR). If you thought Thompson was skinny at 6’7 and 180 lbs then I hope you sat down before checking out Diongue’s physical profile. He’s a work in progress but has the requisite length to play center in the Husky zone. At a recent showing he stood out with his constant energy and hustle which is a positive sign for a big man. Right now Nate Roberts and Riley Sorn are the only true centers on the roster so more depth at the spot will be needed unless Langston Wilson or Jackson Grant show this season they can play heavy minutes at the 5 long-term.

Class of 2023 Notes

  • Timberline HS star guard Brooklyn Hicks took an unofficial visit to UW yesterday and came away with an offer in the process. Hicks had some monster scoring performances this spring and is definitely the best player to come out of the school since Erik Stevenson who had an uneven only year at Washington this past season.
  • 6’3 Wisconsin PG Braylen Blue is set to take an unofficial visit to Washington on Monday, 6/28 as part of a series of visits this month. He’s currently unranked in all the outlets but will have gotten unofficial visits from programs like Washington, Wisconsin, and Northwestern so we’ll see where he ultimately stacks up.
  • Tacoma (Wilson HS) 6’2 PG Cayden McDaniel impressed the recruiting analysts at 247 Sports this past weekend averaging 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists per game during the tournament. He will be playing with Seattle Rotary this summer and has a chance to explode up the rankings. I would expect the Huskies to offer at some point soon.

(PS: pretty sure he meant plays with pace...)

  • Another point guard option appears to be Centennial, California’s Kylan Boswell who picked up a Husky offer yesterday. Washington wasn’t alone in showing him some love as he also announced offers from Louisville, Arizona, Texas Tech, UNLV, Texas, and Kansas in the past 48 hours. Going to assume based on all that attention that he ends up outside of the Huskies’ realistic chances.