It has been a relatively quiet last couple of months on the basketball recruiting trail but things picked up this weekend as Washington welcomed in a trio of official visitors as they try to jump start the class of 2022. It wasn’t exactly a wonderful display of Seattle’s greatness with the thunderstorms rolling through but the Dawgs were still able to make an impression.
The Huskies already have a commitment from SF Tyler Lindhart out of King’s HS and are likely to have at least 2 more open spots remaining. Although the transfer portal now means that it is much easier to make up for any misses on the recruiting trail.
Let’s run through the recent visitors and what we currently know about their recruitment.
PG Koren Johnson, 6’1, 175 lbs. Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah
Recruiting Ranking: 4*, #119 overall in 247 Sports Composite
Other Offers: Arizona, San Diego State, Washington State
There was a time when it looked like Johnson was the surefire top local target in the class of 2022. Unfortunately Johnson followed the path of a depressingly large number of local guards in recent years and decided to transfer out of state for his senior season of high school rather than continue to attend Garfield HS. Johnson has made the move to prep school Wasatch Academy in Utah where former Husky Bryan Penn-Johnson also attended. Playing for Seattle Rotary this summer Johnson averaged 13.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game on 38.8% 3pt shooting as Rotary really struggled at Peach Jam without clear 5-star talent on the roster for the first time in several years.
It doesn’t look like Johnson has completely forsaken the idea of coming back home to Seattle for college however. On his official visit it’s clear the coaching staff has tried to get its hometown hero pitch to convince Johnson to play for the Huskies. Point guard is the most important spot for Washington in this recruiting class. Both Terrell Brown Jr. and Daejon Davis are 5th year seniors and have no remaining eligibility after this season. PJ Fuller has shown through 2 years of college that he is very much more a scoring guard than a playmaker. That leaves Dominiq Penn as the only point guard on the roster and we have no idea whether he’s anywhere close to ready to provide meaningful minutes for a Pac-12 team.
Even if Washington does manage to get Koren to return to Seattle I could easily still see them attempting to bring in another veteran guard via the transfer portal rather than handing over the reins. Johnson is a good player who should be a multi-year contributor for whichever school he goes to but he isn’t likely to be an above average floor general for a Pac-12 team from day one. Still, he is likely the best, most realistic option at that spot for the class of 2022 which makes him a very key target.
Hometown hero? What y’all think husky nation? #notcommitted @UW_MBB pic.twitter.com/hdxITrHCDf— Koren Johnson (@KorenJohnson2) September 23, 2021
SF Chris Bunch, 6’7, 185 lbs. Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah
Recruiting Ranking: 4*, #72 overall in 247 Sports Composite
Other Offers: Syracuse, Rutgers, Creighton, Florida State, Maryland
Coming along on the official visit with Koren was his new teammate at Wasatch Academy, Chris Bunch. The Huskies offered Bunch relatively recently, on August 22nd, but did a good job getting him on campus fairly shortly thereafter. Since Wasatch is a prep school, Bunch like Johnson is not actually from Utah but from the Bay Area in Concord, California. He doesn’t exactly appear to be dedicated to trying to stay on the West Coast however.
Bunch has taken 2 other visits so far and they’ve been to Rutgers and Syracuse so he is clearly open to the idea of heading anywhere in the country for college. I haven’t seen an interview with Bunch about his visit but he is also planning on re-visiting Syracuse. Given that 3⁄4 of his official visits will have been to UW and Syracuse it seems pretty clear that Bunch is extremely open to if not outright excited about playing in a 2-3 zone at the next level.
On the EYBL this past summer Bunch averaged 12.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game on 34.2% 3pt shooting. I’m slightly skeptical on the overall field goal percentage numbers since a little math would tell you that as it’s currently displayed he shot 100% on 2pt attempts and I don’t think that’s the case. Still, he’s a long, athletic wing who fits the zone on defense and can shoot the ball on the other end. After last season’s experiment playing smaller wings it appears that Mike Hopkins has committed to finding as many long 6’6-6’7 types who can shoot the ball as possible to fill out the roster. It’s hard to argue that’s not a formula for success in the modern college basketball environment. We’ll see if the Huskies made enough of an impression on Bunch to be in it to the end despite hopping in late.
SG Miles Byrd, 6’6, 165 lbs. Lincoln HS, Stockton, California
Recruiting Ranking: 3*, #161 overall in 247 Sports Composite
Other Offers: Saint Mary’s, Minnesota, Villanova, San Diego State, Colorado State
Things are closest to winding down with Byrd who told Jacob Polacheck at Zagsblog that he intends to announce a commitment in the next 3 weeks. Byrd is a classic late bloomer as he was largely unknown before the summer AAU circuit this year. He really made his mark though with a 38 point triple double in front of the Husky coaching staff which caused them to get involved. At 6’6 with a nearly 7’0 wingspan Byrd is a prototypical fit for the Husky 2-3 zone and could realistically play at the top at shooting guard or in the corner as a small forward if needed. Byrd also has playmaking skills and while he isn’t a true point guard he should be able to help an offense flow with above average passing on the wing.
Byrd’s father played college ball at Villanova and given their pedigree it has seemed highly likely that if the Wildcats decided to make Miles a priority that they would be the pick (new Husky Langston Wilson’s father also played with Byrd’s at Villanova). It’s unclear if that’s the case though and with Washington and Minnesota as the only other power conference schools involved the Huskies have to think they have a great shot. There are conflicting reports whether Byrd will be taking a visit to Saint Mary’s or Minnesota this weekend but he has already taken trips to Colorado State and San Diego State in addition to UW. If those are the 5 schools that he ends up making a decision between then lead recruiter Wyking Jones and the Dawgs seemingly have a good shot.
University of Washington Official Visit!! Huge thanks to Coach Hopkins and staff for having me up to campus and spending the weekend in Seattle! @CByrd44 @wceua @TrojansLHS pic.twitter.com/a6UPfalJJJ— Miles Byrd (@_mbyrd21) September 22, 2021
Other Recruiting Notes
Washington has sent out a lot of offers this recruiting cycle and with that come a lot of rejections. Among the players with Husky offers that ended up elsewhere over the last several months since the last recruiting update are:
- 4*, #67 overall Center Jaxon Kohler to Michigan State on 9/19/21
- 5*, #12 overall Center Vince Iwuchukwu to USC on 9/17/21
- 4*, #113 overall Small Forward Jaylen Thompson to Stanford on 9/8/21
- 3*, #143 overall Shooting Guard Oziyah Sellers to USC on 8/15/21
- 4*, #105 overall Shooting Guard Joseph Hunter Jr. to Fresno State on 7/30/21
- 3*, #130 overall Small Forward Ramel Lloyd Jr. to Nebraska on 7/18/21
- 5*, #14 overall Point Guard Dior Johnson to Oregon on 6/22/21
There are still a few other uncommitted players who haven’t dropped the Huskies yet and the possibility that new targets will emerge this upcoming high school season given the lack of exposure many players got during the pandemic. Other potential remaining targets include the below. Given that Washington got Johnson, Bunch, and Byrd on campus first it suggests that they are the priority targets over the next several months and depending on how things break they may swing back around to their other offers if they still have spots open.
- 3*, 255 overall Point Guard Christian Watson, 6’4, 150 lbs
- NR Small Forward Raysean Seamster, 6’6, 190 lbs
- NR Center Adrame Diongue, 7’0, 185 lbs