Husky Basketball Future Dependent on 2013 Recruiting Class
“a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward, was honorable mention West Coast Conference in 2012″
“His career high for points is eight, same with rebounds”
If those quotes don’t get you excited, then the names Perris Blackwell and Gilles Dierickx certainly must. Nope? Well that is the future of Husky basketball folks if Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and his staff don’t follow through on what could be the greatest recruiting class in school history or the biggest disappointment in recent years and the potential downfall of the program.
So yes, you should be a bit nervous.
Coming off of a year with two first round draft picks and no NCAA appearance, the 2012-13 Huskies are being overlooked and underestimated by many national publications. Picked anywhere between 4th and 7th in the Pac-12, the Dawgs aren’t given much of a chance in a conference with mega-talented teams like UCLA and Arizona. Yet seniors Aziz N’Diaye, Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy, along with junior C.J. Wilcox, give Washington a decent chance to compete this year in the conference. While they may not win the league title, Washington should not be overlooked. However, once the season ends, the outlook will depend entirely on what transpires in the next weeks and months.
With Tony Wroten leaving early to the NBA and Mark McLaughlin bolting apparently to Central Washington for some reason, the Washington Husky basketball team features back-to-back recruiting classes with not much to show for it. The 2011 class of Martin Breunig, Shawn Kemp Jr, and Hikeem Stewart return only 91 points, 51 rebounds and nine assists. Even with the seemingly random transfers of Blackwell (who will be a senior in 2013-14) and Dierickx (who will be a sophomore), the Dawgs are lacking the talent to compete in the Pac-12.
Enter Aaron Gordon.
The fourth or fifth best player in the country (depending on the publication) resides in San Jose, California, and plays for Archbishop Mitty High School. Aaron Gordon, little brother of Drew Gordon, seems to be favoring Washington, Arizona, and Oregon with Kentucky and Kansas on the outside looking in (how does that work?). After recently visiting Washington for his official at the end of September, many recruiting analysts targeted the Dawgs as the leader for the Blake Griffin clone. (Ok maybe that is too far. Or is it? Watch the tape).
Adding Gordon to the point guard Nigel Williams-Goss from Findlay Prep would provide the Huskies with the type of recruiting class that would keep the competitive for Pac-12 titles and even deep runs in the NCAAs (depending on how long Gordon stays). Yet Romar could make this class a Kentucky-type crew by adding shooting guard Isaac Hamilton to the mix. A big-time scorer and perimeter threat, Hamilton is ranked the fifth best SG and 26th best player overall by Scout.com and will be visiting UW the weekend of October 27th. He recently had an in-home visit by Steve Fischer and San Diego State and also likes Baylor, UNLV and UTEP.
Another possibility for the Dawgs is Darin Johnson, ranked 84th overall and the 18th best SG by Scout.com. Johnson is being courted hard by Oregon, but visited UW officially with Gordon last weekend. With Williams-Goss as a top 100 player and Gordon and Hamilton as well, Washington would shoot up to top 5 nationally if this happened. And in some ways, Romar HAS to make this happen.
With UCLA posting the best or second best recruiting class in the nation in 2012 and Arizona putting up back-to-back top five classes, the Dawgs are playing catch up. In the early returns on 2013, UCLA, Arizona and Cal all are featured in most publications top 15 recruiting classes. And UW has Breunig, Kemp, Stewart, and Jernard Jarreau to show for themselves in that same time.
Additionally, there is no back up plan for the Dawgs. Recent four and five star recruits who Washington targeted decided to commit elsewhere such as Jabari Bird (Cal and #16 overall), Zach Lavine (#25 overall and UCLA), Kyle Washington (#83 and NC State) and the recently committed to Oregon twins of Tyree and Tyrell Robinson (for both football and hoops). There are no four or five star caliber players left interested in UW after Hamilton, Gordon and Johnson. Granted those three are very good and even getting two of them could be a game changer in the Pac-12, but it is do or die time for the future of the Dawgs. Coach Romar cannot afford to miss this year with a graduating class of three starters and younger players nowhere near as talented as the rest of the top teams in the league. For the Huskies to remain relevant, they need to get these guys now. Otherwise we may be looking at Lynn Nance type seasons. If you don’t know what that means, feel lucky. If you do, pray for Aaron Gordon.