The consensus top-five pick from Nathan Hale — whose father is an assistant coach at UW — along with Garfield teammates Jaylen Nowell and Daejon Davis help make the Huskies the No. 2 class in the country.
Led by consensus top-5 prospect Michael Porter Jr., the Huskies secured the most highly rated recruiting class in program history that’s ranked among the best in the country.
In addition to Porter, a five-star prospect at Nathan Hale High, the Washington men’s basketball team signed Garfield High guards Jaylen Nowell and Daejon Davis, Blake Harris, a point guard from Raleigh, N.C., and forward Mamadou Diarra a Mali native who plays for St. Louis Christian Academy in Missouri.
“From top to bottom, the guys are athletic,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “They all have something special that they’re able to do. The thing about this class is there was no throw-ins.”
Washington’s recruiting class ranks second, according to ESPN.com and Rivals.com. The Huskies are rated third by Scout.com.
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“There were no Plan Bs or Plan Cs,” Romar said. “These were all guys that we targeted or came across later in the recruiting process that expressed a high level of interest in the University of Washington and it just so happened that they really fit in with what we’re trying to do.”
Porter, the son of UW assistant coach Michael Porter Sr., is the Huskies’ most coveted prospect.
Romar said the 6-foot-10, 210-pound senior is “a special, special talent” who could play in the backcourt because of his versatility.
“He is as good a shooter as anybody we’ve ever had — C.J. Wilcox, Trey Simmons and Ryan Appleby — those types of guys,” Romar said. “He shoots the ball with that type of consistency and with that type of range. He can get the ball off the floor and bring it in transition and make the right play.
“He’s a very good rebounder. He finishes well. He’s one of the best scorers at this level that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching high school basketball for a long, long time. I don’t know if I’ve seen many if any score the ball better than he’s able to score.”
Porter, who played three years in Missouri before following his recently hired father and moving to Seattle, is considered the No. 2 overall prospect by ESPN and Rivals. He’s No. 5 on Scout’s list.
Porter, a potential one-and-done phenom who is considered a top-2 NBA draft pick in 2018, gives UW’s class star power while locally-grown products Davis and Nowell will provide tremendous backcourt depth next season.
Davis, 6-4 and 175 pounds, is ranked 43rd by ESPN and 45th by Scout and Rivals. Meanwhile, Nowell, 6-5 and 191 pounds, is 56th by ESPN, 70th by Rivals and 83rd by Scout.
The four-star shooting guards, who have played together since kindergarten, celebrated their signings during a joint celebration at Garfield.
“That guy is like my brother,” Davis said. “To know that I’ll continue playing with him is truly a blessing. I love that guy.”
Davis was the wildcard among the newest Huskies. He initially committed to UW last August before re-opening his recruitment in April. Davis made visits to Gonzaga, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona before choosing Washington again.
“I got criticized for being selfish and wanting attention,” Davis said. “But in hindsight the first time I committed was too early.”
For Nowell, signing with Washington is the culmination of a dream first realized by his father Mike who passed away in May 2015.
“He’s the person who I always wanted to do this for,” Nowell said. “For him to not be here anymore it’s heartbreaking. Days like this I just think of him and I know I’m making him proud. He gives me life.”
It’s the second time in three years Washington has assembled a highly ranked recruiting class.
In 2015, Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss – a pair of 2016 first-round NBA picks – highlighted an eight-man class ranked sixth nationally by Scout.
Last year, the Huskies signed freshman Markelle Fultz, a national freshman of the year candidate, who’ll likely be taken among the top three in the 2017 draft.
When asked if Porter is the best recruit to ever pick Washington, Romar said: “Markelle Fultz is really good. They’re so different. I’d say those two.”
Romar added Porter was the best big man he’s ever signed.