The wait is nearly over for Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels and the legion of Washington men’s basketball fans anxious to see the most ballyhooed pairing of Husky freshman stars.
Three months after joining forces last May, the five-star prospects will make their collegiate debuts more than 5,000 miles away from Seattle.
With three months remaining before November’s regular-season opener, the unveiling of UW’s newest dynamic duo is a trial run considering they’re playing four exhibitions during an 11-day foreign tour that begins with games on Thursday and Friday morning in Rome, Italy.
Each contest is being streamed online via FloHoops.
Stewart, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound bruising forward, is ranked No. 3 nationally among the 2019 recruits, according to 247 Sports.
Meanwhile, McDaniels, a 6-10, 185-pound smooth-shooting forward, is No. 8 in the country on 247’s list.
Freshman forward RaeQuan Battle, a four-star prospect from Marysville Pilchuck, and three-star Portland guard Marcus Tsohonis will also make their UW debuts this week.
However, Stewart and McDaniels are the headliners on a UW team that’s in transition after winning the Pac-12 regular-season title, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament and finishing 27-9 last season.
The Huskies are replacing four starters and five of its top six scorers, including Pac-12 player of the Year Jaylen Nowell and national defensive player of the year Matisse Thybulle, who were taken in the NBA draft.
Junior forward Hameir Wright, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds last season, is the lone returning starter, but his role his uncertain with the arrival of Stewart and McDaniels.
Junior guard Nahziah Carter, who averaged 8.1 points and 2.4 rebounds, is the top returning scorer and is seemingly poised for a breakout season.
Sophomore guards Jamal Bey and Elijah Hardy could begin to make the case for a starting spot after playing sparingly last season. Redshirt freshmen bigs Bryan Penn-Johnson and Nate Roberts are expected to see extensive action in Italy.
Washington will be without point guard Quade Green and J’Raan Brooks due to NCAA transfer rules. Senior forward Sam Timmins will also sit out because he participated in UW’s foreign tour three years ago.
All three players traveled with the Huskies to Italy.
Under NCAA regulations, college basketball teams are able to take international trips once every four years. Washington received an exemption for its first foreign trip with third-year coach Mike Hopkins.
The Huskies posted a 3-2 record against teams in Australia and New Zealand in 2016.
Here’s a look at the Washington Huskies’ itinerary.
Monday: Depart Seattle.
Tuesday: Arrive in Rome.
Wednesday: Day to Explore.
Thursday: Game 1 vs. Villa Pamphill Via Di Vigna Girelli (10 am PT).
Friday: Game 2 vs. Villa Pamphill Via Di Vigna Girelli (10 am PT).
Saturday: Travel to Florence.
Sunday: Game 3 vs. Palazzetto Dello Sport Via Fermi (10 am PT).
Monday: Day to Explore.
Tuesday: Game 4 vs. Palestra Viale Achille Sclavo (10 am PT).
August 21: Day to Explore
August 22: Depart Florence for Seattle