After two days of defections, the Washington men’s basketball team reportedly has received a verbal commitment from 19-year-old Nigerian Samuel Ariyibi of the NBA Africa Academy.
247 Sports was the first to report the news Thursday.
Ariyibi is listed as a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward, and several recruiting scouts have described him as an ideal fit for Washington’s 2-3 zone considering his 6-11 wingspan and athleticism.
Embattled coach Mike Hopkins is bringing in his first international recruit to help the Huskies with their domestic problems.
Washington is hoping, Ariyibi, the MVP of the 2019 Basketball Without Borders Tournament in Senegal, will provide similar results as Washington State freshman forward Efe Abogidi, a fellow Nigerian who is also a product of the NBA Africa Academy.
During his first year with the Cougars, Abogidi averaged 8.9 points and team-high 7.2 rebounds while starting all 27 games. He ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 36 blocks.
In recent years, Ariyibi becomes the third Husky who grew up playing basketball Africa joining Senegal natives Aziz N’Diaye and Malik Dime and Bitumba Baruti, who is from Congo.
Washington’s newest addition halts a flow — at least for now — of Huskies leaving the program that began Tuesday when Erik Stevenson entered the NCAA transfer portal followed by Marcus Tsohonis the next day.
Following a 5-21 season — which was the second lowest winning percentage (. 192) in school history — Washington is expected to overhaul a roster that currently has just eight players, not including seniors Quade Green and Hameir Wright. The NCAA is giving 2020-21 student-athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to Stevenson and Tsohonis, UW sources indicated that four more Huskies are considering transferring, which would be an unprecedented exodus at Montlake.
Last week, assistant Cameron Dollar announced he’s leaving Washington, and assistant Dave Rice’s future with the team is uncertain.
Ariyibi joins four-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American Jackson Grant as the newest Huskies, although it appears coach Mike Hopkins will continue adding to the roster.
Grant, a 6-10 forward from Olympia High, reaffirmed his UW commitment Thursday morning with a tweet that read: “Purple and Gold is my Home,” which included purple and gold heart emojis.
The Huskies have also reportedly been linked to a handful of transfers including Cincinnati freshman forward Tari Eason and Arizona senior guard Terrell Brown, who both played at Garfield High, as well as Marshall senior point guard Jarrod West.