When Andrej Jakimovski signed with Washington State on Sunday, giving the Cougars their sixth recruit in the 2020 class, the North Macedonian prospect had yet to register on 247Sports.com’s database.
The country’s preeminent recruiting website generally refrains from rating international prospects until they announce their commitment to a college.
Now a day removed from Jakimovski’s decision to join the Cougars rather than pursue professional basketball oversees, 247Sports.com has officially assigned a rating to the 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward and subsequently elevated the Cougars’ 2020 class.
According to the website, Jakimovski is a four-star prospect and now the third-rated recruit in program history, behind only Klay Thompson and Michael Harthun, who were part of a top-heavy 2008 class under ex-WSU coach Tony Bennett.
In fact, the 2008 class might have been considered the most impressive in school history – that is, until 2020 came along.
Kyle Smith, who’s entering his second season as the Cougars’ coach, is coming off the top recruiting week in program history after getting a commitment from four-star Carlos Rosario and, only four days later, a signature from Jakimovski. With those additions, WSU now boasts the 29th-rated class in the country and third-best in the Pac-12, behind Arizona and Stanford.
When center Dishon Jackson committed to WSU in early April, he became the program’s first four-star recruit since Que Johnson in 2012. At the time, Jackson was rated the ninth-best prospect in school history, but now two months later he’s been pushed back to No. 11 by two future teammates: Jakimovski and Rosario, a Dominican Republic native and four-star prospect who’s spent the last two seasons playing at Veritas Prep in Southern California.
Rosario, who has yet to sign a letter of intent, is the 14th-rated prospect in the state of California and the sixth-rated prospect in program history.
The 2008 class was headlined by Thompson, the most successful basketball player to ever wear crimson and gray, and while the 2020 class isn’t quite as front-loaded, it’s much deeper and features three four-star recruits as opposed to just two.
Additionally, New York combo guard T.J. Bamba and Nigerian big man Efe Abogidi are a few of the most impressive three-star players the school has ever signed, and rank higher on the 247Sports scale than each of the three-star prospects from 2008: Marcus Capers, Nick Witherill, James Watson and DeAngelo Casto.
Bamba and Abogidi are respectively considered the program’s 14th- and 15th-rated all-time recruits, meaning Smith and company will have done something unprecedented by signing five of the school’s top-20 all-time recruits in the same class. Canadian combo guard Jefferson Koulibaly is also a high three-star prospect who’s considered to be the school’s 22nd-best all-time recruit.
The 2020 class is on track to rank higher on a national scale than any other in school history. Comparatively, this is where WSU’s last six recruiting classes fell on the 247Sports chart: 2019 (99th), 2018 (157th), 2017 (129th), 2016 (82th), 2015 (84th), 2014 (129th).
Even with the success the Cougars have had to this point, the biggest offseason coup might be yet to come. CJ Elleby, the sophomore forward who led WSU in scoring and rebounding last season en route to All-Pac-12 recognition, has yet to make a decision on his future after putting his name in the NBA draft and will have until Oct. 6 to possibly withdraw.